Basically the book is an alternative guide to the capital, with kind of a Schott's Miscellany feel to it (or 'a bit of a toilet read' if you want to be crude about it).
Over the next few weeks we'll be bringing you a few sneak previews of the book's content, a competition or two to win some copies and loads of other stuff in an attempt to make you go out and buy the bugger. Until then, here's the introduction to give you a better idea of what the whole thing's about:
If you look out of the window to the left you’ll see the Palace of Westminster while to your right...YAWN. Been there, done that, right? Pick up any guide book on London and you’ll also find the same old same old. A few of them will even have no shame in dusting off that old Johnson chestnut, ‘When a man is tired of London...’. Well this book is for people who are tired of ‘that’ London – the one that we all already know inside and out.
Of course, so many words have been written about our great city that it’s hard to find an original voice. So we wondered what might happen if you took all those old clichés and, dare we say it, Hackneyed stories, and mixed them all up in a big cauldron of nonsense and whimsy. Hey presto, the London Collection: a rollicking open-top bus tour full of jellied-eel-crazed Beefeaters crashing through the Chelsea flower show.
This isn’t a book for people who want to find the shortest route between Leicester Square and Oxford Street. We’d tell you, but we’d be lying. You will find no information about cheap places to eat in Richmond, unless you want to be told how to throttle a swan. We’ve gone out of our way to pull together some aspects of the London that we write about daily on Londonist.com and when we were in danger of drifting back to those traditional facts and figures we... erm... made some stuff up. Oddly enough though, it’s the outlandish things such as the graffiti inside the House of Commons that turn out to be true.
Think you know London? Do you know which London bookstore sued the Pope? What Plato has to say about the Circle line? Where to catch the Green Wave? Why you’re entombed the moment you step into a London phone box? Where the plaque for ‘man about town’ Topham Beauclerk is? And what the deuce is the significance of Blackfriars Scruttocks? We even have facts about Wombles that will chill you to the bone.
Sure, there have been other books about London. But we can say with confidence that none of them have the same ISBN code as this one. Several are better, but probably cost more and contain longer words. But if you’re curious about a Top Trumps face off between Golders Green Crem and Highgate cemetery, then please read on...