London’s A Liar
Regular readers will be aware of the respect I have for The Londonist, one of the capital’s most quirky (and relentlessly perky) sites, and one which will direct you deeper into the world of obscure specialist London websites, a wormhole from which you may never escape.
But it’s been bothering me for a while that those tour guides you see around talk…well, rubbish. In a moment that reminds me of the play ‘Lettuce & Lovage’, in which Maggie Smith plays a bored National Trust guide making shit up for tourists, I once heard a tour guide explaining that Sherlock Holmes was based on a real-life detective who lived in Baker Street, a doorway he proceeded to point out.
It’s down to the Londonist’s editor, Matt Brown, to set the record straight in ‘Everything You Know About London Is Wrong’. Now, we all know that Boudicca isn’t buried in King’s Cross Station (I have the Queen of the Iceni explain this herself in ‘Bryant & May: Strange Tide’) but, to quote the blurb on Matt’s book;
‘Think the tower that holds Big Ben is called St Stephen’s Tower? Think again – it was called the Clock Tower until 2012 when it was renamed the Elizabeth Tower. Think that the Union Flag flying over Buckingham Palace means the Queen is home? It means that she’s elsewhere, doing other Queenish things.’
Brown has picked through the facts and separated them from fictions. I haven’t read the book yet but it goes straight on my list of must-haves. It’s a tenner, in hardcover, out now.