The London Awards Pt 1


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.

This goes to the nameless shop in Spitalfields Market where I saw this unstructured horror…

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

6 comments on “The London Awards Pt 1”

  1. BangBang!! says:

    That suit is hilarious although sadly it’s roughly what I would look like if I were to wear it.

    The hobby horse sculpture is indeed sickenIngly twee!

  2. Madeline says:

    Not a Londoner , but frequent visitor. Have to say my award for oddest encounter was chatting to the guy who flies the Harris hawks in Trafalgar Square, only to have his bird try and make off with my hat. This weirdness was only compounded by watching two Harry Potter fans in full robes arguing with two PCSOs over where a group of fans could camp for what I assume was the Premiere.

  3. Gretta says:

    I’m with Glasgow: 2012, admin.

    I’m pretty sure that suit was the one Henry Fonda wore in Grapes of Wrath. Surprised Fonda’s not still in it, to be honest. The bearded chap is clearly taken with it.

    The Krays story on Whitechapel just started here last Friday. I’m not sure it quite knows what it wants to be, televisually speaking, and Penry Jones couldn’t be more wooden if he had strings attached and called himself Virgil. I’ll keep watching, however, although by the end of the last episode my head had involuntarily tilted itself into ‘confused puppy’ mode.

  4. Helen Martin says:

    I thought we were going to pretend the Whitechapel thing didn’t exist, for obvious reasons. Do you mean after all those wonderful things they had on the fourth pillar – and I loved the ship in a bottle – they opted for that ridiculous thing? I assume that is the Queen’s barge out for a spin. We saw it, I think, before a regilding job. Didn’t know about either the lions or Eros, pardon,the Angel of Christian Charity. Charity often misfires so that actually fits rather well.

  5. Jon R says:

    It isn’t the Angel of Christian Charity, it’s Anteros, the brother of Eros. Although actually it’s some Italian boy who the sculptor used as a model.

  6. Gillian says:

    I have to agree re Whitechapel, it’s such tosh you need to watch it with some crisps and a can of something very fizzy and full of additives – just to get the whole experience…. but it’s wonderfully bonkers tosh.

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