I got to thinking about other places I had lost and there’s more. What worries me is there are few if any places that I can think of that have some connection to my past that still exist, at least ones with pleasant connotations, the bloody school’s still there, every bloody school I went to is still there! I was pleased to find this picture tho because this was my first stamping ground, this is the King’s Rd. in Chelsea and if you look at the picture and follow the road down and turn right there at the end that is Park Walk where I used to live. Minor interest point there, who knows one day maybe I’ll have been notorious enough to have a blue plaque on the wall!

There used to be a proper pancake cafe on the King’s Rd about 200 yards from where I lived called Asterix, Joan Armatrading used to eat there in the 70s she wrote a review about it. Apparently even tho’ Asterix went it remained a Creperie, I don’t remember it after it wasn’t Asterix. When we moved from Chelsea we ended up a couple of years later in Latimer Rd which is the shit side of Notting Hill Gate, near Portobello maket was Obelix the sister cafe. It was laid out quite French in style, I remember the black cherries that I used to have in my crepes and the jambonfromage gallettes. I think there was a waitress called Anna or Emma, blonde and gorgeous but I could be imagining things! Asterix due to its location has a little more archive history, Obelix was more off the beaten track and a google search reveals sadly nothing.

In the King’s Rd days my Ma used to wheel me along in the buggy and I used to chat to all the shopkeepers in my garbled gibberish, the butcher’s (Coenicke’s I think) would insist on giving my Ma sausages for me every now and again and the greengrocer would do the same with a piece of fruit. I don’t even know if they have greegrocer’s anymore. My Mother’s favourite restaurant was as I recall on the Fulham rd, it was a greek place called the Wine and Kebab. There was also a restaurant on the Fulham Rd called Dominic’s. I’m not sure we ever ate in there, going out to a restaurant in those days was not something that happened very often, at least not on our budget. There was also the nearest thing to a supermarket that I remember it was called Oakshotts and it was like a fairly small convenience store I think it became a Cullen’s. I don’t remeber ever seeing large supermarkets then. I don’t know if the Chelsea District library is still on the King’s Rd., huge redbrick building, I think somewhere I still have a book called ‘The Cat Who Couldn’t Get Down” it was due back in 1973! (FYI if you look the title of the book up it is a Googlewhack – which probably means I’ve got it wrong, strange since it hardly seems an outlandish title). I loved that book as a child, it used photos of this ginger cat, I think my Mother may have tried to take it back but may have relented due to my apoplexy, I didn’t lose my temper that often as a rule but when I did I really threw my toys out of the pram!

Of course the omens were not good for the survival of buildings that I had frequented since St. Stephen’s Hospital on the Fulham road where I was born was demolished some time ago!


I have a section now for cinemas -I suspect at least in England that everyone over about 25 has a beloved cinema story. I have 4! Firstly when I was a kid Victoria stn and Waterloo stn each had a Cartoon Cinema with I believe a picture of Tweety Pie outside. They basically showed a 1 hour loop of cartoons and Pathé-style newsreel, The newsreel was still black and white (as of course were most tellys in them days) So you’d come into the cinema and either stay until your train was due or until you’d watched the whole loop, or in my case until Dad finally couldn’t take any more after we’d already gone round the houses at least once! I still love cartoons! (Quiet – Rachel!) These were the proper ones from the 1930s & 40s no dialogue on the whole just orchestral music,

large large-1







(I remember it more as the second pic but the first one I think is a nicer representation)

The Wimbledon fleapit, can’t remember what it was actually called, I don’t think it was the Wimbledon theatre altho’ I went there too. But the other cinema was where I saw my first film -Bugsy Malone 1976 I think. Shortly after that Dad took me to the Dominion Leicester Sq to see Star Wars on the screen the size of a small town!

That was all pretty mainstream cinema, the place that introduced me to the alternative stuff was the Scala which in those days was near Goodge St. I think there is now one in Kings Cross but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the one I used to go to.


The Scala was great it showed what to me was stuff I’d never seen before like Metropolis which was the film I remember most. There were others in something of a Forbidden Planet style, sci-fi and such like which weren’t so difficult to get kids into. They showed a lot of other films that I wasn’t allowed to see, cult stuff and British-made thrillers. I saw a cartoon film with Davy Jones from the Monkees in it and I can’t for the life of me remember any others by name. My Dad took me a couple of times as did the bass player that my Ma was going out with so I was there quite a bit, I loved it, it was a bit scruffy and not very mainstream and I guess that’s me all over! They often did series runs of things like King of the Rocket Men and Harold Lloyd. The sort of things which in those days were still quite popular and would get the 6pm slot on BBC2 most nights. The Scala was my first experience of the genre now known as ‘arthouse’ basically anything that requires a brain or an eclectic mind especially foreign language stuff and I still tend to gravitate towards that sort of film now.

I do lament the loss of the old picture palaces, the Art Deco style buildings, the ornate interiors, faux velvet, intermissions etc. Going to the cinema seemed more of an event then or maybe I am over-romanticising but bearing in mind I remember you used to get to the cinema, see some adverts which always had the groovy Peal & Dean music (Altogether now -Ba-ba ba-ba ba-ba ba-ba-ba-ba ba, ba-ba ba-ba ba-ba-ba-baaaaaaaaaaaaa da! – This may seem strange to the Americans and others but trust me no-one who has seen that at a British cinema can ever forget that music!) Anyway then you had the pre-film, which might be a nature documentary or in the case of Star Wars it was Hardware Wars -a classic in its own right. Then you had some more adverts usually extremely funny low budget ones for local Indian restaurants, then some previews – then the ‘Main Event’. So the whole thing went on for hours – most people with children went to the Saturday matinee and it was the day’s activity. Now I know this may sound like decades ago to the yoof out there, actually bollocks it is decades ago it’s nearly 30 years since I first went. I am now off to wave my stick at some hooligans and talk about ‘in my day we had a bit of respect for ours elders’ and how ‘a spell in the army would do ’em good’! Bastards.

Song Of The Day ~ Kings Of Convenience – Sing Softly To Me

Original Comments:

baracuda made this comment,
Raised on songs and stories,
The heroes of renoun(sp?)
The passing tales and glories
That once was Dublin* town…
Ring a ring a rosie
As the light declines
I remember Dublin* city
In the rare oul’ times

*replace with London.

Visit me @

comment added :: 19th April 2005, 17:39 GMT+01
A visitor made this comment,
I enjoyed viewing your jam-packed blog.
MJD from Indiana

[Redbaron responds – Hi MJD, thanks very much for taking the time to say that, it’s always rather nice when people enjoy what one has done.]

comment added :: 20th April 2005, 03:23 GMT+01
A visitor made this comment,
See you next week at the Help the Aged drop-in centre Baron. 😉

[Redbaron responds – Excellent, can we drink real ale and moan about the youth of today not knowing they’re born?!]

comment added :: 23rd April 2005, 17:17 GMT+01
protagonist made this comment,
Ah, rememberance of things past. I understand, dear Baron. I think often of my old stomping grounds at the University of Chicago. I miss the place, dearly. I hope you only form good new fond memories where you are now. Moving sucks. I will have to move soon – I will miss, I hate to admit, Ann Arbor. Even with everything I’ve said about it – I will miss it. Hope you’re well. Mandrake
comment added :: 24th April 2005, 22:58 GMT+01