THE M25 OF RAILWAYS GETS BORIS’ THUMBS UP

 
Elizabeth Fournier
THE M25 of railways: not the most illustrious description of a rail link designed to ease
commuter congestion, but the one that Mayor of London Boris Johnson chose to use yesterday at the opening of the latest extension of the East London Line.

Luckily he was referring to the new line’s aim to be an orbital rail link for London, rather than the lengthy tailbacks and road works more commonly associated with the capital’s most famous motorway.

The 1.3 mile stretch of railway will link Highbury and Islington northwards to Dalston Junction, meaning passengers can connect directly to Canary Wharf without having to negotiate central London rush hours.

Boris – in typically upbeat mode while launching the line – said that it would “make it vastly easier for millions of Londoners to whiz from one side of the city to another”.

With Highbury & Islington station located just a short stroll from Boris’s Islington stomping ground, the extended East London Line will offer the Mayor the chance to travel direct all the way to West Croydon, where he can sample the delights of London’s third “central” business district, and check in on the progress of another key redevelopment – the Norman Foster-designed Croydon Gateway.

Boris even donned a London Overground woolly hat for the launch – top marks from The Capitalist will go to the first reader to spot him sporting it while he navigates the streets of London on his bike.

FLOAT LIKE A GRADUATEBOXING may not be the sport that immediately springs to mind when you think of the hallowed halls of Oxford and Cambridge, but sportsmen from the universities have actually been settling grudges in the ring for over 100 years – making their annual clash the oldest inter-club boxing fixture in the world.

In fact, boxing’s heritage has even closer links to Cambridge, with the professional and amateur rules both drafted by Trinity College student John Graham Chambers back in 1865.

But what relevance does this have to London? Well, for this year’s varsity clash the teams are travelling to the capital, with Cambridge hoping to retain the coveted ‘True Love Bowl’ for the third year running.

And this is no normal sparring match. While professionals fight based on skill and technique, varsity clashes run on “heart, aggression and sheer desire” with participants having at most two month’s training before stepping into the ring in front of 1,200 spectators.

This year’s matches will see a diverse Cambridge team take to the floor – an 18 year old fresh out of Eton, an ex-City lawyer, and a former paratrooper turned trainee priest. The squad even includes a female competitor – science undergrad Heley Matthew will take to the ring a full year before Woman’s Boxing makes its Olympic debut at London 2012.

LOCAL BEER-OES
After years of decline and the closure of several major London breweries, this year’s London Drinker Beer & Cider Festival aims to celebrate the resurgence in local brewing personified by the success of the Camden Brewery and Borough’s Kernel brew. Held at the Camden Centre on 9 and 10 March, the festival will have a dedicated London bar, serving ales only from London breweries. Bottoms up!