Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #530: London Calling

Welcome to the show folks...

Today, 2 stories set in Jolly Old England, or to be more specific, London, home of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, fish and chips, and that side effect of fish and chips, projectile vomiting.


London's Lord Mayor Boris Karloff Johnson is very displeased with Warner Brothers over opening the multi-gazillion dollar Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park at Universal's mega-park in Orlando instead of London.

As much as folks may love foggy old London town, and accept its deeply held connection to the Harry Potter franchise, I can understand why they went to Orlando.

1. BUSINESS It's just plain cheaper, in fact immensely cheaper, to build a theme park in Orlando over London. London is one of the most expensive cities in the world where it comes to real estate and cost of living. Everything costs more in London, it's just that simple.

2. BUREAUCRACY The British government and London's municipal government is one of the most notoriously bureaucratic organizations in the world today. Every stage of the park's construction would be at the mercy of petty bureaucrats attempting to micromanage every aspect of construction and operation for their own political objectives over the owner's monetary objectives.

3. WEATHER Theme parks are like carnivals or county fairs. They need lots of space for the outdoor exhibits and rides, and most importantly of all they need GOOD WEATHER. It has to be sunny, warm, mostly dry, and above all predictable. London tends to be cloudy, chilly, damp, though predictable in the fact that it is cloudy, chilly and damp. However, 1 out of 4 factors just isn't enough. So unless you're going to build a massive dome, measured in square miles,

4. LOCATION Where will you build the park? London is cramped, crowded, and has very little free land available. The land that is available is artificially expensive due to the vagaries of the London real estate market, which is not a free market, but a carefully controlled by a small number of people.

Now if London really needs a theme park, then I suggest that they go for Britain Land! The ultimate British Theme park.

A park that celebrates all of Britain's greatest contributions to modern culture. There's
James Bond 007's Danger Zone, The wacky world of Terry Pratchett's Discworld's Magical Mayhem, and the exotic adventures of Dr. Who Across Space & Time. The last park would feature remote controlled Daleks roaming the halls screaming "EXTERMINATE litter," as they clean up the garbage.

Once you've enjoyed all the rides, stuffed yourself with quality British cooking, namely curry and spaghetti bolognese, you exit the park, then get the living royal shit beaten out of you by genuine British soccer hooligans.

It's the ultimate British experience.


London's theater going community is getting a tad peeved with the various knighted heads of the people who actually own and run those theaters. The theater owners have decided that the regular ticket prices that require fans to get a mortgage to pay for a spot in the basement listening to the play through a closed door, just aren't enough anymore. They slapped on a special "restoration levy," on every ticket they sell.

They claim that this levy is an emergency charge to help save their crumbling buildings from the ravages of time and that these properties must be saved because they're vital historical artifacts.

Now I'd like for all you to ponder this for a minute.

All businesses have cost pertaining to the running of that business. One of those costs is the maintenance of the properties that house said business. They are supposed to be considered in the cost of the end product (eg theater tickets) and paid off regularly so the building doesn't fall down on them.

They are not supposed to be the subject of a supposed emergency levy, because they are not supposed to get that bad if the business is properly run, and the infrastructure properly maintained.

Now the thing that makes me suspicious is that the rich businessmen who run British theater, the top two worth hundreds of millions of pounds each, recently asked the cash strapped government for money and were denied.


Makes you a little suspicious, doesn't it. As someone who lives in a region of Canada where rich businessmen and government are often hand in hand I've seen a lot of this behavior. If the rich guys can't get their corporate welfare money from the government, they start doing stuff, like well timed lay-offs and such, to give the government a black eye and embarrass them into coughing up the dough.

I get the feeling that these rich theater owners are looking to get the government to pay some of their bills for them in the name of "historic preservation," and "cultural promotion."


  1. The worst part is I don't know, between conservatives and liberals, which are more likely to get suckered by a rallying cry of "cultural preservation". The only difference is which culture they're obsessed with preserving.

  2. GamerFromJump9/6/10 10:46 am

    You might want to check under the hood, D. Your RSS is puking up superfluous blank tabs with every entry opened.

  3. You might want to ask Blogger about that. I'm not a techie, and I'm not even sure what an RSS is.