Category Archives: London

Ironfoot Jack on film

Here he is! In the daytime! In colour! He’s just one of the wonders in this brilliant time capsule of Soho in the 1950s, when the cappuccino machine was still a device of such foreign exoticism it may as well have been a sputnik.

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Ironfoot Jack on film

Here he is! In the daytime! In colour! He’s just one of the wonders in this brilliant time capsule of Soho in the 1950s, when the cappuccino machine was still a device of such foreign exoticism it may as well have been a sputnik.

Dodo’s return

While they bore a surface glamour, Dodo’s images were both jaded and jaundiced, as if attempting to market the Expressionists’ brand of caustic cynicism to blasé sophisticates as a desirable lifestyle option.

Dodo’s return

While they bore a surface glamour, Dodo’s images were both jaded and jaundiced, as if attempting to market the Expressionists’ brand of caustic cynicism to blasé sophisticates as a desirable lifestyle option.

The Pleasure Garden

Set in an overgrown garden dotted with classical statuary (actually the ruins of London’s Crystal Palace), The Pleasure Garden pits the forces of life, love and light against the dark, dreary and draconian.

The Pleasure Garden

Set in an overgrown garden dotted with classical statuary (actually the ruins of London’s Crystal Palace), The Pleasure Garden pits the forces of life, love and light against the dark, dreary and draconian.

Potocki de Montalk in verse

“And a little boat with lights green, yellow and red,/Is turned into a magical Chinese/Duck, whose long wake is/A right-triangle…”

Potocki de Montalk in verse

“And a little boat with lights green, yellow and red,/Is turned into a magical Chinese/Duck, whose long wake is/A right-triangle…”

Saving the Abbey

Crowley took a band of acolytes to Cefalú in 1920 and there conducted some of his most extreme excursions into ritualistic practice before being booted out by the new fascist regime in 1923. Since then the Abbey has slid further and further into ruin.

Saving the Abbey

Crowley took a band of acolytes to Cefalú in 1920 and there conducted some of his most extreme excursions into ritualistic practice before being booted out by the new fascist regime in 1923. Since then the Abbey has slid further and further into ruin.

To the very dregs

Peter Warlock’s enthusiasms were as tempestuous as his disdain, and the flip side of his antsy vitality was the crippling despair to which he would periodically succumb. He conducted vituperative public feuds, writing obscene limericks about his enemies which he at one stage anthologised on a toilet roll.

To the very dregs

Peter Warlock’s enthusiasms were as tempestuous as his disdain, and the flip side of his antsy vitality was the crippling despair to which he would periodically succumb. He conducted vituperative public feuds, writing obscene limericks about his enemies which he at one stage anthologised on a toilet roll.

Death of a shrinking violet

There are those who turn their lives into their greatest work. Theodore Wratislaw was not among them. It wasn’t premature death, prison or drugs which claimed Wratislaw after his last volume of verse in 1896. It was the civil service…

Death of a shrinking violet

There are those who turn their lives into their greatest work. Theodore Wratislaw was not among them. It wasn’t premature death, prison or drugs which claimed Wratislaw after his last volume of verse in 1896. It was the civil service…

D’Orsay the artist

Comte d’Orsay combined physical beauty, sparkling wit, the magnetic amour-propre of the dandy as well as a dangerous whiff of Napoleonic adventure and a pre-Revolutionary title, both bequeathed by his general father. It was a heady brew and society fell at his exquisitely-shod feet.

D’Orsay the artist

Comte d’Orsay combined physical beauty, sparkling wit, the magnetic amour-propre of the dandy as well as a dangerous whiff of Napoleonic adventure and a pre-Revolutionary title, both bequeathed by his general father. It was a heady brew and society fell at his exquisitely-shod feet.

Fitzrovia revisited

In honour of Julian Maclaren-Ross’s birthday we’re off to Fitzrovia, London’s bedsit Parnassus which inspired and witnessed the louche bohemian’s greatest triumphs and travails.

Fitzrovia revisited

In honour of Julian Maclaren-Ross’s birthday we’re off to Fitzrovia, London’s bedsit Parnassus which inspired and witnessed the louche bohemian’s greatest triumphs and travails.

Birthday Bunny

After active duty in the Second World War, which he acquitted with notable bravery, he commented “Now I’ve shot so many Nazis, Daddy will have to buy me a sable coat.” This is the same war, incidentally, in which he claimed to have advanced into battle with a rolled copy of Vogue.

Birthday Bunny

After active duty in the Second World War, which he acquitted with notable bravery, he commented “Now I’ve shot so many Nazis, Daddy will have to buy me a sable coat.” This is the same war, incidentally, in which he claimed to have advanced into battle with a rolled copy of Vogue.

Requiem for a marchesa

The Marchesa was laid out in the black and leopard finery that had served as her uniform for the past decade…Before the coffin was sealed, one of Luisa’s stuffed Pekinese was slipped inside to rest at her feet.

Requiem for a marchesa

The Marchesa was laid out in the black and leopard finery that had served as her uniform for the past decade…Before the coffin was sealed, one of Luisa’s stuffed Pekinese was slipped inside to rest at her feet.

The double life of Evan Morgan

He was an occultist, yet chamberlain to two popes; gay, yet husband to two women. He was a friend to Augustus John, john to Denham Fouts, bogey-man to the Establishment. He mixed with royalty and rabble, and there was a Jekyll-and-Hyde polarity within his own personality.

The double life of Evan Morgan

He was an occultist, yet chamberlain to two popes; gay, yet husband to two women. He was a friend to Augustus John, john to Denham Fouts, bogey-man to the Establishment. He mixed with royalty and rabble, and there was a Jekyll-and-Hyde polarity within his own personality.

Strange Flowers guide to London: part 3

The choice of blue plaque honourees is leadenly conservative and sometimes bafflingly perverse, celebrating lesser colonial administrators known only to their mothers. Or it may be that current residents would rather not have their homes associated with drunks, deviants and diabolists.

Strange Flowers guide to London: part 3

The choice of blue plaque honourees is leadenly conservative and sometimes bafflingly perverse, celebrating lesser colonial administrators known only to their mothers. Or it may be that current residents would rather not have their homes associated with drunks, deviants and diabolists.

Strange Flowers guide to London: part 2

Fitzrovia was a stone’s throw from Bloomsbury but a world away in temperament. According to the Times Literary Supplement, Fitzrovia was “a world of outsiders, down-and-outs, drunks, sensualists, homosexuals and eccentrics”. In short, the spiritual home of Strange Flowers.

Strange Flowers guide to London: part 2

Fitzrovia was a stone’s throw from Bloomsbury but a world away in temperament. According to the Times Literary Supplement, Fitzrovia was “a world of outsiders, down-and-outs, drunks, sensualists, homosexuals and eccentrics”. In short, the spiritual home of Strange Flowers.

Strange Flowers guide to London: part 1

There are infinite ways to dissect London, endless psychogeographical narratives which can be overlaid on the city’s map. This is an account of absence as much as presence, but let’s think of it as a stroll which gives us a chance to chat about our favourite freaks.

Strange Flowers guide to London: part 1

There are infinite ways to dissect London, endless psychogeographical narratives which can be overlaid on the city’s map. This is an account of absence as much as presence, but let’s think of it as a stroll which gives us a chance to chat about our favourite freaks.

Bohème and beyond

Selbstinszenierung is a great German term which is related to self-promotion and self-presentation, but really carries the idea of directing oneself in the manner of a stage production or work of art, and thus expresses a concept close to Strange Flowers’ heart.

Bohème and beyond

Selbstinszenierung is a great German term which is related to self-promotion and self-presentation, but really carries the idea of directing oneself in the manner of a stage production or work of art, and thus expresses a concept close to Strange Flowers’ heart.

Papal bull

You’ll search Vatican annals in vain for a reference to Pope Hadrian VII. There’s no marble effigy of him in the great, gaudy expanse of St Peter’s, no tomb thronged with credulous cripples; he’s not even enrolled among the bad-boy anti-popes. Hadrian, you see, was the fantasy projection of one Frederick Rolfe, otherwise known as Baron Corvo…

Papal bull

You’ll search Vatican annals in vain for a reference to Pope Hadrian VII. There’s no marble effigy of him in the great, gaudy expanse of St Peter’s, no tomb thronged with credulous cripples; he’s not even enrolled among the bad-boy anti-popes. Hadrian, you see, was the fantasy projection of one Frederick Rolfe, otherwise known as Baron Corvo…

Each man kills the thing he loves

The Great Lafayette was like a warm-up act for the great camp variety turns of the media age. Liberace arriving onstage in a chauffeured limousine? Lafayette had done it decades earlier, motoring to his mark in a mauve Mercedes fitted with gas lamps.

Each man kills the thing he loves

The Great Lafayette was like a warm-up act for the great camp variety turns of the media age. Liberace arriving onstage in a chauffeured limousine? Lafayette had done it decades earlier, motoring to his mark in a mauve Mercedes fitted with gas lamps.

“Scholar, connoisseur, drunkard, poet, pervert…”

The count’s bedroom featured a pentagram over the bed, and there he would smoke opium and play piano late into the night, emerging the next day – late, naturally – in a dressing gown with a snake wrapped around his neck.

“Scholar, connoisseur, drunkard, poet, pervert…”

The count’s bedroom featured a pentagram over the bed, and there he would smoke opium and play piano late into the night, emerging the next day – late, naturally – in a dressing gown with a snake wrapped around his neck.

Goodbye Dolly

The study of Dolly Wilde belongs to a discipline that doesn’t exist. While nominally listed as a “socialite” in biographical entries, she didn’t entertain on a grand scale, patronise genius or pioneer new ways of living, so you won’t find her mentioned in social histories of the 20th century.

Goodbye Dolly

The study of Dolly Wilde belongs to a discipline that doesn’t exist. While nominally listed as a “socialite” in biographical entries, she didn’t entertain on a grand scale, patronise genius or pioneer new ways of living, so you won’t find her mentioned in social histories of the 20th century.