The Weekly Me


As of this month I’ve joined the esteemed ranks of the New Statesman‘s regular online columnists. My pitch for the gig was, basically, “I can write about technical or obscure but important issues, but in a funny, engaging way, every week“. Think about this for a moment, and you might notice that I’ve made about three separate rods for my own back there.

Anyway, here are my first four attempts:

  • If inflation is so bad for us, then why is so much policy designed to make us want more of it?
  • And, something of a viral hit: why JK Rowling should buy her own national newspaper. Really.

Jonn @ Londonist: Reinventing London’s boroughs


For those who missed it on Friday, the latest instalment in the long-running “Jonn has too much time on his hands” series. London’s boroughs are precisely the wrong size – so I invented some new ones.

Check it out – there’s a map and everything.

Jonn @Londonist: Official* Olympic travel advice (*please note advice may not actually be official)


Quite possibly the single most re-tweeted thing I’ve ever written:

With the Olympic Park and 13 other venues soon to open, London’s transport system is about to get busy. Really busy. Seriously, we’re talking All-Bar-One-at-West-India-Quay-on-Bonus-Day busy here. You know those ‘pickled people’ executive toys you used to see around the place? Imagine that, but on the Central Line. Honestly, if you can leave we’d recommend you do so. It’s certainly what we’re planning. No, hang on, forget we said that.

Luckily for those who are stuck here, Transport from Londonist has been planning ahead. Keep our tips in mind, and you too can get ahead of the games. By working together, showing consideration for Olympic sponsors other Londoners and abandoning all pretence of normality, then maybe, just maybe, we’ll survive this thing.

The following parts of London are likely to be particularly busy over the next few weeks:

1) Where you work.

2) Where you live.

We realise there is little you can do to avoid these places. We just wanted to show we were on the case…

You can read the rest here.

Jonn @Londonist: London elects. (Reluctantly.)


Today, at last, is the day of London’s mayoral election. Lie back and think of England, it’ll all be over soon.

Anyway, to get you through the day, here are the various sickly recipes I’ve concocted for Londonist in recent weeks.

One Thursday morning in April, I spent a faintly surreal hour following Ken Livingstone round an old people’s home in Peckham. He talked about snakes.

In preparation for that one, I read his manifesto (yes, all of it) and wrote it up. After the event, his press team kindly deigned to answer some of the questions there hadn’t been time to ask.

For this still wondering how to vote, in every sense, here’s my guide to London’s constitution and electoral system.

And finally, a team effort: given both Ken and Bozza’s enviable reputation for gaffes, what would it take for one of them to finally rule themselves out? Here are some ideas.

Jonn @Londonist: Lies and the lying liars who tell them


…a fair and balanced look at the mayoral election.

So this week, in the gaps between the day job, I’ve been putting together some political coverage for Londonist.

On Monday I pondered the vexed question of why getting elected mayor of London seemed to be more a matter of being famous and shouty than of actually being good at stuff.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I did not in any way contribute to that shoutiness, by getting two prominent political bloggers to explain why they’d rather scoop out their own eyes with a spoon than vote for the other guy. Oddly enough, both offered largely the same reasons: that he’s a pathological liar with a penchant for pissing our money away on trinkets. Both kind of have a point.

On Thursday, the esteemed Rachel Holdsworth finally finished her decade-long project to read biographies of the three leading candidates, an experience that has, frankly, left her a bit odd.

Friday I was so depressed by the experience I didn’t write anything. Can we have some more options, please?

Jonn @Londonist: London rebranded


On new names for old places. Estate agent speak. Eugh.

Have you been over to St Ratford since the redevelopment? Or down into St Reatham? Are you thinking of buying a little pad over in D’Agenham? Very up and coming, they say.

 London’s place names have always been fluid. Old names are squeezed out by the new and, without fixed borders to work from, your views on where one place ends and another begins are as likely to be about age and class as they are about geography.

You can read the whole thing here.