Observatory

The Portable Office

A new survey has revealed that on average Londoners carry £3,000 worth of gadgetry in their bags to work, including laptops, mobiles, car radio faceplates, music players, portable games consoles, Satnavs, Blackberrys etc. No mention of a book, but there’s always an eReader to contend with – except that so far commuters seem resistant to […]

What Makes A Londoner Part 2

Here are a few more London test questions, to add to the growing reader lists on the earlier post. You know you’re a real Londoner when; 1. You know what the photo shows and where it is. 2. You know about the parking space on the South side of Waterloo Bridge that’s always free because […]

London Quiz Number 2:

You’re going to hate me for this one. Does anyone know why there are almost twice as many London pub names starting with a ‘B’ or a ‘C’ than any other letter of the alphabet?

What Makes A Londoner?

It’s one of those questions that come up on pub evenings: Are Londoners born or raised? Heredity has lost out over environment. It’s not who your parents are but how you live, and London is working proof. After a period of living here, residents quickly adopt London habits. Being able to tick any three of […]

Nothing Under The Bonnet

The BBC’s viewing figures for a lavish new production of Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ managed a pathetic 3.5 million, despite high quality production values and a cast that includes my old pal the ever-excellent Jonny Lee Miller as Mr Knightly. Of course this is the four millionth Austen production turned out in the last five years […]

The Vicar & Tina Turner

A very English story, this. The vicar of St Barnabus’ Church, Tunbridge Wells, is sick of officiating at cremations (or ‘crems’ as he calls them) and having to listen to mum’s doggerel poetry read over Tina Turner songs instead of a requiem mass. He feels his presence at a funeral where someone plays ‘Candle In […]

Jan Moir Hate Article Inspires Record Complaints

‘Fast, free, fair’ reads the logo of the Press Complaints Commission, to which we should probably add ‘And f**king Useless’. After the PCC received a record 21,000 complaints about bigoted old bag Jan Moir’s pre-burial attack on singer Stephen Gately, which managed to suggest that his civil partnership was somehow the cause of his death, […]

Season of Fire

Three colourful events on top of each other, Diwali (from the Sanskrit meaning a row of lamps), Hallowe’en, meaning manufactured event to sell orange-and-black plastic rubbish to children who – in London at least – don’t actually trick or treat anyone – and Guy Fawkes Night. Diwali seemed low-key this year, with fewer firework displays […]

Nothing Natural About Jan Moir

For years we’ve conveniently turned a blind eye when the Daily Mail publishes hate articles on subjects it thinks its dim suburban readers want to read (I certainly have, having had interviews published by them). So it’s good to see that Jan Moir, who penned an unforgivably disgusting piece on singer Stephen Gately’s untimely demise […]

One Is Highly Amused

The great thing about the theatre is you get in cheap if you’re a pensioner. So when an elderly couple shuffled in late to a production of ‘War Horse’ at the National this week, squeezing past the seated with polite apologies, nobody turned a blind eye. It turned out that the Queen and Prince Phillip […]