Tag Archives | London

Bombing London With Poetry

This past June, the Chilean arts group Los Casagrande dropped more than 100,000 poems, printed on scraps of paper, from a helicopter above central London in a performance titled the Bombing of Poems. They have done the same in Warsaw, Berlin, and Santiago -- all cities which have been bombed during wartime. Local government approved of the Bombing of Poems as a jubilant spectacle anticipating the pomp of the Olympic festivities to come, but the stunt's meaning may be more ambiguous. Was the poetry drop an emergency measure in an era in which funding the arts has been deemed no longer possible, and the metropolis is dominated by finance? Is it a commentary on the blanketing of the city with propaganda?
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Ninjas Attack Talkers & Texters In Movie Theater

Somehow I don’t think this concept is going to play well in Colorado, but apparently in London it’s acceptable. Via SlashFilm:

The Prince Charles Cinema is said to be employing volunteer “ninjas” to regulate good behavior among the audience. The term “ninja” is being used loosely here — they’re really more like glorified ushers in black skintight bodysuits — but whatever you want to call them, it’s certainly an interesting way to keep the peace. More afer the jump.

The so-called ninjas are ordinary cinephiles who agree to “guard” screenings in exchange for free admission. When they spot a patron talking, texting, throwing popcorn, kicking seats, or otherwise engaging in rude behavior, they swoop down to give the jerk in question a talking-to. One of the program’s recent targets, moviegoer Abdul Stagg, recounted his experience:

I normally hate noisy people in cinemas, but I got a call from my friend just as the movie started and thought I could get away with taking it.

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Mole Man’s Lair In London Sold For £1.12 Million

It has popularly been attributed to insanity, but building a subterranean network of tunnels underneath the middle of London is quite an achievement. No word on whether the new owner of ‘Mole Man’ William Lyttle’s house will be able to access the web of underground passageways. Via the BBC:

The home of a man who dug a labyrinth of tunnels under his property in east London over a period of 40 years has been sold for £1.12m.

William Lyttle, 79, who earned the nickname Mole Man, had made tunnels up to 60ft (18.2m) long under the 20-room house in Mortimer Road, Hackney. He was evicted in 2006 and rehoused in a flat, where he died in June 2010. Hackney Council discovered the network of tunnels under the house, which originally belonged to Mr Lyttle’s parents.

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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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