The Story of London takes place in June as part of the Mayor’s cultural programme of events in the capital.
According to Boris:
“Welcome to the Story of London Festival, a month long celebration of London’s past, present and future. This pan-London jamboree showcases the city’s huge and glorious heritage, highlights many unique facets of its present day cultural offer and takes a sometimes fun, sometimes serious look at its future … yah but no but, what what, piffle, Pimms please …”
The shabbily designed website promises ‘literally’ hundreds of events for all Londoners.
The first thing to say about this series of events is that the vast majority of them were happening anyway.
The second is to point out that a large amount of these events aren’t free – and don’t forget we lost RISE Festival to pay for this garbage.
The third, and perhaps most important, is that no-one under the age of 40 is likely to be in the slightest bit interested in the patriotic celebration of pre-immigration Britain with it’s jolly japes at Hampton Court and eulogies to Henry the fucking eigth.
This festival is not the Story of London, but the story of the ruling class. Dull, pompus and elitist, it features the kind of old tripe that old etonians pretend to like in the hope they might get their end away with that pretty young filly who plays the viola in the next county.
It’s about of much relevance to ordinary Londoners as a monocled glass of Pimms playing croquet on the Earl of Poshcunts front lawn.
The first weekend has a series of walking events. Learn about Mayfair during WW2 (£5), the Best of Belgravia (£6), chin chin or the Bohemians of fucking Bloomsbury (£7.50).
The only nod to real Londoners is a guide to multi-cultural Notting Hill, where for just £7.50 you might be lucky enough to catch a water melon smile or a real life piccaninny.
Over the weekend of 12-14th June we’re promised the BFI Jazz and Film Weekender, which sounds slightly more intersting, but really isn’t.
The BFI is showing a series of films, tickets prices are rarely less than a tenner and besides a few screenings in local libraries (and we mean a few) that’s your lot.
Unless of course you count the BFI’s mediatheque where “there’ll be opportunities to discover over 300 films and TV shows made in and around London for FREE.”
Except as Boriswatch points out this is something you can do everyday of the year anyway.
Seems kinda strange that London’s council tax payers should be funding events which don’t seem to cost any less than any other screenings at the BFI or were available free anyway. Vote Boris, pay twice.
Week three sees an orgy of toffness, with King Henry’s Tudor Joust at Eltham Palace (Tickets £12), Apsley House Waterloo Weekend (£7.50), a Royal Tour of Fulham Palace (£5) and a Tudeor River Pageant Marking the 500th Anniversary of Henry VIII’s Coronation (£17.50 what what, that should keep the riff raff out eh chaps).
The only free event of any significance is a Grand Victorian Fayre at blue-blooded Kenwood House where assorted inbred aristo wannabes can:
“Marvel as lady equestrians riding sidesaddle compete alongside gents in games including polo, pig-sticking and the famous ‘teapot dash’.”
Finally the so called festival ends with an open house weekend where Londoners can have a look round the theatres that they can’t usually afford to go to, or if really lucky can have a look inside Benjamin Franklin House (that’ll be 7 quid please … sucker).
The handful of music events programmed over the month barely scrape the 20th century with ska, the swinging sixties, brit pop, garage and rave all ignored in favour of a Henry VIII Concert (£15) and Mendelssohn 200 (£6-25).
Boris does have the cheek to add Hampton Court Festival, now in it’s 17th year (tickets £40-120, but at least you might get to hear an electric guitar) and the Celebrating Sanctuary Refugee Festival into the mix, but both these events were running long before the chinless one had his bizarre rise to his level incompetance.
So it leaves us asking what’s the point? Is the Mayor’s cultural strategy to take a load of events which have happened for years, add in a few gigs for his posh chums, and spend a fortune branding the excercise as something which it clearly ain’t.
London is diverse, creative, radical and at it’s best, fun. London has driven culture in the UK and beyond, and that culture has largely come from the places Boris doesn’t really give a flying fuck about. The streets of Brixton, the estates of the East End, grotty Camden boozers and the abandoned warehouses of Hoxton are where London’s culture has flourished – places where life has been messy and exciting, where the working class of London has risen beyond forelock tugging and workhouses to reveal the best of the human spirit.
London’s history takes in the rise of the Notting Hill Carnival, the peasants revolt, the Gordon riots, Cable Street, the Sex Pistols and the blitz of the East End.
That’s not to say that classical music, traditional art and architecture haven’t played a part in the cities history and culture.
And fat bastards like Henry VIII amongst other ruling class scum have inflicted themselves on the Story of London and can’t be fairly edited out.
But to attempt to tell the story of London without any thought to the people who have made this city what it is further reveals that Boris and his tory chums to be what they really are. They have no interest in the story of London except for revelling in their own blood soaked history of undeserved privilege and self-congralatory pageantry.
One story of London the chinless twat might like to remember. Sir Nicholas Brembre was the Mayor of London from 1383 – 1385 and was to become the first man recorded to be hanged at Tyburn for treason.
That’s one story of London’s aristocratic past which we wouldn’t mind seeing re-enacted – innit.