Bits and pieces

OK. Back again. Drowning in nativity plays, hamper appeals and Christmas stories last week meant no time for blogging. I was also down in Brighton helping to judge the EDF Awards for the East of England’s regional press prizes. That was an interesting day in the Evening Argus’s offices – but I’m sworn to secrecy over who’s won what.

So to get us back up and running, here’s a catch-up to cover the last few days and a few phone pics snapped in London.

* UCL zine Cheese Grater ran a story last week about the hotels used by the university provost, Malcolm Grant – particularly the lush Le Meridian in Abu Dhabi. They are bills covered by UCL. Must be part of the recession symbolism we’ve talked about before.

* When we sat down with Moira Gibb a couple of weeks ago, the conversation was all about local government. There was not time to do a ‘what’s your favourite’ box of personality questions. The outgoing chief executive at Camden Council, who has a knees-up to celebrate her eight years in charge planned for tonight, however, has answered all of those questions already. To The Guardian. Top on her faves book list isBleak House, Dickens’ classic tale of waffling lawyers. If only we could bring the great man to life and get him to cover a Camden Council full council meeting. A Bleak House 2 would be inevitable.

* They may have stopped the fare-dodging on the 29 bus by reverting it back to a double decker, but there’s one thing Boris will struggle to end: Bus Radio, by which we mean the ongoing tinny music now piped through all London top decks via mobile phones on loud speaker. The kids love their music so much, you see, that they like to play it to the rest of us on our way home from work in distorted, tiny speaker form. Nobody ever asks for them to turn it down because they read in the paper once that doing that leads to a fight. Given all of this, a new billboard from Blackberry seems little more than incitement.

* Don’t panic. They may have run out of posters at Highbury and Islington Tube – but there are some on order. It’s only when posters saying there are posters are on order are on order that we need to worry.

* Tube station posters, parcels, Christmas cards, etc are all on their way… the Post Office have rented extra vans to deal with the rush. Seeeeee:

* Finally, I was inundated with Manchester jokes after City and United were booted out of the Champions League last week, falling, humiliatingly into Europa League. The best: What’s the difference between United and City? United play on Channel 5, while City play on ITV4. Bmmm-tish – and that one is just for you Cllr Olad.

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