No one would dispute the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee as highlights of an incredible year for London. But here are five other outstanding events – plus one anticlimax – that made us smile this year.
Olympic political comedy gold
What do you do when given the task of officially ‘ringing in’ the Olympic Games? If you’re former Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, you drop a literal clanger by flinging the end of your bell on to the ground. How best to celebrate the first British gold medal? If you’re Boris Johnson, you dangle awkwardly from a Victoria Park zipwire, squawking ‘Get me a ladder’ while the city’s Twitterati fast and-furiously create #dangleboris spoof blogs. And as for Chancellor George Osborne being booed during the presentation of medals to Paralympics winners? Almost makes you feel sorry for him. Almost.
The extra bank holiday courtesy of the Windsors
The royal family giving us a four day weekend to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June left us so overexcited that we were daft enough to become monarchists for the weekend. The government may want to bear our malleability in mind when trying to pass more unpopular legislation.
Ace London places being saved from closure
Wilton’s in Wapping, the world’s oldest surviving music hall (dating back to 1859), was rescued after a campaign raised £3.8 million for repairs. Meanwhile, celeb-backed lobbying won Gaby’s delicatessen – responsible for some of the West End’s finest falafels – a one-year reprieve from being turned into a chain restaurant. Only fair: after all, you’ve gotta give (chick) peas a chance.
Funny tube signs
Comical custom-made spoof stickers on the Central Line rebranded Shepherd’s Bush as ‘Shepherd’s Pie’ on the interior of trains. And Farringdon station noticeboard advised passengers to tuck trousers into socks ‘to avoid being a victim of the Farringdon mice’. More tube humour, please!
‘One Pound Fish’
This YouTube video smash could have been rather patronising viewing. But the Queen’s Market trader’s sing-song attempt to peddle his wares was such a charming showcase of a lovely local character that his honeyed Bollywood tones earned him a record deal. Altogether now: ‘Come, on ladies. Come on, ladies…’
London Pleasure Gardens
With a £3 million loan from Newham Council and the backing of Boris, LPG were supposed to provide a fresh arts and party venue that would draw a hip young crowd to Newham for years to come. It lasted barely a month before closing, during which time it managed a dusty opening, the catastrophic Bloc Festival and very little in the way of actual pleasure. A shambles.
For more end of year round-ups, go to timeout.com/2012. Have we missed any? What were your favourite moments of 2012?