Griff Rhys Jones, one half of hilarious comedy sketch show duo Smith and Jones (he is the ‘Jones’ part of the ensemble), is angry about town planning. And who can blame him? Assuming that he hasn’t made all this up just to get attention, Jones, in his capacity as urban vista maintenance botherer has uncovered plans that he believes will ruin the breathtakingly beautiful landscape of the Fitzrovia area of central London. Who is to blame for these plans? Big business, of course. Apparently big businesses in the area have gotten together with a property developer to turn the Fitzrovia district into a Business Improvement District (BID) and improve the area for business purposes. Furthermore, in order to exclude the little man from their evil plans, it has been decided by someone (presumably not Griff) that only businesses with a rateable value of £100,000 are allowed to vote on potential changes to the area. This, of course, means that the area will inevitably be changed for the benefit of big business while smaller businesses will be squished out by increasing rents, turning the district into a faceless desert of capitalistic activity, which is not nice.
|Jones berates a London fat cat over BID plans|
It’s not just small businesses in the Fitzrovia district that are being pushed around by big corporate bastards, people trying to earn a crust in Brixton – where you’d think they’d just be left to their own devices – are suffering at the hands of the bully boys and, to a lesser extent, girls. Indeed Lizzy Daly, who runs an online business called shabbychicoriginals.com from her south London home selling all manner of twee crap (butterfly cookie cutters, floral party bunting etc) bought almost exclusively by bored people residing in Chigwell, is being hounded by a large firm in California called Shabby Chic Brands, who insist that she should change the name of her business. According to the American firm, the term ‘shabby chic’ is a registered trademark owned by a Los Angeles firm called – wait for it – Brand Sense Partners. Jesus Christ; just saying the name aloud makes me want to Google ‘how to make a home made bomb’. Thankfully Ms Daly has no intention of backing down, but if she was to be defeated by the grey-suited, corporate lobotomists she could try running alternative names past Brand Sense Partners, such as Tattered Smart, Ragged Stylish or Untidy Elegance. Just a thought.
Even pubs are not safe from the relentless onslaught of big business, as Merton residents have discovered to their cost. The Grove Tavern, a historic pub which was until recently frequented by dozens of local alcohol dependents, is to become a Tesco Express. ‘What’s wrong with that?’ I hear you shrug. I’ll tell you, shall I? There is another Tesco Express just 500 yards down the road from it. Furthermore, I have it on good authority from an inside source that Tesco are planning to buy all of the shops in between and build another Tesco Express, a Tesco Metro, a Tesco Extra and a Tesco Ultra Super Duper.
In some cases small businesses are persecuted before they even get off the ground. This poor gentleman from Beckenham had his flourishing crack cocaine business closed down earlier this year. It is rumoured that the recreational drugs market in Beckenham is being gradually monopolised by Walmart. Shame on them.