Oddments Of 2015
What happened this year? London got a Triffid street, Apple brought out a watch nobody seems to want and a number of the capital’s less-known attractions closed down, like the Type Museum and the De Morgan Foundation Collection of antiquities – but are they actually gone? Attractions seem reluctant to announce their closure and the Type Museum certainly has a good online presence. The Cinema Museum is once more under threat and others are at risk – hopefully one of them is the new Jack the Ripper Museum, a rubbishy con-trick that dodged council guidelines by initially promising it would be a museum dedicated to the lives of East End women.
Great swathes of London got redeveloped – some well, many badly. There was a nice surprise in my neighbourhood, where the old lighthouse (once used to advertise a Victorian oyster bar) was sympathetically restored from this;
To this. It was a trick, of course; while everyone was looking at the lighthouse, the part behind grew massively to incorporate new office space, but the design was so attractive that nobody minded.
Other projects like the massive rebuilding of Battersea Power Station and the Mount Pleasant Sorting Office are being ruined by greedy developers. This was the year that Soho, London’s disreputable playground, was finally obliterated. Several hundred huge new rebuilding projects kicked off across the city while more fundamental problems, like cyclists being killed on badly planned cycle lanes, hiked rents and overcrowded pavements choked with unnecessary signage and furniture, continued.
It was a good year for Heath Robinson (deceased). Hundreds of pictures by the illustrator who became a byword for eccentric, ingenious devices were saved for the nation.
On a personal note, ‘Bryant & May and the Burning Man’ came out, its opening page a doffed cap to Mr Dickens, its plot involving the riots that followed news of bankers’ misdeeds in the City. ‘The Sand Men’ ended my fears by getting good reviews, even from the notoriously hard-to-please SF community.
Meanwhile, a handful of NIMBYs in Burton-On-Trent protested against a mosque from being built and got this very English response from locals.
The USA gets a rough ride about its isolationism in the rest of the world, but this year the US Supreme Court made good on its narrow but total victory for same-sex marriage. And we all celebrated with them.
I posted a record number of blog entries, from explaining the Greek debt to the history of bad writing to festivals and gender balance, despite working on three novels and doing a fair bit of travelling. I was able to do this thanks to readers’ continuing comments firing my enthusiasm and determination to keep running a properly interactive website.
And so we head for 2016, and I’ll be running another competition wherein you can win signed first editions of Bryant & May books.