Londonist is one of the few sites I actually check every day, along with the Guardian, Twitter/Facebook and the NHS’ alcohol unit calculator. If you’ve never visited it before, think of it as London’s front page; it has a shockingly high proportion of good content including:
- Daily event listings of things you actually might want to go to
- housing and road policy analysis
- an ongoing crowdsourced A-Z pub crawl
- articles on the etymology of London institutions including boroughs and football teams
- round-ups of the city’s best BYOB restaurants/all-you-can-eat brunches/gay pubs/grilled cheese
- information on underground Victorian film clubs
Nearly every article is something you actually want to read, and how many sites can you honestly say that about?
Londonist’s tenth anniversary was this month, and I was very surprised and flattered when Ewan and I got an invite to the official party at the Bishopsgate Institute.
We’ve got to know the site’s editor Matt Brown in the past few years, mostly by turning up at London-y pub crawls and quizzes and being extremely competitive at both of them. (For those of you who don’t know me in person, I am an unpleasant quiz player. Matt recently ran a quiz on London pubs and beer, which Ewan and I won with a 9/10 score; I taunted the other teams for three minutes then spent the rest of the night sulking at the bar about the one question we missed. Last December, I scraped my knee running down stairs to argue with a quizmaster who didn’t accept our [correct] answer to the question ‘why did Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem?’. Four of us won a random bar trivia night in Portland in August, and I not only loudly taunted the other teams – all of whom were regulars – but put “Born to Run” on the jukebox four straight times in a row.) Despite this precedent, Matt, who is apparently a social masochist, sent us an invite as ‘friends of Londonist’ and we were IN!
And it was a great party! My favourite part was the game Pin The Station On The Tube, which gave you a blank version of Harry Beck’s London Underground map, a hat full of sticky-backed station names, and 60 seconds to stick as many of them in the right places as possible. What I love about Londonist is not just that it comes up with party games like that, but attracts the kind of people who will excitedly queue up for it.
(As you can see, the above picture was not taken by me, but by someone with a proper camera. There are some nice other photos on the Londonist site, including a hilarious one of us
calling Matt a giant loser miming the site’s first initial.)
My second favourite part of the evening was the fact that there was free beer, thanks to Fuller’s. And in a very nice surprise we ran into our friend Ant, who came to our wedding and does the excellent Lost Valley of London serial. The rest of the evening was perfectly lovely: the speeches and the obligatory self-indulgent retrospective video were just the right length and tone, genuinely enthusiastic without being grating, quirky without being ‘quirky’, warm, informative without being dull – in other words a lot like basically everything Londonist does. And when we left we got goody bags. GOODY BAGS! I haven’t been to a party involving goody bags since I was in like sixth grade!
London is a wonderful city, and Londonist’s excellence is so easy to get used to that I rarely appreciate how hard it must be to pull off its consistent quality and low crap ratio. Thanks for the party and the site, guys.
Also at the end we found out Ewan and I won Pin the Station on the Tube!
EAT IT EVERYONE ELSE, FFFFFFFFF IN YOUR FACE YESSSSSSSSSS NEENER NEENER NEENER SUCKS TO BE YOU