EK A-frame

There is a nice piece in the Guardian (via things) about The London That Nobody Knows, a 1967 film by Norman Cohen which features James Mason wandering through bits of (then) disappearing London. It was an inspiration to Saint Etienne's film Finisterre and presumably to Patrick Keiller's London which came in between. All include lots of disappearing (or disappeared) loveliness - specialist shops, old signs, formica cafes etc. As Bob Stanley says "There was a sense of now or never" which I can totally relate to. In the 2 weeks since I took pictures in East Kilbride, this church hall (above) is down for demolition and the minor door on my fave double-entry combo has been bricked up. It sometimes feels like recording these things is a final kiss of death, but it's good to know they've been preserved in memory at least.

I couldn't see a date on this article but the films don't seem to be on at the Barbican this weekend. Also can't see The London Nobody Knows on DVD but here are two more articles from/about Bob Stanley and the films: Remember Lea (2005) and The Naked City (2003). Also worth looking out for is the Disappearing London series which was on ITV London, now repeated on Sky. Presented by Suggs it covers some amazing surviving shops, buildings, cinemas, caffs (including an interview with Adrian Maddox and Lorenzo Marioni in the New Piccadilly). It's excellent that London is so well documented, but sad the rest of the country isn't in the same boat. Cameras at the ready, one and all.

Great post Anne - the piece from the Guardian is from around June I think because I was going to try and get to see Finisterre in London (it seemed fitting), however as ever events conspired against me and it never happened. The good news is that I joined up to Amazon DVD Rental on a freebie and it's sat in front of me waiting to be watched tomorrow. I've also watched The Long Good Friday this week which is also a great visual treat for fans of London before the 80s redevelopments took place.

I had the good fortune of seeing 'The London That Nobody Knows' in an artists' space in Angel a few years back. It was a real treat. James Mason is at his strangest, in turns angry, resentful, and patronising (there is a hilarious scene when he tries to muck in with a load of bemused old blokes in a cafe).

It was shown with BS Johnson's 'Fat Man On A Beach', which was remarkable.

I managed to get a copy of 'The London Nobody Knows' off Ebay. I don't think it's exactly an 'official' release but it is good quality and well worth a tenner.

SJ - hope you enjoy it. Report back.

DT - Fat Man on a Beach sounds interesting. Must look out for them both. It's a shame these films are so hard to get hold of.

PA - nice work. Must keep my eyes peeled.

The Geoffrey Fletcher books mentioned in the Guardian article books are always popping up on ebay, and I can't really describe just how wonderful they are. If you like Cohen's film, you'll love the books.

One of the things that stuck in my mind about TLNK is that James Mason keeps slipping into his native Yorkshire accent. The pace of change in London has really accelerated in the last decade. I lived in Brick Lane for about 8 years from the mid 90s, and it could still almost have been straight from one of Goeffrey Fletcher's books even then.

Hi Gareth. I've got one of the books now. Will keep looking for the rest. Ta.

Recommended reading

More from I like's Amazon astore