Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Story of London

View of River Thames from South Bank; photo by Val PhoenixBoris Johnson, London's mayor (why do I involuntarily shudder when I type these words? It's been over a year!), is something of a gift to comedy writers, a blond-mopped, gaffe-prone Tory with an, uh, colourful personal life.

When he's not almost being run down by an errant lorry while "on a fact-finding mission", Mayor Boris turns his hand to other things, such as improving the cultural lives of all and sundry.

In an effort to persuade Londoners that we live in "the world's most dynamic city", the mayor is laying on The Story of London, a multi-strand jamboree celebrating The Big Smoke, "past, present and future". And there is some good stuff to be found. Not that I ever doubt London has a lot to offer. It's just that civic events tend to be a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth and instead producing a rather tasteless gruel.

Not so The Story of London, which runs for the full 30 days of June. Each weekend has a different theme, the first on 6 and 7 June being Walking Weekend, with a series of walks conducted by Blue Badge Tourist Guides in what is optimistically described as "the June sunshine". We can only hope. I was quite intrigued by "The Corridor of Power" walk, which is only in Polish. Others are in Russian and Japanese.

Most of the walks have fees but a few are free and there are other free events throughout the month, including music, films and exhibits.

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