Short read: Summoned by bells.
Long read: We’re summoned by bells. The bells of John Betjeman’s beautifully crafted verses. Served up for us in the places he took his inspiration from. You don’t get closer to John Betjeman than this. Nowhere else do you so completely take possession of that great poetry – and have it take possession of you – than this. And ringing the changes – speaking the lines – Lance, possessor of one of the most beautiful voices in the world. Betjeman wrote with such affection about north London – about “being safe in a world of trains and buttered toast,” about Zwanziger the baker’s, and the Bon March, and the terrace blackish-brown, and the curious Anglo-Norman parish church of Kentish Town. And so, yes, we follow the silver thread – of those words, this voice – to the places John Betjeman wrote about, the houses he lived in, the churches he prayed in, the railway stations he dreamed in. Great subject. Fascinating area. And, bears repeating, the best possible guide – “The Voice.”
We go on a lot about Lance’s voice, that Stradivarius of his. With good reason, it’s one of the world’s great voices. But you don’t have to take it from us. You can hear for yourself because Lance did a podcast for us earlier this year. A podcast about Wordsworth’s great poem Composed upon Westminster Bridge. What he has to say about the poem is fascinating – turns out it’s a pretty good detective story – and Lance has solved it. And that, fascinating though it is, in this instance, is the secondary matter – the point here is to “meet your guide, meet Lance, listen to that voice.” Click here to put the needle on the groove.
POETRY IN PERFORMANCE: JOHN BETJEMAN’S LONDON – THE PRACTICALS
The Poetry in Performance – John Betjeman’s London walk takes place at 2.30 pm on Sunday, August 30. The meeting point is just outside the exit of Gospel Oak Railway Station.
LONDON WALKS REVIEWS
“Even jaded Londoners find these London Walks a source of astonishing gems of information about the city in which they live.” Daily Mail, Top London Treats
“Although the big companies tend to just shuttle vast hordes of people about, one tour company does give you an in-depth, personalized insight to the city, offering a dizzying array of themed tours conducted by very qualified guides. London
“The original and best – there are several companies offering walking tours of London but London Walks (London’s oldest) is easily the pick of the bunch” London, Cadogan Guide
LONDON WALKS PRIVATE WALKS
If you can’t make the regularly scheduled, just-turn-up, public Poetry in Motion – John Betjeman’s London walk do think about booking one as a private tour. If you go private you can have the John Betjeman’s London walk – or any other London Walk – on a day and at a time that suits your convenience. We’ll tailor it to your requirements. Ring Fiona or Noel or Mary on 020 7624 3978 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set it up and make it happen for you. A private London Walk – they’re good value for an individual or couple and sensational value for a group – makes an ideal group or educational or birthday party or office (team-building) or club outing. Or indeed a fab present – be it a birthday or anniversary or get-to-know-your-new neighbourhood gift or Christmas present or whatever. Merchandise schmerchandise (gift wrapped or not) – but giving someone an experience, now that’s special. Memories make us rich.