St. Giles' breed, better hang than seed

Some people draw what’s around them. I draw what’s underneath.

I walk the same streets as Old Simon Edy, an infamous beggar of the nineteenth century whose pitch was the Resurrection Gate of St. Giles Church. My neighbour is Jack Norris, the musical shrimp man and notorious cadger who once dwelt in the Rookery too. My friend in the local arts scene is William Wrench, the Steeple-Keeper who sold Christmas poetry and pamphlets to our local rich parishioners in the eighteenth century.

My home is the ancient parish of St. Giles. Named for the patron saint of lepers, a place the authorities wanted always to sweep under the carpet. Beggars, transients, drunks, crack dealers and the lawless have all called it home.

There’s a thirst for life here. Always has been. Once it was slaked by 17,000 gin shops. Art, rock and roll, coiners, cadging ramblers, cracksmen, theatre, love, murder, prostitution. They all have a home here.

I love to observe life and history. We live, work, sleep and die in the same places, the same contexts and the same ways as our ancestors.

Only the scenery changes.

St. Giles missives

Patrons talk at the Sir John Soane Museum

Sian Anthony and I were very kindly invited to do our talk ‘Revealing the Rookery’ for the patrons of the John Soane Museum back in early July…

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Transcend Festival: ‘Revealing the Rookery’ talk, Saturday 6th July

Come to my next talk on the rookery! Transcend festival: ‘Revealing the Rookery’, Saturday 6th July…

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Philip John’s Mott the Hoople talk at the Lexington

This should be a great night! Philip John and Mick Bolton are reminiscing about their days on the road with Mott at
The Lexington on 11th June…

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‘Revealing the Rookery’ featured on the Robert Elms Show!

On Friday, Sian and I were invited onto BBC Radio London’s Robert Elms Show, to talk about our Camden Archives talk, ‘Revealing the Rookery’…

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