THIS WEEKEND: Fashion Victim The Musical

To coincide with London Fashion Week, curtains will part for Toby Rose's brand new, much-awaited electro musical Fashion Victim... But it's only on for two nights!

On February the 15th and 16th the Roxy Bar on Borough High Street will stage the first two ever performances of Fashion Victim: The Musical. I managed to catch Toby for a quick chat about what we can expect, and as I'm sure you'll agree, it sounds brilliant:

Jack: Hey Toby! It's called Fashion Victim: The Musical. Is it going to be like the Devil Wears Prada with songs?

Toby: This show is more Zoolander with added Chicago. But in case your worried it's not camp - it's very camp!

Jack: Is the music poppy and electro like fashion shows, or should we expect piano ballads and what not?

Toby: We have gone right up electro pop boulevard. The soundtrack is a blend of Grace Jones, Pet Shop Boys and I even sense a sprinkling of Gary Numan. Think Orchestral manoeuvres on the catwalk

Jack: This is sounding superb already. Will the fashion industry like this musical or will they rabbit on about inaccurate a portrayal it gives?

Toby: The fashion crowd is not always into self parody so I imagine that there will be elements who see something off trend. But the aim is not to trash fashion folk it is to ponder the age old question .....who do you crunch under your heel to get to the top.

Jack: It's not important, but, are you gay by any chance? Tell us about that.

Toby: I am pretty much gay gay gay. And after a few drinks this is even more obvious...

Jack: We hear that scene icon Jonny Woo is going to be in the show. Can you give us some hints over what to expect?

Toby: Of course! Mr Woo plays fashionista Jake Spangle who is this acid tongue who unmasks a girl on the make. As you can imagine this is going to be a direct duet conflict full of fireworks. Mimi Steele is our thrusting arriviste who is basically not playing straight with his best pal (and hunk) Cedric. Handbags at dawn!

Jack: There are only a few dates, so we have to book now. But do you think it'll transfer? It sounds very feasible for somewhere like the Menier Chocolate Factory theatre in London Bridge.

Toby: Our show is on for two dates only. So you get the chance to come to either the opening night or the closing night! Either way you will make fashion musical history. There are some plans to bring this Pop Up show back in the autumn bigger and better with more sass!

Jack: Do you have a favourite supermodel?

Toby: My fave supermodel is Naomi as she kindly did a show for my ex in his tiny Paris boutique. And there were no scr eaming fits when the railing collapsed backstage.

Jack: Are male models hot or annoying?

Toby: In my experience male models are hot and annoyingly straight or,at least, that is what they let me know in no uncertain terms.

Jack: What are you wearing right now?

Toby: A pair of jeans and a cow parsley long sleeved t-shirt and slingbacks. One item is fictitious.

Jack: What's your favourite Madonna song and why? Oh, and given our subject you can't say Vogue.

Toby: La Isla Bonita is my favourite Madonna song. I remember arriving fashionably late at one of her Wembley Stadium gigs and it was just wafting through the air.

Fashion Victim: The Musical is selling fast, so grab your seats now from here: FASHION VICTIM TICKETS! 


Does The Shard Rock? And Could It All Come Tumbling Down?

Tonight it's bloody windy and outside TV masts and tarpaulin are flapping in circling shrieks of wind. Behind this chaos I can see The Shard on the other side of the river, and I wondered... Does it rock?

I've been up Centre Point a few times to get various documents stamped, and it sways ever so slightly.

The Shard is much taller, but it's also much newer. I Googled "Does The Shard Rock?" and it took me a while to find any useful information.

Then I found one article on a blog called Arstechnica which told me that yes, The Shard can rock up to 20 inches in high winds. It also seemed to suggest that in very, very strong "1 in 50 years" wind, The Shard could be in danger...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the article seems to be telling me that the kind of strong winds experienced in other parts of the world would be enough to cause serious problems, but because The Shard is in England it's fine because such winds are never experienced here.

But can't weather patterns change, and, aren't we living in a time of major climate change?

Wind or no wind, I still don't understand millionaires who enjoy living in what is effectively the middle of the sky. I'd sooner take a country mansion with a weeded-over lake any day. I suppose these sorts of people have it all though don't they.

FOWKES' BLDGS' - More hidden Brutalism in London

We discovered this intriguing derelict building just a stone's throw from the Tower of London...

To clear our hangovers Dylan and I decided to take a walk around The City. For those of you not in London, "The City" refers to a major financial district within London that is very central. "The City" area actually holds its own city status within the city of London and Greater London.

Anyway. At weekends The City is empty because the office workers aren't there, so it's great for walking around and the area boasts a colossal wealth of no-expenses-spared architecture.

Walking along Eastcheap towards the Tower of London from Monument we passed this alleyway called "Fowkes' Bldg's" (Fowkes' Buildings). By chance I glanced down and was surprised to catch a glimpse of what I think is a Brutalist stairwell...

Taking a few steps down the alley I saw that the staircase was bigger than I thought...

Continuing along, we found ourselves in a tiny courtyard. On the left we could see into nicely furnished offices and living quarters. On the right there was a derelict office space. Yep, that's me caught in the reflection, and a snatch of Dylan walking around...

The staircase that had first attracted our interest was really quite impressive, especially considering it runs up the entire height of a tiny secluded courtyard that nobody seems to use.

I love how the horizontal and vertical lines of the tiles continue regardless of the stairs' diagonal design, as if it's been cut from a sheet of graph paper. And look how the darker spaces between each flight correspond with the darker windows of the adjacent office block...

I wondered up a bit, and suddenly a woman started banging loudly and furiously on a window in the presumably unconnected red brick building on the left. Out of courtesy to her rudeness I therefore only managed to walk halfway up before turning back. Seriously though lady, chill out. It's a quiet Saturday, and I'm in my mid-twenties, with an SLR, walking up an open staircase. Meanwhile, you're spending your one life being an irate bitch.

I took these snaps of the second floor of the derelict office block. The metal-looking building...

The stairs themselves were littered with fag butts and arranged cardboard sleepers, so I guess some homeless people take shelter on them. It's a pity they can't live in one of the few hundred unattended churches in the city. But I guess the church have more important things to do than help those immediately in need. "Helping the homeless, where is there money to be made in that?" I'm pretty sure Jesus would have said.

So walking around, we tried to figure which building these stairs belonged to. We'd by this point assumed they were a fire escape.

Down Great Tower Street, behind the courtyard, there were several other courtyards, including this one...

The metal building matched the metal of the derelict offices, and that tiny Ladbrokes back door correlated with a Ladbrokes that we'd seen back on Eastcheap...

Therefore, walking a little further, we found what we were looking for...

It matches the staircase in the hidden "Fowkes Buildings" courtyard. And the tiles are the same. It's called 28 Great Tower Street. In fact, it seems the derelict metallic office block and the stairwell are both part of the same building, despite looking so different.

I'd love to know what the official name for those vertical white tiles are. They feature in some parts of the London underground too.

I also love the combination of 70s tiles, metal and blacked-out windows. I want terms for all this. Is it all just brutalism? Or futurism maybe?

We couldn't work out if it was residential, an office space, or both. Google isn't very forthcoming either, what with Great Tower Street being such generic words, and the internet being packed with old lettings info with very little meat on the bone. But it's in this court called Bakers Hall Court...

The quad also features this building Bakers Hall that we thought might be a niche church...

However, there was no CCTV, so we concluded it wasn't menacing enough to be a house of God. And our suspicions were confirmed by Google. It's actually a Guild building for the baking industry!

The Worshipful Company of Bakers:

Wonder if Mary Berry's been there?

So back on Eastcheap we decided this must be the front door of the derelict offices...

22-23 Eastchheap. And pushing the camera against the dirty black glass on a very slow shutter speed we found our evidence...

You can even see Bakers Hall Court through the other side.

If you're reading this post, thanks for putting up with my amateur architectural ramblings. But I'd love to know who designed the staircase, and if by any chance it might have been Neave Brown who designed the Alexandra Road council estate?

Also nearby in this area, is the shell of St. Dunstan in the East church...

You can walk around inside it, there's a commemorative pond and a handful of hot builders eating their lunch. If if you're into that sort of thing, well worth a little visit. But go on a weekend when nobody's around.

Oh, and one more thing. If you scroll up to the top picture there's a metal plaque that says "Laing Interiors". I can't find anything online about this either, although there was an interior designer in the late 1800s called Laing. Could it be a sign from his old business?