Tag Archives | London

Hundreds Of Olympic ‘Branding Police’ Begin Patrolling Britain Today

The previously discussed purple-uniformed brand police have hit the streets, and will fine or jail those who violate the specially-legislated “rights” of companies which are official Olympic sponsors. The Independent writes:

Hundreds of uniformed Olympics officers will begin touring the country today enforcing sponsors’ multimillion-pound marketing deals. Wearing purple caps and tops… checking firms to ensure they are not staging “ambush marketing” or illegally associating themselves with the Games at the expense of official sponsors such as Adidas, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and BP.

[Drinking establishments] have been advised that blackboards advertising live TV coverage must not refer to beer brands or brewers without an Olympics deal, while caterers and restaurateurs have been told not to advertise dishes that could be construed as having an association with the event. At the 40 Olympics venues, 800 retailers have been banned from serving chips to avoid infringing fast-food rights secured by McDonald’s.

Marina Palomba, for the McCann Worldgroup agency in London, described the rules as “the most draconian law in advance of an Olympic Games ever”.

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Queen Rat: Victorian London’s Sewer Succubus

Toshers were scavengers who explored the vast, ancient sewers of Victorian London in search of lost coins and salvage, but even greater rewards awaited those fortunate enough to encounter the legendary Queen Rat. As Mike Dash of Smithsonian Magazine reports:

…A second myth, far more eagerly believed, told of the existence (Jacqueline Simpson and Jennifer Westwood record) “of a mysterious, luck-bringing Queen Rat”:

This was a supernatural creature whose true appearance was that of a rat; she would follow the toshers about, invisibly, as they worked, and when she saw one that she fancied she would turn into a sexy-looking woman and accost him. If he gave her a night to remember, she would give him luck in his work; he would be sure to find plenty of money and valuables. He would not necessarily guess who she was, for though the Queen Rat did have certain peculiarities in her human form (her eyes reflected light like an animal’s, and she had claws on her toes), he probably would not notice them while making love in some dark corner.

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7/7 Conspiracy Theories and Connecting the Dots

Ellywa (CC)

If the London terrorist attacks of 7 July 2005 have not obsessed conspiracy theorists to the extent of the American 9/11 attacks, they have still been fertile ground. A summary of sorts is provided by Tom Secker at the Centre for Research on Globalization:

We are on the eve of the 7th anniversary of the 7/7 terrorist attacks in which 56 people, including the alleged culprits, were killed. In that time, numerous theories have been put forward as to what really happened and who was truly responsible. The official theory, that four young British Muslim men radicalised each other into a fanatic religious rage that they chose to express through the medium of suicide bombing, is perhaps the best known. It is, naturally, a conspiracy theory, though because it is officially sanctioned it does not tend to get given its true name. It claims that the four men conspired, with malice aforethought, to murder over 50 people.

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Britain To Install Missiles In Apartment Complexes For London Olympics

London 2012More 2012 Olympics dystopianism as a dense East London neighborhood will be turned into a military base, in the name of pole-vaulting. Robert Booth writes in the Guardian:

The Bow Quarter complex of more than 700 apartments is the first of a handful of housing developments close to the Olympic Park chosen by military planners to host high velocity rockets aimed at preventing an airborne terrorist attack on this summer’s Games.

Ministry of Defence officials will this week inform a number of other residents that their homes have been selected to become part of London’s military lockdown. The missile units will be installed and armed with dummy rockets in time for a national Olympic security exercise starting on Wednesday. The test of the government’s £1bn security plans will see RAF Typhoon fast jets and military helicopters operating above London and the home counties.

“It is rather surreal,” said Nathan Lewis, a software developer who lives in the block beneath where the weapons will be located.

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Animal Rights Protester Agrees To Be Tortured

783784-nPerformance art with an undertone of torture seems to be big right now — so at least it’s being put to good use in an animal rights protest shocking passersby in central London. The Herald Sun writes:

A young woman agreed to be tortured in full public view to try and end animal testing. Jacqueline Traide endured ten hours of injections, being smothered in different lotions, and irritants being squirted into her eyes as part of a world-wide campaign by Lush and The Humane Society International.

The stunt took place in a Lush store window on London’s Regent Street, one of the UK’s busiest shopping precincts. Passers-by were stunned by the display, with many stopping to take photos and record the gruesome spectacle with their phones.

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Ikea Is Building Its Own City

ikeaIf you’ve ever lingered in a display at an Ikea store, wishing you could remain there forever, now is your lucky day. The Globe and Mail reports:

The Swedes now want to place you and 6,000 neighbours into a neglected corner of your city, design an entire urban world around you, and Ikea-ize your lives. Ikea’s city-building ambition is in a triangle of post-industrial wasteland in the far reaches of East London. Their vision is to turn this grey netherworld into a tightly packed neighbourhood they’ll call Strand East.

This will be an all-rental private neighbourhood, run and overseen by a private company. And here is where living in an Ikea neighbourhood might come to resemble a long day in an Ikea store: The company wants you to be in a neat, clean, pleasant environment. And it very much wants you to have fun. Those things that normally just happen in life will be carefully managed from above.

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Phone Snooping ‘Prevented Riots’

Photo: Riemer Palstra (CC)

Photo: Riemer Palstra (CC)

To tweet or not tweet where you’re rioting next? One option was to shut down social networks so that rioters couldn’t mass communicate. The other option was to allow them to tweet and text, then read their messages to find out what they’re planning next. The latter was able to prevent attacks on the Olympic site and London’s Oxford Street. BBC reports:

Police say they prevented attacks by rioters on the Olympic site and London’s Oxford Street after picking up intelligence on social networks.

Assistant Met Police Commissioner Lynne Owens told a committee of MPs officers learned of possible trouble via Twitter and Blackberry messenger.

But Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin said he had considered asking authorities to switch off social networks.

He said they provided intelligence but could also be misleading.

A number of politicians, media commentators and members of the police force have suggested that Twitter and Blackberry Messenger (BBM) had a role to play in the riots.

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London Riot Fire Destroys Warehouse Containing 150 Indie Record Labels’ Inventory

piasukA creative tragedy of immense proportions in London, as a fire has wiped out a massive distribution warehouse that housed the physical stock of most of the U.K.’s seminal independent music labels. Some of the labels will cease to exist, and some may have lost their entire back catalogs of vinyl. Via Pitchfork:

A Sony distribution warehouse in North London was burned to the ground around during the third night of riots in the UK, as the BBC reports. The 200,000 square-foot center housed the entire inventory of PIAS UK, the primary distribution hub for more than 150 independent labels.

No injuries were reported in the blaze, but all inventory is feared lost. XL/Beggars, Warp, Rough Trade, Domino, 4AD, Sub Pop, Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, Drag City, Thrill Jockey, FatCat, Kompakt, Mute, Ninja Tune, Vice, and Soul Jazz are among those affected.

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London’s Burning

#tottenham its the polices fault ! The systems Corrupt! Then ... on TwitpicClick through to this breaking story from the Daily Mail for some scenes reminiscent of the ’70s and ’80s that inspired the Clash to write their classic London’s Burning:

Police came under attack from petrol bombs hurled by rioting mobs in North London last night as hundreds took to the streets following the shooting of a man by Scotland Yard marksmen.

Patrol cars, a shop and a double-decker bus were set ablaze and there were reports of looting amid scenes reminiscent of the violent unrest in the same area 26 years ago when PC Keith Blakelock was hacked to death.

Last night the Tottenham area erupted once again as more than 100 officers and specialist riot police faced crowds of more than 500 people protesting about the death of Mark Duggan, who lived on the estate and was described last week by police sources as a ‘gangster’.

There was concern that the disturbances were fanned by Twitter, with some of those taking part posting inflammatory comments from the scene and calling for reinforcements.

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