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France fans savour ‘brilliant’ World Cup win over England

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Elated French fans on both sides of the Channel roared with delight and threw dance moves after their team’s dramatic World Cup quarter-final victory over old rivals England in Qatar on Saturday.At The Frog and Rosbif, a packed English-themed pub in Paris whose windows were decked with St George’s flags and tricolours, the predominantly French audience exploded with joy and belted out “La Marseillaise” at the final whistle.”It’s brilliant! With the win everything is fine,” a relieved Jean-Pierre Agbo, 50, told AFP, after Olivier Giroud’s second-half header and Harry Kane’s late penalty miss gave the defending champions a 2-1 win and a place in the semi-finals.Another France fan patted a nearby England supporter — slumped on the shoulder of his friend in despair — in mock consolation as hit pop songs and exultant dancers transformed the pub into a disco.In London’s Zoo Bar, hundreds of French fans danced, screamed with joy and chanted “Bring the cup home” as France edged out their country of residence.The pub had been booked out by France fans using a lifestyle app for French people living in the capital, with celebrating French supporters later descending on London’s Piccadilly Circus roaring La Marseillaise.”It was a superb match. Now we’ll have to go out and give it to the English,” said 28-year-old Olivier Airault, who lives with two English flatmates.Despondent England fans in Paris regretted what might have been after the Three Lions’ dreams of winning a first major title since 1966 were dashed — again.”Our leadership was better. Any fan will tell you the referee was biased. A lot of decisions did not go our way,” Sam, 26, said after the final whistle.”They (England) played very well. I would be very happy if it wasn’t against the French, because I’m English!” said Tim La Fontaine, a 32-year-old IT worker who has lived in France for eight years.”The French are lovely… but I have to go to the office on Monday!”Story continues”It was a brilliant game. To experience it here in France as the underdog, it was an amazing experience,” added Sarah Turner, 32, saying Kane was under “too much pressure” to take two penalties — he had scored one early in the second half.- ‘A match like no other’ -The friendly-natured English-French rivalry briefly turned violent in the Zoo Bar after Giroud’s winner and Kane’s missed spot kick, when an overexcited France fan hurled his beer at staff — and was unceremoniously dragged outside.Kane’s second-half equaliser had given English fans hope of reaching a third consecutive major tournament semi-final, with cries of “It’s coming home!” reverberating around a momentarily subdued Frog and Rosbif.England fan Joey Nguyen-Thomas, a 32-year-old advertising worker in Paris, contrasted England’s positive approach with their defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final last year.”We are controlling the game, putting in a good effort. Against Italy, we were defending as soon as we had one goal. Here we are actually going for it,” enthused England fan Joey Nguyen-Thomas, a 32-year-old advertising worker in Paris.Victor Vion, a 43-year-old Frenchman who has lived in London for seven years, said before the game that he was “extremely stressed. France versus England is a match like no other, there’s an extra rivalry”.Etienne Anthony, beaming with French colours painted on his cheeks, told AFP in Paris he was “excited at the idea of beating the English”.”There’s a good-natured rivalry between us. We don’t hate them, but we really like to beat them.”imm/gj

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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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