Weekend roundup for 20 May
Featuring autonomous pods, space pods and insect pizza
We got another ‘worst restaurant name’ suggestion last week: The Silver Fish, fish and chip shop in Nunhead. It’s closed now, “but the frontage remains” said its nominee Margaret, who admits she “shudders every time I walk by.”
There are no silverfish in our Food & Drink section this week, but there are other types of insects, and they’re in the pizza. Elsewhere, we’ve got footwear inspired by skyscrapers, flat white inflation, and the verdict on that Brokeback Mountain musical.
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👮 First up this week, an update to the coronation arrests we talked about in Monday’s issue. On Wednesday, the CEO of Republic, Graham Smith, told Newsweek's The Royal Report podcast (which is a thing, apparently) that they are “taking advice from lawyers and… we'll almost certainly take action in terms of seeking answers as well as compensation. The answers in a way are more important because I think we need to know who made what decision.” Smith also said that he felt that the arrests on the day of the coronation were ‘premeditated’.
👮 Meanwhile, on Wednesday, one of Westminster City Council's Night Stars volunteers appeared in front of the Home Affairs Committee, which is holding an inquiry into police activities at the coronation. Suzie Melvin told how the group was approached by “a large number of officers” while they were in Soho Square the night before the coronation. The officers performed a stop and search on the group, who explained who they were and why they were there. Suzie and two of her colleagues were then arrested and not interviewed until 1pm the following day. They were released shortly after 4pm on Saturday. At the same committee, Assistant Commissioner of the Met, Matt Twist, said the “the stakes were enormously high so I absolutely felt pressure. But that wasn't political pressure, it was pressure to do a good job.”
🗳 Another update from Monday’s issue: the Conservative MP Paul Scully has now officially launched his bid to be the Conservative mayoral candidate; and his first pledge is “to switch off ULEZ cameras in the extended zone on day one”. Shortly afterwards, Nick Rogers pulled out of the race saying that “now is not my time” and that he was endorsing Scully instead. And then the Tory candidate list got even longer when ‘tech entrepreneur’ and former deputy head of policy to David Cameron, Daniel Korski entered the fray with a “promise to bring back the ‘London Dream’” - whatever that is.
🏠 In a speech at the start of the week, the mayor called again for a rent freeze, saying that he was “putting pressure on the government not only to improve renters’ rights, but to give me the powers to introduce a rent control system for London that would allow me to freeze rents.” Directly afterwards, a “senior party insider” told the Financial Times that “Kier Starmer’s office was not exploring introducing national rent controls or devolving related powers to mayors if elected.”
🏗 The City of London has been upping its green creds this week. First the Corp said it is considering a ‘retrofit first’ policy as part of its Future City Plan. The draft plans set out “the importance of retrofitting existing buildings, retaining embodied carbon and minimising whole-life carbon emissions” and would require all major proposals “to demonstrate that multiple options have been considered”.
💡 Following that, the Square Mile announced it was signing up to the (torturously-named) Lighting Urban Community International (LUCI) declaration to tackle light pollution, which means that it will now be using its planning powers to “compel developers to cut the use of artificial light and save energy.”
🌉 The climate charity, Possible has produced a proposal for Hammersmith Bridge which would see it close to all motor vehicles, and instead have “a two-way protected cycle lane,” alongside space for “autonomous pods available for people who cannot easily walk or cycle.” The charity says the plan would cost £10m, a fraction of the current £160m car-friendly option.
📺 Sky has announced that it is making a “definitive” three-part documentary about the 7/7 bombings, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the attacks in 2025. According to the press release, Britain’s Day of Terror will “have unprecedented access to those closest to the story - many of whom have never spoken before.”
🚽 Ian Visits has taken his camera to Peckham Rye station which is currently being restored “to its original Victorian glamour, and to prepare it for a planned major change internally to massively increase capacity at this overcrowded station”. Ian’s top tip: “In the front of the station, a new restaurant, the Coal Rooms has opened, but if you pop in, ask nicely if you can take a look at the toilets. They were added in the 1930s, and an earlier restoration project bought them back to their glory. They’re a marvellous hidden gem to discover.”
🚈 If you like buying stuff with the Tube roundel and moquette designs on them, then you’re in luck. TfL has just signed “a multi-year deal” with the international licensing agency, IMG, “to expand its brand engagement and licensing programme”. The new range will include “apparel and accessories, home, gift and stationery, publishing, food and beverage, toy and games,” and, of course, “experiential experiences” (is there such a thing as a non-experiential experience?).
👟 In related news, someone who used to be on TOWIE has designed a pair of trainers inspired by The Gherkin.
🚨 It was reported this week that a Met officer was fired from the force “after he faked being on duty in order to get into the All Points East festival” in 2021. Apparently, the officer was given a wrist band to work the festival on the Saturday, but returned the next day “with a non-police friend and asked for a new wristband, claiming that he had to submit the previous day’s one as evidence after getting blood on it”. The pair then used the two wristbands to get in for free.
🤮 London has been declared the “best city brand in the world,” by the consultancy firm, Brand Finance, who are based in… [check notes] … London.
Food and drink bits
🍽 The big food news of the week is that Jonathan Nunn’s brilliant newsletteris going to be filling the gap left by Eater London, by putting “London restaurant coverage at the heart of what [it does]”. Vittles Restaurants begins next week with Six of One, “six recommendations for London restaurants you may or may not have heard of, written by a different group of writers each week”. (You can read our interview with Jonathan here).
🥧 The second biggest food news of the week is, of course, that Gregg’s has won its battle with Westminster City Council “to sell some baked goods and hot drinks until 02:00 on certain nights” out of its Leicester Square store. Apparently a “deal was reached as a court case was about to start” which is an insane sentence to be writing about Gregg’s wanting to sell sausage rolls in the early hours.
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