Friday, July 23, 2010

chalk farm

zach pretty much wrote this post. found the object, did the research. i just did a quick search for photos. credit where credit's due (except photo credits).

many indirect passages led me from a pack of matches in my apartment from Chalk Farm Road to the "derelict Thornaby Roundhouse", ahem:

That photo (remarkable wrt light, asymmetry, anthropomorphic use of locomotives) is from the days when such thing as "Thornaby Roundhouse" still existed (1984). It was finally, officially demolished three months before I was born, in March '88. It was a site where engines (diesel and steam) went not to die but to be repaired, until the building housing the repairs couldn't be repaired itself.

Thornaby, of course, isn't a part of London at all and was just a sidetrack from the original idea of Chalk Farm. (Strange and unusual, isn't it, that Zach and I would get distracted by something as silly as locomotives when researching something as dynamic as the evolution of a London neighborhood). For the record, here is googly maps' take on Thornaby's location, for the less-Britishized members of the reading audience:

View Larger Map

Chalk Farm itself has a decently interesting relationship to trains, namely those of the London Underground. Yet another reason I love the London Transport Museum (hay-oh, Covent Garden rep.):
Photo of the station before its opening in 1907. Sexy, ain't she?

Chalk Farm is on the Northern Line, north of St. Pancras on the "Edgware Branch" (I can safely assume that this means in the direction of Edgware). This is, of course, the line most closely associated with the Northern Heights Plan (see earlier blog post that I'm much too lazy to link to.)

The rest of Chalk Farm's history seems to be tied up in alternative music. There's a disastrous band from LA called Chalk FarM (sic) that I don't recommend anyone listen to, as well as a popular music venue, the Roundhouse, not to be confused with the good one for train maintenance in Northeastern England, where sometimes musical artists play.

The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced the history of modern (post-1900) England is really comprised of locomotives and alternative music. With a dash of Doctor Who (#JamesCorden).

As a brief aside, I'm trying not to go literary in my Clerkenunwell anymore. Or at least not so much. There's a lot of reasons for this. The main is just that those entries tend to be the most embarrassing for me, or at least boring. And there's no merit or rhythm to them. I suppose I write about authors when I'm reading them (Nabokov, then Koestler were heavy hitters), and I could tangentially relate just about anything to Kundera (Soviet-era Czech architecture is not as boring as one might assume), but this isn't a blog of book reviews or book excerpts. I don't have the time or energy to do great authors justice they deserve. To say "here are excerpts from the Real Life of SK, and also pictures of my trip to Oxford" is just so masturbatory and egomaniacal. It's deranged. Possibly monomaniacal. The worst of the worst of the worst. And exactly what the great authors didn't want to see their books end up as. I will instead read them quietly and smoke on the veranda, my thoughts, as always, the only/best companion. 

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