Sunday file 29/9/13: Starstruck Tulip, thin-skinned Awale and Brian Coleman, the bin-spy buster

Posting here on Sunday nights, bits and pieces, tweets and links that didn’t make a full post during the week.

* FIRST up, here’s what cyclists seem to be wearing in Camden Town these days. Has cycle safety come to pleas on the back of jerseys?


* YOU might think Commander Awale Olad would be busy with nappies this week but the Labour backbencher left his paternity leave duties to write a curiously thin-skinned retort to the minor remarks on these pages that he insists everybody who turns up in the public gallery at his Town Hall scrutiny committee must IDENTIFY YOURSELF. He babbles on a bit, but read it if you must. More interesting about Commader O’s blog is that he dutifully posted the council’s line on parking as the BBC’s Inside Out prepared to run its documentary last week about tickets and targets. Very, very dutiful, in fact.

* GOSPEL Oak writer Alastair Campbell must have felt quite saintly this week as the Labour conference was infected by the fall-out from inbox-rifling Damian McBride’s memoir. Stephen Glover wasn’t having any of that and mercilessly ripped into Campbell in a searing piece in the Daily Mail. I mean really searing. McBride at least said sorry seemed to be the thrust.

* ON that subject, the BBC’s Jon Sopel reveals:

Which bookshop? Daunts?

* WISHY-washiness over what will happen to Tulip Siddiq’s Regent’s Park council seat now she is running for Parliament in Hampstead and Kilburn. Not much chance of her standing there again in next May’s council elections, but it is one of Labour’s safest seats in Camden and the party is stepping carefully over who will follow in her footsteps.

* SPEAKING of Tulip…

* IN case you missed it, Conservative councillor Gio Spinella has confirmed the big reveal over what he is eating in the New Journal’s page 3 picture of Tories feeding at the Hampstead McDonald’s. A Large Big Mac meal and six chicken McNuggets to be precise. His party remain convinced the rollers should still come down at the store at 11pm, however.

* HAMPSTEAD McDonald’s, ay? The tale of its opening is famous enough in itself. There was a lengthy legal battle waged by a whole host of celebrities and important people living nearby who hated the arrival of fast food in the High Streer. The compromise, in the end, was that McD’s would open with a more refined black colour scheme, a real detachment from its old garish red and yellow colour scheme back then. So momentous was it when it finally opened, the nationals sent reporters. Ian Katz, now the editor of Newsnight and who tweeted that Labour’s Rachel Reeves was ‘boring snoring’, was sent down to write a colour piece for the Guardian. His legendary intro has been posted before but needs repeating because it’s the opposite of ‘boring snoring’:

IT was fitting that Ben Williamson, the seven-year-old charged with blessing the reluctant marriage between McDonald’s and the intellectually wholesome enclave of Hampstead, north London, should have chosen a Fillet-o-Fish rather than the iconic Big Mac to mark the event. “It’s the only sort of burger I can eat,” he explained. “I’m a vegetarian.”

In years to come June 7, 1993, will take its place among other seminal dates in the British history of McDonald’s, like the 1974 opening of the first restaurant in Woolwich, south London, and the unveiling of the Midlands regional training centre in Sutton Coldfield in 1987.

For on that date, the legend already has it, the great steamroller of fast food culture finally overcame the pretensions, prejudices and plain bloody-mindedness of a chattering stronghold which had kept it at bay for 12 years.

* HIP-SHOOTING Brian Coleman remains a loose cannon for old Tory colleagues in Barnet now he’s on Twitter, but also for the council’s recycling team which has just dropped new wheelie bins across the borough. Here’s Agent Coleman’s advice for staying one step ahead of the bin spies. Fight the powers that be, and all that.

* FINALLY, Camden may be getting tough with buskers in Camden Town, requiring them to secure licences to perform. But can they – please please – also  do the same with shouty, trilby hat, velvet jacket people hammering nails into their nose for money on the High Street. No need for a full ‘Covent Gardenisation of Camden Town’ post here.  I think we’ll all be in agreement over the merits of this one.

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