Recently in London Category
August 17, 2012
August 11, 2011
It wasn't just in Clapham that people pulled together in the aftermath of the riots:
August 9, 2011
A burned-out car not far from my Lewisham flat, from a photo set by Tom Royal.
A rough night in London, as looters smashed up and burnt high streets all over the capital.
Morning has dawned, with the #riotcleanup hashtag, promoted early on by Dan Thompson, helping people co-ordinate themselves to clean up the damage of the night before. Proof, if you want it, that social media is inherently neutral, and that people can use it for good or ill.
- Brixton yesterday morning, before the next wave of riots.
- Riot damage in Deptford
- The night the looters stole from us all
- Matthew Taylor explores the Prime Minister's challenge
- Good to see student journalists doing live coverage of the riots
- Bad to see journalists being attacked
- Brockley Central has a time-line of attacks in the south east of London
- Google map of rioting locations
- The story of what's rapidly becoming the defining image of last night
Clapham looks shut this morning:
More as I find them.
- Guardian news meeting, with a map of London
- Brockley Central lists damaged shops in south east London
People waiting to join #riotcleanup in Clapham, via Simon Parsons
- A first person account of a restaurant being attacked last night
- Facebook page in support of the Police
- Remember you're a #riotwomble
- The Times is reporting that London's cells are full [£]
- At times like this no news can be news.
- A tumblr for photos of looters
The Great Harry pub in Woolwich (via @darryl1974)
Feels like a miracle that no-one's been killed in the riots yet, especially when you see this:
There's been a definite shift away from recording the damage and arranging positive action, into blame-storming and political posturing, which I'm less interested in chronicling.
Here's a last link for now, channeling the positive vibe of this morning.
August 8, 2011
July 4, 2009
May 11, 2009
May 8, 2009
However, if we are looking at north vs south, one thing stands out: when it comes to blogging, the south wins hands down,and the south-east in particular.
The main reason is because this corner of the capital has, frankly been ignored by the rest of the media for decades. The Tube network barely touches it, so it may as well not exist to the kind of closed-minded north/west London media type who gets a nosebleed more than a mile off the Underground system. I get as pissed off as anyone with tedious misrepresentation of south-east London in the media, and most of it's down to sheer laziness and ignorance. The South London Press (no coverage east of Deptford) aside, local media's a bit of a joke so it's quite easy to tell a story that, simply, isn't being told.
May 1, 2009
If I'd had my MacBook with me, I'd still have used iMovie and edited it much more tightly. Trimming clips isn't that easy in the Flip's own software. But in terms of getting good stuff up quickly, the Flip hits the spot...
February 2, 2009
August 22, 2008
May 27, 2008
April 14, 2008
For interest, I got 6 Boris, 3 Ken and 2 Brian. So, in theory, I should be Backing Boris.
June 29, 2007
It's not much fun waking up to news of a bomb being found in your city.
But it sure as hell beats waking up to hear that a bomb has gone off.
May 2, 2007
A wee bit of videoblogging I did back in February and which has sat unedited, on my laptop since:
Music: Snowfall by Rada
November 22, 2006
Burglars have stolen laptop computers containing the payroll details of half of the Metropolitan Police staff, Scotland Yard has said.
The computers were taken in a raid last Thursday on offices used by the firm responsible for the Met's pay and pension services.
I bet they'll be more interested in investigating that than the criminal damage to my car.
October 30, 2006
Sometimes a break can let you see things with new eyes. I haven't commuted into or out of London by train for over three months now, and a blessed change it's been. However, today an appointment in London in the morning and one in Sutton in the afternoon necessitated me abandoning the car and commuting by train once more.
My goodness, what an eye-opener it was. After nine years of train commuting, I'd got used to it. After a short break, I saw it with new eyes. I saw the utter filth of London Bridge station. I saw the people crushed into cattle trucks. I smelt the fast food and the perfume and the body odor all mingling in an unpleasant aroma cocktail. I saw people struggling to get though a tiny platform exit on Lewisham station.
London has been described as the heart of the country's economy, pumping its fiscal blood around the nation. If that's the case, then the country has heart disease. Its arteries are clogged, unable to cope with the demands placed on them.
No care is being taken of the heart's health, and that lack of care is reflected in simple cleanliness. We Londoners are well known for our stiff upper lips, for putting up with things. But I do feel that that tolerant nature is being abused, and will continue to be abused unless we stand up and demand the sort of transport system we deserve.
October 17, 2006
October 4, 2006
And so, off to the Dana Centre in Kensington for a performance of Randomness & Certainty, an audio visual artwork where hundreds of scientists were interviewed about the impact science has on their lives. Why? Because Lorna was one of those scientists. And what an interesting evening it was.
To be honest, it didn't start well. The caf� space in the venue was hardly ideal for concentrating on this sort of non-narrative work. And, when the panel discussion started, it rapidly disappeared up its own behind into a discussion of true randomness versus computer-generated pseudo randomness. Oh what fun. Luckily, Lorna had got us some red wine, which helped that part of the evening pass painlessly. Oh, and �science TV presenter� Dr Shini Somarathne (warning, frightening website) proved to have nothing to add to the discussion.
But from there on it was all upwards. The host for the evening, journalist Viv Parry was excellent, and the other two panellists, neuroscientists Mark Lythgoe and R. Beau Lotto (left and right above, either side of Shini) both made some interesting points about stereotypes of scientist, artists and the complicated nature of perception. But really, this was the audience's evening, with real back and forth between the artists, the panellists (well, two of them) and the audience, all ably handled by Viv. I even got shanghaied into participating, after Viv spotted me nodding vigourously in agreement to someone else's point. I ended up arguing against the false division people set up between the two areas of study.
It was a genuinely thought-provoking discussion on where the boundaries of art and science truly lie, and what the different personality types draw to each field really have to contribute to each other's work. But most of all, I just enjoyed the chance to really debate issues with intelligent, thoughtful and open-minded people of very diverse backgrounds (the audience was split 50/50 between artists and scientists, with a huge age range).
I really must do more of this sort of thing.
September 11, 2006
So, what do I return from my weekend away to find? Casino Avenue is closing down. Waaaay back in the day, this blog used to be much more focused on my area of south east London, and the good Inspector Sands was one of the small circle of blogs I interacted with regularly. My interests may have shifted, but I'm sad to see one of the most consistently entertaining and provoking blogs in London disappear. The city will be poorer for it, but, if he's not having fun, why should he bother? Thanks, Inspector, and good luck for the future.
Interesting, my referrer logs of late indicate that there's demand out there for a good Blackheath blog. Maybe one of the Inspector's local readers could step up to the plate?
Talking of my referrer logs (ah, such a smooth transition there), welcome PC Bloggs to the blogosphere. She joins the ranks of the anonymous police bloggers and I'm enjoying both her posts, insights and the steady stream of traffic she's sent my way...
August 29, 2006
Excitement! Thrills! Drama!
On my drive into work this morning, I saw a teenager being arrested for car-related nefarious activity. The coppers had him bang to rights, guv, and had handcuffed the blighter.
I was, however, deeply disappointed to note that he was wearing a tracksuit, not a hoodie. Doesn't he read the Daily Mail? Doesn't he know how these things are done? Still, I suppose it saves you from a David Cameron hug.
July 26, 2006
After a week and a half commuting through south London in my trusty car, I have made the following observations:
- "Mirror, signal, manoeuvre" appears to have been replaced by "manoeuvre, mirror, (optional) signal"
- The correct response to any form of hesitation on the road is to immediately overtake. This is doubly true if there's a bus involved.
- The car is the best place to do your make-up, especially if you're the driver
- The correct form when stepping out from between stationary traffic into oncoming traffic is to ignore the car frantically doing an emergency stop to avoid reducing you to a fine, unobservant paste, until the very last minute. Then, you freeze like a rabbit in headlights, before laughing and carrying on across the road.
Despite all this, it's still more enjoyable that taking the train into central London.
July 7, 2006
I've just observed two minute's silence to remember the 52 people killed when four young men strapped bombs to themselves and set out on London's public transport a year ago.
Today, a year on, things were much as normal. More police at tube and train station perhaps. A slight air of pensiveness about some travellers, certainly. But the city still functions. For most of us, life goes on. Two minutes to remember those whose lives were ended so early, so prematurely seems little enough a sacrifice.
Some of my Posts from last July
July 2, 2006
Heat exhaustion and dehydration are the main threats to health when temperatures are high, and those at risk are being warned to keep out of the sun.
The warning, issued by the Department of Health, applies to London, the South East and the West Midlands.
That's it folks, keep drinking water! Which is in short supply!
June 18, 2006
The light in London has been so lovely in the evenings recently, that it just begs me to get my camera out. Here are a few pictures from the last few days:
One of the benefits of rebuilding the blog, and temporarily switching to default templates, is that I realise how lazy I've got with my use of photos here on the blog, just posting direct from Flickr. The default posting size from the service is too large for the current template, so I've switched back to using ecto to create more interesting layouts. Expect to see more of this in the days to come.
July 25, 2003
Like Dan and Meg, Lorna and I have to endure the sounds of foxes getting romantic several times a year. It really is just as bad as he makes it sound. They also dig up our lawn, tear open our rubbish bags and generally behave like anti-social neighbours. The urban fox of London Town is a canny beast. It can even whisper in the ears of Labour MPs while they sleep, persuading them to ban the hunting of their rural cousins.
Beware. The foxes have it in for us. They taunt us with their breeding and they defile our gardens. This is just the start...
March 7, 2003
I had a wonderful meeting this morning. Well, to be honest, the meeting itself tended towards the mundane, but the venue was possibly my idea of heaven on earth: the London branch of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. I could spend the rest of my life, albeit a short and liver-damaged life, in the Society's tasting lounge.
But I digress, as I tend to do when whisky is involved.
One of the most telling moments for me was the fact that the man organising the event was 30 minutes late, thanks to Connex's less than sterling efforts at running a railway. By the time we got around to lunch (and whisky tasting - such is a journalist's lot), everyone was talking about the dire state of London's transport. Much is made of the fact that road traffic moves no faster in London today than it did back in the Victorian era. Fair enough. It's both true, and something which Ken Livingston, the mayor, is doing something to address through the congestion charging scheme. What is discussed less often is the disgusting state of the rest of our transport network.
The car issue, when you think about it, is a simple one. London was laid out and its street pattern largely set before the internal combustion engine was even a twinkle in the eye of the engineering community. London's streets are ill-equipped for cars at the best of time, and certainly not ready for 60% of the population to own one and attempt to use it in anger. (There is no other way to use a car in London. It is psychologically impossible to stay calm from one street to the next while navigating London's roads.)
The public transport issue is a more complicated one. After all, public subsidy has usually been available for infrastructure projects. There are hordes of Londoners who commute via public transport and their numbers grow year on year. The economics of infrastructure development seem to make a certain sense, both fiscally and logically. So, why have we had a total of three major public transport initiatives in the last 30 years: the Jubilee line and its extension and the Docklands Light Railway?
We need to look again at the Victorian era. It was those Empire-building Victorians that gave London much of its present infrastructure, including the railways, the early tube lines, the sewer system and even the Embankments. Now, you could argue that this was financed by the wealth that was pouring into the city from an growing Empire. True, but London has been a very wealthy city for a long time. So much so, in fact, that London's taxes subsidise much of the rest of the country. No, the crucial factor here was vision. The Victorians had both the vision and passion to bring forward great engineering projects and took great pride in the results. In the century since, we have lost track of that vision. Nowadays, great projects are treated with penny-pinching cynicism and are generally derided by the public when they are actually built. Canary Wharf at the end of the 80s and then the Dome at the end of the 90s are both good examples of that.
So, I'm advocating that most discredited things: a return to Victorian values. I'm not talking about morals and all those things that the Tory party banged on about in the mid-90s, but instead about the vision that turned London into one of the world's great cities. That vision created the infrastructure we rely on today. It's a credit to our ancestors of a century ago that it's lasted as long as it has, and the best memorial we can pay them is to give the city a second dose of Victorian Vision.