ON THE SCENT OF SOMETHING OR OTHER

Whilst on the subject of body parts, I thought it might be worth drawing attention to one of London's lesser known features. I am sure most people are aware of the London Eye - the giant ferris wheel on the South Bank of the Thames in Westminster. But did you ever hear of another of the capital's facial features - The London Nose? No I thought not. Well, here it is - high up on a wall within Admirality Arch - so high in fact that it could only really be reached by a man on horseback. A man in the cavalry say who may pass it on his way to war with Napoleon and touch it as a good luck totem.

Interesting right? But I am very pleased to be able to announce that this isn't the only London Nose. There are in fact six other much lesser known noses whose purpose is entirely obscure. I did read the other day that London is the 'cocaine capital of Europe', so perhaps this nose is a monument to the practice of ingesting that illegal substance- Stiff upper lip powder as we used to call it. They are certainly in the right part of town.

Or perhaps they are there in recognition of the fact that until fairly recently one of the most significant things a visitor or new arrival to the city would have noticed was the smell. Talking with Catherine Arnold, it became clear to me that until the first world war, the place would have absolutely stank - of death, disease, rotting food, raw sewage and unwashed bodies. Nice.

Sniff.

FURTHER ADDITION 11 OCTOBER 2009..
I thought I would add three further noses. (one courtesy of David Wright - thanks). I intended to sniff out the other two soon.

Yesterday at Cafe Koha with Joe, I found myself sitting next to someone with a very fine nose indeed - Ms Jerry Hall. Nice to see an American Actor / model / whatever smoking Camels. I have given up myself but it's become so unpopular and un-PC that I have been reconsidering - especially when seeing smoke exhaled from such elegant lips. We did however then bump into the actor who played Dot Cotton in East-Enders and my resolution was strengthened.

Another fellow with a fine figure of a nose is the English musician Stephen Duffy. At the Raindance Festival on Friday, we saw the film 'Memory and Desire' a documentary about his career. Much of it was filmed in hand held close up - in fact, I thought the camera may be about to actually go up one of his nostrils at one point. Despite that, he has a wonderful and extraordinary time of it and had written some of my favourite tunes so it was a pleasure to see him so lauded.

21 comments:

Kari Mathias said...

Oh, symbols. It's like looking to the back of a cathedral and seeing the eyes of God.

Noses though... that's a new one.

Sally said...

Oh, who nose? Sniffields? Wormwood Snubs? Shepherds Bush?

AM The Obscure said...

Admiralty Arch

Tamsin said...

http://circumstance.org/2009/04/the-seven-soho-noses.html

It seems someone took inspiration from the Admiral's nose. I might start a list of strange things to see. I think Hitler's Dog will definitely make the list, if only I knew what he was on about.

http://londoncabby.blogspot.com/2007/08/london-nose.html

I really need to get friendly with some cabbys it would seem.

clerkenwell kid said...

Excellent. Thankyou! - Well I know where four of them are at least - but the one shown looks the same age as the building and is larger than life size so not a cast I think - unless he has a very very big one..

Tamsin said...

The plot thickens. How old is the building? It does look like it's been there a considerable time from the snot like weathering below it.

clerkenwell kid said...

Late ineteenth / early twentieth century I guess

Tamsin said...

I hear tell of a nose on Great Windmill Street off Shaftesbury Ave?

Sally said...

Hmmm...here is one of the Soho noses, apparently just across the road from the Soho Theatre, down a side street, at about 2nd storey level.

That big mystery nose looks very weathered, almost as though it's by the river.

clerkenwell kid said...

That is the Bateman Street nose.

Tamsin is right about Great Windmill Street

Tamsin said...

Fantastic! It was a bit of a stab in the dark though, I confess. Do I get a shiny prize? I'll have to go and check the nose out for myself.

clerkenwell kid said...

Nothing shiny but .. of course

can you mail nix@antiquebeat.co.uk

I would be very interested to know the location of the remaining three ..

Tamsin said...

Ah, thank you!

Maybe you should contact the guy who was making a documentary about it in March?

http://www.heritagearts.co.uk/news/the-seven-noses-of-soho.html

His email is on there at the bottom somewhere. If I was able I'd go on a nose hunt, but are there really 7? Rick Buckley knows, if it really was him that made them.

http://www.richardbuckley.co.uk/contact.html

Tamsin said...

Oops. Here's the link.

http://www.heritagearts.co.uk/news/the-seven-noses-of-soho.html

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