We've been pondering about whether to write about this particular incident or not, but given that Boris Johnson has made his way back into the Mayor's office we thought we'd take this chance to reveal a little bit of bureaucratic nonsense. Thank you for the picture.
The lovely folk at Do The Green Thing approached us earlier this year and asked if we'd like to be involved in making one of their amazing and inspirational films. Of course we said a massive mega-yes!
They had a few ideas of the kind of thing they'd like to do, and without giving too much of the game away, it involved pedal-powering a live band and all their instruments and sound system. We all began to picture a beautiful, evolving video that demonstrates the power of the people. We talked about inviting members of the public to get involved, not only with pedaling but also just coming along for a listen and a dance.
We started to think about venues that would provide us with a good back drop and also a high footfall, so the maximum number of people could come along and participate. One place that sprang to mind was The Scoop, a purpose built amphitheatre outside the Mayor of London's office near Tower Bridge. Perfect, we thought. There's space to set up, seating for loads of people, in a key part of town during the year of London 2012, outside the office of the Mayor who is a big fan of promoting cycling. We could even film people cycling on the new cycle super highway routes to the venue! So we emailed the management of the More London Estate and asked if we could use the space for this most brilliant of events. We felt like all the planets were aligned and this was a sure fired idea that no-one could say 'not' to.
But the next morning we woke to this response...
"Thanks for the email. Regretfully we are going to have to decline your application as we are a vehicle free site, and this includes bicycles.
It sounds a lovely event and wish you every success with it."
So we replied with some reassuring information to try and keep the conversation going...
"The energy generating bikes are stationary in training stands and we could ask any guests to park their bikes off site. Would this make any difference? Thanks for your time and guidance."
To which we got no reply.
After a couple of days of being a bit miffed at the swift and dismissive response from the estate managers, we decided to write an email straight to the big guy himself, Boris Johnson. There was a bit of a moan at the start but the key points were...
Our events and demonstrations achieve many things including:
- providing entertainment for the passing public and local work force - add value to an area - provide people with an experience that helps them appreciate energy (and potentially waste less energy in the future) - encourage people to work together to achieve a common goal i.e. powering a sound system - it's a great communal activity We appreciate that rules are rules and the More London area is a vehicle free space, however, if we were to bring the bikes and fix them to our bike generators (which are repurposed training stands) then they are completely stationary and do not carry with them the same risks as a bike or car should it be moving around the area.
Five days later we received this response from the Mayor's Public Liaison Officer.
"Thank you for your email to the Mayor.
I am sorry to hear that you have not a positive response from More London. Unfortunately the Mayor and the GLA have no say in deciding the content of the events programme for the Scoop. As you are aware the Scoop is managed entirely by More London and I would suggest that you continue to liaise with them.
I am sorry that we have unable to provide direct assistance on this occasion."
And then we gave up! It was all far too crazy to waste more time and energy on it and frustrating to deal with such short-sightedness. However, this event WILL happen somewhere else this year, we promise. So watch this space.