London is slowly sinking. That's the news story has been bubbling away in the background among London's reputable media sources for a while now. Apparently there were some glaciers weighing down Scotland during the last ice age, and since they melted, mainland Britain has been doing a creeping see-saw. We down south in London, are currently experiencing the coming down part of the ride.
There's also some nagging stuff about global warming in general playing with sea levels, and on top of that the lifespan of the Thames Barrier is almost up. So let's face it folks, things are about to get extremely wet.
That doesn't have to be the end for this great city; as a track from the first ever Mercury Prize winning album wisely spoke, don't fight it, feel it. And as that annoying second world war poster revival from a few years ago reminded us, Londoners have always had a 'Keep calm and carry on' mantra. So, we decided to embrace this new London a few years early, and look forward to all the wonders it has to bring.
1. The canal network finally gets an upgrade
London's waterway network used to be so much more than it currently is. It was a hub of trade, vital in the transport of heavy goods around the city. Then nasty little things like cars and trains were invented, ruining everything for canals. A dark time fell upon London's waterways, which were left derelict and unloved. Some were even filled in with concrete.
A flooded city changes all this, as thousands of streets would be naturally added to the canal network. London rebrands as 'New Venice', or more optimistically, people start calling Venice 'Old London'. Just imagine barging to work everyday — sure you might have to leave at 5am for a 9am start, but once you draw a breath of that fresh city air (now with added goodness from your boat's diesel engine), it will all be worth it.
2. Fluctuating house prices
London's property market is ludicrous, but there's nothing like some rampant flooding to level the playing field. No one's going to pay £2 million for a two bed en-suite in Battersea if it's ankle deep in murky water.
There will be a converse effect for those parts of London that sit higher above sea level. Alexandra Palace and Crystal Palace both become their own islands, replacing Knightsbridge and Belgravia as the city's most desired property locations. So sought after are they, that to put a deposit down on a house there, you have to donate an organ — property prices these days, eh...
3. The Thames Barrier becomes the tourist attraction it deserves to be
If the image attached to the tweet above were to become a reality tomorrow, that'd initially be seen as a disaster. In time people would adapt to this new state of affairs, and we believe this will actually work to improve the image of the Barrier
The Thames Barrier is an engineering masterpiece, keeping the streets of east London dry... but it does feel a little underloved. It's not high up on most tourists' lists of things to take selfies in front of.
However, what if it failed and became derelict, sleeping peacefully under the city's new high waters? People LOVE shit like that. Look at this abandoned places Instagram account (1.4 million followers and counting). These followers are the people who'll happily pay an arm and a leg to go diving among London's failed Thames Barrier. Image rebrand complete.
4. We're going to become a city of amazing swimmers
Judging by the Olympic swimming medal table, we're alright at the sport as a nation, but there's plenty of room for improvement. If everyone grows up surrounded by water, then that's the biggest shortcut to breeding hundreds of potential future Olympians. Ryan Lochte, we're coming for you!
Sure there will be some naysayers who say that we shouldn't be stepping in, let alone swimming in, this wild water. But people say that about the Shadwell Basin, and plenty go for a dip in there. If it comes at the expense of some other sports that we're semi-decent at — sorry, football — so be it. This is our best chance at total dominance.
5. People will finally appreciate Flood for the masterpiece it clearly was
Back in 2007 a masterpiece beamed into British televisions. Flood. You might not remember it, because... well, frankly no one does. That all changes in our aqua-bound future. Flood is about London flooding — we know, it's a rather impenetrable title.
But like in our predicted future, the Thames Barrier can't quite cope with the sheer volume of water that's flying at it. Ok, so the film's predicament and our thought experiment aren't exactly aligned. For one, the film treats London getting wet like it's a very bad thing. Secondly all the water magically retreats when the Thames Barrier comes online again at the end, and it's all happily-ever-after.
However, forgiving those errors, there's a real gem of a film here — one with David Suchet as Prime Minister. And it only gets better when watching it in a properly flooded London. We can see it now, float-along screenings at Prince Charles Cinema, where punters bring their own lilo.