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We were led here, on a cold and stormy Saturday afternoon, approaching dusk. Up a long dark concrete stairwell, then emerging into the ramps of a car park, mostly empty of cars.
It was all very mysterious, so we were ready for anything. As we circled ever upward, we began to hear odd sounds, echoing musically through the dank space.
Strange objects appeared as though on display. It sounded like musicians tuning up, and as we turned a corner, there it was - a full symphony orchestra, seated in the traditional half-circle around the conductor, beneath the concrete beams.
Ah! We thought, this is what we were brought here for - but our guide was perplexed. He hadn't expected this at all! No, our destination is beyond, we must press on! He turned us away from the strange orchestra and circled upward to the very roof.
I'm not sure how long Frank's Cafe has been operating on the roof of the Peckham Rye Multi-story Car Park, but by the looks of it, not long.
It's cold and rainy this evening, so people are bundled in jackets and carry umbrellas. The rain spangles the concrete of the vast paved area formerly used to park cars, and pings on the canvas above.
Families with kids and dogs are among the crowd, and the kids wear rain boots and splash in the puddles, or play with the water dripping from the tarp above.
Frank's Cafe is part of the Bold Tendencies Sculpture Project, founded in 2007, that transforms an unused car park into a venue for large scale sculpture, art, a performance space, and a rooftop cafe.
The views are astonishing - from the roof you can see the skyline of London. Even on a rainy day like this, it's stunning - perhaps even more fascinating as the storm clouds roll past.
A cold and rainy July isn't the best day for a trip to an open-air venue, . I can only imagine how wonderful it would be on a bright sunny day.
Londoners seem to have become resigned to the gloom of 2012. Something about the rain and threatening clouds added a special feeling - a temporary place, in a re-purposed building, a hideaway with a view to give you a whole new perspective on one of the world's greatest cities. If you're visiting London and feel adventurous, check it out.
We learned later that the orchestra we encountered was a performance of composer John Adams' "Harmonielehre" by the TROSP Orchestra. You can see and hear their July 2011 performance of Stravinksy's "The Rite of Spring" in the same space at THIS LINK.