Ready for Olympia


You really have to ask yourself after looking at architectural wrecks like this one whether the much touted beautification of the East End is really going to plan. Just 500 meters away from the olympic park and whap bang next to the main arterial traffic route to the site, this festering wound of a building is just one of many where the local councils have obviously unable to convince the owners of the benefits of dynamite. Similar wrecks, albeit with residents, still litter Mile End Road.

It looks like the East End will retain its some of its shabby looks and the pyongyangisation is unsuccessful.

Whether that’s a good thing is a different matter.

The Dangers of Biking in the Capital


This poignant memorial has been standing at the corner of Mile End Road / Burdett Road in the East End since I can remember and -unusually – has never defaced or removed. It reminds daily of the dangers of riding a push bike in London, and while things are slowly getting better (thanks to a mayor who rides a bike himself), there were still 19 dead and 2400 injured cyclists in 2009.

Be careful out there.

Astro Star Cafe

Today my travels took my into the western East End and I was in need of breakfast. When I saw the sign, I knew this had to be tried. Who knows, the owner might be a famous science – fiction writer or an astrophysicist (or a Zoroastrianist).  The amazingly and appropriately named Astro Star Cafe is situated in the middle of hip and happening Bethnal Green in the almost East End of London (also colloquially known as the centre of the known universe). As you can see, the Cafe is rather blurry and has a distinctive right shift. A physical phenomenon directly attributable to its name.

The food is as great as the name of the place. After being greeted with a friendly smile at the counter (and they are so outworldly trustworthy that you don’t even have to pay in advance) you order and sit down and read your ipad Guardian. The food soon arrives, and my god, it’s gorgeous:

Look at the extact geometrical placement of the hashbrowns (it was a bit too early for chips) and the geometrically correct semicircle of this sea of beans. The egg looked like a fiery sun with a golden corona, just about to be attacked by the threatening crispy bacon. And delicious it was as well. The cafe was clean, the swearing factor of the punters moderate (about 3 f-words per minute on average) and service efficient and courteous.

I think I might use this as a permanent deep space docking station.