The Standard wants to help you unleash your genitals this summer

Plus private palaces, empty homes and hellish noises

This newsletter was going to be about some property stories. But then we saw something else that we just couldn’t ignore. Something that we felt demanded our attention. Something that, as a Londoner, we feel you should be acutely aware of, both for your own safety and that of your fellow Londoners…

The Evening Standard wants to tell you how to have sex now

Yep, that’s right. A newspaper that’s edited by David Cameron’s sister-in-law is giving you advice on how to “bump and grind”.

Remember a few issues ago we told you that the Standard was letting brands post articles directly into their website content management system? Well that policy reached its inevitable nadir much more quickly than we were expecting. And that nadir has emerged into this world as a… What even is this? Advertorial? Advomit? Whatever it is, it’s like a nightmare in which a mass of plughole hair becomes sentient and starts singing Barry White songs at you, but with the voice of George Osborne.

According to the word-diarrhoea that Trojan Condoms have paid to splash across the Standard’s website, “Londoners are feeling less reserved than usual with 39% of single men admitting they feel excited about post-lockdown dating”.

How excited are these men? Well, excited enough that they need Trojan’s help to “unleash the forbidden fruit”.

They mean ‘get your penis out’, right? That’s what that means? This ‘article’ in the Standard is all about helping men ‘unleash’ their penises. Why is it leashed in the first place? Did it bite someone?

Apparently the most qualified person to help you free your manhood is “seasoned sweet talker” Pete Wicks from TOWIE.

If you’re not familiar with Pete he looks like the kind of man who thinks 2021 Johnny Depp is the coolest and most together of all the Johnny Depps. If you can picture a slab of raw bacon that’s fallen on the floor of a barber shop before being picked up by a five-year-old who’s scrawled all over it with a Sharpie, then you’re somewhere close.

Trojan have paid Pete enough money that he’s been able to take a break from squinting into the middle distance and offer some ‘dating advice’ to any single men in London who want to unleash their ‘fruit’ on someone.

To save you clicking on the article (please God, don’t click on it, they might do more) we’ll tell you that Pete starts by reminding us that “There are 7 billion of us on this planet and there is no one quite like you.” We’re not sure what this has to do with dating, but it’s good to know.

Let’s see what other advice this Tesco Value Jason Momoa has for us:

“You can literally pull anywhere. I’m telling you now, anywhere. Everyone automatically presumes it’s just bars, but I’ve done some serious flirting when I am doing a food shop, it’s about whether-or-not you can hold eye contact with someone which is such a buzz.”

There you have it guys. If you’re the kind of person who assumed that ‘freedom day’ was an invitation to get your cock out at the earliest possible opportunity, then Pete’s advice is to go into an Aldi and stare at someone until they have sex with you.

If you do find yourself in a bar though, don’t despair, because Pete has advice for that scenario too:

“If you’re at the bar and you see someone you like, the best thing you can do is say ‘hello’. Straight in there and to the point - get the job done.”

You can see why they paid him all that money, can’t you? The man is a veritable Cyrano de Bergerac.

Now, get ready. Because this is about to get even worse

Towards the end of his ‘article’ Pete tells us that his “go to spot in London is Borough Market,” because his “friend’s got a bar there.” And with that sparkling anecdote Pete is off (presumably to spend Trojan’s money in his mate’s bar) leaving the poor condom copywriter to take over and end this thing with a bang:

So, whether you’re pounding to the beat in So-Hoe or showing off your Shepherd’s Bush whilst conquering the classic bottom(less) brunch – make sure you go out with a bang, safely with Trojan.

So-Hoe? What the cocking hell is a ‘So-Hoe’?

Reader, we Googled it. And it got worse. So much worse.

It’s another article. This time about something called ‘Be London’s Headline’. This is, we’re told, “The Evening Standard’s challenge to brands to produce an eye-catching and creative cross-platform campaign that captures a passion for London at a pivotal point in the capital’s history.”

And this year’s winner? Why it’s Trojan Condoms of course, with their “provocative map of London that features tongue-in-cheek commentary, renaming hot spots including Hampstead Heath, which appears as ‘Humpstead Heath’, and Soho as ‘So-Hoe’.”

Do you get it? They’ve renamed Soho ‘So-Hoe’ because ‘hoe’ means ‘prostitute’ and Soho is where London’s red light district is famously located.

It’s a sex-worker pun.

According to the Standard it was this “wit and humor” that delivered Trojan the win (and not the fact that they've bought a considerable chunk of advertising on the Standard’s website).

We need to stop writing about this before we make ourselves ill, but we’ll just leave you with this quote from the Standard’s chief commercial content officer, which might be even more distressing than Pete Wicks’ dating advice:

“‘London Lovers Unite!’ delivered everything we were looking for – a strong brand identity and a bespoke idea both rooted in audience insight, and that aligned with The Evening Standard iconic brand.”

And the rest

  • So, back to those property stories we mentioned earlier… Cheung Chung-kiu, a Hong Kong-based property tycoon, has been granted planning permission to “construct an eight-storey, 5,760-sq metre (62,000-sq-ft) private palace” at 2-8A Rutland Gate, in Knightsbridge, overlooking Hyde Park. You can see the proposals here.

  • Coincidentally it was also announced this week that City Hall will be using a £900k grant “to provide advice on housing, employment and education for the newly arrived Hong Kong migrants.” Since the government introduced a new visa for Hong Kong British National (Overseas) status holders earlier this year, the UK is expected to see 153,000 new arrivals in 2021, with London expecting “to welcome a larger proportion” of them.

  • Meanwhile City AM reports that there are £15bn worth of London homes just sitting empty. A new report from Admiral Insurance has shown that “29,242 houses have been left unoccupied for at least six months in the capital, with Southwark being home to the highest number of long-term empty properties.”

  • Residents in Hans Place in Chelsea (“one of London’s most expensive addresses”) have been complaining about the “hellish noise” coming from a £30,000 per week, 9,000 square feet triplex apartment luxury flat that’s owned by the Vatican. Apparently the flat has been hosting “loud events… some involving DJs.” We could understand it if they were exorcisms.

  • New research on Low Traffic Neighborhoods has shown that road injuries halved in areas wth LTNs installed when compared to areas without the schemes.

  • The row over at the Museum of the Home continues, as this week teachers in Haringey, Hackney and Islington backed plans to boycott the museum, as part of a campaign calling for the removal of the statue of Sir Robert Geffrye.

  • The Guardian’s Rowan Moore has reviewed the Marble Arch Mound and found it lacking… in a very philosophical way: “A tree becomes a sign of itself rather than the real thing, a symbol of all the good stuff that goes with tree-ness more than its realisation. Foliage-wrapped towers and temporary vegetal installations give off an environmental buzz – it’s green so it must be good! – but in reality there is nothing very ecological about shipping living things to a given location and then shipping them away again.”