Londoners seem to have an ever-spiralling number of London-specific things to read. Of course, free local papers clutter up hallways around the country, but the density of them in London is indicative of the fundamental geographical confusion of the place. (I get sent material based on the fact that I live variously in East Dulwich, Dulwich, Dulwich Hamlet (whatever that thinks it is), Camberwell, Southwark, South East London, South London, and London itself.)
None of these are much use, nor are the paid-for rags, like the South London Press and the London Evening Standard. By far the most useful London publications are Time Out and the weekend Guide in The Guardian. The Guide wins by virtue of being small, free with the newspaper, and not full of smug, foolish reviews.
Finally, there is the London version of Metro, about which the less said the better for everybody.
The new arrivals on the market are far more interesting. The forthcoming London News Review looks to be promising enough to warrant an early subscription, particularly if it carries over the ground-level spirit of the same company’s email newsletter London by London.
Interesting for other reasons is the ‘official’ London newspaper, The Londoner. This is Mayor Livingstone’s propaganda tool, Red Ken’s redtop. I must admit to enjoying it, particularly its stridently progressivist Soviet tone. Ken fixes the buses, Ken wins the Olympics for London, Ken turns Trafalgar Square into a glorious continental piazza.
Ken, this month, reintroduces peregrine falcons into London. Down to only a handful of breeding pairs in the country 40 years ago, the falcons have found a way back, and are now said to be more numerous than ever. This includes a gradual colonisation of the metropolis. We are regaled with tales of peregrines hovering over the groundlings at the Globe theatre, peregrines nesting atop the Battersea Power Station.
Ken, even though you had nothing to do with all this, thanks for letting us know. The city seems a fraction less dour and we can look upwards to see, for once, something other than the endless convoy of planes scraping overhead.
Now I want London kestrels as well.