Monday, 9 July 2012

The Shard: 21st Century Britain in a nutshell?

On Thursday night, I was in London with Miss Mills. We went to see a private viewing of some art and then ambled off to the legendary High Timber for dinner and to grab a view of the light and laser show that announced the opening of the The Shard.

The dinner was epic, Miss Mills had smoked salmon to start, I had the crab. Both were awesome, but the salmon was definitely more to my taste. Miss Mills had the salt beef for mains, I broke with tradition and had the lamb. Now, the lamb was delicious, perfectly pink and utterly scrumptious, but the the salt beef blew it away completely. I must go back before that goes off the menu. All of this was washed down agreeably with Billecart-Salmon. For dessert, we had something called a "Don Pedro", which is apparently ice cream mixed with Kahlua. It was delicious and I can highly recommend it.

As dinner wrapped up, we could see the banks of the Thames and the Millenium Bridge lined with thousands of people waiting to see the promised "spectacular light and laser show". Anticipation was pretty high, considering we were in Britain's most cynical city.

Given that many millions had been spent on the Shard and given that the Shard has become a defining feature of the London skyline, we were all expecting something pretty impressive.

I think it's fair to say it wasn't.

After five minutes of watching the building change colour between blue, red, purple, yellow and white over and over, a couple of lasers came on and flickered listlessly. And that was that. It carried on forever, but people soon lost interest.

Miss Mills stole the words from my mouth when she described it as "a magnificent display of British mediocrity".

A total waste of a chance to stun people, to make something of an opportunity that had been pre-announced to death, that they knew was going to be watched by many thousands of people, totally and utterly wasted.

I've no idea of whether display was still going when we went to catch the Tube to our respective destinations and neither could anyone else, as they had all given up and fucked off as well.

On Friday, I tried to buy tickets for the Shard's new viewing platform...

I can't wait for the Olympics.

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