Weekend roundup for 23 July
Featuring action ballet, diamond heists and chip shop curry sauce
Welcome to your regular roundup of London headlines, arts news and food and drink dispatches. This week we have to start with the weather (although, just calling it ‘weather’ feels like we’re underplaying it a bit), but we also have some genuinely impressive photographs of a sewer, news of the club that’s filling the gap left behind by Printworks, and details of how you can fulfil all those fantasies of becoming a Blue Peter presenter.
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🏜️ Last week we noted that bits of London seemed to be bursting into flames, and wondered how much worse it could get. Well, now we know. A rare ‘major incident’ was announced on Tuesday as dozens of fires broke out across London and more than 40 properties were destroyed. The London Fire Brigade received around 2,600 calls on Tuesday (a normal busy day is around 500 calls) making it their busiest day since World War Two. On Wednesday 15 fire engines were called to a fire in a tower block in North Woolwich. Miraculously, no deaths have been reported as a result of any of the fires. P.S. On Tuesday ceremonial guards were withdrawn from the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace and Windsor Castle.
🚇 A rare bit of good transport news: The weekend Night Tube strikes have been suspended after the RMT accepted “an offer… to agree a minimum number on each line who wish to preference Night Tube duties.” The RMT also said that “The dispute is not resolved,” and they will “remain vigilant and monitor the situation on the ground.”
🛤️ And now, back to the bad news: Both RMT and Aslef workers are striking next week. The Points Guy site has a full rundown of which trains will and won’t be running and on what days.
🚴 It looks like a lot of the people who got on their bikes during lockdown are sticking with two wheels. Since 2019, the number of Londoners cycling has gone up by nearly 25% on average. On weekdays there’s 14% more cyclists, while on weekends the increase is a massive 82%.
😶🌫️ The ULEZ expansion has been declared a “success” despite having “limited impact so far”. The reason for the conflicting reports is that there’s been “no change in levels of pollutants since ULEZ expanded to the North and South Circular roads” but “roadside nitrogen dioxide levels in the expanded zone had dropped by 43% since 2017”.
💼 A Freedom of Information request has revealed that, between the start of 2020 and September 2021, the financial regulator was notified of more than 700 incidents of non-financial misconduct by senior staff in the City of London. They included “646 episodes tied to Covid breaches as well as 44 counts of bullying and 66 linked to racism.”
🏠 The mayor has pledged to double his original council housebuilding target, from 10,000 homes to 20,000. In March, City Hall announced that 11,000 new council homes had been started since 2018. Sadiq has got until 2024 to hit the new target.
🧮 Sadiq is so happy with his housing progress that he also announced the launch of a new ‘digital tool’ (aka ‘website’) that allows people to see how many new homes have been built in their area over recent years. You can try it out here.
🏗️ The Guardian is a little less optimistic about the state of property development in London. This week they ran this opinion piece suggesting that Tower Hamlets’ residents were betrayed by their Labour council, particularly over the plans for the redevelopment of the Truman brewery (although the claim that this is what allowed Lutfur Rahman’s Aspire party to take control of the council is a bit of an oversimplification). The paper also ran an examination of the ‘disastrous’ docklands business hub project, comparing it to like “walking through a computer generated image of a correctional facility.”
🕳️ If you want to marvel at some pictures of a comparatively remarkable London engineering project, new aerial photos of the super sewer project have been released, and they are undoubtedly the most impressive photos of a sewer you will ever see.
📱 Apple announced this week that it’s opening a third London flagship store (can you have three flagships?) at the end of this month. This one will be on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, just down from Harrods. A few days before this announcement, “at least ten” masked robbers walked into Apple’s Covent Garden store in the middle of the day and stole “thousands of pounds worth of products”.
Art and culture bits
👨🎨️ Frieze has announced details of its 2022 fair, which will take place from October 12 to 16 in Regent’s Park. Well, we say ‘details’, but really it’s a lot of talk about London’s “cultural life” and its “global reach” along with something about “an ethics of being in which an individual atom holds within it the structure of reality” and “a reflective orb that mirrors and refracts every other orb in its entirety.” We’re sure it will all make sense once you’re there though.
The Beams, the club taking on the role of Printworks successor, has announced its opening month of events. There will be five events in October, including Honey Dijon bringing along her Radiance club concept and a Haçienda takeover featuring The Orb and 808 State.
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