The poet Rosemary Tonks turned her back on the literary world in the mid-1970s, leaving behind her a handful of strange and brilliant poems and a small band of devoted admirers who longed to know what had happened to her. For forty years she disappeared completely, 'evaporated into air like the Cheshire Cat', as Brian Patten remarked in a 2009 BBC documentary, The Poet Who Vanished. Now, with news of her death at the age of 85, the story of her life is starting to emerge.
'The life of the city is infinite and unknowable; all we can do is look and report on what we find.' The London Column presents images of the city over the last sixty years, from the Festival of Britain to the present, a highly eclectic mix but with an emphasis on the everyday, the down-at-heel, the neglected and the unexpected. The compiler, David Secombe (formerly of Esoteric London), admits to 'a certain creeping cynicism towards the looming Olympic bunfight'. Like London itself, the site isn't easy to navigate, but the best way to browse is to go to the gallery page and follow the images that take your fancy.
Some of his photographs are odd. Others are just creepy. But thanks to his hobby of photographing young women with a hidden camera, Edward Linley Sambourne (1844-1910) has left us a fascinating series of images of street fashion in Edwardian London. [some photos NSFW]
'A site dedicated to songs about London. The only rules are that the songs must be brilliant and that the blindingly obvious numbers are excluded.' The London Nobody Sings takes you on a musical tour of the capital, by bus, train and tube, via Camden Town, Parliament Hill, Portobello Road, Shepherd's Bush, Southall, Tottenham and Tooting Broadway. And if it's too late to take the Underground? Don't worry, the trams may have gone, but you can always catch the Nightbus home.
London Sound Survey collects the everyday sounds of the capital, including the bells of St Clement's, the call to prayer at the Whitechapel mosque, football fans outside Millwall stadium, a demo in Piccadilly, dubstep at the Notting Hill Carnival and a street preacher at Speaker's Corner.. not forgetting, of course, those ubiquitous sounds of London life, 'Big Issue! Big Issue!' and announcements of planned engineering works on the Tube. (Via.)
Derelict London. A gently melancholy collection of photographs of abandoned shops, hospitals, housing estates, public lavatories, and much more. See also Britannia Moribundia, on the national obsession with dinginess and decay. This is where England most truly excels: in all the characterful shabbiness of its drizzled parks, soiled launderettes, frayed tailors, abject chemists .. and cowed solitary cafes.