Now that the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games are nearly gone, and summer too is following suit, Virgin Media’s free Wi-Fi on the underground promotion will also be coming to a close.
Since the beginning of July, commuters, tourists and Olympic-goers alike have been able to log on, albeit intermittently (it’s on the platforms, not in the tunnels), by simply handing over a name and an email address… However, as Virgin have always said, it’s only free ‘for the summer‘.
Now, being British, summer part one ended at some point in June. Part two has just arrived (after a rainy intermission) and I doubt the Wi-Fi will match the same timeline.
So here’s the big question: how much will it cost when the summer is gone?
My gut says £5pcm.
My heart says it will be FREE to all existing Virgin Media subscribers.
My head says I’d probably £10pcm (but only with a guaranteed coverage increase of 50% of stations by 2013).
The really funny thing is, the image above is nothing to do with the Olympics at all. In fact, it was taken about three and a half years ago, back in the early part of December, 2008.
How do I know?
Because I was there when I took it.
(2989 views, 8 favourites, 6 comments)
It was lunchtime and I was on my way into central London to meet some bloggers I was hosting for The SpinVox Wishing Well, which had just opened in Covent Garden.
One of the bloggers in attendance was one Annie Mole – aka the editor of ‘Going Underground‘, London’s best London Underground blog. So, when I spotted this stuck on the inside of a Piccadilly Line carriage, I immediately snapped it so I could share it with Annie when I saw her.
The best thing was, after I took the original photo, the couple sat behind me tapped me on the shoulder and offered me their laps to sit on (to much laughter from our fellow passengers), it was a lovely moment.
“One evening five dramatically different and challenging speakers, together with their equally unruly audience, go to work on the soft edges of a common theme.”
Each of the five speakers were given the same brief of which one part was this –
This, was their theme, if you will. Using that, in part at least, as an inspiration point – each speaker had to give a ten minute talk about how said theme had inspired them.
Discussions from all sorts of weird and wonderful minds filled the air, from Captain Scroggs‘ tales of flipping the music industry on its head through the fetishisation of product in the digital age (see real world example, Tom the Lion); to JeremyHutchison’s dissection of the centimetre-thick glass that stands between us and the goods we so desperately want… His description of last year’s London looters as ‘the over-performing consumer’ was a definite highlight.
My section, at the mid-way point, took a more futurology-based approach. With homemade slides to boot (thank you, Paper). They’re embedded below, however I would recommend that you click through to the slideshare page where the accompanying slide notes are also available.
Overall, In The Theme Park was a wonderful evening. Good food, both for the brain and for the stomach, good company and a thoroughly entertaining way to spend an Wednesday evening in London town.
FreeState, the agency behind it, did a superb job in speaker selection (if I do say so myself) as well as audience curation. Which, funnily enough, is probably the one thing that most event organisers overlook.
Arresting, harsh and, at times, harrowing. ILL MANORS is no easy watch.
But oh my God, is it worth it.
A spoiler-free review –
The directorial debut of Ben Drew – aka Plan B – and featuring a cast of relative unknowns (many of whom were from the streets where ill Manors is set), this is a film with a message: your surroundings define who you are – but there is always a choice.
Stark, intimidating and dirty against such hopeful (yet faded) iconic landmarks of the future; first, the former Millenium Dome, once a sign of development and symbolic of the hopes of East London, left dying by the government (until the o2 conversion). Then second, the stadia of the forthcoming Olympics; again a herald of hope. Again, an uncertainty around what happens afterwards – the symbolism here will not be lost on many. London has never been more real, or more frightening.
Drew, who not only *wrote and produced*, also provides the soundtrack to our journey into the East End of London; narrating the back story of each and every lost soul we meet along the way. And what a journey it is.
The stories told throughout Manors are multiple; twisting and turning, entwined and continual. They swing in and out of their own timelines as each new character enters our view and, slowly but surely, we find out their past – with our poetic narrator in tow – before the car crash of the present day slams back into vision. Messing with perspective, showing the same scene from multiple, time-varying points of view, Manors is smart and surprising. There’s darkness in (nearly) everyone and, as the madness grows, and the tension-wrought second act comes to a close, you wonder where Manors will take its residents next.
Think GO. Think Eyes Wide Shut. Think Pulp Fiction. Think Requiem for a Dream. Think Ben Drew. This is a man of a generation: telling the story of a lost generation. And he tells it incredibly, frighteningly well. Both in displaying the raw underbelly of what lies East of our capital city as well as in the deftness of his craft.
This is his debut. His first time.
I was lucky enough to catch Ben speak, so eloquently, at the Tedx Observer a while back. He was engaging and open about the causes of London’s riots last summer and, watching Ill Manors, you begin to see what he was getting at. Run down city streets, limited resources to inspire the youth of today and gang culture everywhere – the message here is clear: our kids need saving.
Manors is not without its faults, admittedly, but most can be shrugged off as the mistakes of the yet-to-be-honed technical skills of a film-making newbie. In a summer of mental movie blockbusters, Ill Manors is like a cold bucket of water over the head. Refreshing, cold, awakening.
See this film.
And Ben, if you’re reading… Please, make more.
Plan B goes on general release in the UK on June 6th, 2012.