Category Archives: london

Free wifi in London

Between them, Pret a Manger and McDonalds provide pretty good coverage for the urban digital nomad. Both provide free wifi access via The Cloud – pret asks for an e-mail address and your birthday, but underneath the arches, you can surf away by just clicking a button.

OK, so it’s not really free if you are obliged to buy something in order to secure a table, but Black coffee in pret is £1.50-something and in McDonalds £1.29 – in the former you may have to put up with loud middle class people, in the latter, the bawling of chavvy kids is drowned out by the boombox – take some noise-cancelling headphones.

Neither, however, seem to provide power sockets, so I recommend an hour or so in Starbucks now and then to recharge your flagging batteries. And don’t forget to swap water for caffeinated beverages occasionally to minimise the risk of over-stimulation.

Of course the ICA is top-hole for wifi, power, coffee, yummy food and PLU(!) but loses points by not being open (except on Fridays, you lucky people) until midday.

Passport to Pimlico

At some point in the late seventies or early eighties, the BBC ran a comprehensive season of Ealing Comedies. It stands out as an important part of my adolescent television experience – which many would say explains a lot.

A favourite has always been Passport to Pimlico (1949) for the location shots of immediate post-war London as well as the plucky defiance of the residents of Miramont Gardens. What’s disappointing of course is that it’s actually filmed in Lambeth on the other side of the river rather than in Pimlico itself. Nonetheless it formed an important picture in my young mind of “that London”.

If you haven’t seen it, get it and take a look. Spoilers may well follow…

Watching again, this weekend, I noticed many motifs that echo what I’m thinking about a lot with respect to self-organisation and emergent behaviour, but in particular two examples of herd activity – firstly, the way in which the idea spreads through the community that they are Burgundians and therefore need no longer comply with the post-war austerity measures or indeed any English law they dislike and then later how the crowd gathered to witness the defeat and evacuation copy the kids who have come to throw provisions to their parents (the kids who got the idea from seeing the penguins fed at the zoo).

And I laughed out loud a lot too.

Silly Lists, Silly Games

This evening, my attention was drawn to the fact that I wasn’t on the twitter grader “Twitter Elite in London” list.

Oh Noes! Wot a calamitee!

So I checked out my location setting and found it to be “London, UK” – it’s a free-form text box so you can, and I did, temporarily, change it to “Up My Own Arse” if you like, but there isn’t a list for “Twitter Elite Up My Own Arse”… yet.

Changing it to London, slipped me quickly into the list at #12 although since others have noticed the same thing and changed their locations, who knows where I’d be? Hey it gave me another opportunity for cheap sexual innuendo. I’ve now put it back to what it was, simply because I think it’s more accurate and useful. Take a look at the disambiguation page for just London.

These lists *are* silly, the games we play with them, once we’ve noticed them, are just games. Is there anything here other than vanity and the fleeting fun of gaming a system by tweaking it’s parameters? Well scroll down a bit and you’ll see that this list is just a way of grabbing attention in order to point people at the services of Hubspot and “inbound marketing”, ie SEO specialist. It’s us, our vanity, our envy, our play, being used for someone else’s marketing campaign. No thanks. Unfollowing @grader (though I understand that doesn’t stop me being included in the lists)