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Gangs of London’s Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù is tougher than you

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“In terms of choreography, I can’t pretend I learned things in just a couple of hours,” Dìrísù explains. “For that final, long fight, we rehearsed it separately and then together over quite a long period of time in and among shooting. It was quite complicated. It was so dependent on the environment too, so there were so many things we had to pretend ‘then this happens’ when we were in the rehearsal room. There were a couple of controlled but unknown factors that you couldn’t litigate for before you were in the space.”Fuelling The FightYou might think that such a controlled production would require its lead actors to load up on chicken, broccoli and rice but that wasn’t the case. As per the instruction that Dìrísù should avoid getting washboard abs, production on Gangs of London seems to have taken a more realistic and balanced approach to its actors. Notably, Dìrísù was free to eat as he pleased. After all, he did need the energy.“I wasn’t on a special diet,” he says. “I did start snacking during the day to keep it going. Some nuts or a protein bar. It wasn’t an instruction, it was just about listening to your body. ‘I’m kinda hungry’. OK, ‘What does my body need?’ and you give it the fuel. But there was nothing overly-considered about it.”Undercover OperationsSo, was all of this difficult to detach from? Does filming such a dark and murky show about your home city follow you home at night? For Dìrísù, not so much. “I’m shooting in London and going home to my flat every day, and my partner and friends. I can’t keep holding on to the fact I might have done a really intense fight sequence today,” he says. “It has to be like ‘work’s done, back to the rest of life’. That is my decompression.”Should Dìrísù’s character make it out of season two alive, he’s looking forward to putting his body on the line once again for a potential season three. After all, in what over job do you get to spend all day grappling with Lithuanian strongmen? “I really enjoy the physical aspect of the character, so it’s always a pleasure to go to work,” he says. “No matter how difficult and stressful that day might be, I really enjoy it. It’s never something I have to unwind from. I might need a cold shower and some magnesium to help my body recover, but that’s it.”Gangs of London will be available on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW with an Entertainment Membership for just £9.99.

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Graduate Organist vacancy in London and Home Counties – Church Times

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Graduate Organist vacancy in London and Home Counties  Church Times

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The dwindling case for living in London

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The recent debate around ‘levelling up’ may be missing something. I would argue that there is another way to consider geographical inequality – and, by this alternative measure, a levelling has been under way for more than 20 years.

I’ve spent three decades working in advertising, so it’s unsurprising that I tend to view economic life through the lens of consumption. By contrast, mainstream economists tend to view disparities through the medium of earnings or wealth. To me, measures of wealth should include not only the quantity of money you have but the breadth of worthwhile options available in choosing how to spend it.

Let’s put it another way. If you live in a boring village, and suddenly a great pub or café opens on the high street, then by my measure you have become richer; by the economist’s measure you have not.

Things that would once have been available in London decades before the provinces now appear everywhereat once 

There was undoubtedly a time when you were richer in London in two ways. You had more money, but you also had a far more exciting range of ways to spend it. Now not so much.

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London is a great city but, in terms of consumption quality, it has not improved markedly in the past 20 years. Over the same period, many smaller cities and even towns have advanced rapidly, significantly narrowing the gap. The kind of things that would once have been available in the capital decades before making it to the provinces – like sushi – now appear everywhere at once. Consider Turkish barbers, who seem to have taken over the country in only five years. (I can remember a time when it was enough just to get a haircut without having burning methylated spirits flicked in my ears. Back then I just didn’t know any better.)

This levelling is especially true of anything in the digital world: Amazon gadgets, Netflix films, Asos fashions and PlayStation games hit Aberystwyth the same day they hit Islington. But it also applies to the physical environment, as anyone over 50 can attest. I went to Manchester and Sheffield for the first time in 1989. Compared with London, they were then, let’s be honest, utterly rubbish. Now, when I visit those same cities, I experience mild ‘northern envy’. There are interesting places open everywhere. Northerners have better cars, because they have more money left over after paying for housing. And they are much better-looking, because they can nip home to get changed before going out.

Relatively speaking, London has improved far less dramatically than these provincial cities have. (New York, many aficionados argue, has got worse.) OK, the Tube is better than it used to be. Uber is a handy addition. But some things are awful – the last pleasure of driving in London ended when they put speed cameras on the Westway. Accommodation costs for the young wipe out any salary gains.

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By my measure, high property prices won’t just hit Londoners once – they’ll hit them twice. Not only do high rents wipe out what you earn, they also put at risk London’s once unassailable advantage as a great place to spend what money you have left. Creative businesses of any kind require space at a price which allows them to take risks. For a time, London found this space by moving its heartland from west to east. But suppose the people supporting what Douglas McWilliams calls ‘the flat white economy’ flee altogether? In my own experience, Kent suddenly seems weirdly full of fascinating restaurants founded by London exiles. If more of these people leave, the case for staying weakens further.

Londoners always say things like ‘Yes but there’s the theatre’. Let’s face it though – even Shakespeare left London for Stratford in his mid-forties. As he no doubt found, the theatre is all very well, but it’s nothing like being able to park outside your house.

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Gentrification is not a sin

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Gentrification is not a sin – UnHerd

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