Wednesday, July 06, 2005

London 2012 - 12 Major Infrastructure Projects That Get The Go-Ahead

1. The de-gritting of Jacques Chirac's teeth

2. In order to handle overwhelming strain on the Tube and rail networks, £2.3bn is to be spent to make absolutely sure that all the "network status" whiteboard have the swanky velcro stick-on "serious delays" notifiers; otherwise railway staff risk RSI writing it in with marker pen each time

3. Money to be poured into American and Japanese tour operators' computer systems to handle the bookings for trips to Stratford-upon-Avon for "Shakespeare's Olympickes"

4. 145,000 estate agents have been mobilised in a four-mile radius around Stratford to add a zero to every house price they can find

5. National programme of elocution lessons to get under way: "It's Plarrrr-stow. Plarrrr-stow."

6. Chinese initiate bid campaigns for 2016 Shanghai games, 2020 Hong Kong Games, 2024 Taipei Games and 2028 Los Angeles Games

7. Operation Englandland Freedom, which will restore democracy to the United Kingdom and the IOC, as well as restoring the Olympics to New York

8. Lord Coe to be encased in bronze, mounted atop Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth

9. A £14.8m programme to remove 8 million "Back The Bid!" stickers from a variety of locations, including Tube trains, street lamps, taxis, bridges, Kelly Holmes, and the back of Jacques Chirac's jacket

10. Evening Standard typesetters begin work on the first "OLYMPIC STADIUM CHAOS" billboard

11. An international summit of 34,000 proofreaders, sub-editors and fact-checkers to meet in Tokyo in order to settle the ancient question: "Lea Valley" or "Lee Valley"?

12. £18.1m to be spent removing the grin from this Londoner's face. CONGRATULATIONS EVERYONE!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

A Note of Explanation

Apologies for the lack of posts of late - my home network has been out for more than a week. The connection has been restored this weekend - I will get to work clearing the backlog soon.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

A Monopoly on Meddling

The Times has reported - such fine words to begin a post - that game manufacturer Parker Bros has decided, for some reason, to ruin "update" its game "Monopoly" to reflect the modern capital. Quite why is beyond me - the capital still has railways stations, waterworks and the Old Kent Road, thank heavens - but TiL has obtained a full list of the proposed new "Community Chest" cards. ("Community Chest" itself is to be renamed "Jordan").

The new cards:

"You buy the Evening Standard. Do not pass page 3 as you throw it down in disgust at some story with zero news content about a dim model of whom you have never heard. Do not collect tokens, fail to win luxury flat."

"Make general repairs to your railway stations. It should be pointed out that you should have done this 21 months ago, before the tragic derailment. Do not, for some reason, go to jail."

"You have come second in a foreign beauty contest run by the player to your left, who is son of the former Nigerian finance minister. To claim, call 090-6764894-387774. Give him all your money."

"Spare travelcard. Keep this until needed. However, upon landing on any station, you must be pursued around the room by the other players, hassling you for it."

"Interest rates fall to historic low. The price of those little green houses will now increase 20% each turn forever. The increasing price of the little green houses must now be the only topic of conversation around the board. Sell your soul to the player being 'bank'."

"Advance to Leicester Square. You buy three beers. That will be £14."

"You owe council tax. However, you are a Hackney resident, so we're not that bothered about it."

But new Jordan cards are not where the madness ends. The player pieces are also to be updated, and new rules will affect them. The new pieces are:

Bendy-bus: this piece occupies two consecutive squares.

Suburban assault vehicle on school run: No one can pass this range rover on steroids.

Pigeon: may not land on Trafalgar Square.

Black cab: will not go south of the river, which on the Monopoly board applies only to the Old Kent Road.

So there you go. The new additions to the healthy boardgame of home Rachmanism.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Let's Go Duchy

A note about the Duchy of Lancaster: When a Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster finishes his or her term, the role is passed to the person sitting to their left in parliament. This is the origin of the term “pass the Duchy on the left-hand side”.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Spaghetti Easterns

Just as Hollywood gave the world the "Western" - in which men were men, horses were horses, and bar doors were too small for their frames - London's film industry has, over the years, built an inspiring canon of "Easterns", in which men are men, eels are jellied and lights are struck. Here are the top 20 titles worth investing in:

High Newham - it's wrong to make sweeping generalisations, but this archetypal "Eastern" knocks all other films, and all other works of art, to shit.

Erithnophobia - In which a man struggles to overcome his fear that the Dartford hinterland is infested with venomous spiders. In an interesting twist, he dies after being bitten by a shopkeeper (played by Danny DeVito).

Full Metal Stratford - arguably Stanley Kubrick's finest film set in Stratford shopping centre. It has two main section, the first set in a shoe shop, and the second in a branch of Banana Republic.

Bridge over the River Lee - The Lea Valley Navigation, considered impassable until the 1950s, has long been a target for adventurers, treasure-hunters and lover of mystery. What lies on the enigmatic "west bank"? Why does it have two spellings? Where does it lead? Where will it all end? This classic film, starring David Niven, Larence Olivier, Harold Macmillan, and Blakey off On The Buses, charts the Second World War attempt to bridge the Lee and end the Japanese army's occupation of Blackwall. The scenes of the devastation and human suffering caused by the war are truly moving. Some have said it was a mistake to make the film a musical, but history will vindicate it.

The Magnificient Seven Kings - a remake of the Russian film the Seven Samovars, this oddity is about tea-making techniques in Seven Kings. Seven Kings was the first area to put the milk in the cup first and then add the tea; this deluded heresy has since spread nationwide despite intense persecution and at least one war.

Apocalypse Bow - the film of the epic struggle by the Bow branch of the Rotary Club to open a day centre for the elderly. The famous battle scene - in which a squadron of Rotarians in electrified scooters descends on a council planning officer as The Ride of the Valkyries blares, is rightly considered a masterpiece, but wrongly considered to be actually in the film.

Singin' in the Rainham - in which there is singing. In Rainham. In the rain. "There was not a dry eye in the house," wrote Precipitation Week, "as the cinema's sprinkler system unexpectedly engaged halfway through our screening."

The Isle of Dogville - Lars von Thesummerwine's towering classic about Millwall Football Club's battle to avoid relegation. Set on the Isle of Dogs, the production faced near-insurmountable problems if you consider the fact MFC is now based in New Cross.

Epping Forest Gump - in which a slow-witted but charming simpleton decides, for some reason, to make a film about Epping Forest. Holds the accolade for being the only film in history that couldn't sell more than seven tickets to its own premiere.

9 1/2 Minutes - this steamy romance is set entirely in the intervals between trains on the Beckton branch of the DLR. A curiosity about this film is that parts of it eerily synchronise with parts of the first series of The Clangers, if watched simultaneously.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Portuguese State Circus and the Blackwall Tunnel

This isn't Londoner "Gumball" writes:

Designed by Sir Alexander Binnie and constructed by S.Pearson & Sons at a cost of £1.4 million, the first bore of the Blackwall Tunnel was opened by the Prince of Wales on the 22nd May 1897. Present at the inauguration ceremony, at the request of the then Mayor of London Lt .Col Horatio Davies, was the world renowned Portuguese State Circus and Travelling Freak Show.

As a symbol of the grand design and innovative construction that went into producing the new tunnel under the River Thames the Lord Mayor thought it would be fitting to request that the Portuguese Circus’s biggest and most loved act, the famous gentle giant Juan Leap should lead the procession through the tunnel. Although Juan could speak no English he gestured that he would be honoured to lead the procession.

As the procession set off Sir Alexander Binnie was approached by William Forman, a young reporter from the London Times newspaper who, fearful of the thought of actually going under the River Thames nervously enquired ;
“How long exactly is the tunnel?” to which Sir Alexander replied

“Forman, its one small step for Juan Leap, a kind giant man.”

It was at this point that tragedy struck. Unknown to all was the fact that Juan was taller than the tunnel opening. No sooner had the procession started than it was ground to a halt as the giant became stuck in the tunnel mouth. Confusion turned to panic as the crowds at the back pushed forwards, not knowing that their way was blocked. It was reported later in the London Times that it took almost 40 minutes to clear the road. Unfortunately Juan Leap later died from the head injuries he sustained as a result of walking into the commemorative plaque that was hanging over the tunnel mouth. Nobody else was seriously hurt in the incident but a valuable lesson was learnt, in that some form of height restriction would be necessary to prevent any future accidents of the same nature.

This incident is still celebrated to this day by the Portuguese who, at irregular intervals (usually during morning rush hour) will ignore all the posted warnings and attempt to send an over-height lorry driven by a man chosen for his complete ignorance of the English Language through the Blackwall Tunnel in honour of their beloved gentle giant Juan Leap. The historic relevance of this act however seems to be lost to the drivers of the vehicles behind him.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Filter Skelter

Happy new year, everyone. A short post to get started.

It's a common saying that "all of London's drinking water has passed through seven other Londoners", because of the filtration system. Unlike most London sayings, this one is true. Those seven Londoners are Gary Spelman of Dollis Hill, Mark Phipps of Bow, Tom Zbigniew of Tottenham, Ethel Merman (no relation) of Charlton, Kenneth Frogmore of Borough, Connie Openshaw of Clapton and Vince "The Pincer" Magruder of Haggerston.