London Calling, “Summer In The City” and A (Mini) Bloggers’ Summit

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The view across London from the Tate Modern

Another week, another picture post. I’m not sure how this happens, but every time I visit London I seem to be faced with a heatwave. Temperatures on Saturday hit 35 degrees at one point, but luckily for me it was a bit more manageable on the Friday, as that was the day I was to meet up with long-term blogging buddy C, from Sun Dried Sparrows. But in the anonymous world of music blogging, how would we recognise each other? Why, with mock-ups of our Swedey McSwedeface “first album” sleeves of course!

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Alyson and Elvis
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C with the much cooler Clash

Having successfully met at the planned rendezvous, and not made any major blunders mistaking total strangers for our blogging pals, central London was ours to explore, punctuated of course with lengthy stops for coffee, lunch and drinks of the non-alcoholic nature (we are both lightweights nowadays it seems).

Somehow, in a short space of time, we managed to visit the Tate Modern, cross the Millennium Bridge to St Paul’s, have a boat trip down to Westminster (to give them a few tips on how to run things), pass by Downing Street and Whitehall, catch the wildlife in St James’s Park, all before heading back to Trafalgar Square to find our respective lines on the Underground.

As suspected, even with a blogging buddy whom until this point I had only “spoken to” online, the conversation flowed freely as we already knew each other so well from our respective blogs. I am well-known around here for over-sharing but maybe that’s a good thing as we were already like old pals. A fine day was, I’m pretty sure, had by all and I for one hope we’ll be able to do it again sometime.

Luckily for me, I have a wide network of old friends and ex-flatmates I somehow have recently become reacquainted with via social media. Yes I know it can be evil at times, but it can also be useful, as one of these old friends lives in Wimbledon and she was happy to put me up (or was it put up with me) for the weekend.

On the Saturday, we were to meet up with an extended group and head into town to catch the new Dior Exhibition at the V&A. It was spectacular indeed and is to be recommended. The Dior name is internationally renowned but the man himself died young at the age of 51, having only run his “house” for 9 years. Luckily, since 1956, a steady stream of visionary designers such as Yves St Laurent and John Galliano have taken over as Creative Director for the house, leaving us with gowns that are more works of art than items of clothing. Our favourite pieces however were those created by the current in-house designer Maria Grazia Chiuri. Stunningly beautiful.

But what is it I usually say at this point – Oh yes, this is supposed to be a music blog so where is the song? I have veered far off topic on this one I think, but I really wanted to record the events of a weekend which would never have happened had I not decided to start revisiting the tracks of my years just over three years ago. I certainly hadn’t expected to make such good friends out of this blogging malarkey but here we are. I can confirm that C is just as lovely as you would expect from her blog.

One of my abiding memories of the weekend however is the heat. The local Tube Station on Saturday was closed, probably getting a bit of last minute maintenance before the onslaught of visitors who will be using it over the next fortnight whilst that very famous Tennis Tournament is in session. We had to bus it into London, and then bus it home again, in temperatures a lady from the Highlands of Scotland is just not used to. When I got off the bus late afternoon on Saturday, my trousers were sticking to my legs, courtesy of London Transport’s moquette seat upholstery. Yes, it was a hot town and the back of my neck was getting dirty and gritty. Cue the Lovin’ Spoonful and a song from over 50 years ago, Summer In The City written by John Sebastian and still ranked as one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Summer In The City by The Lovin’ Spoonful:

I did tell C I would probably write a post about our meet-up but keep it low key. Not sure if she’ll see this as low key at all, but my thinking is everyone is either at Glastonbury, or watching Glastonbury on telly this weekend, so this post will slip under the radar. I myself have watched much of the footage this afternoon, and really enjoyed the Pyramid Stage performance last night by The Killers. I don’t think it was quite as hot down on Worthy Farm as in Central London on Saturday, but I did hear the showers had to be switched off at one point to conserve water for thirsty festival goers. It is on my bucket list to go one year, as I never have, but considering my distress at merely traversing London in the heat I’m not sure how I would cope with both the camping and the lack of showers. Then again, three years ago I would never have thought I would travel to the other end of the country to meet a “virtual friend” met via this place, so it just goes to show, you never can tell.

Until next time….

Summer In The City Lyrics
(Song by John Sebastian/Mark Sebastian/Steve Boone)

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn’t it a pity
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city

All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

But at night it’s a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come-on come-on and dance all night
Despite the heat it’ll be alright

And babe, don’t you know it’s a pity
That the days can’t be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city

Cool town, evening in the city
Dressing so fine and looking so pretty
Cool cat, looking for a kitty
Gonna look in every corner of the city
Till I’m wheezing like a bus stop
Running up the stairs, gonna meet you on the rooftop

But at night it’s a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come-on come-on and dance all night
Despite the heat it’ll be alright

And babe, don’t you know it’s a pity
That the days can’t be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

22 thoughts on “London Calling, “Summer In The City” and A (Mini) Bloggers’ Summit”

    1. Absolutely chuffed to hear that another two of our number have successfully hooked up for a real world chinwag. I now have an image locked in my brain of both of you meeting under the clock at Waterloo station, but instead of carrying copies of the Times and wearing roses in your lapels for identification, you’re peering hopefully at all the anonymous passers by from behind your respective record sleeves!
      It sounds like you made the most of your trip, in spite of the intense heat. It’s been unpleasant enough out here in the sticks for the past few days and I can only imagine how much stickier it must’ve been in London.
      I finished a full-on six day stretch at work on Saturday evening and start another one this morning, so Glastonbury has passed me by somewhat. 6Music tend to feature music from the festival quite heavily for a few weeks after the event though, so I’ll no doubt catch up with bits and bobs of it in due course.
      A lovely post Alyson, with some excellent photos.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know, it was all very cloak and dagger, and the stuff of ’60s espionage films! But no, to be serious, it was all very easy in the end and we had a lovely day in temperatures that were just perfect for what we were doing. A bit of a “vanity post” this one as unless you are au fait with the short-lived Swedey McSwedeface phenomenon and the whole concept of bloggers’ summits, it will be lost on you, but I did want to record our day. I also promised C that I wouldn’t splash pictures of her all over the internet though, so hope she’s going to approve.

        That’s a long stretch at work and shame you missed out on what was happening at Glastonbury but as you say, you will no doubt catch up in due course. Good to be busy though. Thanks for dropping by.

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    2. That’s a great article Neil and I do love rock and pop trivia so lots of nice little morsels there. Synchronicity with this post too in that our own Woodstock, Glastonbury has been running all weekend but a massive juggernaut of a festival now with copious amounts of security and people arriving in helicopters and “glamping”. It still goes on though and remains fairly true to the original spirit. Hope Woodstock 50 does go ahead but a real logistical nightmare nowadays in terms of security. Not many of the original performers still around so would be good to see John & Co take to the stage again.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it wasn’t quite as expansive as the infamous Glasgow Bloggers’ Summit, but just perfect for us. I did well to cope with all that heat as it just never gets that hot in the Highlands of Scotland. The country bumpkin came to town and even managed to navigate the Underground on her own!

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  1. So pleased you two pulled it off! Lovely photos. Funnily enough, I too was in London at the weekend. Don’t worry, I heeded the warnings regarding keeping hydrated and found a couple of watering holes…

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    1. Gosh, fancy that, and we didn’t bump into you! Yes, if you were in town on Saturday lots of hydration was needed (although you do know that alcohol actually causes dehydration don’t you?). C and I are lightweights nowadays so a single glass with lunch was just fine otherwise I would have ended up at the wrong end of the District Line come going home time.

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  2. Yes – it was a great day! – so glad you could come down here and we could actually make it happen. Proof indeed that you can make friends through blogging and that when you finally get to meet it’s as if you’ve known each other for ages in a more real way – brilliant stuff. And who needs a white carnation when you’ve got a Clash or Elvis album?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was indeed – And, you even understood what I was saying, despite my Scottish accent! The Elvis/Clash album covers are a much better substitute for white carnations, but not always easy to fit into your handbag (thus the mock-ups). Yes, the anonymity of blogging means you can share stuff you wouldn’t necessary share with people in the real world, but if you ever meet up in person, it feels like you’ve known each other for ever. A great day.

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  3. Very nice C and yourself got to meet in London. In fact, I would have expected it to happen sooner!

    Have not heard of the Dior Exhibition. Sounds like the exhibits impressed you. I’ll see if I can find the Pyramid Stage performance on YouTube

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was nice and you are right, it’s been a long time coming but we bloggers tend to like to remain anonymous, so was quite a big deal!

      The Dior Exhibition was excellent – Amazing dresses on show from the New Look of 1947 right up to the present. There will be plenty of chances to catch Glastonbury on YouTube – Some amazing performances as ever.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Great post and great write-up. I’ve got a day in the smoke coming up myself soon, and might see if I can muster the blogging mojo to write it up. Not meeting up with anyone though 😦

    Doesn’t it make you think that we should collectively try to organise a slightly larger bloggers convention?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, would be interested to see what your trip includes as it would be very different from mine no doubt. Hope you don’t swelter in a heatwave like I did however.

      As for the larger bloggers convention, yep we certainly should try, but not easy to organise as our meet-up was mooted over a year ago but only just took place! We are scattered far and wide it seems but where there’s a will there’s a way an’ all that, so hopefully it will happen at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh what a great term for it. Sounds a lot less business-like than a convention or summit. Of course your blogtogether in Glasgow was the inspiration behind our meet-up (although a lot less alcohol was consumed I suspect). I wonder what the collective noun for a group of music bloggers is – A cacophony?!

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  5. How lovely that you both got to meet up and had such a good time. I’m only sorry it’s taken me a week to read about it. Work and house(move)-related nonsense taking up much of my time at the moment. Loved the Sleeve-Face recreations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it was a long time coming but we finally met up and had a great day.

      Good luck with the house move organisation and legalese – Hard work but will be worth it once you’re installed I’m sure and no more moves hopefully now for some time. Once Sam is installed in the school system best to stay put if you can.

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    1. You were lucky indeed. The day I met my blogging buddy it was a glorious 24 degrees so just perfect for a get together in central London.

      You’ve mentioned before that London is your favourite city – Is there a specific reason for this I wonder – Time spent there in your youth, its history or just the wealth of interesting places to visit?

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      1. I grew up reading Dickens and loving the Beatles and British Invasion bands. I saved money all thru “high school” and went there by myself when I was 18, staying at a hotel just outside of Piccadilly Circus. My mom was very nervous!! Been back twice since and hope to get back in another year or two. I’ve been thinking of doing a blog post with photos from my three trips (1976, 1994, 2016) will have to get that done someday.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah, I suspected your love of the place must have stemmed from visits as a younger man and because of all that great music that came out of the UK in the 60s. I can confirm it’s still a great place to visit even at this stage in life as I really enjoyed my recent trip (despite the heat). Hopefully you’ll make it across again soon and it would be great to see some of your pictures from your previous trips, especially the 1976 one – the year of the Long Hot Summer. Will be looking out for them!

          Liked by 1 person

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