06 March 2016

London Has Not Fallen

A little bit from London
This past Friday night, I stepped off a flight from London at Newark, NJ, to a barrage of ads for a new movie called "London Has Fallen." I am delighted to report that no, no it has not. London is very much alive and well, which is more than I can say for the prospects of said movie. Some of the reviews include the following gems:

"Make American movies great again. You can start by boycotting this one." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone 
"One of the worst action movies in recent history." - Ignatiy Vishnevtsky, A.V. Club

Makes you want to get to your local cineplex and waste $12 in no time, doesn't it? Suffice to say, I won't be lining up for a viewing. I've never been a big fan of seeing cities I love get decimated in film. That is certainly the case with London.

London is a storied city that I've been enthralled with since my first visit there in 1984. London was the first stop on my maiden tour of Europe and I intended to take it all in. One of my good friends was flying for Pan Am at the time and was on a layover in London and I got what I thought was the consummate 'insiders' tour of that amazing city. Eating at the Stockpot that first night made me feel like a Londoner and it also introduced me to the fact that traditional English meals are essentially devoid of flavor. Flash forward thirty two years and I can tell you things have improved - the Nepali dinner of Ghurkali lamb I had in Blackheath was awesome! I also learned on that long-ago trip that the hottest place on the planet is not a searing desert or  the proctologist's office before things get real, but it is the Tube at the height of rush hour on a summer's evening. That is a lesson you don't forget. Ever.

I've been fortunate to return to London many times since that introductory visit in 1984. To this day, it is a city that never gets dull. I say that having spent most of my waking hours in my company's London headquarters, with little chance to enjoy the city and it still wasn't dull. London is a study in contrasts. How can the same city have the beauty of Houses of Parliament marred by the architectural vomit that is the Shard? How can they continue to pronounce "Southwark" as "suth-erk?" How can they NOT sell All Butter Flap Jacks at every corner? And on that critical point, why can't Amazon.co.uk ship them to the United States? This is an important question. Like life-or-death important. And I need to find the answer.

As I flew back on Friday, I watched that icon of Britishness in what I think is the greatest Bond film of them all, Skyfall and I couldn't help but smile. All seemed right in the world as I watched Bond dump the Jaguar and jump into his famed Aston Martin DB5 and bolt for Scotland. At the end of the film, Bond gazes across the famed London skyline that survived the Blitz. It didn't fall then and certainly won't fall now.

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