Friday, 31 July 2015

From the 32nd floor

I was lucky to be part of a group who were invited to draw from the 32nd storey of an office block in the City of London earlier this month. Compared with buildings in many other cities, the 32nd floor isn't really so high, but in London it gives you a phenomenal view.

It would have been easy just to spend the time gawping at the view and trying to make sense of which parts of town are which, but it's not often you get a chance to draw scenes like these.

Our thanks to Carlos Olvera for inviting us up. We are hoping to arrange another visit soon.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Westminster crumbles

Never mind London Bridge, now the Houses of Parliament are falling down. A recent official report says that it could cost £5.7 billion and take 32 years to renovate it and turn it into the kind of building a modern democracy needs. UNESCO world heritage site it may be, but it is also an outdated, crumbling, rat-infested, leaking, asbestos-ridden gentlemen's club that needs dragging into the 21st century. I've already written about the leaning Big Ben.

It could be that members of parliament and peers are moved out while the restoration work is undertaken, speeding up the process. But where would they go? The Olympic Park media centre in the East End has been suggested as one temporary option. But what about outside London? Getting parliament out of the capital could invigorate its work and help change our jaded attitude to it. What about the city of Manchester, for instance? That would be an excellent choice.