Weekend roundup for 11 June
Featuring killer boxes, giant wheels and deep-fried breadsticks
This jolly yellow fellow defecating into a skip appeared in Hoxton Square on Thursday evening. Apparently his name is Mr Cool and he’s the result of a collaboration between Cool Shit and SKIP gallery (he is, as far as we know, not a comment on last week’s Jubilee celebrations).
Elsewhere in this week’s Roundup we have a six figure parking space, an award-wining punny business name and a long lost masterpiece that popped up in a bungalow in Enfield. But you’ll only get a fraction of that if you’re not a paying subscriber. For the full effect and to start receiving our mid-week issue (like Wednesday’s interview with London’s unofficial chief cartographer) then you can start subscribing for £5 a month or £50 a year:
If you’re already a paying subscriber then thank you very much for supporting London in Bits. You can shit in our skip anytime.
👑 In an interview with LBC last week Sadiq Khan said that the Jubilee celebrations had created a “catalyst” for economic recovery by bringing 2.6 million tourists (domestic and international) into London, with £80 million of that sweet sweet tourist cash spent “in the West end alone”.
🚇 Unfortunately the day after Sadiq gave that interview came the Tube strike, prompting the chief exec of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry to say that, “this will only harm London’s economy and it is time for TfL to sort out their dispute with the RMT so we can get back to building prosperity and showing the world that London is open for business.” Of course, the very next day the RMT union announced three days of national strikes on 21, 23 and 25 June, including a one day walk out by London Underground staff on the 21st.
According to TfL’s board papers there’s been ‘limited progress’ in discussions with the government; and according to the BBC “no talks are planned at the moment”. Just in case you’d forgotten, the current TfL funding agreement expires right in the middle of those strikes, on 24 June.
Meanwhile the BBC’s Transport Correspondent questioned if Tube strikes even ‘work’ now that so many people are working from home (especially ones that occur on a Monday). To add insult to injury, Sadiq appeared at the London Assembly on Thursday to let everyone know that fare prices may have to go up by 10% next year.
👨💻️ Speaking of working from home, new research was published this week that shows three-quarters of Londoners worked from home at least one day a week in spring 2022 and that 25% of us want to work from home three days a week.
🚮 London is really leaning into the whole ‘Summer of discontent’ thing. First it was the transport networks, now we’re being told to “brace for potential bin collection chaos” as staff at the ‘waste transfer sites’ (aka rubbish tips) in Wandsworth and Battersea threaten to strike over a pay dispute. The four day walk out could have a knock on effect for other South London boroughs.
👮 Witness statements from Met officers suggest that their justification for arresting people at the Sarah Everard vigil was that they believed the gathering had become an “anti-police protest” and they “feared violent attack”.
🧨 It didn’t take long for the Elizabeth Line backlash to begin. This week TfL ‘whistleblowers’ told the press that around 70 trains on the line are fitted with metal boxes near the doors that could explode “from a build-up of gas”. On Thursday, Shaun Bailey (yep, he’s still there) asked TfL Commissioner Andy Byford about the ‘killer boxes’ at a London Assembly meeting. Byford said that that the fault had been identified but said that the risk of injury to customers is “practically zero”.
🗳 London’s next lord Mayor has been chosen. Economist and former accountant, Michael Mainelli, was selected following “a secret ballot held by a group of grandees of the Square Mile”. Mainelli beat Alison Gowman to the position. If she had won, Gowman would have been only the third woman to hold the post in more than 800 years.
🛍️ Camden Market has gone up for sale again. The market’s billionaire Israeli owner, Teddy Sagi originally wanted to sell in 2019, but he took it off the market once the pandemic hit. Now it’s back on the market with an estimated price tag of £1.5 billion.
🅿️ In comparison to that, this £110,000 property in Belgravia sounds like a steal - until you realise it’s a parking space.
🛩️ Travel YouTuber The Points Guy enlisted two equally perky Youtubey friends to see how the Elizabeth Line compares to the Heathrow Express and a black cab when it comes to getting to the airport.
🏎️ Lewis Hamilton got on the Tube this week… That’s it. That’s the story.
Art and culture bits
🌻 This weekend is London Square Open Gardens Weekend, which is essentially Open House Weekend but outside. There’s over 100 “secret and hidden green gems” opening their gates today and tomorrow and you can browse a map of them all to see which ones are near you. And, if you want to read more about Open Gardens Weekend then Murray Withers very kindly sent us a link to his excellent FT article (which includes a list of the “5 must-see spaces” and isn’t behind a paywall for the first 300 people who open it).
👟 eBay is opening a pop-up sneaker store on Brick Lane to mark the launch of their OG Drops site where you can grab rare sneakers at their original retail prices via an online raffle. The pop-up sneaker store is being hosted inside the Morley’s on Brick Lane and if you get a ticket you will not only be able to “buy OG sneakers at their OG prices” but also “eat Morley’s and get the down-low in a fireside chat with broadcaster Julie Adenuga”.