Sunday, March 18, 2012

The back streets of London. And some front streets.

I went a-missioning around the West End of London today. I had two destinations: an exhibition on German design and the Apple store on Regent Street.

The exhibition on German design turned out to be just a furniture shop looking pretty (though they did showcase retina-scan doorbells), so I didn't spend long there and instead wandered the streets around the back of Oxford Street. Oxford Street was stuffed with people, but it was nice and calm back here with a few fenced parks and little shops selling monocles and ribbons and suchlike. There are also a lot of residences (I'm not really sure whether to call them terraced houses. 'Terraced houses' to me suggests tiny little things. These are not tiny little things) with very expensive cars parked on the street. I saw an old Rolls Royce, I think, and what looked to be a Ferrari. Where else can you put your car when you have no garage or garden?

I found the new BBC studios and a church with a very pointy round spire, then turned down Regent Street and into the crowds. The Apple store is in a beautiful old mosaiced building not far from Oxford Circus, and it was full of people. I still managed to snag a new iPad at the demonstrating tables, although unfortunately it did not have any games that I could find. I guess they'd get too many people spending hours playing Angry Birds otherwise.

Back out on the street, I heard a brass band and turned to find a Salvation Army band coming out of one of the side streets. They marched right out onto the road (the cars had to stop for them), turned and walked up Regent Street, forcing the cars to trundle along behind them.

I wonder if they're allowed to do that? And, if not, how long it was before they were told off for obstructing traffic?

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