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Category Archives: Uncategorized

“I May Not Get There With You”: The Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Part One)

Look above the western entrance to Westminster Abbey on Broad Sanctuary and you’ll see the ‘Ten Christian Martyrs‘; a group of small statues depicting noted 20th century figures who were killed for their beliefs.

The Ten Christian Martyrs, Westminster Abbey

Amongst those represented (5th from left) is the Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr, the renowned American civil rights leader who was murdered 50 years ago this April.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr

Dr King had visited London in December 1964 (whilst en-rotue to Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize; the youngest recipient at that time) where he gave a sermon to approximately 4,000 people from the pulpit of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Martin Luther King at St Paul’s Cathedral, 1964

During his brief stay Dr King also arranged a meet-up at the Hilton, Park Lane with people who’d recently migrated to the UK from areas such as the West Indies and Pakistan.

It was also in London that James Earl Ray– the man convicted of Dr King’s murder- would be finally apprehended….

To read the full story, please head to my second website; The Crime Compendium.

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Please support the family of taxi driver, Mr Imtiaz Mohammed

Early this morning I like many others awoke to the dreadful news that, overnight, there had been a horrendous six-vehicle pile-up in Edgbaston, Birmingham which has claimed the lives of six people.

Amongst the victims was Mr Imtiaz Mohammed, a taxi driver whose two passengers also died in the tragedy.

Mr Mohammed, who has been described as a “happy, loving and friendly guy”, had six young children.

Imtiaz Mohammed (Birmingham Mail)

Following this disaster, London cabbie Andy Davies has set up a crowdfunding page to raise funds for Mr Mohammed’s family at this difficult time.

If you wish to donate, please click here. 

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“I danced myself into the tomb”… A tribute to Marc Bolan

The 16th of September 2017 commemorates the 40th anniversary of the death of one of London’s most famous sons: Mark Feld– aka Marc Bolan– the flamboyant frontman for 1970s band, ‘T-Rex’.

Marc Bolan

Marc was born at Hackney General Hospital (now Homerton University Hospital) on the 30th September 1947.

His early childhood was spent at 25a Stoke Newington Common and he attended Northwold Primary School and William Wordsworth Secondary Modern, Dalston.

The Feld’s family home, Stoke Newington Common (image: Google)

The Feld’s were a humble family.

Marc’s father, Simeon was from hardworking Jewish stock, driving a lorry from Monday to Friday and running a stall on Petticoat Lane (an institution which Marc would later reference in his 1976 song, ‘London Boys’) on weekends.

Marc’s mother, Phyllis was also a market trader; her pitch was at Berwick Street. As a youngster, her son often helped out on the Soho stall; a job which no doubt helped Marc develop the confidence and flair he’d later become famous for.

Berwick Street, Soho in the 1950s

In the early 1960s the Feld’s moved south of the river to a prefab at 27 Summerstown, a stone’s throw from Wimbledon stadium. The former home is now covered by an industrial estate.

The site of the Feld’s former home, Summerstown (image: Google)

Marc enrolled at Hillcroft School, Beechcroft Road (now Ernest Bevin College) but after gaining a reputation as a daydreamer who lacked concentration he was expelled at the age of 14- although he’d later recall that “They were very nice about it.”

Marc Bolan in his teens

Marc’s true passion was music.

He received his first guitar and record player aged just 9 and his father would often bring home vinyl discs which he’d picked up on Petticoat Lane. Marc’s idols were Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, Elvis Presley and the then fledgling Bob Dylan.

As he entered his teens, Marc took to busking outside the former ‘Prince of Wales’ pub on the junction of Summerstown and Garrett Lane (which is now sadly a Tesco Express).

The former Prince of Wales pub, Summerstown all boarded up (image: pub history.com)

Southwest London in the early 60s however wasn’t exactly happening, so Marc would often head to Soho’s coffee bars; the ‘2is’ on Old Compton Street (now a branch of ‘Poppies’ fish and chip restaurant) was a particular favourite.

It was during this period he befriended an equally young David Bowie.

Marc was also passionate about clothes and began to cultivate his unique look with regular visits to the former ‘Bilgorri’ emporium on Bishopsgate.

By the age of 16 he’d adopted his first stage name- Toby Tyler– and was soon gigging at the ‘Middle Earth’ club on Covent Garden’s King Street.

It was in 1967 that Marc formed ‘Tyrannosaurus Rex’- later simplified to ’T-Rex’- and, after a turbulent start, the group achieved their first hit- ‘Ride a White Swan’- in the autumn of 1970 (please click below to listen):

After that, commercial success quickly followed as the group spearheaded the Glam Rock movement.

Please click the images below to hear T-Rex’s other hits which include:

Jeepster (1971)

Get It On (1971)

Hot Love (1971)

Children of the Revolution (1972)

20th Century Boy (1972)

…and ‘Metal Guru’ (1972)

With this success came numerous television interviews.

In one particular appearance with Russell Harty, Marc was asked how he considered the future; the idea of being an older man in his 50s or 60s.

Ominously, Marc shook his head and replied “I don’t think I’ll live that long.

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On Thursday September 15th 1977, Marc dined at Morton’s Restaurant, Berkley Square with his girlfriend and fellow performer, Gloria Jones; the American singer best known for her song, ‘Tainted Love’ which was famously covered by ‘Softcell’ in 1981.

Marc and Gloria

In the early hours of the following morning, the pair left the club and climbed into their purple 1275GT mini. Gloria was at the wheel- Marc had a morbid fear of driving- and they headed for their home on Upper Richmond Road West.

Just before 5am however, Gloria lost control of the car on Queen’s Ride, Barnes; a particularly dangerous stretch of road which, unusually for London, has a distinct country-lane feel.

Queen’s Ride, Barnes (image: Google)

The mini careered off the tarmac, smashed through a fence and came to rest at a tree.

Gloria was severely injured. Marc died instantly.

He was 29 years old.

Marc Bolan (image: Planet Rock)

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Marc Bolan’s funeral took place at Golders Green Crematorium on the 20th September 1977 where the centrepiece of his floral tribute was a large white swan crafted from chrysanthemums.

The tree in Barnes where Marc’s life was cut so tragically short, remains in place and has since become a major shrine for fans.

Flowers at the crash site where Marc Bolan died (image: Google)

Marc’s parents, Simeon and Phyllis both died within 9 months of each other in 1991 and their names now appear alongside their son’s on a modest memorial plaque within the peaceful grounds at Golders Green Crematorium.

Plaque commemorating Simeon, Phyllis and Marc at Golders Green Crematorium

Please click below to watch Marc perform his classic, ‘Cosmic Dancer’ which was filmed live at Wembley in 1972:

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