London Made Us

London Made Us[Read] ➮ London Made Us By Robert Elms – Heartforum.co.uk 'London is a giant kaleidoscope which is forever turning Take your eye off it for than a moment and you're lost'Robert Elms has seen London change beyond all imagining the house he grew up in is now t 'London is a giant kaleidoscope which is forever turning Take your eye off it for than a moment and you're lost'Robert Elms has seen London change beyond all imagining the house he grew up in is now the behemoth that is the Westway flyover and areas once deemed murder miles have morphed into the stuff of estate agents' dreams seemingly in a matter of monthsElms takes us back through time and place to myriad Londons He London Made PDF/EPUB or is our guide through a place that has seen scientific experiments conducted in subterranean lairs a small community declare itself an independent nation and animals of varying exoticism roam free through its streets; a place his great great grandfather made the Elms' home over a century ago and a city that has borne witness to epoch and world changing events.

Robert Elms is a British writer and broadcaster Elms was a writer for The Face magazine in the s and is currently known for his long running radio show on BBC London His book 'The Way We Wore' charts the changing fashions of his own youth linking them with the social history of the times.

London Made Us Kindle ¾ London Made  PDF/EPUB or
  • Hardcover
  • 320 pages
  • London Made Us
  • Robert Elms
  • English
  • 07 July 2016
  • 9781786892119

10 thoughts on “London Made Us

  1. Carolyn Harris says:

    An engaging memoir about life in London in the 1960s 1970s and 1980s discussing themes such as working class culture the rise of restaurants and the alternative arts scene Elms is the host of a long running BBC London radio show and has a great love of London and a lot of knowledge about its social history and mythology Perhaps the most interesting chapter is about how food and dining changed in London over the course of the author's lifetime as he vividly remembers his first dish of Indian food and his first kebab at a restaurant owned by George Michael's father There is a strong theme of nostalgia and the author even makes a case for being nostalgic about long ueues for special events the atmosphere of collective excitement in these ueues The audiobook is enthusiastically read by the author

  2. Nigeyb says:

    Having thoroughly enjoyed Robert Elms' touching and wonderfully written autobiography The Way We Wore I felt confident I would also enjoy London Made Us A Memoir of a Shape Shifting City and so it provedIf you lived through the 70s 80s and 90s and if you spent some of that time in London then I can virtually guarantee you'll find a lot to enjoy within this book Part memoir part social history Elms takes us on a tour of the London of his youth and that of his forebears with reference to the city of todayHis unapologetic cheerleading for his favourite city and home town can get a bit wearing but perhaps that's because I fled the place and have no regrets something he would never be able to comprehend However it's as a trip down memory lane and as an entertaining history lesson that this book really succeeds I loved it45

  3. Bernard O& says:

    I feel great affinity with Robert Elms This may be because I listen to him on BBC Radio London most days It may be because we’re both the same age It may be that both of us are at Loftus Road for most PR home games Or it may be a sense of shared rootsSo plenty of connections But also it has to be said plenty of differences Robert Elms is a very sharp dresser; I’m not He is very cool and very connected; I am neither He is a Londoner born and bred; I may live there now in Barnes an area for which Elms can never disguise his contempt but after a Woking birth my childhood and adolescence was spent in SurreyElms was brought up in Burnt Oak far closer to the heart of London than Surrey but still distant enough to make him feel marginalised and sympathetic to others in the same boat; ‘I think Paul Weller a man of similar age attitude and attire whom I admire enormously and whose London family were exiled even further to Woking carries a similar burden’And that’s another connection I too align myself with The Jam frontman even if in my case the only point of similarity is that we both hail from the same place see My roots may be closer geographically to Weller but I feel I know Robert Elms much better and after reading this hugely enjoyable informative revealing memoir that is even the case When Elms writes of his childhood in Burnt Oak that ‘it was full of O’Keefes Kellys and O’Neills’ I almost think I could have been one of them But I was in Weybridge at the time and my O’Keeffes have two ‘f’sSo London for me is not what it is for Elms But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t seduced by ‘London Made Us’ Reading it is very much like listening to the Robert Elms radio show – one moment you’re listening to a cockney geezer the next you’re being spoken to by a sophisticated intellectual Robert Elms is aware of these two sides of his personality telling us that he ‘learned to be socially and vocally schizophrenic’ Even within a sentence his writing moves from one register to another from what Elms calls his ‘Radio 4 voice’ to his ‘back of a cab’ or ‘shouting at referees voice’ He calls this a ‘completely unconscious chameleon’ response and in doing so makes us regard him like the subject of his book as something of a shape shifterElms’s language is just like his accent – ‘to this day I have an accent that leaps about all over the gaff’ Note that Gaff Not place Gaff Another sentence begins in Standard English only to end by stating that the building had ‘gorn’ Not gone Gorn Sometimes the cockney was a bit too much for this Surrey boy I understood ‘I jumped in a sherbet’ only from the context sherbet dab cab And when I came across this observation from Elms about his two linguistic selves I was baffled – ‘ I could spot a jekyll dicky or a pair of snide daisies with the best of them But I could also talk pretty good grammar school when reuired’ I have no idea what a ‘jekyll dicky’ is or indeed a ‘pair of snide daisies’ I googled both and the only thing that came up was Googlebooks directing me to Robert Elms’s ‘London Made Us’This transition from one register to another embodies and reflects the importance of class and social mobility in the book issues which find their most powerful expression in Elms’s relationship with his mother Her death movingly described in the Introduction together with her words ‘This is no longer my London’ provides the book's starting point and she and Elms’s ancestors remain a presence throughoutSocial mobility and class lie at the book’s heart and I would be surprised if ‘Great Expectations’ is not Elms’s favourite Dickens novel An early Magwitch reference alerts us to the possibility but a later scene convinces us Elms describes taking his mum to a Japanese restaurant ‘when I was doing all right making a few bob living in a flat in Bloomsbury and pretending I’d had a sophisticated palette all along’ It’s his ‘Joe Gargery moment’ one that ‘turned him into Pip’ And throughout ‘London Made Us’ there is a sense of Robert Elms as Pip ‘educated beyond his station’ torn between the Forge of Burnt Oak and cutting edge LondonThroughout there is a sense of Elms like the mature narrator of ‘Great Expectations’ casting a guilt ridden backwards glance at his errant youthful behaviour It is though a little inconsistent He may talk of his fondness for ‘silly haircuts’ and the ‘preposterous poetry’ with which he introduced Spandau Ballet at one of their first gigs but he can also tell us that ‘all I wanted was to be a face about town’ or refer to himself as an ‘urban elitist’ with no accompanying ironic judgementElms’s love for his city is profound Eually apparent is his love for language He’s a linguistic barrow boy hawking his verbal wares foisting on us three phrases where one would do He’s unable to resist the rhythmic trick the wise guy gag the lure of alliteration or the look at me flourish Hence – ‘our harshly polyglot peripheriue’ ‘this all pervading all providing all devouring behemoth of a birthright’ ‘this bright and shiny or maybe shite and briny twenty first century Babylon’‘ a rollicking redoubt of totters and tearaways’When it comes to London though Robert Elms knows his stuff and ‘London Made Us’ is a great read His memories are personal and heartfelt his knowledge hugely impressive His love of the city is profound and as he takes you on a tour of his life and manor he proves to be great company even if you sometimes feel trapped in the back of his sherbet with your ears under assault‘London Made Us’ is about the city’s ever changing nature its refusal to stay as we remember it It’s also about loss something with which as a fellow PR fan Robert Elms is very familiar There is so much here that strikes a chord Not least the claim that the greatest ever London song is ‘Debris’

  4. Nighean Walker says:

    I could hear Robert’s voice throughout this book being an avid listener to his BBC Radio London radio show The book is a gentle ramble through his family’s past in the city but I must admit I was hoping for detail For someone who doesn’t listen to his radio show and is therefore not familiar with many of the nuggets of information he imparts on a daily basis this book will be revelatory I was just hoping for family history and detail That said it’s been a lovely Easter read

  5. Tim says:

    I'd give this 10 stars if it were possible

  6. Mark Rubenstein says:

    No matter how fantastic a book might be and no mistake this one ualifies I have a rule that demands the docking of a rating star for any book that refers to CBGB as CBGBs Really sorry but rules are rules and vice versa

  7. John Weller says:

    Maybe it's because

  8. Mike Clarke says:

    Blitzed kid Robert Elms’s paean to his home town veers occasionally into Maybe it’s becawse a I’m a Londoner sentimentality though mostly he keeps this in Prince of Wales check Elms burnished his credentials as a pop social historian with The Way We Wore which was basically him flicking through the contents of his wardrobes whilst telling stories and London Made Us is cut of much the same clothThis works for me and maybe others too because I’m from here I can remember at infant school Redmans Road Stepney since you ask gentle reader that we played on the ‘day bree’ debris the wartime spoil next to our school similar to sites that pockmarked the face of London as late as the 70s and that this wasn’t strictly allowed and would lead to a telling off in assembly next day from Miss Storey Not that this was particularly frightening for as my mother remarked “by the time they leave for primary they’re usually a foot taller than her” Or the Dolphinarium in Oxford St yes really somewhere near where Primark now is at the Tottenham Court Road end if I’ve followed Elms’s directions correctly and which I’d wondered about for years I had a strong memory of such a trip from Redmans Road not of the dolphins which I can’t remember a thing about but because my mother having unusually failed to follow instructions had furnished me not with a packed lunch but only a bag of crisps Golden Wonder salt and vinegar and having wolfed these within 10 minutes of the coach departing I was miserably hungry for what seemed like eternity Such is the stuff legends are made of But I could never picture the dolphinarium itself and the coach journey for a class of six year olds couldn’t have been that far so it remained a mystery until now The Oxford Street Dolphinarium opened in 1970 and closed following a fire three years later so the timing is about right Don’t worry the dolphins were unharmed although maybe their mental health wasn’t so rosy after three years in a disgracefully small paddling pool doing degrading tricks for an audience of shrieking cockney urchins But whether any non Londoners will be as enthralled by Dr Robert’s prodigious feats of memory is another matter rather like Dave Haslam’s Mancy memoir last year you probably had to be there at least partly Thanks also for Gamage’s Mr E another Clarke family favourite mainly due to Jackie the mynah bird on the first floorElms can’t be accused of wearing his knowledge lightly he’s a blue badge guide crossed with a London cabbie and you’re not allowed to forget it At nigh on 300 pages there’s a lot of history mythology urban and personal and mystery in densely packed pages I got to 288 and a low moan escaped me when I saw ‘postscript’ to follow And he’s got a few Maconiesue ticks inherited from the inky rock weeklies characters are all too often introduced as “one” as in “one Robert Elms” and there are many variants of “aforementioned” which always makes my buttocks clench In places it’s labour than love but mostly his utter passion for the Smoke blows through and well it’s lovely actually

  9. Derek Humphreys says:

    There was so much in this book which was familiar to me I became a Londoner when I came to London at the age of 16 I lived in a grotty staff hostel in Gants Hill and worked in a horrible job in Walthamstow It was 1968 and I was both excited an scared shitless I uickly changed jobs spending the next 10 years working in Piccadilly at Fortnums and managing a shop in Old Compton St The places and faces Robert described were exactly as I saw them Maybe I remember about the clubs and pubs described when they were in previous incarnationslike the Soho Brasserie when it was The Helvetia I remember having a few drinks with an American guy called Mike who was waiting for his wife to finish work across the road It was Twiggy and she was playing CinderellaI went to many of the live music pubs Robert wrote about and a few years later my son played football for Watling Both my sons and my wife have worked in the HolbornClerkenwell area for decades now and my brother still lives and runs his business in Doughty StI bought this for my kindle but it's a book that needs to be in my bookshelfDerek

  10. Robert says:

    This was a good read and I would recommend it with the following caveat Robert Elms is a narcissist and his smugness does make it's way into these pages plenty of name dropping and I was there first before gentrification shtick In terms of the people he writes about forget the celebrities yes Robert you dated Sade no need to keep mentioning it and his constant talk about being a member of the Groucho Club the best character he writes about is his mother who is the real deal in terms of being a card carrying Londoner His own memoir is also a good read albeit with the same aforementioned caveats

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