Oriental City. A small-scale specialist shopping mall which is home to several popular shops, restuarants and a fantastic value food court which is like an escape to the far East within the heart of North West London looks like it’s going to be greeted by the bulldozers next year as London’s insatiable appetite for a new B&Q and hundreds of new 1 and 2 bedroom apartments gets fulfilled.

Goodbye noodle soup. Oriental City is going to be demolished.
(To make way for a B&Q and apartment complex.)

I have to admit that the plans submitted by the developer will help regenerate the area to a state that will, on balance, be a lot better than it is now, on several dimensions. And actually, the proposal includes an intention to re-open a slightly smaller version of Oriental City within it, but like all change it will be sad to see some things affected so badly, like some jobs, livelihoods, and last but not least, the fact that Oriental City seems to serve a very important social need for some members of the a community of people that is actually spread quite far and wide. e.g. it’s quite common for people to travel quite far to spend a day at Oriental City, catching up with extended family, friends, relatives etc. It will be sad to see that sort of thing disrupted. The optimistic side of me says that these things never disappear, they simply reconvene and re-form in different ways and in different places. Still …

A detailed report on the Mayor of London’s response to the plan clearly indicates that the Greater London Authority will be supportive of the proposal, but from a very recent comment left by someone in my article about China City Dim Sum from a while back, it would appear that a group of traders/proprieters at Oriental City are worried about some of the unwritten assurances that the developer has about relocating Oriental City traders during the period of the proposed redevelopment. I reproduce that comment here to get a feel for the sentiment. (Click on the “more” below.)
Continue reading “Closure”

Tonky Gorilla

Trendy lounge. Funky bar. Hip restaurant. (So it says on the website.)

It used to be a McDonalds. It’s no surprise that it closed down. This is a predominantly Gujurati Indian neighbourhood. And in recent years we have seen an influx of Sri Lankan, South Indian, Iraqi, Somali, Eastern European and (most recently) Polish peoples. McDonalds is definitely out of custom around here. But now it’s Tonky Gorilla. It’s been “coming soon” for a couple of months now. And it looks as if it’s ready to open any day now. I was intrigued when I first saw the refurb hoardings a couple of months back. Was even more intrigued when the apparent owner responded on Flickr.

Tonky Gorilla: a new bar and restaurant in Kingsbury, London NW9

It’s all happening round here. Trendy, funky, hip. But most importantly: Tonky (!!??)


I have to admit that I never really appreciated the proper meaning of this word. So I go look it up; the Oxford English Dictionary states:

Adjective: travelling from place to place.
Noun: an itinerant person.
Origin: from Latin itinerari ‘travel’, from iter ‘journey, road’.

Itinerant. Aren’t we all that?
(Taken with my cameraphone in Greenwich – a few metres away from Cutty Sark.)

In today’s technologically mobile world, aren’t we all that? Virtually, also, perhaps?

Docklands, Pie, Mash and Don

Thanks to the ever-inspiring Diamond Geezer, lunch today was traditionally London; pie and mash at the about-to-close down family-run-since-1890 Goddards Pie House in Greenwich. A warming and veritable end to a chilly November morning of spectacular views obtained in getting there by switching from the Jubilee Line to the Docklands Light Railway at Canary Wharf. It’s been a while since I was in Docklands last, and the ascent up the escalators at Canary Wharf tube is simply breathtaking:

Dramatic ascent.
(Taken with my cameraphone from the up escalator at Canary Wharf tube.)

Then hotfoot it over to Wood Green Cineworld to see the movie Don, a very recent Indian cinema release, interestingly set in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My review in a few words: Good fun action film, especially if you are a fan of SRK. But why oh why couldn’t we have been spared the squirm-in-your-seatingly embarassing song and dance sequence featuring Kareena Kapoor near the beginning? Also, “Bollywood” desperately needs a new coreographer, as the dance sequences throughout the film made you think that you’ve seen it all before, and the pace of the dancing was simply way out of tune with the tempo of the songs too. And please: can we have less of the open-mouth syndrome from the leading lady during dance sequences please? That’s so Rani Mukherjee and we’re getting a little tired of it! Still, great escapism due to implausible storyline, but couldn’t help thinking about the sinister stuff that Suketu Mehta wrote about in Maximum City which I read just recently. Overall, good film; shame about the dancing.

Mobile Instant Messaging anyone?

You’ve got 30 seconds before the lights change. You need to get a message to your mate: tell him/her you’re going to be late. You pull out you’re mobile phone from your pocket. What are you going to do: 1) Send a text message to their mobile number or 2) Check your contacts list to see if they’re online. Damn it! You forgot to fire up your mobile Instant Messenger. Fire it up. Click, click, click; where is it? Java: Extras? Or is it in Collections? Aaargh! Ah, found it! Damn it! You forgot to add your mate as a friend! OK – so type in your mate’s address and invite them as a friend before the lights change. Damn it! It’ll take ages before they accept you as a friend. Damn it! The lights have changed! Too late: you gotta pull off! Damn it! OK: You already had them as a friend? Fine. You already had your mobile Instant Messenger fired up? Lucky you that your battery isn’t dead yet: OK, OK, OK – check to see if they are online: Damn it! He or she is not online? Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! Too late! The lights have changed. Gotta go.

Traffic jam.
(Taken with my cameraphone at a traffic junction in West London.)

You could be in your car at the traffic lights, you could be on the top deck of the bus just before your stop. You could be in between lectures at college. You could be just about to dive underground to catch the tube. We’ve all been there before.

The moral of the story is that mobile Instant Messaging is just plain damned inconvenient when all you wanna do is just send “i m going 2 b l8” to your mate. A text message would have been 1) simpler 2) quicker and 3) would have got the message across even if they weren’t staring at their phone at the time.

So much to all those geeks who think that mobile Instant Messaging is going to kill text messaging.