Blackfriars underground station, London
Guided by Rick Jones
|Day||Walk Type||Start Time||End Time|
|Wednesday||Weekly||11.30 am||1.30 pm||Winter Summer||Reserve Online|
By walk’s end you’ll get it about this portrait, understand why it’s so “right.” Just as you’ll understand the poem and the times.
“Inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold…”
And a world-class guide to boot.
T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. The most influential poetic work of the 20th century. Because its centenary was just now “on the clock”
Rick Jones, a poet and musician* himself, has put together this tour of locations in the poem. Up Queen Victoria Street to where St Mary Woolnoth kept the hours, down King William Street to St Magnus the Martyr. And of course London Bridge and “a public bar in Lower Thames Street.”
“This walk has everything I want in a walking tour: a brilliant guide, an inspired route, lots of alleyways and hidden passageways, a secret garden, no end of surprises, fantastic A-List attractions, three stunning interiors, a pub, three rivers (two of them visible),
a heady mix of past and present London, London life surging and eddying all around us, gobsmacking “well I never” tiny details, and brilliant delivery of wondrous content (Rick doesn’t read those great lines, he’s memorised the whole poem – all of it anchored in the places he takes us to and what he shows us.) The walk’s a joy. And a revelation. I’ve come to the walk late – it’s been going six months now – so all I’m doing here is seconding what everybody who goes on it says. See the deluge of rave reviews it’s generated.” David Tucker
*”a poet and musician” hardly goes far enough. Rick guides his virtual tours in blank verse, he was the chief music critic for the Evening Standard for a decade, and he’s a top-flight Blue Badge guide.
Sylvia Wier –
In many decades now of taking London Walks, this is the only one in which I have taken notes, to add to my already marked-up copy of “The Waste Land.” What a tour. Rich with details and insights. Rick does a wonderful job of helping demystify a notoriously difficult poem. It is still a daunting piece of writing, but a little bit less now to me. If you know the poem, take the tour. If you don’t, read it and take the tour. It’s well worth your time.
Patrick Dolan –
It was a privilege to join this superbly crafted tour. A masterful presentation and Rick has a special skill of coming alongside each participant, engaging with them and being open to discussion. I’m so pleased to have been involved.
Rick was a fantastic guide––extremely knowledgeable and personable. He has a great voice, and it was a pleasure hearing him recite parts of the poem and explain their origin. I highly recommend the tour to all lovers of English literature.
Judith Kellermann –
What’s not to love? Rick Jones -raconteur par excellence, based on an eclectic knowledge of history, music , litertature and architecture all combined to make a moving and relevant discourse imparted with such genorosity. The only problem was that the tour finished! Very many thanks Rick
Neil Horsman –
Absolutely brilliant. I learned so much..Rick made the tour extremely interesting. I would recommend it to anybody.
Ron Bonekamp –
We did at least 50 London Walks through the years, but this is one of the best. An erudite guide with a good sense of humor and a good voice; a walk te o remember. Rick makes you go back to the poem.
Ravibala Shenoy –
When I studied the Waste Land in India, most of the references went over my head, it was only after this tour with Rick that I had a fuller appreciation of the poem. Rick is a marvelous tour guide skipping like a goat through every nook, up and down stairs quoting poetry, providing nuggets of information from art, history. He sings, he dances and holds you spellbound. This is truly an amazing tour!
This is a brilliant walk and Rick, our guide, was fascinating. Listening to his recitation of lines of poetry and his articulation of connections between the poems and sights along the way was really special. Thank you for a really interesting and stimulating experience!
Rose Fletcher –
Wonderful tour with Rick. A courteous and knowledgeable guide, he took us around the City with humour and erudition. We loved the recitations of Eliot and the unknown highlights he showed us. Thank you Rick for a fascinating experience.
Α wonderful tour at the 2022 “waste land” with an excellent guide! A terrific and very original idea to get to know better Eliot and London. Thank you!!
A really wonderful “waste land” tour in 2022 London, with Rick as a perfect guide!!! An excellent & original idea to get to know Eliot and London better. Thank you!
Katherine Summers –
For those with poetry in their soul, this delightful tour seems almost miraculous. Droplets of verse, historical tit-bits and whimsical glimpses into London life were as blissful to me as sugar lumps to a pony. Mr Rick Jones toured us through the heart of this poet with charm, knowledge and gentle humour. It really was a privilege to tap into this rich seam of culture by a tour guide who really knew his onions and then some. “These fragments I have…(stored as a delightful memory)” HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
Seona Ford –
This was a simply excellent guided walk – my knowledge of The Waste Land poem and that part of the City was enhanced with skill and humour. Rick really “knows his stuff” and to my mind it was two hours very well spent – we managed to ignore the rain and the wind! It would not have mattered if you were not an Eliot fan – there was so much else to learn and enjoy.
In 20 years of London Walks, I think this is the best one I have ever been on. Rick is simply marvelous. I studied the Waste Land extensively at university but I never understood it the way I did after this tour. The stops are thoughtfully chosen to illustrate certain passages and Rick peppers in sprinklings of music and literature and history – he also sings beautifully and tells stories beautifully – it gives the Waste Land a new depth and humor. He recites long passages of the poem so that you can hear the music in them and speaks in the voices of the characters – all at once you recognize them as people, the kind of people who weave in and out of the streets all around you. It’s a beautiful homage to the City, to London, to Eliot, and to thousands of years of history that swirl around in the Waste Land. (But to be clear, even if you don’t care about this poem, this is still a WONDERFUL walk – the poem just serves as the anchor and you bob in and out of the poem and the history).
Hugely informative and entertaining! Rick’s own knowledge and enthusiasm really ignited my curiosity about the poem and the poet! And my knowledge of the city and its landmarks is also considerably enhanced! Thank you, Rick, for an excellent experience. I will be recommending!
Derek Fawell –
I thoroughly recommend the Waste Land walking tour with Rick. He provided an entertaining and well-researched commentary including quoting many pieces from the poem as we walked round. His enthusiasm was catching and I ended wanting to spend time studying a lot more of the poem when I returned home. This is also a great tour of unexpected parts of the City.
Simon C –
Rick was the ideal guide, mixing recital of relevant passages with as much interpretation and context as anyone could wish for, whether a literary scholar or newcomer to The Wasteland. I never really ‘got it’ as an A level student in the 1970s but many resonant lines were lodged in my memory and bounced back with greater meaning across the decades. If you haven’t read the poem you might be inspired to after this walk and Rick also has plenty to say on many of the incidental sights and City history.
Owen Fortunato Brakspear –
What a truly wonderful day myself and Sienna had being shown around Eliot’s old London haunts, hollows and hallows (among them the key loci of The Wasteland), learning of the myriad interconnections between man, poem, and city, from such a wonderful tour guide in the form of Rick, our very own Tiresias remembering and foreseeing all, and who we cannot recommend enough.
Thank you Rick, we hope to see you again soon (with Eliot-avid grandparents and friends in tow) 🙂
This was an excellent tour from a top notch guide. I was only somewhat familiar with the Waste Land poem, having only recently read it in anticipation of this tour that I was attending with my son who is an has studied the poem at Uni and loves it. It’s a credit to Rick that both of us were fascinated and thoroughly enjoyed the tour.
Rick brings the poem to life, and weaves the history of the City of London into his discussion of the poem as well sharing his deep knowledge of London and its history. The tour takes place the in City and it is fascinating to learn about TS Eliot’s career there as well as to learn about the rich history of this financial heart of London. Whether you are a TS Eliot fan, or know little of him and his poems, this a great tour.