Valentines for Everyone

20 01 2012

This Valentine weekend, food charity FareShare are collaborating with Forgotten Feast and their eco-chef Tom Hunt to produce a unique 3 course banqueting experience – Valentines for Everyone.

For £40 you can expect a magnificent 3-course menu of delicious but unwanted foods that might otherwise end up in landfill. From heart to honey, pheasant to parsnip and even kaffir lime leaves, Valentines for Everyone will transform surplus food into a bountiful seasonal banquet. Surplus food is delicious, healthy produce that hasn’t made it into the shops because too much was ordered, it’s in the wrong packaging or it’s just a bit wonky. Be prepared for a culinary exploration, we will cater for vegetarian and red-blooded carnivores alike.

Everyone will sit together for the feast, so come alone, with friends or with your loved one and sit with other diners to celebrate and feast. The banquet will be held in FareShare’s east London warehouse, so diners will sit amongst towering stacks of FareShare’s surplus food, industrial fridges and lavish themed décor, created by Secret Garden Party designer Alex Geldenhuis.

Every ticket sold will enable FareShare to provide an additional 80 meals for the hungry and vulnerable people they support, thanks to grant-giving charity StreetSmart who are generously matching the number of meals raised though ticket sales. FareShare rescues surplus food year round and delivers it to local charities all over the country.

Tickets are available for dinner Friday 10th February, Saturday 11th, Sunday 12th (late lunch) and for dinner on Valentine’s Day itself and include 3 courses, a drink and canapés.

For dinner service, the venue will be open from 7pm and service will commence promptly at 7.30 pm.
Late lunch on Sunday 12th the venue will be open from 3pm for service at 3.30pm.

For more information, visit the Valentines For Everyone event pages.

Child Poverty in London

20 01 2012

Child Poverty in London

The End Child Poverty campaign has produced a report that shows many parts of London to be among the poorest int he country. Its list of the 20 UK local authorities containing the highest percentages of children in poverty contains eleven of the capital’s 32 boroughs, with Tower Hamlets topping the list on 52%. Islington, Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham and Barking and Dagenham are up there too. The massive gap between the capital’s richest and poorest is illuminated by the Eng Child Poverty Campaign report.

It is also well illustrated on the excellent website ‘London’s Poverty Profile’.



16 09 2011

Looking back now the dust has settled, here’s some thought provoking material.

Behind the Riots Guardian sociology series

Reading the Riots Guardian, LSE, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Open Society Foundations series

Paul Gilroy on the riots

Important video on the riots in Tottenham:

Geographically Accurate Tube Map

29 06 2011

In the news this week – an interesting new geographically accurate tube map. The standard map and the new map are inspired by the work of Harry Beck who’s simplified geometric map revolutionised underground maps. Londonist have an astoundingly varied and comprehensive guide to alternative tube maps with some really interesting images from maps of the underground drawn by memory to a live train movements map. Here’s what the designers of the new geographic map have to say about the concept, which I have to say looks pretty good, if slightly less easy to read than the familiar standard map.

A new angle on the London Underground – Creating a tube map for the 21st century

We welcome your views and ideas about this map and your experiences of using the London Underground system. You can contribute via our website which has links to the blog, twitter and facebook. Our aim is to create a dynamic map that responds to the needs of the user, makes best use of technology, and reflects the way we live our lives in the 21st Century.

For more information please contact: Map designed by Mark Noad (

The original London Underground diagram, designed by Harry Beck is one of the greatest designs of the twentieth century. He rationalised and clarified a complex system to produce a simple, easy to follow piece of information graphics. The principles he established for the diagram are still in use today.

However, in 1931 when it was first used, there were only seven lines so the compromises Beck made on geographical accuracy did not matter greatly. Today, with the constant development of the diagram now accommodating twice as many lines, these inaccuracies are more of a problem. Indeed, they form the basis for a major criticism of the diagram, that it bears little or no relation to London at street level.

This is particularly the case with newer lines especially London Overground which has been shoe-horned in leaving stations nowhere near their neighbours, for example: Watford and Watford Junction; Archway and Upper Holloway; Seven Sisters and South Tottenham; South Acton and Chiswick Park.

The map illustrated here is an attempt to see if it is possible to create a geographically-accurate representation of the underground system while still retaining some of the clarity of Beck’s original diagram. It uses similar principles, fixed line angles – in this case 30 and 60 degrees instead of 45 – and shortens the extremities of the lines to make it more compact.

Making the position of the stations the most important element of the design means there is less space for the station names. To allow for this, a new condensed typeface has been created – New Underground Condensed – which is based on Edward Johnston’s original font.

This map will help visitors to London navigate the city more efficiently. It will make it easier to decide which route to take including whether it is quicker to walk between stations. As the project develops, we will add more information to help users of the underground system which will be accessible on-line, in print, and via the app.



Brian Haw

20 06 2011

Brian Haw, the peace campaigner who had been camped in Parliament Square since 2001 in protest at Britain’s needless bombardment and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, died over the weekend.

You can read a press release from his family on his website here.

Brian had been in Parliament Square for ten years, a constant reminder of our govenrment’s crimes abroad and at home. His peaceful protest was the subject of constant shameless attempts to discourage, repress, harass, intimidate and legistate against him – all of them failed.

Watch the clip that film maker Chris Atkins uploaded onto youtube in tribute to Brian, and if you can watch the whole of the film that its from – Taking Liberties, a brilliant account of New Labour’s attack on our civil liberties.

Olympics Lottery

17 06 2011


Did anyone out there actually get any tickets to the Olympics?

I applied in April for a very modest number of tickets to the first round of the women’s shot put on a monday morning thinking that I might have a chance of actually getting the tickets. After going through the bizarre application process I felt confident that me and my family would be going to see something of the olympics that we are all going to spend the rest of our lives paying for. Today on the 17th of June, I received an e-mail (below) informing me that I had not been successful with my application to the games.

London 2012
Dear Benjamin,
Your Olympic Games ticket application.

We would like to thank you for applying for London 2012 Olympic Games tickets.

Due to the overwhelming demand for tickets, we are sorry that you have not been allocated the tickets you requested. We can confirm that we have not taken any payment from you.

Demand for tickets greatly exceeded supply in the sessions and price categories you applied for. Where sessions were oversubscribed, we undertook a random ballot to allocate tickets in the fairest possible way. We had applications for more than 20 million tickets, seeing huge demand across many sports. Two-thirds of all price categories were oversubscribed and went to ballot.

Exclusive opportunity

We would like to invite you to take advantage of an exclusive opportunity to purchase some of the remaining tickets, in advance of those customers who were allocated tickets in the initial application phase.

From 6am on 24 June until 6pm on 3 July 2011 you will be able to request some of the remaining tickets on the London 2012 ticketing website

These tickets will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. They cover a great range of Olympic sports including Athletics, Basketball, Football, Handball, Hockey and Volleyball. Download the full list of available sports

During this second chance sales window you will only be able to submit one application, and you will be able to apply for a maximum of three sessions. Once you submit, you will receive an email confirming your application. We will then advise you which tickets you have been allocated within 24-48 hours, subject to successful payment. All payments will be taken between 4 and 7 July 2011.

We very much hope you will take advantage of this exclusive ticket offer so you can still be a part of the greatest show on earth.

If you have any questions regarding your Olympic Games ticket application, please visit our Frequently asked questions

Thomas Cook Games Breaks

As the official provider of short breaks to the Games, Thomas Cook still have a limited number of Games Breaks available. Thomas Cook Games Breaks start at £99 per person and include official tickets, accommodation in London hotels and a range of other services. Find out more on the Thomas Cook website

Best wishes
The London 2012 Ticketing team

London 2012

Be aware

Please be vigilant if attempting to purchase London 2012 tickets from sources other than and ensure you are buying from an authorised outlet. A full list of authorised ticket resellers is available here

Apparently only 36% of applicants actually got any tickets. My mistake was that I was far too modest, I should have gone in all guns blazing and staked my life savings on getting some tickets, as this research by the guardian shows:

How much were you prepared to spend?

Range % chance of getting tickets
£1-£249 35.80%
£250-499 40.00%
£500-£749 42.90%
£750-£999 47.30%
£1,000-£1,499 53.50%
£1,500-£1,999 57.10%
£2,000-£2,499 59.40%
£2,500-£2,999 67.70%
£3,000-£3,999 60.20%
£4,000-£4,999 62.30%
£5,000 plus 83.10%

Boris Johnson is ‘slightly cheesed off’ about not getting his own tickets – will he be watching it on TV?

Yet Another Conference of Interest

20 05 2011

CfP: Ethnography, Diversity and Urban Space. 2011. September 22-23

COMPAS, University of Oxford, Oxford

Call for Papers:  Deadline 6 June 2011

The intensification of global flows in the current period has led scholars to describe cities like London as ‘super-diverse’: a ‘diversification of diversity’, with a population characterized by multiple ethnicities, countries of origin, immigration statuses, and age profiles (Vertovec 2007).

The aims of this conference to be held at COMPAS <>  (University of Oxford) on 22-23 September 2011 are: to address the missing dimension of migration and mobility in the literature on urban space, and the missing dimension of spatiality in the literature on diversity; and to develop new modes of inquiry appropriate to the contemporary challenge of super-diversity.

We invite proposals for papers which investigate aspects related to the conference themes and we welcome in particular proposals that focus on the following areas:

  • Understanding belonging and diversity in complex urban spaces
  • Changing practices of fieldwork and new and old modes of ethnographic investigation

Abstracts from early career researchers are especially welcome.  For full details, see:

Students – fees – and protest

13 12 2010

London has seen several waves of protest recently over the proposed student fees increases, the first of which I discussed here.

After students got a bit rowdy and broke some windows last time round, the police have taken revenge by penning thousands of them in a ‘kettle’ and then charging at them with horses untill boiling point.

There’s some good coverage of the ‘dubstep rebellion from the British banlieue‘ by Paul Mason, Newsnight’s Economics editor. He makes a valiant attempt to get down with the kids, one of very few journalists who has covered the story from this point of view, although I have been reliably informed by one SOAS undergraduate that his analysis of the latest yoot music trends is a bit off the mark.

And a first hand account from Cambridge PHD student Delwar Hussain here.

Today students are protesting against the scrapping of the education maintenance allowance which gives students from disadvantaged backgrounds a stipend for staying in school. (Something that the British government has helped to fund in Bangladesh with encouraging results)

Some of the protests turned pretty nasty, as you can imagine what happens when the police pen protesters in and then charge horses into the crowded space and hit anyone who tries to escape over the head with a stick. Some injured protesters, unconscious with head wounds took hours to get to hospital after police prevented them from leaving the kettle.

Somehow Prince Charles and his Courtesan got caught up in the mess and when spotted were chased by students chanting ‘off with their heads’. Somehow Camilla got poked with a stick (photo below)

This is not funny at all.

The students chanting and poking and banging the roof of the car were lucky not to be shot by the ‘enormously restrained’ police officers according to the national restraintometer – The Daily Mail.

Upcoming Conferences

27 11 2010

Some very interesting conferences and seminars have been announced recently and caught our eyes:

SOAS Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies and Department of Development Studies Joint Seminar with Department of Anthropology seminar series

Wednesday 1st December 3-5 pm Room G51

Nicola Frost (Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies / Food Studies Centre, SOAS)

Making Mela in Brick Lane

The Baishakhi Mela is held annually in May in and around Brick Lane in East London. It celebrates Bengali New Year, and can attract around 100,000 people to the area. The large local Bangladeshi population values the event as an opportunity to gather together, and to present Bangladeshi culinary and musical traditions to a wider audience. What began as a small, community-based affair, has grown to become a huge logistical undertaking, heavy with resonance in local politics, as well as being a significant economic driver for associated businesses. In 2006 and 2007 the Mela was organised through collaboration between the Baishakhi Mela Trust, consisting of local business people and other community workers, and the arts and events team from Tower Hamlets council. This relationship is complex, and open to a variety of conflicting interpretations. Central to these tensions are the interdependent questions of finance and ownership: while control of budgets entails a degree of authority, the festival has its own life and momentum that largely evades attempts to codify, regulate, and strategise. This paper examines these issues with reference to the 2007 event.

All welcome. For further information please contact Paru Raman (


Tuesday 12 July until Thursday 14 July 2011 at the Institute of Education, University of London, 20 Bedford Way, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0AL

We would like to extend a very warm invitation to international scholars, researchers, and those with other significant interests in London to join with us, as either a Speaker or a Delegate, to celebrate the launch of this unique annual event!

The great world city of London which is the focus of our conference is the product of some two thousand years of growth and development, setback and renewal. The short passage to and from the North Sea along the River Thames made London one of the major European ports from Roman times onwards. Its maritime significance was eventually consolidated by the opening of its vast dock system in the heyday of the great imperial metropolis from 1800 on. Following further enormous change in the later 20th Century, London Docklands now serve a very different post-industrial function as the financial district moves eastwards and the population and its way of life transforms.

Profoundly historic and yet also ultramodern, London is a city of many different facets, logical and contradictory by turns. It is the seat of both the British monarchy and the home of parliamentary democracy, the two co-existing in what some regard as a typically ingenious British compromise. It is a city dominated by the financial and political industries, and yet these have been profoundly called into question in the new age of austerity and of political reform. And if London led the world in pioneering one of the great public transportation systems, this is now struggling to cope with the demands of the ever larger population – now numbering over seven million – as its members inhabit a city marked by a cultural diversity borne of long-term international migration.

London is marked by the many traditions of great wealth, and yet, in part, still blighted by the scars of poverty and deprivation. A city ravaged, within living memory, by the horrors of world war, its urban landscape has been endlessly transfigured in sometimes spectacular, sometimes merely startling fashion within a few short decades. London thus reflects many of the glories of urbanisation and yet is also marked by many of its inevitable contradictions, from the great beauties of its artistic and architectural heritage to the dramatic challenges it now faces – alongside other world cities – to reduce its excessive carbon footprint, its pollution, and its criminality.

These striking ambiguities provide the context for our conference, at the approaches to Olympic Year 2012, as we seek to analyse, critque and celebrate London’s proud identity and heritage.

CRONEM 7th Annual Conference

Joint international multidisciplinary conference with VU Institute for the Study of Religion, Culture and Society (VISOR), Free University Amsterdam

Global Migration and Multiculturalism: Religion, Society, Policy and Politics

28 – 29 June 2011, University of Surrey (Deadline 15 February 2011)

In our seventh annual conference CRONEM and VISOR want to explore a number of overlapping themes arising from the relationship between global migration and cultural diversity through different disciplinary understandings of the links between religion, society, policy and politics.

The extensive literature, which now exists concerning the movement of people, information and material objects across nation-state borders around the globe, has not only provided us with an understanding of the political economy of this movement but also its social and cultural dimensions. The minorities created by this movement raise crucial issues concerning citizenship rights and duties within modern nation-states and the co-existence of these rights and duties with transnational ties and global imagined communities. Identity politics, minority community representation and how minority individuals relate (and are expected to relate) to the national cultures within which they live present political and policy challenges for nation-states and supra-national entities such as the European Union.

These challenges in many parts of the globe frequently highlight the changing relationship between politics and religion. These changes have been discussed in terms of an emerging ‘post-secular’ society, especially within parts of the European region, for example, or in North America. Other commentators have focussed on the increasing securitisation of both immigration and integration in recent decades and especially since 9/11. In the European region this issue overlaps with religion insofar as Islam(ism), in particular, has come to be perceived as a significant transnational security threat which, in turn, has affected both public and individual perceptions of Muslim minorities within many countries, permeating the media.

These are just two topical examples illustrating the broad spectrum of concerns over the entry, settlement and integration or accommodation of migrants against the backdrop of economic considerations and governmental efforts to control flows. We wish to encourage submission of papers and posters, which focus on this range of issues around the world from different disciplinary perspectives. Papers and posters, which analyse individual perceptions and understandings, are just as welcome as those, which explore group dynamics and collective processes.

Individual paper / poster proposalSymposium proposal

For any additional information, please contact Mrs Mirela Dumic (

RC 21 in Amsterdam Conference Theme: The struggle to belong – Dealing with diversity in 21st urban settings

Deadline for abstracts: 21 December 2010

We invite proposals for papers for the following theme: Youth geographies and spatial identity

Recognizing that youth researchers have a privileged vantage point from which to view social change and continuity, this is a call for papers that seek to interrogate these themes. How do young people deal with change in their own lives whilst negotiating social, cultural and economic uncertainty in contemporary urban settings?

We invite papers that highlight these issues in any number of ways. Papers are not limited to empirical discussions; we also invite analyses of methodological and ethical matters of concern.

Latin Americans in London

19 11 2010

Latin Americans in London, 22 November – 10 December, 2010

City Hall hosts this special exhibition of photos by Latin-American, London-based photographers Julio Etchart and Alejandro Gortazar, as part of this year’s Latin American Bicentenary celebrations.

Two centuries ago, the area of the world now known as Latin America experienced the first concerted attempts to shed centuries of Spanish and Portuguese rule. The year 1810 marked the beginning of a process that would witness the creation of over a dozen new nations.

This year a number of cultural institutions, pan London organisations and community groups have organised activities to mark this historic anniversary. The Greater London Authority has joined with the Latin American Bicentenary Group to host a series of events to celebrate the bicentenary, and showcase the long and enduring historical and cultural links that exist between Latin America and London.

More information here


Museum of London collection on Latin Americans in London

Living Latin in London: How latin American Migrants Survive in the City, working paper by Dr. Cathy McIlwaine QMUL

Photo of the Latin American festival in London – described on this site.


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