All text copyright Stephen Coates 2006 - 2015


As well as looking for teleportation chambers when we were in Paris last month, we walked the city up and down.  That is the best way to uncover its myths** I believe. We also benefitted from having a room right at the top of a tiny hotel in Montmarte.  It was most unusual in that it was the first hotel I have stayed in for ages that actually had a window in the bathroom. In fact, it had "a loo with a view" - from which you could contemplate the Eiffel tower.

I like the tower - as do most Parisians - though they wouldn't think of going up it.  Like The London Eye, it is associated almost entirely with visitors. But like The Eye, it gives a wonderful perspective on the city and is a fun, childlike thing to visit.  Our Salon for the City is all about perspectives on the city, so it was a pleasure when myself with Antique Beat and Suzette Field (of A Curious Invitation) were asked to suggest ideas which could reconnect The Eye with the city it observes.  We did, and here, after months of secret planning is the result: 

"On the evening of May 1st the EDF Energy London Eye will be set to a special slow rotation speed and each of its 32 capsules will be given over to a talk by a well-known authority on a famous Londoner. The subjects will range from Thomas Becket to Joseph Bazalgette, from WS Gilbert to Ray Davies and from Queen Victoria to Zadie Smith. The speakers themselves will be a roll call of those who have contributed to the capital’s cultural legacy: from former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, to ex-Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, film director Julien Temple, broadcaster Robert Elms and biographers Claire Tomalin and Kate Williams.

And to commemorate the occasion our friends Hendrick’s Gin have devised 32 bespoke cocktails, one in honour of each London borough. Each guest will be served a complimentary cocktail in capsule during the talk.

After disembarkation there will be an opportunity to share a drink with your fellow passengers and speakers and to discuss the talks, the city and Londoners in general"

I am so pleased that we have pulled it off.   We rather hope that this will become an annual London May Day institution.

Be quick if you want to be part of it. It will sell out.


* To Uncover the Myths of London's Square Mile,  join us this Thursday 27th March at Westminster Arts