When I was at university, trying to chose a topic for my dissertation, my research supervisor urged me to pick a subject within which I saw a fundamental unanswered question. Pick something you personally do not understand, she said, something you cannot get your head around. Since that day, numerous other instances have arisen in which I have been unable to fathom why people take a particular view. For a long time I tried to work out why it was that people thought that living in London was so great, for example. Particularly when there were so many other cities in the world to chose from. Awesome cities like New York, just, you know, off the top of my head. And so, wandering the streets of Manhattan the other day I developed another research study...asking myself the ridiculous question: why on earth might someone claim that London was a better city than New York City? And the results are a little something like this...
Sunday, 26 May 2013
The view from the top of Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath is, to my mind, the finest in London; down below the hill full of kite-fliers and picnic-ers and dog-walkers lies the entire city. Viewers orientate themselves by a familiar office building or a skyscraper, pointing out iconic buildings they recognise. A couple of years ago the skyline changed forever, and the pointing fingers on Parliament Hill made out a new structure, which over the past months has crept slowly up towards the sky, closing in on, and finally dwarfing, the Gherkin, the BT Tower and the other multi-storied mega-buildings dotted across the blue-grey concrete landscape of London. The tallest building in Europe was now London's, and 'The Shard' took its place in architectural history, right on top of London Bridge.
Designed by Renzo Piano, the Shard was to be a multi-purpose skyscraper; 72 floors of home, hotel, office, events space and tourist destination. When it opened last year, it was also to become the workplace of an Accidental chum (and a real, proper Londoner at that), who now spends much of her week welcoming us average gawkers to the pointed glass tower, manning its super-sleek high-speed lifts and ensuring that no one gets lost and wanders where they shouldn't. Knowing my fondness for exploring the city, said chum kindly invited me over to The Shard one afternoon, and gave me my own personal tour.
Wednesday, 22 May 2013
May is flying by in a blur, and I have managed one solitary blogpost. Sad, unimpressive blogging times. In place of more Accidental accounts I offer instead a little something written for Townfish, on one of my favourite London-y things - city farms. You can read my article, containing my top 5 (oh yeah!) city farms worth a visit, here.
And if you're stuck for things to do in the city over this bank holiday weekend which approaches swiftly (thank God!) there are worse ways to pass an afternoon that chatting to chickens and meeting the odd alpaca...
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
I came somewhat late to the party on the 'no reservations' restaurants thing. Partly because the thought of queuing to eat sounds like hell on earth to me; how good can one burger be? (Answer: not so good that it makes hanging out in a long queue with a hungry, snarky London blogger worth it.) But also because I'm probably not quite cool enough for that kind of eatery. So, months (nay, years in some cases) after the latest resto-de-jour opens its artfully distressed doors I may finally get round to eating there. And so it was with MEATliquor, a bar and burger joint open since the end of 2011, which I finally dragged myself to last week.