Posts Tagged ‘London’

Tourists find London unfriendly, dirty and expensive: survey | Reuters

December 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Cancun Beach

(Reuters) – London may have put on a cheerful face during the Olympics but tourists have still rated the city poorly in terms of friendliness, cleanliness and value for money, a survey showed on Thursday.

Of 40 cities worldwide, London this year ranked second to last for the friendliness of its locals, according to a poll by travel website TripAdvisor.

Only Moscow fared worse, while Mexico‘s Cancun ranked first.

Britain’s capital barely performed better in the nine other categories of the poll, ranking 28th for safety, 26th for cleanliness and 35th for best value for money.

On the upside, London was rated fourth best city for shopping – behind New York City, Bangkok and Dubai – and fifth for the quality of taxi services.

The study was based on responses from 75,000 TripAdvisor users surveyed last month.

via Tourists find London unfriendly, dirty and expensive: survey | Reuters.

White plaque for West End star to launch anti-drug campaign | Politics |

November 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Billie Carleton in The Freedom of the Seas, 1918

The dead body of early 20th-century West End star Billie Carleton was discovered by her maid in her apartment at the Savoy the morning after a victory ball at the Royal Albert Hall. London‘s aristocracy had attended en masse to celebrate the end of the first world war. Now, almost a century later, Carleton’s death is the first to be marked with a white plaque as part of a new campaign to draw attention to flaws in the so-called war on drugs.

The scheme, modelled on the blue plaque scheme that recognises the homes of the famous, will see white, cocaine-coloured discs mounted on the walls of places associated with celebrities who have died from drug abuse.

The campaign has been launched to coincide with the British release of the film The House I Live In, co-produced by Brad Pitt and The Wire’s creator, David Simon. The award-winning documentary examines US drug policy in particular, and the way it treats drug addiction as a crime, rather than a public health issue.

On Wednesday, the anniversary of the death of Carleton, Britain’s earliest “celebrity” drug fatality, the first in a series of biodegradable plaques will go up. It will be placed on the wall of a house in Bernard Street, the actress’s birthplace.

via White plaque for West End star to launch anti-drug campaign | Politics |

Will Dean’s Ideas Factory: How does a robotic copy editor cope with Ulysses? – Features – Gadgets & Tech – The Independent

November 17, 2012 Leave a comment
"Writing on the wood is prohibited."...As the newspaper industry works out how to tackle the threat from free online news and other structural problems, some journalists can at least take heart that, no matter, what the medium – newsprint, the web, or electronic paper – a good copy editor is an essential role. As it is in publishing and advertising/copy-writing, too. When the robots are making our coffee and vacuuming our floors, at least they won’t be criticising us for our use of cliches… Oh. Hang on a minute…

Pro Writing Aid is the creation of Chris Banks, a London-based programmer. It allows writers to insert their copy and uses algorithms to pick out redundancies, cliches, overused words, unvaried sentence lengths and other errors which relate to neither spelling or grammar.

I put the technology to the test by entering a feature I wrote for these pages last week on 3D printing. The analysis came back with a plethora of suggestions, including four “overused words”, a couple of redundancies (“component parts”, tssk) and a massive 16 issues of “vague or abstract words”. Alright, Sir Harry Evans-robot, I get it. Though some of the points were fair enough, others still need a bit of human nuance. One of my red-marked phrases was “kind of” which might be weak for a novel but was part of a vital quote from one of the people I spoke to.

via Will Dean’s Ideas Factory: How does a robotic copy editor cope with Ulysses? – Features – Gadgets & Tech – The Independent.

Restaurant: Kitchen Table, London W1 | Life and style | The Guardian

November 14, 2012 Leave a comment

There are people who enjoy the whole chef’s table phenomenon, but I’m not one of them. It reminds me of rich Victorians peering at Bedlam inmates for sport – jammed among these people in a horseshoe of no escape is not my idea of fun. On one side of me is a man with BMW keys placed in front of him like the prelude to a spot of wife-swapping. He licks his plates, putting them up to his face and scouring them with a large tongue. Along from him is a trio of young, beautiful people who are almost entirely silent apart from the click and whirr of their cameras. To my left is a chap who orders a vast takeaway of hotdogs, “For dessert”.

The air reverberates with screeches of “Mugaritz” and “Brooklyn Fare” and “best scallops are from a little asador outside Bilbao“. This circle-jerk of oneupmanship makes me wish I could pull a battered black pudding out of my bag and poke it in their eyes. I feel sorry for Knappett, who introduces each course with bushy-tailed enthusiasm and real knowledge, having to perform for this self-obsessed, show-off audience of conspicuous consumers.

When he and Chang get a place with actual tables, I’ll be biting off hands for a booking. His cooking and her charm are a potent combination (although I wish she’d told me, when recommending a blissful, dry Szepsy Estate Furmint Tokaj, that it was £61). But until then, divine cooking or not, I’m out. Expensive, high-end food will always attract the tosserati, but this lot really are the sous-vided, thermomixed crème de la crème.

via Restaurant: Kitchen Table, London W1 | Life and style | The Guardian.

Bubbledogs Mix Champagne With British Bangers in London – Bloomberg

October 14, 2012 Leave a comment

A bore at the next table in a Paris brasserie once ruined my dinner by insisting that I was wrong to accompany my food with Champagne, which was an aperitif.

This gastronomical gendarme was drunk, which might explain it.

I myself, sober though I was, wondered about the lineup of Champagne and hot dogs at the new London restaurant Bubbledogs.

Any doubts were misplaced. I’m more excited by Bubbledogs than any new London restaurant I’ve tried since Dabbous, where you can wait months for a table. The hot dogs are great, the Champagnes are varied and inexpensive, and the service is first- class.

To use a phrase I dislike, what’s not to like?

There’s a choice of about a dozen hot dogs, each of which is available as beef, pork or vegetarian. For the purist, there’s the Naked Dog, at 6 pounds ($9.75). The top price is 8 pounds for the BLT, which comes with caramelized lettuce and truffle mayo. There are no starters and no desserts.

(Crif Dogs, in New York, helped inspire Bubbledogs.)

Sides are restricted to tots (potato croquettes), sweet- potato fries and coleslaw. That’s it. I can’t think why anyone would want more choice in a hot-dog restaurant. If anything, I’d like things simpler: no sides and a single price.

Those who shrug that it’s hard to get hot dogs wrong should eat their words. Simplicity is complex: You might get away with a mistake in an elaborate fine-dining meal, but there is nowhere to hide with a sausage and a bread roll.

via Bubbledogs Mix Champagne With British Bangers in London – Bloomberg.

John Lennon’s Island Goes on Sale as Irish Unpick Property Boom – Bloomberg

September 13, 2012 1 comment

It could have been where John Lennon and Yoko Ono spent their retirement, yet Dorinish Island became home only to grazing sheep and seabirds.

Now, the land the size of a dozen soccer fields off Ireland’s west coast is being offered as a retreat to a potential new owner for 300,000 euros ($384,000), 45 years after the Beatles songwriter bought it. Just before he was shot dead in New York in 1980, Lennon revived plans to build a home on the island before Ono sold it to local farmers in 1984.

“About a year before he was murdered his London solicitor inquired about reviving the planning permission which he had obtained shortly after the purchase,” said Michael Browne, 73, a local who took Lennon to visit Dorinish. “He was constantly panning a cine-camera to get a panoramic of the bay.”

The history of Dorinish, in Clew Bay in Mayo, marks it out from the slew of Irish islands for sale in the wake of the country’s real-estate market collapse.

The farmers are selling the 21-acre island because it’s getting harder for them to keep animals there as they get older, according to Andrew Crowley of Sherry FitzGerald Crowley, the agent in charge of the sale. He said he couldn’t specify how much they paid for the island originally, while Browne said Lennon paid about 1,700 pounds ($2,700) in 1967.

“The island isn’t being used as much as it should be, and they were never going to build on it,” Crowley said yesterday. “The owners are getting on in years and maintaining their livestock at such a distance isn’t practicable anymore.”

via John Lennon’s Island Goes on Sale as Irish Unpick Property Boom – Bloomberg.

Britain flooded with ‘brand police’ to protect sponsors – Home News – UK – The Independent

London 2012 banner at The Monument.

Hundreds of uniformed Olympics officers will begin touring the country today enforcing sponsors’ multimillion-pound marketing deals, in a highly organised mission that contrasts with the scramble to find enough staff to secure Olympic sites.

Almost 300 enforcement officers will be seen across the country checking firms to ensure they are not staging “ambush marketing” or illegally associating themselves with the Games at the expense of official sponsors such as Adidas, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and BP. The clampdown goes on while 3,500 soldiers on leave are brought in to bail out the security firm G4S which admitted it could not supply the numbers of security staff it had promised.

Yesterday, the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, refused to rule out that even more soldiers may be called upon to help with security, but dismissed the issue as merely a “hitch”. However, as well as the regular Army, the Olympic “brand army” will start its work with a vengeance today.

Wearing purple caps and tops, the experts in trading and advertising working for the Olympic Delivery Authority ODA are heading the biggest brand protection operation staged in the UK. Under legislation specially introduced for the London Games, they have the right to enter shops and offices and bring court action with fines of up to £20,000.

Olympics organisers have warned businesses that during London 2012 their advertising should not include a list of banned words, including “gold”, “silver” and “bronze”, “summer”, “sponsors” and “London”, if they give the impression of a formal connection to the Olympics. See examples of banned and allowed advertising below.

via Britain flooded with ‘brand police’ to protect sponsors – Home News – UK – The Independent.

Strange Random Brand Quote:

‘Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.’ – Walter Landor



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