Thursday, 5 August 2010

The Mayor's bikes,the Maze, George Bush and WMDs.

It is early in August, so the usual signs of summer are in evidence all over the centre of town. Large groups of  foreign students laden down with large rucksacks take up the whole of the pavement without paying any heed to the needs of others.Some behave as if the pavement belongs to them---ill-mannered youths exporting their uncouth ways.Bad tourists who, one hopes, will mature into good, well-mannered guests with the passage of time.
  On every corner  there is a pretty tourista grappling with a map, looking helpless. I am constantly amazed at the number of single young women who travel to London.White, Black, Yellow, Brown , and all shades in-between!
  One novelty which caught my eye in the centre of town is the recently-introduced bicycle-for-hire scheme.
  The Mayor, Tory Boris Johnson, has decided that what London needs is a bike-hire scheme----just like the one in Paris, and, long before it, Amsterdam.As a result, London has teamed up with one of the big banks, and installed a few thousand sturdy unisex bicycles which are on loan for a few hours, or a  few days at a time.
   On the face of it, the scheme seems to be an excellent idea, but I have one major reservation----there is no supply of  helmets to accompany the shiny new bikes!
   These are essential in a bicycle-unfriendly city like London. More thought should have gone into safety considerations before the scheme  was rolled out.
There was a similar scheme in Amsterdam years ago.As I recall, it was instigated by the Provos, a sort of idealistic anarchist group of the late 60's-early 70's.A whole load of white-painted bicycles were made available---only to be stolen!
I hope, for London's sake, that the same fate does not befall Mayor Boris' scheme.Furthermore, I do hope that he will provide helmets to accompany the bicycles. After all, a tourist who may not have ridden a bike for a long time, on a short vacation to London, can not be expected to spend a large amount of money on a bicycle helmet which he/ she will only  use for a few hours or days...
Down in Trafalgar Square, I came across this artificial maze which was erected for a few days. It seems to have been a crowd-pleaser, but, by the time you read this, it would have been removed.Shame.
Further up the road (well, about 2 miles  away, actually), I visited an exhibition called "After the Bombs Dropped".
This is an exhibition about the massive destruction and devastation caused by the atom bombs which were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki  by the Americans at the end of WW2.
Everyone should see this. Once you do, I am sure you will not be able to think of weapons of mass-destruction in the same way.Ever.
George Bush & co. knew this, that is why they did not allow the American public---and the rest of the gullible world to see pictures of the dead and wounded in  the ill-fated adventure in Iraq.Once you see the gruesome after-effects of war, it becomes so much harder to wish such suffering on your fellow human.
The exhibition is on at :Friends House,173,Euston Rd.,London,NW1 2BJ., until 12th August 2010.