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He should live and sleep in front of a mirror.

Rose Callaha photographs the colorful and intricate styles of the modern Dandy.
posted by The Whelk on Sep 5, 2014 - 78 comments

"Eating and walking is a false economy, time-wise"

How to eat: burritos
"It may be categorised as 'street food', but eating a burrito while walking is hazardous. We've all been there: you take a bite from one side of the burrito, which leaves a quivering 'lip' of rice-loaded tortilla on the other, and, like a slow-motion shot in the world's most boring action film, it falls to the ground or down your shirt, before you can whip your head down and around to snaffle it to safety. Then there is the issue of leakage from the bottom of a too-loosely-twisted foil wrap, and also the delicate procedure of prising that, by now sopping wet, last mouthful from the final cup of foil – itself now overflowing with juices – and transferring it to your mouth without any spillage. It's a task that requires focus and concentration. You walk with a burrito once, twice maybe, before you either a) get knocked-down on a busy road or b) realise – standing outside the pub trying to wipe meat juices off your trainers with an old tissue – that eating and walking is a false economy, time-wise.
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Sep 2, 2014 - 96 comments

AM/FM - the story of London's pirate radio stations

AM/FM - the story of London's pirate radio stations [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by aniola on Aug 30, 2014 - 2 comments

A hard stare from a public bench bear

"London has become a literary playground: a project by the National Literacy Trust has scattered 50 book-shaped benches across the capital for the whole summer, each dedicated to an iconic London-related author or character." (The Guardian). The BBC report about the literary benches; the full list of benches from the Books about Town website. CNN has a slideshow that includes a nice photo of the Paddington Bear bench in use.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 25, 2014 - 11 comments

The gods are trying to tell the truth but the truth is hard to say

Brand New Ancients is a spoken word performance (review) by poet, singer and playwright Kate Tempest that won the Ted Hughes Award For New Poetry in 2012. Early this year, to coincide with a wider tour of the show, Kate Tempest and the Battersea Arts Centre produced three short films based on the performance. One. Two. Three (trigger warning, as this one is terrifying).
posted by dng on Jul 9, 2014 - 4 comments

The modern Mike Mulligan

The challenge of adding new subterranean floors to London houses has become a highly lucrative business. The difficulty is in getting the digger out again. To construct a no-expense-spared new basement, the digger has to go so deep into the London earth that it is unable to drive out again. What could be done?
posted by Chrysostom on Jun 5, 2014 - 80 comments

“The City is the equivalent of Venice in the middle ages,”

An outsiders guide to the City of London.
Also of interest from the Guardian is the Joris Luyendijk banking blog which includes a ten best quotes from financial insiders and a helpful guide for novices.
posted by adamvasco on May 30, 2014 - 5 comments

15 potential headquarters for the Illuminati: theories and conspiracies

The Complex City Guide has a bit of information on 15 possible headquarters for the Illuminati, but it's a slideshow with limited information, and there's a lot of information out there, so let's get into it. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 26, 2014 - 74 comments

Real Estate Goes Global

We’re all familiar with the stories of Russian oligarchs buying up mansions in London, but this is a much broader phenomenon. A torrent of capital from wealthy people in emerging markets—from China, above all, but also from Latin America, Russia, and the Middle East—has flowed into the real-estate markets of big cities in other countries, driving up prices and causing a luxury-construction boom. ... The globalization of real estate upends some of our basic assumptions about housing prices. We expect them to reflect local fundamentals—above all, how much people earn. In a truly global market, that may not be the case.
James Surowiecki writing in the New Yorker on the rise of a truly global market in real estate.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on May 25, 2014 - 87 comments

Grime Int'l: a few of the current grime musicians from around the world

Grime is an electronic music style that is largely regional, associated most strongly with the Bow/E3 district of London (prime example: Wiley - "Bow E3"), but in recent years, grime has grown in style and station, moving out from London and expanding to Canada, Australia, Japan and beyond. (NOTE: audio is likely to be NSFW to some degree) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 24, 2014 - 17 comments

The Evolution of London, mapped through its roadways

In seven minutes, you can see the evolution of London, as seen in its road network, from the Roman port city of Londonium through the Anglo-Saxon, Tudor, Stuart, Early Georgian and Late Georgian, Early Victorian and Late Victorian, Early 20th Century and Postwar London, set to the scale of the 600 square miles of modern London, though the original city core is a very dense square mile. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 10, 2014 - 15 comments

The poet who vanished

The poet Rosemary Tonks turned her back on the literary world in the mid-1970s, leaving behind her a handful of strange and brilliant poems and a small band of devoted admirers who longed to know what had happened to her. For forty years she disappeared completely, 'evaporated into air like the Cheshire Cat', as Brian Patten remarked in a 2009 BBC documentary, The Poet Who Vanished. Now, with news of her death at the age of 85, the story of her life is starting to emerge.
posted by verstegan on May 3, 2014 - 14 comments

Up the Clapham Junction

How a pop song described a certain place in a certain time, and how parts of the area were transformed from an industrial slum into a nightlife epicentre. Here's the radio version.

† 4 May 1979 - The Conservative Party wins the general election and Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Two weeks later Squeeze releases their single Up the Junction.
posted by sidra on Apr 13, 2014 - 18 comments

Cool London is dead, proclaims the Telegraph

Alex Proud sets off an epic rant against the soul death of the capital.
posted by Diablevert on Apr 10, 2014 - 60 comments

Decaying London properties of the rich, and otherwise.

In 2013, 85% of new houses in London were sold to non-UK buyers. Many stand empty and decaying, held as investments instead of homes. On the other end of the scale, desperate renters turn to leaking barges on the Thames.
posted by bitmage on Apr 6, 2014 - 102 comments

Street Typography

In a remarkably satisfying video, London city workers painting street lines, show off some excellent freehand typographic craftsmanship. [va]
posted by quin on Apr 2, 2014 - 45 comments

Street life in the Great Wen

If you don't like Marcellus Laroon's pictures of London street life in the late 1600s, perhaps Thomas Rowlandson's "Characteristic Sketches of the Lower Orders" from 1820 are more to your liking. Moving up in society, take a look at what the fat cat bankers of 1824 wore, courtesy of Richard Dighton and contrast them with the costumes of the lower orders as depicted by T. L. Busby in the same year. All found at the Spitalfields Life blog, which has an uncanny knack for finding these extraordinary depictions of London street life in previous centuries.
posted by MartinWisse on Mar 30, 2014 - 11 comments

London Calling

Britain will betray the United States and Ukraine to keep laundering dirty Russian money. "The city has changed. The buses are still dirty, the people are still passive-aggressive, but something about London has changed. You can see signs of it everywhere. The townhouses in the capital’s poshest districts are empty; they have been sold to Russian oligarchs and Qatari princes."
posted by four panels on Mar 8, 2014 - 67 comments

From the... erm... more than 5 boroughs.

Who is each borough of London's best selling music act? [more inside]
posted by panaceanot on Mar 6, 2014 - 29 comments

DevArt

DevArt: An exhibition of art created with code - skywriting quadcopter drones programmed with c++, room dividers reimagined as 3D screens for psychedelic projections, using raspberry pi to rename WiFi networks as lines of poetry. They are collaborating with the Barbican in London for the Digital Revolution exhibition and are currently seeking an emerging creative coder to be funded to present at the exhibition alongside world-class interactive artists Zach Lieberman, Karsten Schmidt, and the duo of Varvara Guljajeva & Mar Canet.
posted by divabat on Feb 6, 2014 - 2 comments

The Light that will Be

After Michael Mann set out to direct Collateral, the story’s setting moved from New York to Los Angeles. This decision was in part motivated by the unique visual presence of the city — especially the way it looked at night. Mann shot a majority of the film in HD (this was 2004), feeling the format better captured the city’s night lighting. Even the film’s protagonist taxi needed a custom coat to pick up different sheens depending on the type of artificial lighting the cab passed beneath. That city, at least as it appears in Collateral and countless other films, will never be the same again. L.A. has made a vast change-over to LED street lights, with New York City not far behind. Why Hollywood Will Never Look the Same Again on Film: LEDs Hit the Streets of LA & NY
posted by timshel on Feb 3, 2014 - 71 comments

Inside "Billionaires' Row": London's rotting derelict mansions.

Homes are on the market for up to £65m but there are also 16 unoccupied mansions. More still are only used by their owners for short periods each year. Most of the properties on the most expensive part of the street are registered to companies in tax havens including the British Virgin Islands, Curacao, the Bahamas, Panama, and the Channel Islands, allowing international owners to avoid paying stamp duty on the purchase and to remain anonymous.
posted by Kitteh on Jan 31, 2014 - 64 comments

Jubilee Tube line ticket barrier sings Blur's 'Song 2'

Does exactly what it says in the title. Enjoy.
posted by Faintdreams on Jan 29, 2014 - 16 comments

Embedded with London

Embedded with London Cara Ellison writes about some of the game developers (like George Buckenham, Alice O'Connor, Ed Key) involved with the Wild Rumpus, an indie game nightime event. This is a part of her ongoing independent embedded videogame reporting.
posted by zabuni on Jan 29, 2014 - 2 comments

Hello, my name is David Lynch. And Burroughs. And Warhol.

David Lynch is back, and he's showing new fantastic photography at la Maison Européenne de Photographie: "Small Stories". (European House of Photography). This, in case you're in Paris, from Jan 15th to March 16th. But if you're in London, from Jan 17th to March 30th, you can see at The Photographers Gallery: David Lynch "The Factory Photographs"; William S. Burroughs "Taking Shots" and Andy Warhol with his Photographs from 1976 to 1987.
posted by gbenard on Jan 17, 2014 - 4 comments

Ghost Stations of the Tube

The allure of abandoned Tube stations. The eerie empty platforms and booking offices have enthralled photographers. The worlds oldest undeground metro sytem has more than its fair share of abandoned and unopens stations all over the network (abandoned stations, Brompton Road and Kingsway previously). [more inside]
posted by Z303 on Jan 3, 2014 - 16 comments

Don't Sweat The Technique

The most amazing six-year-old breakdancer you will ever see. Happy New Year!
posted by jason's_planet on Dec 31, 2013 - 22 comments

American Recipe

You may not know his name but you will certainly know his work: Morris Cassanova (aka Mr Chicken) designs and makes signs for most of the fried chicken shops in the UK. Meet Mr. Chicken
posted by timshel on Dec 29, 2013 - 31 comments

The great ship J.P. Morgan...

Twenty-three lush, splendid photos of the fog that enveloped London yesterday.
posted by Mistress on Dec 12, 2013 - 17 comments

Furtherfield's 17 years of oppositional agency

For over 17 years Furtherfield gallery, London, has been working in practices that bridge arts, technology, and social change. As its physical and online territories expand to include a new 'Commons' lab space curator, director and critic Marc Garrett reflects on the gallery's rich history, arguing that art from beyond the mainstream exhibits an ever burgeoning oppositional agency. [prev-iously]
posted by 0bvious on Dec 5, 2013 - 1 comment

Slavery In The UK

"Detectives investigating the case of three women allegedly held as slaves for 30 years in south London have uncovered a "complicated and disturbing picture of emotional control". Last month officers were contacted by Freedom Charity after it received a call from a woman saying she had been held against her will for decades. A Malaysian woman, 69, an Irish woman, 57, and a British woman, 30, were rescued from the house on 25 October. A 67-year-old man and woman were held in Lambeth and bailed until January." More details on the BBC here.
posted by marienbad on Nov 22, 2013 - 41 comments

Don't ruin that Bogart story with inconvenient facts

A parakeet infestation that started when Humphrey Bogart left the door to the set of The African Queen open, pigeons taking the Tube, foxes learning to sit pretty for sausages, a colony of pigeon eating pelicans gifted by a Russian ambassador in 1664 and underwater warfare between rival gangs of invasive crayfish species are just some of the miracles found in the unnatural history of London's wildlife.
posted by MartinWisse on Nov 21, 2013 - 12 comments

Railway to Heaven: A Church Crawl Via Tube

"This year of grace, 2013, sees the 150th anniversary of the London Underground Railway (tube). In honour of this occasion, we thought we would give you a little church crawl around the circle line...Over the coming weeks we will take you around each station on the Circular line and show you not only the station, but also a church and a place of interest, so that those of you who are impeded by distance or other reasons from seeing the delights that central London has to offer in the flesh may not be bereft of some of the experience." The Watts Church Crawl. [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes on Nov 16, 2013 - 2 comments

Londyńczycy

From Eastern Europe to the East End
posted by Thing on Nov 14, 2013 - 11 comments

You want the beat?

Tim Derbyshire, owner of London's On the Beat Records, has put his entire store up for bid on eBay. Says the NYT: "[Derbyshire] has decided to retire but would prefer not to just pack up and go. Nor is he keen on having an everything-must-go sale. His preference is to leave the shop as it is, with its stock of singles, albums, posters and 1960s through 1980s memorabilia intact, and turn over the keys to a record fanatic who will run it more or less as he has, since the late 1970s." The buy-it-now price is £300,000.
posted by Clustercuss on Nov 14, 2013 - 12 comments

I refuse to make a single "gates" or "Flashdance" pun in this title

Bob Dylan is a welder and he makes big iron gates out of scrap metal. You can see for yourself at Castle Gallery in London for the next couple of months. Says Bob: "Gates appeal to me because of the negative space they allow. They can be closed but at the same time they allow the seasons and breezes to enter and flow. They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways there is no difference."
posted by maudlin on Nov 14, 2013 - 48 comments

Meet the Somalis

Meet the Somalis is a series of short comics depicting the various experiences of fourteen Somali immigrants in cities across northern Europe.
posted by Dim Siawns on Nov 12, 2013 - 21 comments

A Bittersweet Love Letter to the [London] Suburbs

"Perhaps, in some way, the suburbs encapsulate the British identity in a way that the cities don't any more – small dramas playing out beyond the stations without barriers, rather than the heavily policed, heavily funded bourgeois ghettos of the inner cities."
posted by mippy on Nov 8, 2013 - 11 comments

London Pigeons; a ten year study

A website by Luke Taylor has all you ever needed to know about the London pigeon.
posted by 0 answers on Nov 6, 2013 - 25 comments

“I’d say it was a pretty solid year."

Yesterday, Tatyana McFadden, a ten-time Paralympic track medalist, became the first athlete in history to win the "Grand Slam" of marathon racing, having won the 2013 women's wheelchair athlete divisions in Boston, London, Chicago and now New York. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Nov 4, 2013 - 8 comments

Guidebooks for Time Travelers

Numerous "Stranger's Guides" written for 19th Century tourists can be found on the Internet Archive. A sample: New York (1828). Boston (1857). Washington DC (1884). Montreal (1872). London (1828). Paris (1822). United States and Canada (1838).
posted by ShooBoo on Nov 1, 2013 - 16 comments

A = Ayn, B = Britain, C = Cameron, D = Doh!

Ayn Rand: More Relevant Now than Ever
The speaker was the CEO of Saxo Bank, Lars Seier Christensen. As the head of an investment bank based in socialist Denmark, Christensen is particularly enraged by high taxation, social welfare and banking regulation. "The world is on the wrong track," he told us. "A malady that has long beset Europe is currently spreading to the US". Apparently we are experiencing a "socialist revival" to which "Ayn Rand is the only answer".

posted by urbanwhaleshark on Nov 1, 2013 - 123 comments

Welcome to Offal Pudding Lane

Take a fly-through tour of 17th century London! Six students from De Montfort University have created a 3D representation of London before the Great of Fire of 1666. The digital model is based on the area surrounding Thomas Farriner's bakery in Pudding Lane, where the Great Fire began. The project is the winning entry in the Off The Map competition, in which students were invited to build 3D models based on maps at the British Library.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED on Oct 27, 2013 - 40 comments

Not fancy like Levittown

Ellen Greene sings Somewhere That's Green for Little Shop Of Horrors in 1983 in London
posted by The Whelk on Oct 15, 2013 - 50 comments

London's Great Exodus.

Now it is beginning to feel that the next phase of London’s history will be one of transience, with no allegiance to the city. (slNYT)
posted by Kitteh on Oct 13, 2013 - 75 comments

Ten UK album cover locations

Bob Egan identifies the locations of ten UK album covers [more inside]
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Oct 9, 2013 - 31 comments

This Sceptred Isle

Crap Towns Returns... and the winner is London! (Ugliest? Hemel Hempstead)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 5, 2013 - 32 comments

Like your Mother used to make

"It's about coming together as a local community and sharing the fruits of your labour, your creation." In what has been described as a peer-to-peer community marketplace, people are connecting online with local cooks, who provide them with a meal for less than they would be likely to pay anywhere else. In Athens, the price is usually between three and four euros (£2.50 to £3.40). [more inside]
posted by arcticseal on Sep 23, 2013 - 28 comments

Employment Unlocked!

Zero Hours - For a workshop on future London, Arup, Social Life, Re.Work, Commonplace, Tim Maughan and Nesta created 10 Future Londoners for the year 2023. This one describes the working day of 19 year old Nicki, a zero hours retail contractor.
posted by The Whelk on Sep 19, 2013 - 21 comments

Some of them cry a bit. Then they go home.

As the sun sinks slowly into Mayfair and the stars come out over Centre Point, the funster’s thoughts turn inexorably towards the bright lights and rundown neon of that square half-mile known as Soho, sin city nestling like a soiled Kleenex in the bosom of our great metropolis Soho 1983: A Girl's Guide To Peep Shows, Topless Bars & Nude Encounters
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Sep 19, 2013 - 5 comments

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