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Privately Owned Public Spaces

When is a private space a public space? When it's a Privately Owned Public Space (POPS). In accordance with the planning codes of some cities, owners or builders of buildings are mandated to provide members of the general public access to spaces which include rooftop gardens, courtyards, and plazas. [more inside]
posted by larrybob on Aug 31, 2012 - 23 comments

"a clear and written threat that they could storm our embassy."

Following claims that Ecuador would accept Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's asylum application, Britain has threatened to raid the Ecuadorian embassy if Assange is not handed over.
Vans are gathered outside the London embassy, reports suggest British police have been seen entering the building. Live stream here.
posted by dunkadunc on Aug 15, 2012 - 1649 comments

Olympic Yarnbombing!

A Yarn of Olympic Proportions "Residents of Saltburn, in North Yorkshire, are scratching their heads today after a mysterious 'yarnbomber' wrapped the town's pier with a 50-yard scarf stretching out along the railings. The impressive garment features woollen athletes competing in various Olympic events, from synchronised swimmers to rowers and cyclists, and has delighted young and old alike as the town discusses the good yarn." [more inside]
posted by zizzle on Aug 13, 2012 - 40 comments

If there's a ticky, take your picky

Need to get tickets for Olympic events? You're out of luck going through the normal venues, but Ticket-Tooth Philip, the world's best scalper, has what you need. [SL Funny or Die]
posted by zombieflanders on Aug 9, 2012 - 9 comments

For the first time in Olympic history all the participating teams will have female athletes

The London Olympics has been billed as a notable step forward in gender equality. It is the first Olympics with female representation from all countries despite the many and several barriers to female sport participation that still exist in some countries (including developed ones). These Olympics have female boxers, female athletes from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Brunei and male medal bearers But despite Jacques Rogge's declaration in his opening ceremony speech, some are more equal than others. Australia and Japan are reviewing their athletes' travel arrangements after women were given second class tickets and there is a small, but growing campaign to see male synchronised swimming form part of the program (one of two sports, the other being rhythmic gymnastics, with no male competition). [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Aug 8, 2012 - 101 comments

All creatures great and small

Olympic athletes come in all shapes and sizes. The BBC's handy new app allows you to see which athlete you are the closest body match with. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Aug 3, 2012 - 109 comments

What's that golden thing in the sky?

London Mayor and favourite for next Tory leader Boris Johnson has thrown himself into the Olympic spirit. This doesn't always go entirely to plan, leaving the blond mop-head hanging around for a while this afternoon. Fortunately, the Internet knows exactly what to do. From standing start to a country laughing its socks off - there's a #dangleboris hashtag - mere hours have passed. Will it damage Boris' chances of taking over from the gaffe-prone David Cameron? Probably quite the opposite.
posted by Devonian on Aug 1, 2012 - 72 comments

Sacrilege

UK Artist Jeremy Deller has recreated Stonehenge as a "...life-size replica...made as a fully operational bouncy castle" for the Olympics. [more inside]
posted by bibliogrrl on Jul 29, 2012 - 32 comments

Tales of the city

'The life of the city is infinite and unknowable; all we can do is look and report on what we find.' The London Column presents images of the city over the last sixty years, from the Festival of Britain to the present, a highly eclectic mix but with an emphasis on the everyday, the down-at-heel, the neglected and the unexpected. The compiler, David Secombe (formerly of Esoteric London), admits to 'a certain creeping cynicism towards the looming Olympic bunfight'. Like London itself, the site isn't easy to navigate, but the best way to browse is to go to the gallery page and follow the images that take your fancy.
posted by verstegan on Jul 27, 2012 - 2 comments

City of London

As you turn eyes to London to watch this year's Olympics, you might be surprised to find out that the City of London has a population of about 11,000 and is only one square mile. [more inside]
posted by eye of newt on Jul 26, 2012 - 65 comments

Humans: Be Interested

There's been a lot of talk about the snarls and snafus preceding this year's games. But even as the training is winding down and the athletes are pouring into the Village, there's still plenty of interesting stuff going at this year's Olympics. Like, have you heard about the Olympian without a country? (He's not the first independent athlete to compete.) Or that almost all the US swim team gets themselves ritually tattooed with the Olympic rings? Or that a California girl is one of Saudi Arabia's two female competitors? Or that Caster Semenya (previously 1,2) will be South Africa's flag bearer? Or that Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi may be the first Olympic athlete to have to worry that a kick from her unborn child may put her out of the medal running?
The Christian Science Monitor has been highlighting athletes who's struggled to get to the games, including Behdad Salimi, who'll have to prove he's the strongest man in the world to bear Iran's lone medal hopes, Hiroshi Hoketsu, who's competing in his third Olympics this go round --- second since he retired from his desk job, and Gladys Tejeda, who grew up in a family of subsistence farmers in an Andean village so remote she hadn't even heard of the Olympics until her family got a TV --- in 2007. London will be her third marathon. Of course, there's another class of competitors whose fight to get to the games was a little more literal: This is the first year for women's boxing.... [more inside]
posted by Diablevert on Jul 24, 2012 - 66 comments

The games began with piles of whitened bones, and horses' heads, and the skulls of men nailed to trees.

Boris Johnson's Olympic welcome. [YouTube]
posted by hot soup girl on Jul 24, 2012 - 67 comments

Patrick Stewart carries the Olympic Torch

Sir Patrick Stewart carried the Olympic Torch today. (Video)
posted by philipy on Jul 23, 2012 - 50 comments

The Corporate Olympics

On Friday, Baron Sebastian Coe, the conservative politician, former athlete, and Nike board member who is chair of LOCOG (the London Organizing Committee) for the 2012 games, ignited a furor when he said anyone wearing a Pepsi T-shirt is likely to be "booted out" because it would upset Coca-Cola, who is an official sponsor. [more inside]
posted by CheeseDigestsAll on Jul 21, 2012 - 79 comments

It is no great shame for an artist to be taken for a man of the wider world.

He is unknown. No name, no profession, no identifying details, but he looks out with the calm sternness of one who knows his place in the world. And because of this calmness, this sternness—the skeptical gaze and tight lips—we suspect it might be an image of the artist himself. Why Is This Man Wearing A Turban?, by Teju Cole.
posted by timshel on Jul 21, 2012 - 20 comments

'like a sort of soul-compass after I was dead.'

Last November, the Mayor Gallery had an exhibit of Sylvia Plath's sketches. (via)
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 20, 2012 - 5 comments

A Load of Old Tosh

Quite Likely The Worst Job Ever: 'The men who made it their living by forcing entry into London’s sewers at low tide and wandering through them, sometimes for miles, searching out and collecting the miscellaneous scraps washed down from the streets above' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 18, 2012 - 26 comments

Not like the Queen, but like John Hurt

"We thought we were hosts like the queen is at a posh garden party, when actually we're hosts in the way that John Hurt is in Alien." As the Olympics approach, the scandals, inconveniences, mistakes and problems keep mounting, ranging from the frustrating through the comic to the tragic. For your appreciation, a picture of the London Olympics 2012. [more inside]
posted by outlier on Jul 16, 2012 - 300 comments

Even Better than Team Fortress 2

The BBC's new Olympics 2012 ad (full 2m40s version; SLYT) is a CGI masterpiece for the video gamer era. (best viewed with YouTube HD resolution settings on) [more inside]
posted by Bwithh on Jul 7, 2012 - 74 comments

Muse - Survival (London 2012 Olympics Official Music Video) (SLYT)

Muse - Survival (London 2012 Olympics Official Music Video) (SLYT)
posted by ericteoh on Jul 4, 2012 - 42 comments

Shardenfreude.

"So, the Shard: it's expensive. It's off-limits. It's largely owned by people who don't live here. And it is the perfect metaphor for what London is becoming."
posted by Sebmojo on Jun 26, 2012 - 112 comments

It doesn't bark, it roars.

Kensington Secretary Angela McWilliams takes her pet leopard, Michael, on a stroll through 1960s London. (SYTL)
posted by hot soup girl on Jun 25, 2012 - 23 comments

The App of Life

"Thanks largely to smartphones, this is probably the best time ever to live in a packed city... Steve Jobs was a lifelong suburbanite, but it turns out he perfected the city." [google cache for those getting a log-in page.]
posted by nickrussell on Jun 17, 2012 - 87 comments

Well Brutal

London's top brutalist buildings
posted by Artw on May 26, 2012 - 111 comments

20 short films, each made in 48 hours for Sci-Fi-London 2012

Sci-Fi-London put on another 48 hour film challenge this year, challenging film teams to make a short based around a given title, a snippet of dialogue, a short list of props, and an optional "scientific" theme. After two days in April, over 380 shorts had been made, and the winners have now been announced and and their short films posted on Sci-Fi-London's Vimeo account. 17 more shorts below the break. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 23, 2012 - 7 comments

This post could not handle a link from the Daily Mail

As a flag-waving Britain prepares for the Jubilee/Olympics (or in the words of the comedy Twenty Twelve, 'Jubilympics'), the nation seems divided between the wildly enthusiastic and those suffering from Patriotism Fatigue(link may be NSFW). James Ward (of Boring fame) does a round-up of spurious Jubilympic themed products, after consumption of which you may require a sick bag.
posted by mippy on May 22, 2012 - 69 comments

Memories that aren't mine, yet they seem so tangible. Everywhere there's a sense of loss...

"I'd like my work to be found in a skip, in Southgate or somewhere, in forty years' time". Nick Papadimitriou walks and looks and writes and thinks, as he ventures around London and its fringes. He eschews the term 'psychogeography', preferring the notion of 'deep topography' to describe what he does. The London Perambulator, a short documentary about his work, was released in 2009 and features Will Self, Iain Sinclair, and Russell Brand talking about his impact on their work. His first book, Scarp, will be released by Sceptre this summer.
posted by hydatius on May 1, 2012 - 7 comments

A real world distopian sports event

Not content with displacing the poor, menacing photographers and blocking ambulances the london olympics now wants ground-to-air missiles, presumably to shoot down rogue skywriters who might misuse it's brand.
posted by Artw on Apr 28, 2012 - 68 comments

The Siege of Savile Row

Chap Magazine (manifesto here) has staged a protest outside the proposed location of an Abercrombie & Fitch store on Savile Row in London. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 24, 2012 - 54 comments

Sorting seat

Somebody's been graffiting the Central Line. Along with the now-jailed Tox's tags, you can see some sticker fun on your commute. The artist Michael Landry has already been working, as part of the Art on the Underground project, to promote the Central Line's friendliness.
posted by mippy on Apr 20, 2012 - 77 comments

Epithet

Epithet a short film starring Patrick Stewart as a lecherous poet (nsfw). [more inside]
posted by dng on Apr 19, 2012 - 17 comments

Street style, 1906

Some of his photographs are odd. Others are just creepy. But thanks to his hobby of photographing young women with a hidden camera, Edward Linley Sambourne (1844-1910) has left us a fascinating series of images of street fashion in Edwardian London. [some photos NSFW]
posted by verstegan on Apr 10, 2012 - 38 comments

View From The Shard

An urban explorer of Silent UK breaks into London's The Shard (pictures inside), the 310 meter high vertical city designed to be the highest building in Western Europe.
posted by Omnomnom on Apr 8, 2012 - 46 comments

Where cabs and omnibuses are ruthlessly driven against them

In the frantic pace of modern life, it is often easy to forget what life was once like for those who built the world we now live in. More from Bishopsgate library here and the Institute itself is worth a poke around
posted by mattoxic on Apr 3, 2012 - 34 comments

Panoramic Photographer

Will Pearson is a London-based professional panoramic photographer. His work comprises cityscapes, landscape panoramas and 360 virtual tours. There is an emphasis on capturing images at a massive resolution. This one of Sheikh Zayed Road Dubai is my favorite. Will takes time for fun too with The Rain Project.
posted by netbros on Apr 2, 2012 - 2 comments

Sounds from a Room

Sounds from a Room is a series of live music performances streamed once a month from A Room for London, a boat installed on a London rooftop. [more inside]
posted by OverlappingElvis on Mar 30, 2012 - 7 comments

(◡ ‿ ◡ ✿)

The Fungarium & The Millenium Seed Bank Partnership:
A Pair of 5-minute Documentaries on the Research Institutions at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London. (Previously 1 , Previously 2)
posted by lemuring on Mar 23, 2012 - 4 comments

Get Ready to Play Tag

Tag Challenge! "The infamous Panther Five has pulled an audacious new heist: they’ve stolen the world’s 3rd most expensive jewel, the Adly Diamond, from the Overholt Showroom in Washington, DC. Now they’ve split up and fled—dispersed to five different cities. We’re offering a reward to help find them. We’ll release their mugshots here on game day: March 31, 2012."

If you can get a team together that can cover these 5 cities, then you've got a shot at $5000 (USD).
Washington, DC | New York City | London | Stockholm | Bratislava [more inside]
posted by juliplease on Mar 12, 2012 - 28 comments

South London Gay Community Centre

The Brixton Fairies and the South London Gay Community Centre, Brixton 1974-6 "This fascinating story about Brixton’s legendary gay community of the 1970s was posted up on the urban75 bulletin boards, and thanks to the author Ian Townson, I’m now able to repost an illustrated version, giving a wonderful insight into a long lost part of Brixton life."
posted by Abiezer on Mar 12, 2012 - 6 comments

Some good iceblink luck

Friday dreams. Simon Raymonde, bassist of Cocteau Twins, writes: A rare nostalgia moment: i didnt think any footage from the Heaven or Las Vegas tour in 1990 existed and i remember how cool it was being able to have a lighting designer for the first time that tour but have never seen how our stage looked from the audience till tonight so this is a treat to me. The whole concert in on youtube now pretty much. And my god, what a voice Elizabeth had on this tour, absolutely perfect on every song. Some rare good memories. [more inside]
posted by timshel on Mar 9, 2012 - 48 comments

London is full of ghosts

"Everyone knows there’s a catastrophe unfolding, that few can afford to live in their own city. It was not always so." - China Miéville on Apocalyptic London
posted by timshel on Mar 1, 2012 - 58 comments

The Big Egg Hunt

The Big Egg Hunt around the streets of London 209 big fibreglass eggs distributed around different areas of London, in an attempt to break the world record for the largest Easter Egg hunt. The eggs appeared overnight on Tuesday 21st February (Shrove Tuesday) and will be on the streets until Easter Sunday. [more inside]
posted by MykReeve on Feb 28, 2012 - 7 comments

The return of steam on the London Underground

The return of steam on the London Underground. [more inside]
posted by ArmyOfKittens on Feb 26, 2012 - 33 comments

A drunken parish clerk set it on foot out of revenge, the Methodists have adopted it, and the whole town of London think of nothing else

250 years ago newspapers like The Derby Mercury featured breathless reports on the Cock Lane ghost. Fanny Lynes wouldn't rest until her husband was hanged for having poisoned her, and the story, supported by a Clergyman, led to crowds paying to visit the house. The street outside was sometimes impassable due to the large number of spectators present at the séances until the Lord Mayor of London had to intervene, and he duly appointed a commission to look into the matter. Notables such as Dr Johnson spent a fruitless night next to a coffin before it was revealed that the truth of the matter was more mundane. [more inside]
posted by ersatz on Feb 20, 2012 - 3 comments

Weekender

Towards the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s the Madchester sound swept the UK. Spearheaded by The Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays Manchester became the dominant force in English music. One notable exception to this Northern domination were the boys from London's Camden Town known as Flowered Up. [more inside]
posted by jontyjago on Feb 15, 2012 - 25 comments

My Gap Yah

The gap year is often a quite memorable experience for some of the London youth. (slyt)
posted by beisny on Jan 31, 2012 - 23 comments

of Spivs, Cosh boys & Creepers

Flick Knives, Dance Music and Edwardian Suits: Teddy Boys, Christmas Humphreys and the murder of John Beckley on Clapham Common in 1953.
posted by madamjujujive on Jan 30, 2012 - 15 comments

Hep

London coffee bars of the 1950s (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 29, 2012 - 63 comments

Potting soil

As part of a university course, Steve Wheen has started the Pothole Gardener project. He uses plants and miniatures to create sanctuaries of tranquility in broken urban places. via
posted by infini on Jan 26, 2012 - 6 comments

So mych depends upon a red London bus.

UK Photographers who compose a picture in a similar way to an existing image [PDF] risk copyright infringement, lawyers have warned following the first court ruling of its kind.
posted by unSane on Jan 26, 2012 - 55 comments

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