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LondonNet News Headlines

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

London Boasts New TV Record
- 47 hour marathon-man 'stretched legs' to keep himself awake

LONDONERS can puff out their chests this weekend, filled with pride that this city holds the prestigious record for continuous TV viewing.

The man to thank for this is Hendon's own Tom Gibson, who lasted a full 47 hours, eight minutes, beating the previous record by a whopping seven minutes which works out at two normal ad-breaks or one if you choose to watch Sky.

"This was no easy task," Gibson said. "On Wednesday morning at about 2am I felt like I was going to nod off but I stood up and stretched my legs to keep me awake - but never took my eyes off the screen."

Gibson carried out his task in a mocked-up living-room on the Cromwell Road which was open to public viewing. "My TV highlight would have to be watching the Champions League," our hero said.

Big Brother is Watching You Have Sex
- New series goes down the peep-show and orgasm route

THE FIRST couple to have sex on Big Brother, the latest series of which starts on Friday, will earn UKP100,000.

"Everyone has been waiting for some serious action in the Big Brother house and this offer should encourage the housemates to loose their inhibitions," said Richard Gale of Playboy TV, the company making the offer which will come in the form of cash paid to present one of the channel's shows.

So far, full sex has been missing from the British Big Brother, though it has visited the series in its foreign incarnations.

In case the UKP100,000 is not enough to tempt the contestants to make the beast with two backs, condom company Trojan are to screen an ad early in the first episode featuring a couple making lurv. The ad, cleared by TV watchdogs, features a man and woman having an orgasm.

The ad's creator, Neale Hunt of Media Therapy, said of the production process: "Can you imagine sitting opposite 20 guys and asking to see their most intimate orgasm face?" Several million of us will be in Hunt's peeping tom position to see if Big Brother's sex stars they are to get their mitts on the Playboy TV cash.

Fire Destroys BritArt Classics
- Emin, Hirst, Chapmans and Whiteread among casualties

EVERYONE I Ever Slept With got burnt in east London last night. Tracey Emin's work that featured a tent with the names of her sleeping partners was among a pile of famous Brit Art to succumb to the flames in an art storage facility last night.

The art collection belonged to patron Charles Saatchi, the man who funded a whole host of Brit Art artists. Saatchi is quoted as being "absolutely devastated". Works by the Chapman brothers, Damien Hirst and Rachel Whiteread were also stored at the Momart warehouse in Leyton.

It is not yet known how many of these works - which carry a combined multi-million pound price-tag - have been destroyed. "We are waiting for Momart to give us final confirmation," said a spokesperson for Charles Saatchi. However, the signs are not good. The fire began on Monday and was still being put out on Tuesday evening.

Firefighters described the warehouse as being "non-existent".

London Art - Gallery Info and Exhibition Tickets
(Info and tickets)

Stars Trek Towards Elections
Stars Trek Towards Elections
- Patrick Stewart and Joan Collins wheeled out

JEAN-LUC PICARD will boldly go into one of his toughest battles today when he starts the fight against voter apathy in the run-up to next month's elections.

Along with Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott Picard, aka actor Patrick Stewart, helms a publicity event in central London aimed to publicise the European and local elections on the 10th of June.

Today also marks the first day of postal voting for some districts including London. Postal voting is held up as a way of increasing the turn out, which has fallen steadily for both local and European votes in recent years. Some districts are even operating a 100 per cent postal election.

Meanwhile, the anti-EC United Kingdom Independence Party is to unveil its latest star recruit in the form of Joan Collins, to add to Robert Kilroy-Silk, Sir Patrick Moore and Edward Fox.

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:

Queen's Day at the Chelsea Flower Show
- Royal preview for green-themed extravaganza

GREEN is the theme at this year's Chelsea Flower Show, which opens its doors to the Queen today.

Following tradition, Her Majesty gets to have a peek a day before everyone else at the hundreds of gardening exhibits on display at Britain's premier horticultural event.

Tomorrow and Wednesday, members of the Royal Horticultural Society will be able to enjoy the sights of the gardens constructed at the Royal Hospital grounds in Chelsea, followed by the general public on Thursday. The event is already a sell out.

Each year, organisers introduce a theme and this year it's the subtleties of the colour green, which is to be gloried in its many shades throughout the show. Other highlights include a strong showing input from southern hemisphere plants and a thorny red rose named after New Scotland Yard - "an ideal platform to illustrate garden security in action," as the blurb goes.

Flower Shows - LondonNet's online guide to the best of this year's shows. Info and Tickets

Hopes Rise for London Grand Prix Return
- Formula 1 boss drops hint for future British GP venue

LONDON'S chances of getting the Olympics might be slipping away, but there could be a hefty consolation prize coming our way in the shape of Grand Prix racing returning to the capital.

The city last hosted a Grand Prix race on the 28th of June 1938 at the Crystal Palace circuit in south London. That day an ERA driven by Prince Birabongse Bhanutej Bhanubandh, or "B. Bira" as he was affectionately known, took the chequered flag for the second year running.

When asked if London could host a future British Grand Prix, Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said: "Everything's possible - maybe people will now think about closing down streets." The background to London's hopes of staging a race again is that Ecclestone has long been unhappy with the state of the track and facilities at Silverstone, the usual site for the British Grand Prix.

On the 6th of July, the possible first step in London becoming a modern Grand Prix venue goes ahead when there will be a demonstration race on Regents Street featuring some of the sport's top stars including on form Brit Jenson Button.

This is not the first time a fresh London based race has been mooted. Past proposals have included a leaf lined route in Hyde Park or Regents Park and a track set among the skyscrapers of Docklands.

A more recent plan wanted to use The Mall as a start/finish straight, thus affording Her Majesty The Queen a birds eye view of proceedings from Buckingham Palace. However, unlike Prince Birabongse and the royal Rainers of Monaco, who host this weekend's Monte Carlo Grand Prix, the Windsors prefer their racing to be of the four legged variety.

LondonNet Special Offer
British Grand Prix
Silverstone, 10-11 July 2004

The British Grand Prix captures the drama and excitment of the world's most glamorous sport. With this accomodation package, you can experience this year's Silverstone Grand Prix with private coach transfers to and from your 4 star hotel. (Tickets, Info)

Young Musicians Helped by Elton
- Star funds scholarships at the Royal Academy

SIR ELTON JOHN is to help the Royal Academy for Music groom young musicians.

John attended the famous music teaching college on a scholarship as a teenager and wants to see others benefit from its expertise. "For quite some time I have tried to find a way to repay my debt to the academy," said John. To start the scheme off, four budding musicians will be handed scholarships ranging from UKP1,000 to UKP10,000.

"It is not just a matter of funding for Elton, he also wants to take a personal interest in the students as individuals," said Peter Craik of the Royal Academy. "Elton wants to follow their progress and give them advice all the way."

London Music Guide - Tickets, listings and reviews

Coe: 'Time to Engage the London Public'
- London Olympic bid hinges on popular appeal

LONDON faces an uphill battle to win the right to host the 2012 Olympic Games and it's all your fault!

The good news is that London got on the shortlist announced yesterday along with Madrid, Moscow, New York and Paris.

But a poll conducted for the International Olympic Committee showed 67 per cent of Londoners in support of bringing the Games here and only 13 per cent against, but that isn't good enough for the IOC which mentioned the lack of backing in its statement yesterday.

"It is vital we engage with the public to ensure our plans they understand the potential impact of a successful bid," said Sebastian Coe, the Olympic hero who is part of London's bidding team.

Coe and his boss, bid chief Barbara Cassani, have six months to convince more people that the prestige of the Olympics and the legacy it would leave in terms of of infrastructure is worth having. In November, bidding cities must provide its full proposals, addressing the concerns expressed by the IOC yesterday.

According to the IOC, London scores poorly for its transport and experience of holding big sporting events but there isn't really much Cassani and Coe can do about that, so it is likely they will pull out the stops to create a groundswell of support for the Olympics.

Windsor Castle Security Threat
- Couple arrested for allegedly impersonating police officers

A MAN man and a woman have been arrested at Windsor Castle for allegedly impersonating police officers.

The couple, said to be in their 30s, are being held at a London police station after allegedly gaining entry yesterday to the Royal residence by pretending to be a policeman. Although there were no members of the Royal family present at the time, the implications for such an event are serious, especially in the light of an incident last year in which a man dressed as an Islamic terrorist gatecrashed a party at the castle.

"We are reviewing all the circumstances of the arrest," said a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police, who are expected to conduct a post mortem of the security breach.

Stick One On a Celebrity
- Council encourages gum-attacks on stars

STICKING one on an annoying celebrity is to be offered free of charge by Ealing Council. Stars Peter Andre, Jordan and Shane Richie, and others who get on many people's nerves, are to the targets of the campaign in the west London borough.

Fortunately for the celebrities in question, they won't be there in person to field the attacks, nor will those attacks be in the form of punches on the nose. Instead, posters of the stars are to be used to encourage chewers to deposit their finished gum somewhere other than the pavement.

The gum-encrusted posters will be removed at least once a week and new sheets put up in their place. Trials of the innovative scheme have already yielded positive results in Bournemouth and Luton.

London Goes Up and Away14/05/04
London Goes Up and Away
- Big increase in passenger numbers for capital's three main airports

LONDON airports have seen a big increase in traffic over the last year, as the impact of the Iraq War has lessened and the economy has picked up.

Top of the heap in the capital was London's third airport, Stansted, which posted a whopping 33.9 per cent rise in passenger numbers from April 2003 to April 2004. Stansted has benefited more than most from the budget-airline phenomenon but mainstream airlines have also seen their seats selling faster than a year ago.

As a result Heathrow, London's biggest airport, served 14.8 per cent more passengers in April this year than last, while Gatwick's figures were up 8.4 per cent.

Ten Days To Shake the World With Laughter
- Soho Theatre takes centre stage for the London Comedy Festival

THE LONDON COMEDY FESTIVAL kicks off today, beginning 10 days of events across London.

Organisers have beefed up the festival this year and created what they call a 'comedy hub' at the Soho Theatre to give the event some kind of focus. One of the theatre's most interesting nights in the festival comes this Sunday,
the 16th of May, when over 100 newcomers try their luck in front of an audience.

Cartoons are heavily featured this year - like last time around Trafalgar Square and Canary Wharf will see huge cartoon displays but there will also be a series of competition winners' cartoons posted on Underground and DLR trains and the Trocadero.

Other highlights include Spikefest UK, Lewisham's own contribution to comedy in the form of a tribute to the legendary Spike Milligan, classic comedy films showing at UGC cinemas and a link up with Borders bookshops to promote comedy writing.

More info on:

Post-Election Tube Fare Hike Planned
- Buses earmarked to take surplus Underground passengers

BIG increases in peak time Tube fares are on the cards after the Mayoral elections next month.

It has been reported that Transport for London are considering a hike of at least ten per cent in central London fares to try to encourage more people to use buses. The theory is that with Tube trains at the very limit of their capacity in the mornings, it makes sense for more people to use buses, especially now the Congestion Charge has helped improve bus speeds and reliability.

Fares for the rest of the day could come down as part of the revamp of the fares structure - a move which it is hoped would push more commuters into working more flexible hours.

Transport chiefs are believed to be waiting until after the Mayoral elections to unveil their plan, in a bid to avoid too heavy a political backlash. Current Mayor ken Livingstone as elected in 200 on a promise to keep fares down but this year alone has seen central London Tube fares rise by 25 per cent.

Liberal Democrat Mayoral candidate Simon Hughes is trying to make hay with this record and has campaigned for an Early Bird scheme which would cut fares for those travelling before 7am.

RESPECT, the new left-wing party that grew out of the anti-war and anti-globalisation movements launches its Mayoral campaign today, pledging to cut all Tube fares to UKP1.


Cauliflowers Come Out to Celebrate Dali Anniversary
- 100th birthday party at the South Bank and Trafalgar Square

A BIG relaunch of the Dali Experience on London's South Bank is underway today, the 100th anniversary of the artist's birth.

New exhibits are being unveiled at the Experience including a greater use of interactive element, haute couture pieces and theatrical performances. To celebrate today's anniversary, the show will go on the road as a limo stuffed with cauliflowers is due to drive to Trafalgar Square, recalling a famous Dali stunt.

The choice of the square is apposite as it was there in 1936 that the surrealist art movement, of which Dali was a leading exponent, first attacked London. Dali collaborator Sheila Legge stood by the fountains, her head turned into a giant rose, holding what appeared to be a real, dismembered leg.

Dali Universe - County Hall Gallery
Click here for tickets and info

Stars Back Safe Sex Campaign
- Celebrities put their names to National Condom Week

DJ Sara Cox, comedy actor Martin Clunes and So Solid Crew's MC Squami are the trio of celebrities chosen to lead National Condom Week which starts today.

The idea of the week is to raise the safe sex banner, especially for young people who are seen as one of the most vulnerable groups to sexually transmitted diseases. Apart from the on-going AIDS problem, chlamydia is the disease giving most cause for concern as it has seen a reported 140% increase in people affected over the last six years.

Condom manufacturer Durex is to donate 50p to AIDS charity the Terrence
Higgins Trust on every packet of its wares sold through Superdrug.

Jay-Z to Rap With Charles
- Royal seal of approval ahead of Urban Music festival

PRINCE CHARLES is to meet Jay-Z in person before the pair gear up for this weekend's Urban Music Festival.

The meeting between the Prince and the Rapper takes place at the University of Westminster where they will see the work of young hip-hip artists who are on a course that is part of a police effort to beat gun crime.

Other music luminaries due at the university include Russell Simmons, the rap music businessman credited by many as the man who sold urban music to the mainstream, singer Lemar and DJ Trevor Nelson.

The Urban Music festival itself takes place on Saturday and Sunday at Earl's
Court and is to include megastar Beyonce - JayZ's girlfriend - on the bill.

London Music Guide - Tickets, listings and reviews

Traffic Wardens Told to 'Play it by the Book'
- Softly, softly approach to be tried in Central London

WESTMINSTER COUNCIL aims to rein in traffic wardens whose ticket-happy approach to their job has caused fury from motorists.

"They have been told to play it by the book," said a spokesperson for the council. "They have been told in no uncertain terms that existing protocols should be abided by and we hope this approach will make it fairer."

The statement is being seen as a tacit admission that some off the tactics
employed by parking attendants have been beyond the pale. Tales are legion of cars being ticketed while their owners queue for parking meter, of delivery vans being slapped with fines when offloading goods and even of
Royal mail vans being stung while collecting post bags from post boxes. "We are delighted that parking authorities now appear to be listening to the needs of Londoners," said Edmund King of the RAC.

It is believed meter maids and masters will now give motorists a two minute period over their stated ticket time to move away, while delivery vehicles will get a twenty minute spell in which to do their jobs.

One motorist we spoke to believed he had already seen the benefit of the new approach. "I was a minute over the time and as usual I tried to get the guy handing out the ticket to let me off," said Poran Malani. "I was amazed when he he didn't say something like, 'I've already sent it down the line, mate'
and actually cancelled the fine."

Madonna Marks Out Her Borderline
- Material girl wants to keep you off her land

MADONNA won't be crazy for you if wandering across her 1,200 acre estate is your idea of a good day out.

The pop star is trying to remove the right of ramblers to walk on 100 acres of her massive land holding at Ashcombe House in Wiltshire after the Countryside Agency defined the area as 'open country'.

Lawyers acting for Madonna will press her case today at a planning meeting where they are likely to bring up the fact the star's estate is used for hunting so should therefore be designated as agricultural land.

"People with a legal interest in the land have a right to appeal if they consider the land we had marked on the map doesn't meet the criteria for open country or common land," said a Countryside Agency spokesperson.

Greenwich Wants New Planetarium
- UKP15 million needed for revamp of Royal Observatory

A SPECTACULAR window on space is in prospect for Greenwich if an appeal to revamp the Royal Observatory is successful. The National Maritime Museum needs UKP15 million to complete its massive re-fit programme that would see a new planetarium and much improved visitor facilities.

"Our ambition is to create a spectacular new environment in which more and more people can appreciate the wonders of time and space," said Peter Snow, the broadcaster in charge of the appeal. Visitors are now being asked to donate one pound when they go to the observatory, where entrance is free. If all goes according to plan, the revamp will be in place by 2007.

"Visitors will better understand and be able to ask fundamental questions about the forces that have shaped our universe and allowed human life to emerge," said Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees.

LondonNet Archive:
London News Headlines from April 2004

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London Music Guide - Tickets, listings and reviews

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