Mark Frith's first big decision as the new editor of Time Out London came to light yesterday. The front portion of the magazine known as The Big Smoke will be dropped in the next few weeks in favour of more feature-style pieces.
The section, which regularly topped reader surveys of popularity, provided a home for London oddities and minutiae not found anywhere else in mainstream print. The kind of stuff that made people think about the city around them - from 'lies to tell tourists' to 'William Blake: Taxi Driver', from montages of coal hole covers to the history of pub signs. It also spawned a couple of London Through a Lens books and prompted the recent Tales From A Park Bench installation on Chalk Farm Road. And, full disclosure, this Londonista also contributed a few pieces that wouldn't have been welcome anywhere else. Try pitching 'London's greatest bollards' to the Evening Standard.
The section will continue online via the excellent (at least content-wise) blog and Twitter feed, but its days in print are now numbered. Truly, the loss of the Big Smoke is a loss to London. We just hope Pete Watts continues to ride all London's buses in order.