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London Tonight Tonight

Good afternoon.

I feel like one of those Victorian bee-keepers, with a white hat, veil and an odd "puffer" which, I think, kept the bees at peace. But I fear my puffer would be beyond today's challenge. I am surrounded by a swarm of worker bees, buzzing in every direction: Harris, counting floors as some count sheep when suffering from insomnia; Piers, coursing through lists of what is acceptable, and what is beyond the pale, in the lunch boxes of Barnet schoolchildren; and Chrissie, flitting from capital to capital, as if between daffodils in search of pollen, to list just how many places London is hotter than today. What a hive of activity! What a nest of industry!

And, at the heart of all this energy, our very own Queen Bee, Faye - strikingly all in black today. One of her many skills, and they are legion, is a fluidity and proficiency with the Queen's English - indisputably the most creative and comprehensive spoken language in the living world. So, her slump into the days of the Anglo Saxon Chronicles to express her views at our meeting, just now, came as something of a shock. Perhaps she is rehearsing for The Great Moment when expletives need not be deleted! Only a thought: But I, for one, blanched. The Big Boss was last seen checking on the spellings of most, and the derivations of some of the words she threw across the room to make her points.

A little more detail as to the cause may help. A school in Barnet has told mums and dads not to send their "littles" to school with a range of what some would call comfort food in their satchels, but what others may call junk food. Thus, a plain nutritional "pulse and fruit" bar will win a mention at assembly, whereas the same, dipped in lovely milky chocolate, will preface the outbreak of World War Three in the classroom. Crisps bad. Non-saturated, fat-free potato skins good. There is a touch of Orwell's 1984 about it, though Katie made a telling point when she enquired as to our likely reaction if the schools we sent our "littles" to, stuffed them with chips, crisps and chocolate bars at lunch??!
If parents attempt to make their heirs and heiresses smugglers and are caught, they can have the junk food back at the end of the day. I guess that rules out burgers, fried chicken and kebabs but crisp lovers and chocoholics may live in hope. Piers plays the Beadle in our "Barnet-meets-Oliver-Twist" offering - "Please Sir, I want some junk...."

Harris and the "floor counting", next. He is seeking the Donald Trump of the South bank who plans to thrust The Shard into what is currently a rather big, and I hope for the developers' sake, deep hole. Bozza was asked and agreed: the south of the river skyline is entitled to a towering ... tower. So towering that it will tower over Canada Wharf, will make anything Paris has to offer look like a "deux en haut, deux en bas", and reduce Berlin.... No, that is tasteless so I will leave it at that.
Harris has some spectacular pictures of what doesn't yet exist and will explain why the Russians won't be happy.

I am not happy that Visit London have suggested that London might be in need of a "makeover". Visions of Lawrence LLewelyn Bowen taking pink drapes and odd cornices of plaster of Paris to some of our architectural gems makes me wince. Inside Buck House already has them, but outside? Give us a break! Big Ben in day-glow stripes? St Pauls lit up like a one-armed bandit? Tate Modern like a coffin that glows in the dark? Actually it already looks like a coffin that glows in the dark but I think you get my point. Phil takes them on and I hope takes no prisoners. It would be like putting ads on the side of St Martin's in The Fields. What? Oh yes, so they did. BUT THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE!

Jimmy Mizen died an innocent in his family's eyes and we reported it at the time. At the trial of the young man accused of his killing, Jimmy's family now have to hear what happened that day. Rachel is standing beneath the lady with the scales of justice at the Old Bailey listening to the evidence.

Lewis has been listening to the good folk of Hyde Heath, reeling at the news of a thirteen year old girl who was molested on her way home from school. It shouldn't happen to anyone, but no-one in that charming little village can remember it ever having happened there before.

Heather Small helped us win the Olympics so you either love her, or feel she owes you a serious apology. She has sold 10 million albums which must make her feel good. But does she feel good about going back on stage for the first time in years? We'll ask her.

Finally Chrissie finds that London is warmer than Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul which, impressive though it sounds, is not everything it seems, especially if you find time to pop into the splendid exhibition currently running at the Royal Academy...
Alexander the Great kept bees and conquered Byzantium. So it started, and so it finishes.

See you at 6.

Alastair "where are my crisps" Stewart, and Katie "put that chocolate away" Derham.