London

London’s Most Useless Information No.2

Whenever someone comes up with a fun, original thing to do, it seems as if London passes a law against it. To be fair, with such an immense number of people crammed into small winding streets I can see why hoverboards were banned, but there was a time when 1970s nightclubs held rollerblade races around […]

London’s Most Useless Information No.1

I think we’ll have a new column. To kick it off, here’s where the idea came from ten years ago on this very site… So, an age-old mystery has at last been solved. Passengers on the London Underground always stand on the right and tut in annoyance when anyone does the opposite. An old film […]

The Last Tour Of King Tut

On Sunday morning I went to the Tutankhamun exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery, where the club-footed boy king is on a last world tour before heading off to the new purpose-built Giza Museum overcooking the Great Pyramid. There, its 150 artefacts will be reunited with the items that cannot leave Egypt, like his golden death mask […]

The Pageant Everyone Takes For Granted

Referenced in Pepys’s diaries, the Lord Mayor’s Show, London’s grand annual parade, just passed its 804th year. The procession kicked off at 11am from Mansion House with cadets, carriages, floats and bands moving through the streets. Over in Paternoster Square and St Paul’s there were funfairs, art installations and street theatre. The parade ended with […]

The Buildings We Don’t Discuss

We tend to ignore the things we don’t like. Whenever London is depicted in a tourism brochure, there are photographs of churches and palaces, guards and statues with nary a modern building in sight. A city is defined by its uniqueness, not by another anonymous glass box from Richard Rogers. The Hilton Hotel at Heathrow’s Terminal […]

The Hiding Of London

Buildings which were once open have now shuttered. Much of London has traditionally been hidden from view, but the city’s increasingly open-door policies have not made much more available for visitors see. There are a vast number of buildings to which no access is permitted, and sections remain under secure supervision thanks to the threat […]

The Death And Life Of A London Institution

In the 1960s new British writing flourished, especially in the theatre. Rising labour costs eventually forced up seat prices, which meant that theatre chains now need certain houses to stage sure-fire hits that will pay for new plays. As a consequence, great theatrical authors are now more in danger of being lost than most novelists. Plays […]

Tales Of The Cities

England has just come second (after Bhutan!) as the world’s best place to visit as voted by Lonely Planet, and their reasoning is strong. I’ve been feeling for a while that it’s time for me to explore the UK a bit more, not just on PAs. I gave up my car years ago, so I’ll […]

London In Autumn: Now The Fun Begins

Autumn in the countryside means the arrival of mud, the less enjoyable vegetables (turnips, anyone?) and the countryside’s only advantage, scenery, being obscured by freezing rain. Mercifully for Londoners it’s the start of the Season – sport, theatre, music, literature, all the arts burst into bloom from the Tate to the V&A, the West End […]

My Favourite London Art Installations

The challenge of filling the Tate Modern’s vast turbine hall has only been met with complete success a couple of times. many of the installations have looked lost in the space. Kara Walker’s giant ceramic fountain fits well inside the hall, but its meaning – something to do with slavery – is obscure and it’s […]