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London Tonight Tonight 14th January 2009

Good afternoon.

I am haunted by the juxtaposition of our piece last night on the 1911 census and our lead story tonight. Daisy's great-grandfather was, you might recall, a "paper-hanger". She mused that he was some sort of painter-decorator, a less vibrant thing as the combination of the recession and Lawrence Lewellyn-Bowen have driven us to doing our own thing. And David Beckham's ancestor was a "scavenger". Tonight's shocking news is that many more of us may be forced to do our own thing in the paper-hanging area, and even more may be reduced to following in the footsteps of DB's late relative.
London, with it's previous reliance for jobs on banking and retailing, has been hit by the recession like the Ruhr Valley was after the Lancasters of 617 Squadron, "The Dam Busters", had paid their "Barnes Wallis Bouncing Bomb" visit. We are awash with the unemployed and the economic equivalent of those bombers is now heading for the other dams of our frail business and commercial world. Phil plays Guy Gibson and swoops over the wreckage. Never have so few owed such apologies to so many. Ministers and bankers take note.

Perhaps, if the emergency services had placed orders for digital radios that worked underground a little sooner, some, at least in the electronics industry, might have been looking at a brighter future. Perhaps it is not too late. Nick (call signal Nick Nick) tunes into the emergency frequency to eavesdrop for explanations as to why it has taken the twenty years since the Kings Cross fire for our brave saviours to be given the means of talking to one another whilst down in the troubled depths.

Southend are heading for the troubled depths of the First Division or floundering in the realms of mid-table mediocrity as Faye, (lovely tight, grey top and seriously tight blue jeans) put it, whilst Chelsea are still being buffeted at the top of the Championship between Liverpool and Man U. Tonight this evidently unequal match contests a place in the next round of the FA Cup. One Southend fan was going to give us his thoughts at his desk but his boss said no, so he is now meeting Marcus in the pub. And I am supposed to believe that explanation? Raise your glasses to that and then listen to the wonderful Andy Townsend, pitch side and live, on the hopes the Shrimpers have of giving the blues to The other Blues.

One side will "feel good" but tonight we invite you all to "feel good". ITV and Ian Wright (Arsenal) have teamed up to get you to do good stuff that will make you feel better for free. "Walking on Hampstead Heath" suggested Faye. Interesting thought, that, for one renowned for her caution and morality. Apparently someone's also built a moat in Dagenham. Perhaps it is to keep the forces of failing capitalism away from what remains of the ailing Essex manufacturing base, but who am I to say. Liz, on the other hand, knows what she is talking about so give ear.

Lucy snogged Will Smith on air a while back and went for a re-match this afternoon. A very romantic boat trip was planned but you won't want to miss out on seeing why choppy water and a need for pepto bismol, played gooseberry to her amorous imaginings.

The sea-state may not feature in Chrissie's forecast but the fog will. Listen carefully because you might not be able to see her.
The papers will moan about small businesses and Peter Mandelson, and we will say goodnight. And farewell. To a once vibrant economy, the dashed romantic hopes of an Entertainment Correspondent, and the hopes of non-Championship football! Or not.

Enough. The Oz is back from getting coffee so I must pretend again to work.

See you at six.

Alastair and Alex