Monday, 24 May 2010

Picture This: Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk and said goodbye to the circus

I am certain that I am not alone in being quite enamoured and thrilled by the arrival of the Elephant Parade in London. I have been keeping a very eager eye out for them as I go out and about around London and have now infected those around me, including the New Man who suggested that we get on our bikes and try to see as many as we could. So last weekend as the temperatures soared and so did the young ladies of Shepherd's Bush' hemlines, we toured around. Little did I know until I got to Selfridges and one of the Elephant Parade's shop where I located a map of the parade, that there are indeed some in Westfield. Including this one in The Village:

The child isn't mine but it is definitely a fine sign of how these elephants have got children (and me) excited and exploring London with enthusiasm I am not sure you would usually see.

So as I cycled along and rediscovered by hamstring muscles, these weird and wonderful Elephants helped me rediscover my love of London. The sunshine and the view of NewMan's butt cycling ahead of me helped too of course, but it is very easy to forget (or neglect) one's love of this unique city. Yes, there is crime, grime and many things we'd rather not see, but there is also charm, incredible history and passion and some delightfully extraordinary oddities to see. This summer that includes the Elephants on parade and once their time has come you can actually buy them as part of this campaign to raise money and awareness for the Asian Elephant which is at risk of extinction. Now I am as much of an animal (or mammal in this case) lover as the average city dweller who regularly curses the amount of dog poo on the streets of W12 (and yes I'm talking to you Shepherd's Bush Yooves who let their "pet" rottweilers TuPac and 50 Cent use our pavements as a toilet) but I have become strangely moved by this campaign, primarily because I have seen how children have reacted and I just thought it incredibly sad that these distinctive creatures would disappear from future generations.

Hey. What can I say? Dumbo always makes me cry.

Here are a few of my favourites from the weekend.

One of our favourites was this little fella called The Isles of London which featured areas of London shaped as continents of the world with minute and accurate detail about each area and place within that area. Of course I found and was suitably happy with the artist's interpretation of Shepherd's Bush:

Sadly we failed to find Cloudia but we can all help her by clicking here.

Monday, 3 May 2010

You've got to fight for your right to party...

This week is the week when Britain votes. Or rather, I hope that a majority of those registered to vote get off their backsides and proudly practise their historically hard earned right to vote. I have hesitated to blog too much about the local campaign but one thing I am passionate about is encouraging my W12 neighbours to get up and vote on Thursday. In the same vein as the Independent's recent advertising campaign - not being assed isn't going to decide the election, but you voting will.

In (Hammersmith and) Shepherd's Bush despite recent televised Leaders' Debates and local Lib Dem candidates potentially canvassing otherwise, the election is a two horse race - though I wouldn't be quick to call either of the candidates horses.

Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey and the current Labour MP Andy Slaughter have both been campaigning hard with a suitable amount of predictable mud-slinging and they've both had regular alternating stints outside the Underground station (shame, I think a West Side Story leaflet-off would have cheered up my morning slump to work no end) and I really am quite interested in how Thursday is going to shape this area that I love, so here are our options people:

Over to Shaun...

And now Andy - who doesn't have a campaign video as such but I thought this worthy of view (and doesn't have same
awful dance music Shaun Bailey apparently likes to ride around town listening to. In fact I'd secretly like to think that
Andy gets the bus).

I actually tweeted Mr Slaughter on why I'd only received a fraction of Labour "bumph" compared to the Tory influx of mail on virtually a daily basis. He replied saying it was because they had much less money than the Tories and perhaps this also meant no campaign video. Which I think is a shame but having viewed Mr Bailey's a number of times I'm starting to think this may not be that bad a move!

Anyway, I must stop before I show my true colours, or colour.

Happy voting Shepherd's Bush.