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Post Tagged with: London

The Shard reminds me of…

The Shard reminds me of…

The Shard and Nineteen EIghty-Four The Shard and Nineteen EIghty-Four
Chinese theatre that isn’t about life in a takeaway or kung fu

Chinese theatre that isn’t about life in a takeaway or kung fu

Over one week in November, three British-Chinese actresses are bringing you In The Mirror in Central London – telling British-Chinese stories of identity, politics, belonging (and not) and parenting. And given that I know at least two of the three performers involved (at least via blogging), I’m pretty confident that it’ll be free of the cliches that does tend to surround British-Chinese theatre.

I’d go, but I’ll be in Hong Kong, irony of ironies.

McDonalds 1, anarchist demonstrators 0

McDonalds 1, anarchist demonstrators 0

So, Hyperham and I were watching the news reports about yesterday’s violence by some anti-capitalist demonstrators in Central London yesterday. Up flashed an image of a McDonalds being attacked.

The next thing you know, HyperHam has a sudden craving for McDonalds, and if it wasn’t the fact she had a baby strapped to her bosom (and she maintains that the taste of British McDonalds’ meat is sufficiently different to American McDonalds’ meat as to make it inedible), she’d probably have gotten up and biked over to our nearest McDonalds to get a burger.

Just how much is a house in London?

Just how much is a house in London?

I realise that alongside transport discussion, talking about house prices in London is one of the dreariest middle-class things one could possibly do in London, but since we’re looking for some kind of dwelling that has more than one bedroom to accomodate a screaming child, I’ve been taking more than a mild interest in property prices.

So when I noticed a “For Sale” sign besides a derelict building on the same main road as work, it perked my interest. Sure, the house was huge but on the minus side, it was on a busy road opposite a shopping centre and car park, in a fairly dodgy area of West London and in an era of falling house prices. It can’t be that expensive, surely?

Nope. To buy a derelict house that requires extensive renovation, on a busy but dodgy and certainly unglamorous part of West London, would set you back the not-inconsiderable price of £785,000. Sheesh.

So the long search for a 2-bedroom flat in an area with a nice school within an hours’ commute of Shepherds Bush continues…

The tube map post global warming in 2100…

The tube map post global warming in 2100…

Don’t buy a flat in the Docklands!

Caught in the fringes of student protests in London

Caught in the fringes of student protests in London

Student protestors at Regent Street on 9 December 2010

Protestors at Regent Street on 9 December 2010

HyperHam and I were headed into Central London last night (for a thoroughly enjoyable Airplane! Q&A, as it happens) when our bus hit gridlock around Oxford Circus. I’d assumed it was general Christmas shopping traffic, until I saw the cars on the other side of the road replaced by a crowd of protestors waving placards and marching headed in the other direction.

Once we turned the corner and were headed down Regent Street, the marchers seemed to get a bit more demonstrative, and some of them started throwing orange barricades into the road, presumably to impede the progress of the police vehicles ahead and behind them. But given there were a pile of bricks on the road, they could have caused much more damage if they’d have wanted to.

Thankfully for us, they didn’t. Although since Prince Charles and Queen Camilla were apparently down a side street heading for the theatre (which we didn’t know at the time) maybe their attention was elsewhere.

Anyway, here’s some blurred shots of what little action we saw on Regent Street around 7.25pm.

The Hawksmoor in Covent Garden, London

The Hawksmoor in Covent Garden, London

Ob. disclaimer – we went to a Qype event and the soft opening of the new Hawksmoor in Covent Garden

Good luck on actually finding the place (psst: it’s pretty much opposite the famed Pineapple Dance Studios) – and once you do, you’ll find a very imposing set of double doors.

But get past those and there’s a friendly host who offers to take your coat. Not many places do that these days for free, so there’s a good start!

Down the steps, and as someone else mentioned, it’s a throwback to urbane 1950s New York, with a dark bar thronged with people supping cocktails and generally being fabulous. There’s not really any such thing as a bad cocktail, but the Hawksmoor Julip was tastily bitter, and the Concealed Weapon certainly was.

The bar snacks on offer are highly recommended – the lobster roll are oozing in gorgeousness and something slightly Oriental, while the lamb cutlets were very easy on the stomach.

Of course, all it did was whet the appetite, and we’ll have to come back one night for the steaks in the dining room, which looked opulent, spacious, gorgeous and well-lit.

Definitely somewhere you’d take Christina Hendricks on a date *swoon* and far more visually impressive than its predecessor.

Check out my review of Hawksmoor – I am almostwitty – on Qype

LondonEating & DrinkingRestaurantsSteak Houses

FourSquare in the UK – finally there’s a use. Oh.

FourSquare in the UK – finally there’s a use. Oh.

Like many people who use FourSquare, I often wonder if there’s actually any point to checking in to a location, aside from point scoring and the fact I’m usually bored at a bus stop.

American friends of mine tell of strange legends whereby if you show you’re a Mayor at certain locations, the staff there look kindly upon you and give you a bonus. But I thought that’d never come here.

Until I heard that the West12 Shopping Centre in Shepherds Bush is offering a free SuperShake to the Mayor of that location in any one week. They’re incredibly active on the social media front, what with having a Twitter feed and a Facebook page.

Unfortunately, social media can only go so far. The reality of the West12 Shopping Centre is that it was a slightly dowdy and dying shopping mall even before the heavy big-guns of Westfield moved in opposite. There’s a gym, a supermarket, a cinema and a pub but most of the units are to let and there’s nothing there to draw people in aside from for the basic needs of the week.

So how are companies in the UK actually using FourSquare? Or is it doomed to go the way of the even more pointless Twitter game Spymaster, which at one point everyone seemed to be playing until they all realised it was useless and had no end goal?

When ping doesn't get you much pong

When ping doesn't get you much pong




Yahoo! Ping Pong-23

Originally uploaded by Ping London

(In other words, great, you got sponsorship, where’s the return?)

Across London, ping pong tables have sprouted up to encourage Londoners to have a go at ping pong/whiff whaff. All nicely decorated with the various sponsors’ logos, including Yahoo!

Accompanying these tables are some leaflets about the Ping London project, which also – of course – encourage you to share your participation, by using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or maybe even Flickr

Note that of those four websites, only one belongs to Yahoo – one of the main sponsors.

Surely a major dotcom company, upon committing some sponsorship money to a project, would want their websites or services to be promoted – perhaps Buzz or Pulse – alongside the rest of the web offerings?

Playing with Windows Mobile games at the Old School Yard (Qype)

Playing with Windows Mobile games at the Old School Yard (Qype)

Ob. disclaimer – I went to the Old School Yard courtesy of Qype for a mykindofphone.com event

As soon as I walked in, I knew it was my kind of pub. Huge screens, games to be played, drinks to be consumed, and a feeling of space. The main problem was a distinct lack of chairs – but if you’re playing, why are you sitting down?

There’s even a tiny back garden with some faux grass if you need a sense of fresh air – or you can stand outside the pub itself, which has plenty of space. There’s even a wonderfully decorated basement with all sorts of nick nacks and decoration touches.

On the night we were there to look at Windows Mobile phones and gaming, there was even a very knowledgable cocktail meister serving some delicious cocktails (we counted watermelon and ginger amongst the ingredients) and some oh-so-juicy burgers. Nom om om.

I was handed a surprisingly svelte’n’sexy Windows phone to play with for five minutes. It had a very whizzy user interface that begged you to swipe and swipe away, and it’s certainly come on leaps and bounds since my last-thwarted attempt to get a Windows phone to work with me, back in 2008. The games looked fun, the screen looked bright and colourful, and the interface seemd incredibly responsive to my touches. Aside, that is, from the touch-screen keyboard which was responsive but just couldn’t quite cope with my drunken attempts at writing a text – but then again, I’ve never gotten on with touch-screen keyboards generally.

If only there was a way to actually try a phone in the real world for a while before you bought one – I’m in the market for a new phone, but have yet to find a cool phone with a physical keyboard – and touch-screen keyboards and I just don’t seem to get on yet. And yes, I’ve been told that I need to train touchscreen keyboards to respond to me – but quite frankly, if I have to train an input device, then something’s gone wrong straight away. I already know how to read and write – I don’t need to adjust my reading skills for a different book, do I?