The Crystal Palace at Syndenham, 1905. Description under the photo reads:
“Designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, and constructed from materials used in the Great
Exhibition of 1841. It has a fine orchestra, seating 4,000 and a large organ. The Courts
represent types of architecture belonging to all the nations of the world, from the
earliest history to the present day. Fine views are obtainable from the north tower
to which it public are admitted.
Today’s image from The Sights of The Sound of Broken Glass is inspired by the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James novel, available February 19, 2013. The Sound of Broken Glass takes place in the Crystal Palace area of London as well as Soho, Covent Garden and Notting Hill. The music industry and its history play a strong part in the book, as does the history of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham.
To learn more about The Sound of Broken Glass, or to pre-order your copy, click here.
Link to today’s original image source: click here.
Apologies for not having posted more from this visit to London. It’s been such a blur I’ve had a hard time remembering what I’ve done the day before, much less managing to write it down in either the blog or the trusty trip journal I like to keep.
I can blame at least part of the failure-to-post on the Droid. This was my first trip overseas with my Android phone, having switched from a Blackberry after my visit to London last February. I’d loved uploading photos to Facebook from the Blackberry, so it was quite a shock to learn I’d used almost the entire data package I’d bought for the trip my first two hours in London. Needless to say that nixed posting pics from the phone. I learned, however, that I can take pictures with the phone, then turn on data roaming, email the pics to myself, then turn the data roaming off again and post the pictures from my laptop.
Hence my little pictorial essay from yesterday’s visit to St. Pancras Station (and no, spellcheck, I do NOT mean St. Pancreas!) although I do miss the fun of immediate sharing.
Yesterday afternoon I paid a quick call at my UK publisher, Pan Macmillan, in New Wharf Road, which is just round the corner from King’s Cross. So, a perfect opportunity to make what has become my ritual visit to St. Pancras. Since I was there last, the restoration scaffolding has come down, the St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel is open, and while I haven’t been in to have a look myself, I highly recommend their website for lovely pictures of the station–much better than mine–as well as some interesting history.
I was on a mission to buy my favorite tea at the Peyton and Byrne shop in the station’s lower concourse, but they were OUT of loose tea! Any sort of loose tea! No idea when they might have it again. Sigh.
But my disappointment was somewhat alleviated by the live music performances in the concourse, part of an ongoing series called The Station Sessions. First, a girl called Lexy, who I thought was very good, then a singer named Charlie Simpson who used to be in a band called Busted. As I couldn’t see much over the crowd, I went upstairs and watched from the upper concourse railing for a while, but was not too thrilled with the view of the the tops of the band’s heads and sound muffled by the glass railing.
So I abandoned the bands for the last part of the ritual pilgrimage, the glass of champagne at Searcy’s, the champagne bar on the station’s upper level. I sipped, watched two Eurostar trains pull out, and dreamed of the Orient Express . . . Oh, and a room at the St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel wouldn’t be half bad, either.
Monday, September 26, 2011
It all sounds like complete fluff–super soapy Mad Men in the Sky–but the show is directed by Thomas Schlamme of The West Wing, and written by Jack Orman of ER. Not only that, but for all you former ER fans, this season will feature a four-episode guest arc with Goran Visnjic (Dr. Luka Kovak). Be still my heart.
But pitter-patter aside, all this retro-sixties air travel glamor started me thinking about the way we used to dress for plane flights. Can you imagine that we used to actually “dress up” to get on a plane? (My first plane flight, for the record, was circa 1966–a Dallas to Houston hop on a prop plane for my brother’s wedding, on which I disgraced myself by having to use the sick bag. Remember those? These days I am, fortunately, a much better flyer.) Even in the mid-seventies, when I made a number of trips to Europe with my parents, we took our in-flight ensembles very seriously. My mother was horrified at the thought of not being well-turned out on a plane.
These days, I’d wear pajamas on a transatlantic flight if I could get away with it.
I’ll have to watch the first episode of Pan Am a few weeks after the premiere, as on Sunday night I will be boarding an American Airlines 767 flight to London. Ten hours of scrunched up economy, bad food, and circulating viruses. Glamor, indeed. I’ll take my own blanket as I’m not sure AA is still giving them out in Economy even on transatlantic flights. (Business Class is my idea of heaven…)
What about you, Jungle Reds? Do you miss the days of glamor in the skies, when air travel was an adventure rather than a trial?
JAN BROGAN: I still can’t believe I used to smoke cigarettes on an airplane. But while I miss leg room – and will pay extra for it -have to point out that air travel is also way more affordable. No matter how much glamor there may or may not have been (wasn’t most of it in our heads anyway, because the experience was rare?,) you were always cooped up on an airplane for an ungodly amount of time. At least now it costs less.
But of course, I suffered from a really bad plane phobia for a long time and now I don’t. So for me, personally, there’s been a lot of progress in air travel.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, it used to be such fun! My sister and I would fly to see my father (When I was maybe, 10? And Nina 7), and instantly scoop up all the little salt and pepper shakers from the dinner tray. Remember? They had real food! And we thought those little bottles of alcohol were SO exotic. We dressed up, of course.
And I adored the flight attendants, and wanted to be a “stewardess” for such a long time. I mean–they were gorgeous, had those cool uniforms, and were so worldly, and seemed to be in charge.
Now I make sure I have a shawl and flat shoes and non-smelly food. And I still am impressed by the flight attendants. They are so patient, and so brave.
RHYS BOWEN: I remember the first time I flew to Australia the plane made about six stops along the way and at each one we had to get out and go into a lounge. And every segment they served another meal and more alcohol. My husband John was an airline sales manager so we got to travel first class everywhere, but had to dress accordingly–me in suit and high heels, the kids as if going to church. I liked getting dressed up. I liked the glamor of flying. I liked the linen table cloths and the caviar (sigh). And friends coming up to the plane door to see us off and my kids sitting up with the pilot and helping to fly the plane. When John was laid off reality struck and the kids stared in horror. “You mean we have to fly economy?” they asked. It’s been going downhill ever since.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Rhys, that makes me laugh. “You mean we have to fly economy?” And also helps put in perspective my nostalgia for flying in the pre-deregulation days. Yes, it WAS nicer, and people did dress up instead of wearing pajama pants and flip-flops, and you actually looked forward to the “jet set” experience…but I wasn’t the one paying for the tickets back then.
Hank, my mother had a whole collection of those china salt-and-pepper shakers! When I think of the glamor of air travel, I think of my mom back then – a slim, stylish officer’s wife in a miniskirt and long red hair. (I quickly add she’s still slim and stylish.) Even back in a time when there were porters and skycaps all over, my mother perfected the art of packing for a week in a single Samsonite Fashionaire.
ROSEMARY HARRIS: We didn’t fly anywhere when I was a kid – it was more like piling into the Chevy and driving to upstate NY. How glamorous you all were! Don’t remember my first flights – probably Freddie Laker to Europe. Anyone remember him? I’m sure I wore jeans and wanted to look adventurous. Nowadays i try for Kate Moss chic – black, denim, shawl, slipons, large carryon. I think it works, although I suppose there’s always the chance I think I look like Kate Moss and I really look like a bag lady.
In the 80s I didn’t pinch the salt and pepper shakers but I had a pretty large collection of those cloth napkins with the hole in them (so men could attach them to their shirt buttons.)
It is nice to fly first class or business – and I upgrade whenever I can – but I’m a pretty good traveler and don’t really care, particularly if my husband is with me. What I do confess to loving is Priority Access. Not having to wait in line is such a good thing!
LUCY BURDETTE: Ha, ha, you girls make me laugh. Hank, you’d be the best stewardess ever. And Ro, you couldn’t look like a bag lady if you tried! We didn’t fly when I was young either, we drove everywhere in a station wagon with no AC, two German shepherds, and a pop-up trailer towed behind. The only flight I can remember really loving was an accidental upgrade to first class years ago from Hawaii to New York. It was one of those planes where the seats reclined completely into a real bed. Heaven. We took a bike trip in Hungary this summer and I lobbied hard for an upgrade–told my sister-in-law we were doing that so she could pile on.
I’m not that big either, and I’m here to say that has nothing to do with it! Being treated like a reasonable human is what I crave. And I DO look like a bag lady when I travel–it’s all about comfort and as close to PJ’s as I can get:).
DEBS: I lost my Priority Access this last year–missed it by 500 miles. Didn’t have immediate trips planned so didn’t want to pay the ridiculous fee to re-up. I am SO regretting that . . .
What about you, readers? Do you still like flying the friendly skies?
Oh, and be sure to come back, as we have a great week! We have the multi-talented Crescent Dragonwagon to tell us about Fearless Writing, and cooking; thriller writer Sophie Hannah; and on Friday, Louise Penny!
Labels: Christina Ricci, Dr. Luka Kovac, ER, Goran Visnjic, Jack Orman, Louise Penny, Pan Am TV series, Sophie Hannah, The West Wing, Thomas Schlamme