London Walks! by Badaude

11 June, 2011

I’ve been a big fan of writer and illustrator Badaude aka Joanna Walsh’s work since I first stumbled upon her blog a few years ago. Her original style, clean lines and illustrations packed with lots and lots of words was an instant hit. I particularly love her fashion and style illustrations with her witty comments and her murals in Shakepeare & Co. Bookshop in Paris.

So it was with great excitement that I read her new book London Walks! crammed with lots of history, facts and observations about things to do in London, all done in her special style. There are 22 walks, 3 bus rides and 1 boat trip that covers London and lots of places I need to visit even though I’ve lived here for almost 20 years. Oops. But I have been to Highgate Cemetary and its environs and used to live near Tate Britain and Westminster, both lovely places to walk! I’m looking forward to exploring Wapping, the Necropolis, Waterloo and Spitalfields and the East End more.

It’s beautiful, clever, funny and chock full of information. I’ve already bought extra copies for my sister and friends. And I guarantee you will too.

I also went to check her out in person at Foyle’s where she did a talk and walk in celebration of her book’s publication. Here she is standing in front of her artwork.

I took along two of my schoolfriends, S & S, and we chortled our way through Badaude’s talk which was 1) brilliant and erudite, 2) had quotes from one of my favourite books, A Room With a View by E.M. Forster and 3) included a lobster vs. turtle race with audience participation. ‘Nuff said.

And after she explained what a flaneur was (i.e. an idler, someone who takes things slowly, hence the use of a turtle or lobster to set one’s walking speed, and whence she got the name Badaude), she took us on a little tour round the block to show us how to be a tourist in your own town.

Some brave volunteers agreed to dress like tourists (a policeman’s hat, a ‘London’ scarf and an ‘I Love London’ T-shirt were produced) and we began our tour outside Foyles, then down a dark little backstreet towards Soho Square, standing in the way of pedestrians to gawp at buildings and stare into a cafe to see whether we wanted to eat there. Then we took some photos of unusual things that we would never find where we live and then tried to get some GPS action (get out our phone and block out the sunlight) as it’s so easy to get lost in a foreign city.

It was a brilliant event and my friends and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. And badaude is as lovely and stylish as I imagined. I’ll leave you with some tourist snaps I took.

You can read Badaude’s post about the event here.

And do check out the mural she is drawing at the Tate Modern shop which should be up all Summer. And she’s sweetly agreed to draw me!

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8 Responses to “London Walks! by Badaude”

  1. lizzysiddal Says:

    Sakura, I’ll be in London next weekend hanging around Bloomsbury, staying in Chelsea. Does the book have suggestions for flaneuring my way around these two areas?

    • sakura Says:

      It does indeed. There are walks in Fitzrovia and around the British Museum/Holborn and also another down King’s Road where you can flaneur to your heart’s content.

  2. Relish Says:

    Oh! She should do a ‘Paris walks!!!’ 🙂 I have to be honest I never really paid attention to the murals in the Shakespeare Bookshop…how shameful. Mind you, there is far too much to look at in there (and often too many people :))

    I clicked back and was really chuffed to see you’d paid a visit to the San Francisco Bookshop – that was one of mine and the bfs favourite hangouts in Paris …the French really take care of their bookshops (incl. English language ones) and will encourage people with loans, etc to open them up…so many interesting corners to poke your nose in! 😀

    • sakura Says:

      She should! Next you go to Shakespeare & Co. make sure you check them out:) That’s so cool about the San Francisco Bookshop. It just happened to be down the road from our little hotel. I was actually surprised at how many English language secondhand bookshops there were in Paris – although they were a little pricey compared to London, naturally. But yes, I got the feeling the French looked after their booksellers very well.

  3. winstonsdad Says:

    oh wish I d had this when Iwas in london ,will get a copy for next time ,I love wandering round places ,all the best stu

  4. softdrink Says:

    This sounds wonderful (the book AND the walk), but I’m afraid to read it…I know it’ll just make me long for London!


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