March’s monthly musings

🚓 What Cab News

Black cab fares are going up by 7.6 per cent next month, and the reason being given is “to ensure there are enough cabs available to help women get home safely”. The argument goes that if cabbies stand to make less money at night, then fewer of them will work those hours, which means there are fewer options for women looking to get home after dark. Maybe, just maybe, if TfL hadn’t done its darndest to create an uneven playing field between cabs and private hire, those undertaking The Knowledge wouldn’t be at their lowest levels in a generation. Just saying.

🎧 What I’m Listening

A weird London podcast returned on Valentine’s Day. Season 6 of Subterraneans began with an episode about the Aberfeldy Estate in Poplar, and lingering spirits, mould and the housing crisis – so romantic. If you haven’t been introduced to Subterraneans yet, download it on your favourite podcast app.

📖 What I’m Reading

The geek in me thoroughly enjoyed John Grindrod’s Concretopia a book about – well, concrete. I’m now reading Iconicon – Wimpey homes; Millennium monuments, riverside flats; wind farms; out-of-town malls, the buildings designed in our lifetimes that encapsulated the dreams and aspirations of our culture. John Grindrod reveals the sobering realities.

📺 What I’m watching

Atlantic Crossing, is the story of Norway’s Crown Princess Märtha, who fought for her country and her marriage during the tragic events in the early years of World War II, with the excellent Sofia Helin in the lead role. The series portrays Märtha’s journey from Norway to the White House where she sought refuge and became close to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Crown Princess tried to convince Roosevelt to save her country and Europe from Nazi Germany at a time when American voters were strongly opposed to being drawn into another world war. Although this production was first broadcast in 2020, the parallels of today’s invasion of Ukraine by Putin can’t be ignored. Amazing engineering.

❓ What else

I’ve taken out a subscription to London in Bits. If you’ve ever read The Big Smoker, which then became the Londonist, these are the people who started these blogs. Unfortunately Londonist, apart from the odd article, is now a giant advertising board. While London in Bits, on the other hand, produces a newsletter writing about both the beautiful and the infuriating parts of the capital. As they say in their blurb ‘something that’s interesting, funny, surprising and worthy of your inbox’. I have to agree.

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