Monthly Archives: October 2009

London Quiz Number 2:

You’re going to hate me for this one. Does anyone know why there are almost twice as many London pub names starting with a ‘B’ or a ‘C’ than any other letter of the alphabet?

What Makes A Londoner?

It’s one of those questions that come up on pub evenings: Are Londoners born or raised? Heredity has lost out over environment. It’s not who your parents are but how you live, and London is working proof. After a period of living here, residents quickly adopt London habits. Being able to tick any three of […]

London Quiz: Who And Where?

Whenever I pose a London question on this site, I get an answer in about 30 seconds, which either means my questions are too easy or you don’t sleep. So here’s today’s. An old London song, whose lyrics read: With a heart of furious fancies, Whereof I am commander, With a burning spear And a […]

How the East End Beat Camden Market

Once Camden High Street was London’s home of hippies, with its head shops, antique fair and the wonderful Compendium Books, a warren of alternative reading. Then Camden Council killed it, so that now only teen tourists visit to buy souvenir tat, draconian parking rules make it impossible to park, the tube is so overcrowded it […]

Words & Music

David McAlmont and Michael Nyman have teamed up to produce an exquisite album of songs, in which the music from existing Nyman works provides the orchestral melody to McAlmont’s first-person lyrics taken from today’s headlines. The result shows once again how adaptable both artists are. Performing at the Union Chapel in Islington, London, Nyman’s band […]

eReading Over My Shoulder

My friend Mike Cane gets very exercised and shouty about eReading, but it’s usually because he has a good point to make on his site. Here he points out the absurd tangles everyone is getting themselves into over how many people can read a single book. The iTunes and Sony eReader stores allow for downloaded […]

That Nick Griffin Appearance In Brief

Happy Birthday Monty Python

I grew up with the Pythons on TV and eventually worked with most of them on their different film projects (you can see a sketch John Cleese and I wrote on the ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ DVD extras), but I haven’t watched the shows in years. Recently the 40th anniversary celebrations drew me back, and […]

Nothing Under The Bonnet

The BBC’s viewing figures for a lavish new production of Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ managed a pathetic 3.5 million, despite high quality production values and a cast that includes my old pal the ever-excellent Jonny Lee Miller as Mr Knightly. Of course this is the four millionth Austen production turned out in the last five years […]

Best Foot Forward

Finally, an age-old mystery has been solved. Passengers on the London Underground always stand on the right and tut in annoyance when anyone does the opposite. An old film recently unearthed for the London Film Festival has revealed why. Unlike modern “comb” escalators, where the end of the moving stairway is at right angles to […]