19 September: Pubcats is coming
We are exactly one month away from the UK release of London Pubcats. If all goes to plan and the books avoid the shipping pirates in the Gulf of Aden, they should be arriving in our distributor's warehouse on 18 October and hitting the bookshops later that week.
6 September: Up in Smoke author events
Coming up on Thursday 15 September author Peter Watts will be talking about Battersea Power Station in pop culture at the Bookseller Crow on the Hill bookshop in Crystal Palace. He will be joined by blogger Rob Baker (nickelinthemachine.com, flashbak.com), who will also be talking about his excellent slices-of-little-known-London-history book Beautiful Idiots and Brilliant Lunatics. It kicks off at 7:30pm and tickets are £3, bookable through the bookshop website.
The following week, Peter will be appearing with author and architectural critic and Owen Hatherley (A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain, Landscapes of Communism, The Ministry of Nostalgia) debating the merits of the Battersea/Nine Elms development. This is being organised by the London Society and takes place on Tuesday 20 September. It's a ticketed event and you can book here.
30 June: Good on skulduggery
An excellent review of Up in Smoke has just gone up on the London Society blog.
"Peter Watts, for 25 years a London-based journalist, writes a deft and finely illustrated account of the ups and downs of what I refuse to call Giles Gilbert Scott’s iconic building. He also makes clear that Battersea’s size – about twice that of Bankside – and its much worse state of repair, made it inevitable that it would have to be rescued by private money. The huge renewal cost, plus a need to pay £1bn to extend the Northern Line, also explains what many see as the main failing of Rafael Viñoly’s masterplan: the enshrouding of the power station, except as seen from the Thames, by walls of flats.
Watts is good on architecture, good on politics and good on skulduggery. And what a saga it is…"
Read the rest of the review here.
Peter Watts and Owen Hatherley will be debating the merits of the Battersea/Nine Elms development at a London Society event on 20 September. More details to come soon.
23 June: Londonist Night: Strange Tales, Strangers' Stories and Why You are Wrong About London
Up in Smoke author Peter Watts will be talking about Battersea Power Station alongside blogger Amy Dicketts (talking about talking to strangers on the tube) and Matt Brown, who will be drawing from his new book Everything You Know About London Is Wrong. The event kicks off at 7pm on Weds 20 July at the Pipeline, near Liverpool Street Station. Tickets are £5 and can be booked here.
19 June: Could Battersea Power Station be facing demolition?
That's the question asked in a new piece by Up in Smoke author Peter Watts in a piece just posted on the New Statesman's CityMetric blogsite. "When I was writing Up In Smoke, my book about the history and sad afterlife of Battersea Power Station, most people I spoke to seemed confident that London’s most troublesome building site finally had a future. They might not like what was happening – a blandly aggressive, hyper-dense development of luxury flats and retail – but happening it finally was. But one interviewee, a man with close knowledge of the power station’s unique problems, wasn’t convinced."
Read the full story here.
17 June: Upcoming talks
Up in Smoke author Peter Watts will be talking about Battersea Power Station as part of a Londonist-sponsored event at the Pipeline on Middlesex Street, E1 on 20 July. More details as soon as we have them. Peter will also be joined by author and architectural critic Owen Hatherley (A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain, The Ministry of Nostalgia) for a debate entitled 'The Ruin of London: Battersea Power Station, Nine Elms and the Reconstruction of a 21st-Century City'. This is being organised by the London Society and takes place at The Gallery at 75 Cowcross Street, EC1 on 20 September; again more details to come. Meanwhile, Peter and Owen were guests recently on Resonance radio for an hour-long discussion on the subject of 'Music As Architecture & Architecture As Music' in which Battersea Power Station and its musical associations featured heavily: you can listen to the programme here.
31 May 2016: Mosque, circus, Neverland UK…
Just up on the Guardian's website is a piece by Peter Watts entitled "Mosque, circus, Neverland UK … the best failed ideas for Battersea Power Station". It's basically a greatest hits from Up in Smoke taking about 1500 words to summarize all the things Battersea Power Station could have been, from a Noddyland theme park to a rubbish incinerator or Chelsea’s football ground: read it here.
20 May 2016: Up in Smoke on the blogs
Up in Smoke has been getting decent coverage on various blogs. Author of numerous books on the social history of Victorian London Lee Jackson says Up in Smoke is "a thoroughly satisfying, immersive read; a total pleasure"; read the rest of the review here. Caught By the River calls the book a "well-researched and effortlessly entertaining history"; that's here. Don Brown, curator of Stuff About London comes out as a heretic and admits to not liking Battersea Power Station but still reckons that Pete's book is excellent (here). CabbieBlog notes, who better to chronicle the fortunes of an electrical powerhouse than a person named Peter Watts? "Anecdotes fill this enjoyable book. I particularly liked the rumour that Michael Hesteltine gave Battersea heritage listing to annoy Thatcher, said to loath the building"; read the rest here.
1 May 2016: Author talk and signing
Peter Watts will be talking about his book Up in Smoke and signing copies at Waterstones in Clapham on Wednesday 11 May. The event kicks off around 7pm, no tickets required, just show up. Waterstones is at 70 St John's Road, a five-minute walk from Clapham Junction station.