Travel: London – August 2014

A weekend break that wraps together an exclusive mansion house, the Tower of London and The Shard with fragments falling from my imagination…

I am working on a new book. Broken Fury. This will be my 10th. (Read rough draft of first chapters here)

Friends came over from New York. Great opportunity to get away from the Sky Bunker and clear my head with the big City.  They took up digs in the house of a certain Earl and Countess of […] who rent their place out to people willing to pay the price tag. When I got to Notting Hill and saw the place I thought I had walked into a movie set. Five floors of space and luxury. The Countess used to be a fashion editor for Vogue magazine and now focuses her creative energy on interior design – it really shows, the place is incredible. Very Bowie and Deneuve. Think 1983!

After meeting up we went out into the rain and found a charming place to eat on Portobello road called Bottega Friulana. Fantastic atmosphere and great food.

dessert at the fantastic Bottega Friulana Portobello Road London - great Italian cooking at reasonable prices

It all began with dinner. Dessert at Bottega Friulana.

Waking up in what felt like a palace, everyone was still asleep. I padded down three flights of stairs and found what I needed in the kitchen. Coffee. Bliss.

coffee pot in a kitchen

The day doesn’t start until you pass Go


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II photo of 3D optical painting in a mansion house in Notting Hill

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

With the owners being only a couple of genetic twists away from the Royal family, it made sense and was rather fitting to see so much of the Brand on the walls. Old values. New notions. England. Empire. Interesting times…

photo of white male early 50s sitting with croissants and pastries looking like a King

His Royalness – the King

A classic photo of Tony M: former rocket scientist now making a living as a producer of animated movies in Toronto.

Here’s a sample of images that give just a flavour of the house.

David J Rodger supping coffee and working on Broken Fury - Notting Hill London 2014

Candid capture – DJR supping coffee and thinking through plot

travel photo Tower Bridge - London by David J Rodger - please credit if used

Tower Bridge, London

Time to venture out from the House and see the city. London, what a fantastic place to spend time.  Also really great to be in this location as it is near the place where my last novel The Social Club starts off (in a post-apocalyptic version of London).

photo of white male early 40s in English pub yelling into camera whilst holding a glass of Pimms

There was something in the Pimms

We stopped off for drinks at a typical British pub. My good friend and travelling companion Sharky Bones McCoy ordered a Pimms. There must have been something in it…

Tower of London Ceramic poppies art installation by Paul Cummins representing 800,000 commonwealth soldiers killed - David J Rodger

Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red by Paul Cummins

Fantastic art installation at Tower of London. Each of the ceramic poppies is there to represent one of 800,000 Commonwealth soldiers who died during the conflict of World War 1. And this is barely a fraction of the total amount due to be put down over coming months. A true sea of blood. Very powerful impression on the senses.

Ben Chapman and David J Rodger - Tower of London 2014

Ben Chapman and David J Rodger – Tower of London 2014

Ben C.  One of those lovely moments when you send out a random message to folks you know are in a location you’ve just arrived, not expecting anyone to be able to drop everything at the buzz of a text but always appreciating when they can and do. Lovely to see Ben in realspace again after sooooo long. Meanwhile, via the medium of cyberspace he’s been doing some significant work for me – creating new designs for 12 novel covers. No small feat. What I’ve seen so far has blown my mind.  He is also the man responsible for the UTOC public safety notice that became a bit of an Internet phenomenon a couple years ago, enjoying over 600,000 views at one point.

Pure London Sci-Fi The Shard towards Sunset - photo by David J Rodger - please credit if used

Pure London Sci-Fi

I snapped this heading towards the Shard, my final destination for the day – with a plan to observe the sun set over London from the observation deck.

London Water Feature - image David J Rodger

London Water Feature – trip trap

A good piece of urban engineering. However it was rather interesting how many folks were walking along with their eyes fixed permanently on the sky line – with the Shard ahead of them – and who them plowed straight into this with one or both feet. Abrupt downward snap of the head, legs shooting up like doing a jig, screams of horror or yells of rage.

white girl in early 40s delighted by the existence of a Christmas shop - very Dickens image

Oj discovers the Christmas store – she is beyond happy

sunset over London - BT and memories of Roof World by Christopher Fowler - image David J Rodger taken at The Shard

Sunset over London – BT Tower, memories of Roofworld

London in the lambent glow of final Sun. The collapsing energy of the star pushing back against the rage of gravity to spill light across the solar beams. Support and structure to this reality. Life.

Any time I see the BT tower I always think of Christopher Fowler’s Roofworld novel – a classic and the sessions of Shadowrun that Adz ran for Richy and I back in 1989 using the novel as the basis for the campaign.

The Hunger - photograph of figures silhouetted in observation window at London Shard by David J Rodger

The Hunger

Just a regular group of folks enjoying the view beyond the glass but one figure stands alone, and has done for centuries…

There is something almost Conrad Veidt – The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) about this solitary figure’s posture.

Sharky Bones McCoy - OJ - London August 2014

Sharky Bones McCoy – OJ – London August 2014

Friends are what family used to be.  Somebody said that to me back in 1996 and I never forgot it.  Sharky flew over from Spain to join us and the Americans in London.  Good times have been had.


CREDIT: Featured hero image from Drowntown by Comics Anonymous.


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