I thought this series was a bit of a gimmick when it came out, with some of the usual London suspects writing I shan t name them, but they are always the ones the press go to when they want some comment about London Of course, I m jealous Penguin, the publishers, should have come to me, even though I am a writer with a largely unknown or rather obscure portfolio.
Anyhow, for months I forgot about this series and then last night, I attended a book talk by Alexander McCall Smith at Daunt s in Marylebone During the QA some chap with a very distinct voice called out something to the effect of When are you coming to Pimlico This chap turned out to be Peter York, author of The Blue Riband We ended up next to each other in the queue to talk to get books signed by Alexander afterwards When Peter heard that I write about buses , he insisted on buying me a copy of his book about the Piccadilly Line It is a good read My only real gripe is that it mainly concentrates on the upmarket end of the Piccadilly Line but then again, I guess Knightsbridge, Piccadilly, Mayfair and St James s are much Peter s milieu than Southgate, Acton Town and Sudbury Hill Peter is supposed to be coming on a bus journey with me I would quite like to drag him out of his comfort zone and educate him in the nuances of lower middle class suburbia In his book he points out the modernist wonders of suburban Piccadilly Line stations I missed my stop on the 344 bus this morning visualising his description of Charles Holden s 1928 Piccadilly Circus underground concourse sitting under Arnos Grove page 30 Same drum shape and styling I thought this would make a marvellous toy your own Piccadilly Line tube station, complete with people, ticket machines and newsagents.
My favourite part of the Piccadilly Line is the relatively short section between Russell Square and Bounds Green I love the tiles on the Piccadilly Line Peter mentions these somewhere.
Peter York, Co Author Of The S Bestseller, The Sloane Ranger Handbook, Charts The Progress Of The Dream Of Grandeur And Aspiration In London Part Of A Series Of Twelve books Tied To The Twelve Lines Of The London UndergroundIn The Blue Riband, Peter York, Chronicler Of London S Elites, Looks At The Uptown Top Ranking Relationship Between The Grand But Still Accessible Via The Tube Locations Of Central London And Humbler Londoners He Considers How Aspirant Londoners Were Drawn To The Centre And How In The St Century Hopeful New Londoners From Practically Everywhere Filter Through Heathrow And The Outer Suburbs, And End Up West, Wanting To Be Part Of It He Looks At Piccadilly, The Entertainment Hub Of The Edwardian Empire, Through The Eyes Of That Eternally Resonant Figure Burlington Bertie From Bow A proper little gem The essence of the Piccadilly Line distilled into 100 pages I wasn t sure I was going to like Peter York, but he took me on a tour of London s real estate and the hidden world above the tube There was a real warmth that came through the book a clear love for a city which isn t blind to its flaws Peter York manages to ride the line of critic without being overly critical He was a charming guide who has made me look at a fairly regular tube line with new eyes Architecture, art and money run through this work, but in a balance that isn t reflected in the subject matter I m looking forward to dipping in to the other volumes in this series although this has set the bar high This book was, at first, as written by the female character in Pulp s song Common People a person who lives in wealth and submerges into poverty meaning riding on the London subway for the first time as an adult and liking it.
Halfway into the book, York writes of wealth in the posh part of London, near to the Piccadilly line.
All in all quite bland Nondescript Says very little to my life I don t care if a writer is writing from a completely different part of life that does not correspond to my own and speaking of money I really enjoyed Martin Amis Money and also Bret Easton Ellis American Psycho but this reads, at its worst, like a stock financial report At its best, it s funny and makes fun of posh people.
Peter York s book is part of a series celebrating 150 years of the London Underground and focusses on the Picadilly Line.
This book is partially autobiographical, opening by explaining how York started using the tube again and realised that he enjoyed it a lot, but most of the book is all about facts While it starts off talking about the underground railway lines and the people who built them, I was a little disappointed that much of the book wasn t about the transport system at all.
Instead, the book talks about the districts that the Picadilly Line passes under, mostly looking at areas of Central London including Bloomsbury and Mayfair, and talks in great detail about how impressive these places are, as well as going into great detail about house prices and land values Most of this wasn t really to my taste at all, so ultimately I thought this book could have been better I ve have preferred it if the writer had come up with something that had about his own experiences travelling on London s underground system, as well as about the transport system itself.
This is one of the 12 part book series celebrating 150 years of the London Underground.
I have chosen this book The Blue Riband The Piccadilly Line over the others, simple reason because this is the only line that I ve taken frequently when I was in London ten days ago.
English author with his English way of writing has created some difficulty when I tried to comprehend and visualize what he is trying to share.
Picadilly line was the line I used everyday while lived in London my home, work and all favorite places were located along it So I enjoyed this brief glimpse into the history and architecture of some of London s most popular neighborhoods.
A cross between an architectural review of some of the salubrious stops on the Piccadilly Line and social commentary on how the populations in those areas have changed over the past 150 years, this small book was an interesting read Not earth shattering, but entertaining none the less.
I am not sure what the remit was from Penguin books for this series but this book is only marginally anything to do with the Piccadilly Line and seems about the author s ego It is mostly a description of the expensive properties and shops around a very small subset of the stations on the line with lots of heavily dropped hints about how the author could afford to buy them The author has a very annoying smug style and every page is filled with small words or phrases in italics, which becomes very irritating, and whose purpose is unclear For example on page 77.
he didn t have anything like that to sell, because the squares weren t for the people Plus lawyers everywhere and so on There is also a distinct and now very old fashioned xenophobic element For example page 86 Now South Ken is getting seriously international and expensive Mainly because of the Frogs it s France s sixth city.
And on page 95 there s a fair bit of Greek Greek Cypriot here, and a fair few sleek, prosperous looking, non specific brown people too.
All in all a tedious and unpleasant book.