Sunday, 23 May 2010

The Brunswick Centre - WC1

Regular readers of this blog (are there any?) will know that I love Bloomsbury, some may say that I am in love with Bloomsbury - which is not far from the truth.  I find it such an amazing mix of architectural styles, as well as a location for some of my favourite coffee places, shops and restaurants.  On the architectural front - it's hard to beat the Brunswick Centre for impact.  It's another love it or hate it scenario - those who love the Barbican and Southbank are going to be on the love side, then there are those who hear the word "modernist" and gag.  I love the Brunswick Centre - although I loved it more before it got all snazzed up - the shops are just a little too high-streety for me and the whole branding thing (check out their website) is a bit OTT for me.  However I don't want to be the Grinch - it is great that this amazing piece of modernist vision is in good shape and has the necessary investment to stop it turning into a wreck - and if that requires there to be a River Island and a Vodafone store then so be it.  One thing that remains fairly much unchanged is the Renoir cinema, one of my favourite London cinemas.  I have had some memorable film viewings here - when I took my friend Rob and his new girlfriend to a French film that was bordering on soft porn (first penis viewing at around minute 10 I think) and the amazing Allen Ginsberg documentary I saw one grey windy weekend - which reminded me of all those dreams I had of being part of the "second Beat generation" (OK, OK a boy can dream).  It's just one of those cinemas that lends itself to arthouse or off the wall movies - the antithesis of a multiplex.  Long may it survive.


  1. Never fear, Rob!

    Yes, there are regular viewers of your blog, and we appreciate your generous and detailed contributions. I frequented several of your recommended spots in my last visit to London, and my trip was significantly improved as a result. I dislike wandering about blindly (when time is scarce on a trip to someplace special), and greatly appreciate the opportunity to learn from others' experience. Best is to learn from somebody whose experience is rich and trusted, such as yours!
    Appreciatively, Robert

  2. Thanks Robert - I really appreciate your blog comments and also your recommendations. Getting the most out of London is all about word of mouth I think - I am still learning things all the time after 11 years of living here!

  3. Rob -

    You are so right about Brunswick. Basically a pile of concrete dumped in the elegant beauty that is Bloomsbury but I love it (and love the Barbican).

    I used to study near there and loved the combination of it and Lambs Conduit Street as two places to wander, eat and dink around in.

  4. I figured you would be a fellow Brunswick Centre fan Tom! Bloomsbury is definitely one of my favourite parts of London (as shown by the multiple posts on this blog - some would say an obsession).