LondonNet Homepage
Virtually, the best guide to London

 Sign up for your copy of LondonNet's newsletter AHOY!

 city info
 hotels: london
 hotels: europe
 bars and pubs
 about us

©Copyright Adonis 1996-2004. LondonNet is published by Adonis, London, UK.
© The names, words and styles LondonNet, londonnet, Londonnet, London Net and associated logos are all Copyright
®All Rights Reserved


LondonNet News Headlines

LondonNet Archive:
London News Headlines from June 2004
Click here for current news

Fahrenheit 9/11 Turns Up Heat on Bush and Blair
- British premiere draws stars in run-up to its release

THE BRITISH premiere of American documentary blockbuster Fahrenheit 9/11 drew big crowds to Leicester Square last night.

The film, which attacks the US and British invasion of Iraq, has broken box office records in America on the first week of its release and is predicted to perform similar ticket-sales miracles over here.

"It's going to do really well," said a spokesperson for the film's UK distributors. Among the guests to the celebrity screening were actors Jude Law and Peter O'Toole and anti-war MPs Claire Short and George Galloway.

Fahrenheit 9/11 opens to the public on the 9th of July.

Pet Shop Boys Bring Battle to Trafalgar
- Free film-music concert at square for early autumn

TRAFALGAR Square is to be the site for the world premiere of new film sound track music composed by the Pet Shop Boys. The electronic music duo - most famous for 80s hit West End Girls - have
written a new score for legendary Russian silent movie Battleship Potemkin, directed by Sergei Eisenstein.

"It's wonderful to be given the opportunity to write a complete soundtrack to this classic film and then to perform it as a free concert in the heart of London," said Pet Shop Boys singer Neil Tennant. Battleship Potemkin is regarded by film buffs as one of the most important movies of all time in its powerful use of 'montage' - the juxtaposition of successive images to create meaning and emotional response.

The film concerns a revolt by sailors on the eponymous warship in 1904, which, by the time the film was made in 1925, had become a symbol of revolutionary action. As well as its connections with naval matters - the Battle of Trafalgar
itself - Trafalgar Square has long been one of the main sites in London for political demonstrations and it is this connection which helped make it the
space of choice for the Pet Shop Boys premiere.

"Trafalgar Square is the place for re-imagining the past in terms of the needs of the present," said
Philip Dodd, director of the ICA, which is organising the event. Tennant and partner Chris Lowe will be joined in the square on the 12th of
September by the Dresden Sinfoniker.

More Water Fun for Wimbledon Stars
- Mac and Monica to play on the Thames

YOU'D have thought Wimbledon tennis people would have had enough of water after a week in which play at the famous tournament has been disrupted by the rain.

But no, Wimbledon chiefs have organised more liquid fun for fans by persuading ex-champions John McEnroe and Monica Selles to play on a specially modified barge on the Thames.

The pair will knock some balls as the barge, complete with artificial grass and nets, passes the London Eye, the Tate Modern and Tower Bridge. The event is part of a plan to publicise the big screens broadcasting Wimbledon near
Tower Bridge from the first to the fourth of July. Alicia Keyes is to play a free concert at the bridge as well.


Olympic Flame Burns for London25/06/04
Olympic Flame Burns for London
- Torch relay to ignite spirit of the games

THE OLYMPIC flame will burn through London on Saturday on its route around various world cities in the build-up to the Athens Games later this summer.

"This is the first time that the Olympic Flame has visited Britain since 1948," said London Mayor Ken Livingstone. "It is a great honour for London."

As it's the middle weekend of the Wimbledon tennis tournament, the flame is to start its journey on Centre Court and will then be carried through large parts of the capital including the British Olympic Committee HQ at Wandsworth, Clapham Common, Brixton, Camberwell Green, Greenwich Park, Canary Wharf, Brick Lane, City Hall, Bankside, the Natural History Museum and Soho.

In the evening, to celebrate he flame's arrival, a free concert is taking place on The Mall featuring the likes of James Brown, Jamelia, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood and Will Young.

More details of Torch Day at:


It's 6,500 Miles from A to B by Bike
- London-leg of 'modern-day odyssey' for Pimlico Parry

SUPER-CYCLIST Paul Parry pedals through London today as part of his astonishing 6,500 journey from A to B.

To raise money for the Red Cross and Victim Support Westminster, Parry is nearly half way through a ride from A in Norway to Bee in Nebraska, USA. "People are always talking about travelling from A to B - but until now - no one has ever attempted this modern-day odyssey," said Parry, who has already managed 2,500 miles of the trip after travelling through Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

Parry, who lives his normal life in Pimlico, has chosen to complete his mission by two-seater tandem bike so he can pick up passengers along the way in a bid to lessen the feared boredom of hours alone in the saddle.

Riding south west out of London today, Parry is bound for Southampton from where he will travel on the Queen Mary 2 liner to New York.

More on the trip here:


Billy Elliot Gets Ticket to the West End
- Ballet-show due to start March 2005

BILLY ELLIOT, one of the most successful British films of recent years, is to become a West End musical.

The film's story of a young boy in a north England mining town who finds creative solace in ballet, despite the objections of his father, captured the hearts of cinema goers in 2000 and took UKP100 million at the box office along the way.

New music for the show is be be written by Sir Elton John who counts himself among the film's biggest fans. "When I saw it, I was so moved," John said. "I was seen to be sobbing in my seat and at the end of it had to be carted out by about three people."

Also involved in the project are Lee Hall, who wrote the screenplay for the movie, Stephen Daldry, the film's director and choreographer Peter Darling. Billy Elliot the musical is scheduled to open next March and has a budget of some UKP6 million, double that of the film.

Related Pages:
London Theatre
Listings and Reviews Click here
Elton John
Live at Wembley Arena, Thu, 1st July 2004 Click here


Nude Shop Flop Blamed on Rooney
- Small turn out on Oxford Street reveals little

SIXTEEN people waited for a bus last night at a stop just south of Trafalgar Square.

Not one for the record books to be sure, but the total of thumb-twiddlers was one more than showed up for the inaugural Nude Shopping Night on Oxford Street.

"We were actually hoping for more but it is the first event we have run and the football cut numbers down," said Oona Graham-Taylor, of the Plaza Centre on Oxford Street where the event was held.

Not surprisingly, Graham-Taylor would only say it was "possible" that future similar events would go ahead, presumably not on nights that Wayne Rooney was on telly.

To be fair, as well as the England-Croatia match, naturists might complain that the shops involved didn't really enter into the swing of things. Shop staff were fully clothed and all nude shoppers had to register before being allowed into the Plaza like naughty school kids.


Top-Seed Federer Backs Henman
- Brit is 'classy' says reigning Wimbledon champ

LITTLE-KNOWN British tennis player Alex Bogdanovich faces reigning champion Roger Federer as the Wimbledon tennis tournament bats off today.

Bogdanovich, ranked at 290 in the world, gets his day in the sun on the legendary Centre Court ahead of main British hope Tim Henman, whose bid for the Wimbledon crown tends to dominate coverage of the tournament in this country.

The draw is such that the next British player Federer could meet is Henman - in the final. Federer describes himself as a Henman fan. "I have an admiration of his attitude both on and off the court. He is classy. He knows his potential and what he can do," the Swiss world number one said.

Federer is very much the future of men's tennis. In the women's section Martina Navratilova is very much the sport's glorious past, but the veteran nine-times champion has entered the singles again this year, providing one of today's highlights when she faces Catalina Castano on Court Two.


London: Getting Bigger and Younger
- Official statistics show vote of confidence in capital's future

LONDON'S population rose by nearly ten per cent over the last decade, according to figures released today by the government-run Office for National Statistics.

The grand total now stands at 8.3 million, up from 7.6 ten years ago. Forecasters expect the rise to continue and the population of the capital to reach over 9 million by 2011.

The make-up of central London is some flux, with 150,000 people moving out of inner London boroughs each year, to be replaced by a much greater concentration of young and foreign residents in a shift which is best seen as a positive vote for the city's future.

To cope with the extra numbers, both the national government and London Mayor Ken Livingstone are pushing for a mass home-building programme, with tens of thousands of new houses set to be built on mostly brown-field sites in the coming years.


Blair Plans Extra House Building for London
- Green belt could be used to beat homes shortage

THOUSANDS of extra new homes are to be built in London if Labour win the next General Election, Tony Blair has told MPs from his party.

Following Labour's poor showing in last week's local and European elections, the Prime Minister is believed to have earmarked housing as the key issue on which the party can win back support.

Blair is reported to have told a private meeting of his party's MPs that a promise to build more homes would attract "a whole generation" of young people currently worried about being priced off the housing ladder in the south-east.

In what appears to have been a co-ordinated approach, Chancellor Gordon Brown said in a speech that he wants to help close the "unacceptable" gap between housing demand and supply.

Labour are already planning tens of thousands of new homes in London under Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's aegis, especially on brown-field sites. Blair's new initiative is thought to be in addition to Prescott's already stated plans and might include building on London's Green Belt, previously seen as taboo.

The housing move is also thought to be one response to the controversy over asylum seekers, who are seen by some to be adding to the waiting list for social housing.


Sea Horse Rides into Cleaner Thames
- 'Sensitive' fish shows success of pollution measures

THE FIRST sea horse to be seen in the Thames for nearly 30 years has been put on display at the Southend Sealife Adventure centre, an example of the success of the anti-pollution drives of recent years.

"Everyone thinks the Thames Estuary is a polluted, dead river but that could not be further from the truth," said the centre's David Knapp.

Found two weeks ago by fisherman Brian Baker, the sea horse (aka hippocampus hippocampus) was tangled in sea-weed near Leigh-on-Sea. It was the first such creature to be spotted in the Thames since a distant cousin turned up in 1976.

"The sea horse is extremely sensitive to dirty water and would simply not be here if there was significant pollution," Knapp said. "We have seen an increase in all sorts of wildlife, not just fish but birds too. Little egrets and avocets which were very rarely seen in England a decade ago are now quite a common sight along parts of the Thames."


'Vaccine' Cure Lined Up for Coke Heads
- Slough-based company gives hope to addicts

NICOTINE-ADDICTS, dope-heads and and crack-whores could be helped to kick their self-destructive habits with new 'vaccines' that block the drugs' highs.

Yesterday's publication of successful trials on a drug that suppresses the euphoric effects of cocaine could lead to an easier withdrawal programme for addicts within a few years.

"It could be adopted by drug-treatment centres - but you have to look at all the other things that help someone get off a drug," said Aidan Gray, of the Conference on Crack and Cocaine.

The trial of the new drug were conducted at Yale University after development by Xenova, a Slough, west of London-based compan. The trial
involved only a dozen cocaine addicts but three-quarters of the participants were weaned off their habit. Larger scale trials will now go ahead which are due to report back next year.

Other firms, including the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Synthélabo, are working on similar effect-blocking drugs for cannabis and nicotine. Crack-cocaine use in London has seen an explosive growth in its use over the last decade which has had a huge knock-on effect on crime. For example, it is estimated that 75 per cent of inmates of Brixton prison are crack-users.


1All Aboard for the Arts4/06/04
All Aboard for the Arts
- Big rise in take-up of high-culture in last few years

ART on the sides of London busses is just one of the schemes that have raised the profile of the arts in recent years, with 800,000 more people attending art events across the country in the last 12 months compared to the same period three years ago.

The bus painting scheme run by the South London gallery is a small part of the picture but is indicative of the way the popularity of the arts has taken off.

"I can't think of another sector of activity in this country whose audience has expanded by such a huge degree in such a short space of time," said Christopher Frayling, chairperson of the Arts Council of England. "It is a remarkable statistic."

Frayling was talking of the 15.2 million people who have attended at least two arts events in the past year. a figure which beat a government-set target by some 60 per cent.

London Art
Tickets, Listings and Gallery Info


Beach Plan for the Thames
- South bank near Tower Bridge earmarked as summer sand site

LONDON could enjoy sand-fun on the Thames this summer if a plan to lay a beach gets the go-ahead from Southwark council.

The beach would be sited by Potters Field Park which is on the south bank of the river near Tower Bridge. London last had a city beach on the north bank just opposite up to the 1950s.

But the plan's expected popularity with Londoners at large is the very thing that could scupper its chances of being created as local residents are
thought to be against the beach and will press Southwark council to that effect.

Local MP Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat candidate for London Mayor, said: "Potters Fields is a park which we fought very hard to get as a local community and absolutely won't want taken away. The beach idea is great. It works in Paris very well. But there are plenty of other sites that would work better - by Blackfriars Bridge, for example, or by Gabriel's Wharf."


Ken Attacked by Birdman Bill Oddie10/06/04
Ken Attacked by Birdman Bill Oddie
- BBC issues apology after comments on mayor's pigeon policy

PARAKEETS AND FALCONS have been in the news recently but today they make way in the headlines for London's traditional bird, the pigeon.

BBC TV wildlife presenter Bill Oddie has hit out at London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who is up for re-election today, over the latter's policy of trying to rid Trafalgar Square of what he sees as the flying pests.

"Ken wants to get rid of all pigeons, well I don't think that's a very good move but I'll have a chance to vote, figure that one out Ken," Oddie said on Britain Goes Wild With Bill Oddie last night.

The comment was in clear breach of the BBC's rules and drew a quick apology from the channel: "Bill Oddie and the programme team realise that this comment was not in line with the BBC's strict policy of impartiality and is not in any way representative of the BBC," a spokesperson said.

Pigeons haven't been high on the agendas of Mayoral candidates until now and it could be that Oddie's intervention has come too late to save our feathered friends, especially since most of Livingstone's rivals back his anti-pigeon campaign. It should be said that Oddie's interest in pigeons isn't itself wholly benevolent as he wants them to stay in town to provide food for falcons.

As well as the mayoral election, Londoners today go to the polls to vote for members of the Greater London Assembly and for members of the European Parliament.

Mayoral Candidates
Election Day: 10 June 2004
Lindsey German (Respect - The Unity Coalition)
Ram Gidoomal (Christian Peoples Alliance)
Simon Hughes (Liberal Democrats)
Darren Johnson (Green Party Candidate)
Julian Leppert (British National Party)
Ken Livingstone (The Labour Party Candidate)
Frank Maloney (UK Independence Party)
Dr Tammy Nagalingam (Independent)
Steve Norris (Conservative - for a Safer London)
Lorna Reid (Independent Working Class Association)

For details on the above candidates and those standing in the London Assembly and European Elections see:


Killer Birds Prey on London
- Falcons breed on our roof tops

CENTRAL LONDON has become a breeding ground for wild creatures genetically programmed to kill.

A pair of adult falcons and two chicks have been spotted on the roof of a building belonging to the University of Westminster. Mr and Mrs Talon are the first such breeding pair to ever have been recorded in central London.

Notorious among London's deprived rodent community for their liking for mouse, rat and vole meat, the falcons need regular infusions of live flesh to survive. Like all birds, the Peregrine Falcons are known to be close in evolutionary terms to dinosaurs.

It is not known if the falcons have attacked University of Westminster inmates, but it is thought birds of prey might not be able to detect signs of life in the comatose student body.


Gay Museum Planned for London
- Tatchell gets all-party backing for scheme

FAMOUS gay people from British history, including 'secret' gay and lesbians such as Florence Nightingale, Winston Churchill and Lord Haig will be the centrepiece of a new Museum of British Gay History planned for the capital. The scheme's proposer, gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, said: "So many gay people have made a contribution to British history and their story, their gay story and their whole story, needs to be told."

Candidates for London Mayor rushed to back the idea. Ken Livingstone (Labour), Steve Norris (Tory), Simon Hughes (Lib Dem) and Darren Johnson (Green) all came out for the plan, with Johnson even including it on his manifesto.

"London is well catered for in terms of the commercial gay scene. But there has to be more than bars and clubs, both in terms of tourism and of the people who live here," said Johnson.

The all-party backing for the museum shows how quickly times have changed. Back in 1999, the Museum of London risked prosecution under the anti-gay law known as Section 28 when it showcased a gay history exhibition.

Tatchell estimates the museum will cost UKP20 million to set-up and hopes to get the bulk of it from National Lottery funds. His favoured site is the former Bow Street police station where Oscar Wilde and Tatchell himself were held after their respective arrests.


Reagan to Get Send-Off From Thatcher
- 1980s ally in taped salute to former US President

A TEN-MINUTE EULOGY by Lady (Margaret) Thatcher) is to be one of the highlights at Friday's funeral of Ronald Reagan in Washington DC.

The former British Prime Minister and close political ally of the late US President has been advised by doctors not to speak in public so she has recorded a message which will be played to the funeral audience.

"President Reagan was one of my closest political and dearest personal friends," Thatcher said. "He will be missed not only by those who knew him and not only by the nation that he served so proudly and loved so deeply but also by millions of men and women who live in freedom today because of the policies he pursued.

"Ronald Reagan had a higher claim than any other leader to have won the Cold War for liberty and he did it without a shot being fired."

Thatcher will also attend the event, along with current PM Tony Blair, who said Reagan had been a "good friend of Britain." The Stars and Stripes on the roof top of the US Embassy on Grosvenor Square has been flying at half-mast since the announcement of Reagan's death on the weekend.


Taxi Text Service Aims to Cut Crime
- Cab numbers can be recorded under new scheme

PEOPLE in London worried about their safety when travelling in licensed taxis and mini-cab can now have some of their fears assuaged through text messaging.

A new phone text service run by Hail Safe means passengers can text the cab's licence number to a central computer for later use should anything untoward happen on the journey.

Currently, many people, particularly women, who come under attack in cabs don't feel able to report the crime, partly because they can't clearly remember important details of the cab and its driver.

"I don't want people to get these crimes out of perspective as taxi crimes are rare," said Ceri Allen, Hail Safe's founder. "But just by taking a few simple steps women can increase their own personal safety."

More good news for taxi passengers might be around the corner with the announcement of Nokia's upcoming 'wave text' phone. It will be able to create, in mid-air, short, 15 character, messages - just enough to scrawl "Your views stink" for the benefit of those few drivers with an annoying take on issues of the day.


Potter Stars in First Camden Film Festival
- Azkaban one of many films shot in NW1

TODAY sees the launch of the first Camden Film Festival, the highlight of which is the celebration of the NW1's film credits.

The most recent blockbuster to be shot partly in Camden is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but the borough's filmic history goes back at least 50 years.

"The borough has such an extraordinary heritage in the industry - a heritage which many residents won't even know about - and we felt it was time this was recognised on a grand scale," said Dame Jane Roberts, Camden Council's leader.

Other events in the festival include tours of the MTV music video studios, a film masterclass and a Camden Roundhouse film day.

Films are to be shown at the Camden Lock Screen and the Camden Odeon. The festival runs until the 7th of June.

London Cinema
Listings and Reviews


Software Glitch Halts UK Flights03/06/04
Software Glitch Halts UK Flights
- Flights getting back to normal say Air Traffic Control

FLIGHTS across the UK's airspace were grounded early this morning thanks to a glitch in National Air Traffic Services' software.

The software crash happened at NATS's facility in West Drayton, near Heathrow Airport. As soon as the problem was recognised all take-offs were suspended to allow incoming planes to land safely.

The byte-sized hiccup is believed to have occured between 6.00am and 7.00am when a computer which had just had an udpate was switched back on. NATS say they have already ruled out foul play.

Following the crash many services were able to get off on time, while others face knock-on delays throughout the day. Passengers are advised to turn up as usual or if in doubt contact their airline.

London Airports:
General Info - Airlines - London Airport Hotels


Duke to Re-Open Victorian Battersea Park
- UKP11 million tart-up for one of London's prettiest spaces

THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH is to open the revamped Battersea Park today.

The famous riverside park in south London has been the subject of a UKP11 million refurbishment with the aim of restoring it to something like the way it was intended to look way back when it first opened in 1854.

That has meant restoration of Victorian features such as the wrought-iron gates and fences and the re-introduction of pink gravel to some of the park's pavements. The latter change has drawn fire from disabled campaigners who say wheel-chair users will find it difficult to negotiate the gravel.

Along with the Victoriana, modern touches like a new boathouse for the lake and designer toilets have been included in the revamp.


Goggles to Protect Potter
- Cinema staff get night-vision equipment

SCIENCE and technology rather than magic and spells are to save Harry Potter in the young wizard's latest adventure.

One of the UK's leading cinema chains, Vue, is issuing its staff hi-tech night vision goggles to seek out and remove any cinema-goer making sneaky and illegal recordings of the just-released blockbuster.

"They are mainly to prevent the Harry Potter film being copied and ending up on the net," one London cinema manager said. "We've never caught anyone copying films here and we've had no problems as yet with Potter, but we are keeping a close eye on the audiences. These new goggles are extremely effective - they don't give off any light, so the customers can't see you using them."

Rumours that cinema staff are concentrating their surveillance on snogging back-row couples remain unconfirmed.

London Cinema
Listings and Reviews


LondonNet Archive:
London News Headlines from May 2004
London News Headlines from April 2004




London Theatre Guide - Tickets, listings and reviews
London Music Guide - Tickets, listings and reviews

LondonNet Homepage
Cinema Home - full menu
Cinema Listings - a to z of cinemas
Movie Listings - a to z of movies

London Theatre - top shows and plays
London Music - latest concerts and gigs
London Hotels - our choice of London hotels





July 2004
June 2004
May 2004

April 2004


To book your theatre and concert tickets click here

Make LondonNet your Home Page!