There are so many awards ceremonies out there that I have decided to instigate my own. With any luck it should prove as popular as, oh I don’t know, the East Midlands Hardware Shop Of The Year Awards. My unique selling point will be the utter, outrageous randomness of the nominations, which will change categories year by year entirely on the whimsical dalliances of Admin, the only criteria being that each has to feature something with a London connection.
CHEESIEST TV DRAMA SET IN LONDON:
Praised by the Guardian as ‘TV that’s not quite bad enough to switch off’, ‘Whitechapel’ is one of the worst-written and directed shows ever to get on TV, and its premise is insane; police investigate crimes being recreated in one borough of London from famous old cases. So, Jack the Ripper, the Krays and the Ratcliffe Highway murders. What on earth will we get after that? The dialogue is burst-out-laughing terrible, the cameraman is clearly suffering from St Vitus’ Dance, and if Philip Davis knits his eyebrows any tighter he’ll never get them undone, but it has a certain weirdly awful charm.
ODDEST NEW LONDON RITUAL:
I owe the Londonist this one; if you lean out – rather perilously far – from the side of Hungerford Bridge you can see a new feature. The South Bank skateboarders sometimes attempt jumps that are too much for their skateboards. When the boards break, they are delivered to the graveyard at the bottom of the bridge stanchions, shaped in a huge number 1. Who knew?
WORST NEW LONDON SCULPTURE:
They could have had the mad, witty Brick Battenburg cake on Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth – probably the only sculpture ever to make me laugh with delight when I saw it. But no. They’ve opted for a little golden boy on a rocking horse, the kind of thing your gran would have on her mantlepiece if she hadn’t gone mad and left all that money to the cat charity.
It’s still not as embarrassingly awful as Paul Day’s gigantoid, twee, stilted, Primark-shop-window kissing couple in St Pancras, an object that deserves to be nicked by Serbians and melted down for scrap.
FAVOURITE ODD LONDON FACT:
I was going to pick the Embankment lions, which aren’t simply decorative. They’re there for passing policemen to monitor, because they’re a guide to the height to the river, so that ‘if the lions ever drink’ the policemen give out a flood warning. But finally I have to pick an obvious one, Eros in Piccadilly, because it’s got the wrong bow (should be strung on the opposite side, and is always breaking its strings), is facing the wrong way, is made of the wrong material (aluminium) and isn’t Eros at all. It’s The Angel of Christian Charity, and was always meant to be firing its arrow up Shaftesbury Avenue. The fountain underneath it never worked properly (basins too small, height of falling water too high, people got soaked) and Alfred Gilbert, who designed it, hated it and wanted to tear it down, finally fleeing England deep in debt, never living to see how beloved it became. How very London.
POTENTIALLY BEST LONDON YEAR:
2012 – the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics are bringing so many visitors that the city is undergoing an immense ‘Let’s Tidy The House Before Grandma Gets Here’ spirit. Roads are being relaid, pavement bottlenecks sorted, the railings that pen pedestrians in are all coming down, buildings are being cleaned and street layouts are being reconsidered.