The Building on Pink Floyd’s ‘Animals’ Album Cover, Battersea Power Plant, Will Be Reconstructed

CultureNothing will be spared from gentrification, it seems. Battersea Power Station, the iconic building on the River Thames featured on Pink Floyd’s 1977 Animals album cover, will be reconstructed later this year and transformed into luxury villas with a roof garden. Malaysian developers are selling retail and office space at the former power plant at roughly $3,300 per square foot, according to Consequence of Sound.Built in the 1930s, the South West London power station has been a pop culture fixture for nearly 50 years. Although it shut its doors in 1983 and is no longer functional as a power plant, Battersea's exterior has appeared in many films, including the Beatles’ 1965 film Help!, Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men and, recently, Christopher Nolan’s first Batman flick, The Dark Knight.The building’s classic smokestack chimneys, now structurally damaged and decayed by decades of coal fumes, will be torn down and “painstakingly reconstructed” down to the original paint hue by Wilkinson Eyre, the architecture firm that will be reconstructing Battersea. Speaking to CNN, Jim Eyre, director of Wilkinson Eyre, said that two of the chimneys will be turned into a “modern energy center” that will generate power throughout the building, while one will be hollowed out and the other will be converted viewing platform with a glass elevator. Looks like Roald Dahl was on to something when he wrote Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator in 1972. See all of the best photos of the week in these slideshowsThe project has brought controversy with it. Sir Terry Farrell—one of Britain’s most celebrated architects, responsible for the MI6 building also on the River Thames—told CNN that the new development plans were “rather sad,” referring to the whopping price developers were asking of the space’s future tenants. Farrell initially drew up designs to develop Battersea, and had wanted Continue Reading

Al Roker says eating healthy might make his holiday season a little less jolly

ROKER SEES THE LIGHT ON HOLIDAY FOOD Once chunky weatherman Al Roker says eating more healthfully might make his holiday season a little less jolly — and that’s OK. “My strategy is I don’t deprive myself,” he told us at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala. “I have a spoonful of whatever it is I like and that’s that. I just can’t physically eat as much as I used to, sadly.” Roker, who claims he’s down to a lean, mean 175 pounds, still likes food. And lots of it. “I don’t care what anyone says, I like quantity, (but) physically, I just don’t have the interest in the same amounts as I used to.” Still, the shrinking Al feels the benefits of his healthier lifestyle. “I feel good. You know, every day is a battle,” he said. “You fight it every day. It’s an addiction. There’s no secret — it’s less food, more exercise. Roker also has a restaurant trick that helps him stay slim. “If we go to dinner I tell the waiter, ‘Take whatever it is, cut it in half, put the other half in a doggie bag and put the other half on my plate.’ ” Roker also stays in shape by riding his bike around town, though that may not guarantee a longer life. “My biggest concern is the pedestrians,” he says. “They don’t look, they step off the curb without looking, they walk in the bike lanes. I’m not allowed to ride on the sidewalk, why are they walking in the bike lane?” MELAS, MAZZA ON THEIR MARRY WAY VH1’s “Gossip Table” co-host Chloe Melas and her handsome groom, Brian Mazza, had a wedding for the ages on Oct. 25 in New York City. The duo swapped vows downtown at Grace Church before heading to Capitale for their reception — complete with a wall of roses and an ice bar. The couple — seen here outside the church — tell us the Continue Reading

Famous ‘James Bond’ Lotus Esprit submarine car sells for $860,000 at auction

It's the iconic Lotus Esprit that was designed to drive underwater, but don't expect to try to take it for a spin! The classic movie prop, featured in the 1977 James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me," brought in a top bid of $860,000 when it went up for auction on Monday in London. Following an intense bidding battle, The Lotus Esprit was finally sold to a telephone bidder at RM Auctions in Battersea, south London. The car was made for the scene in which Bond, played by Roger Moore, evades the gunfire from an overhead helicopter by plunging into the water, accompanied by a nervous Barbara Bach in the passenger seat. "We are very happy with that price, it is very strong money for what is an important piece of movie memorabilia," said Peter Haynes of RM Auctions Europe. "Bearing in mind it is not a car that can be driven on the road, the price just goes to prove the draw that all Bond-related memorabilia has," he added. AFP/Relaxnews Continue Reading

Britain’s 9/11 memorial sculpture languishes in London warehouse

A sculpture fashioned from wreckage of the twin towers — given to the United Kingdom for a public memorial — is languishing in a warehouse. The 28-foot-tall steel structure, made by New York artist Miya Ando, was intended to honor the 67 British citizens who died during the attacks. Instead, the installation “After 9/11” has been tied up in red tape since its unveiling just before the 10th anniversary of the tragedy in 2011 — and new photos published by The Sun show it wasting away in a Cambridgeshire, England, farmyard. The steel structure has since been moved to a storage facility in North West London — but the memorial’s mishandling has sparked outrage from both sides of the pond with the 12th anniversary approaching on Wednesday. “In my mind, this was something that was meant to honor the victims and the families,” Ando said Sunday at her Manhattan apartment. “It’s really unfortunate that the sculpture has been stored. “When I saw this image I was deeply, deeply saddened,” she said of the photo in The Sun. The sculpture was unveiled by London Mayor Boris Johnson in Battersea Park with much fanfare. But it was not allowed to remain there — officials from the London Borough of Wandsworth said it only had a license for 28 days, according to the Independent newspaper. Since then, finding a permanent home has proved difficult, a source told The Sun. Peter Rosengard, the founder of the 9/11 London Project who raised $400,000 to commission the sculpture, said the poignant piece should be in the public eye. “It’s an insult to those who died,” Rosengard told The Sun. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

London Mayor Boris Johnson vows to save WTC tribute from trash heap and put it in Olympic Park

THE MAYOR of London vowed on Monday to find a permanent home for a 9/11 memorial sculpture that has been wasting away in a warehouse. Calling the flub — and the snub to New Yorkers — “ridiculous,” Boris Johnson said it’s his mission to move the 28-foot-tall steel structure, “After 9/11,” to Olympic Park in East London. “Clearly this can’t continue,” he said Monday, according to the Telegraph newspaper. “As a result, I’ve asked my team to find a permanent home for the sculpture on the Olympic Park. “The park was home to (Olympic Games) based on tolerance, harmony and respect, and will soon be home to a massive multi-dimensional and vibrant community — the perfect riposte to those who sought to divide the world on 9/11,” he continued. Johnson unveiled the sculpture, fashioned from twin towers wreckage by New York-based artist Miya Ando, when it was given to the city for permanent display in 2011. The piece, honoring the nearly 3,000 people — including 67 British citizens — who died in the attacks, was displayed in Battersea Park for just 28 days before it became a political football. It was supposed to be installed next to London’s City Hall, but local officials voted against the permanent exhibit — and every government entity in London has ignored it since. “Finding a permanent home for it has proved incredibly difficult, whether it be opposition from boroughs or bureaucrats,” Johnson said. Ando said she was “deeply, deeply saddened” by the image of her artwork languishing in a Cambridgeshire, England, farmyard, which was first published in The Sun newspaper. She told the Daily News on Monday that she’s hopeful the mayor will stick to his word just a day before the 12th anniversary of 9/11. “I feel happy that attention has been called on this sculpture Continue Reading

Cheetah cubs at the National Zoo named after U.S. Olympic athletes

Olympic fever is running wild - even at the National Zoo. Two 3-month-old cheetah cubs at the Washington, D.C., zoo have been named after the fastest American runners at the 2012 London Games. PHOTOS: CUTEST IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM The cute cubs now bear the names Carmelita and Justin, after Carmelita Jeter and Justin Gatlin, two sprinters who had the best U.S. finishes in the 100-meter dash. T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images The young felines were named after Carmelita Jeter and Justin Gatlin, two sprinters who had the best U.S. finishes in the 100-meter dash. Jeter took home the silver medal in the woman's event, crossing the finish line in just 10.78 seconds. Gatlin won the bronze in the men's event, finishing in 9.79 seconds. The young felines have been aptly named since cheetahs are known to be the fastest animals on land. T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images The cute cubs now bear the names Carmelita and Justin. Both were born in April at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia. One of the cubs was saved thanks to veterinarians who performed a "rare and risky" emergency cesarean section. T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images Both cubs were born in April at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia. The pair’s birth is important for conservation efforts as their mother and father were both first-time parents. Jeter and Gatlin are not the first athletes to be Olympic namesakes. The Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, a British animal charity, has named 16 of its dogs and cats after Team GB’s Olympic gold medallists, the Huffington Post UK reported. [email protected] With Wire News Services Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Prince George to start day school in London’s Battersea neighborhood

Prince George of Cambridge starts school this fall but his parents, Prince William and Duchess Kate, have picked a private day school across the Thames from Kensington Palace to start his education.The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced Friday that George, who turns 4 in July, will attend Thomas' Battersea beginning in September, according to a Kensington Palace statement."Their Royal Highnesses are delighted to have found a school where they are confident George will have a happy and successful start to his education," the statement said.Ben Thomas, the headmaster at Thomas' Battersea, said the school is "honored and delighted." "We greatly look forward to welcoming him and all of our new pupils to the school in September," he added in the statement.The prep school is located on the south bank of the river, not far as the crow flies from Kensington Palace, where the  royals live, but not as close as the Thomas's Kensington school. Battersea, in southwest London, is an upper-middle-class neighborhood, popular with young professionals with families.The trek across the river to school could give George's many fans an occasional glimpse of the little prince, not often seen in public.On its website, the school, one of four family-run schools, describes itself as a "busy, thriving, purposeful school" with about 540 students between ages 4 and 13 and a curriculum that includes art, ballet, drama, French, music, and physical education. The school's educational philosophy includes discouraging children from picking best friends to avoid hurt feelings, according to a 2013 story in The Telegraph."We hope that our pupils will leave this school with a strong sense of social responsibility, set on a path to become net contributors to society and to flourish as conscientious and caring citizens of the world," the website adds.Tuition at the school runs about $7,300 per term, the Daily Mail and The Telegraph reported.In Continue Reading

Alexander McQueen leaves $80,000 of $26 million fortune to three dogs; the rest to charity, family

The late fashion designer Alexander McQueen left $80,000 of his $26 million fortune to his three dogs - and the same amount to each of his two housekeepers. One of those two staffers found him hanging in a closet last year in McQueen's home in London's posh Mayfair section. The designer took his life just days after his mother died. The $80,000 left for his English bull terriers - Juice, Minter, and Callum - will let them live out their lives in the lap of doggie luxury, The Sun newspaper reports. He left the bulk of his fortune, however, to his Sarabande charity, which was named after his 2007 spring/summer collection. He instructed its trustees to used some of the money for scholarships at his alma mater, London's Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design. He also left $400,000 each to his three sisters and two brothers, and more than $80,000 each to his godson, and each of his nieces and nephews. The animal lover donated $160,000 each to two charities that help animals: the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and the Blue Cross Animal Welfare Charity. Both provide care for abandoned animals and help find them homes. Kim Hamilton, chief executive of the Blue Cross animal charity, said the group is "thrilled" with the bequest. "It is a touching tribute to his obvious love for his dogs and his legacy will allow us to help many thousands more sick and homeless animals across the UK," she said. McQueen also left 100,000 pounds each to the London Buddhist Center and the Terrence Higgins Trust, which helps promote sexual health and safe sex practices. With The Associated Press Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

New $1B U.S. embassy in London will feature a moat to prevent terrorist attacks

The U.S. embassy in London is going medieval.Philadelphia-based architectural firm was chosen to design a new $1-billion embassy across the pond - and it includes a moat.Mayfair district, so the new building will include a 100-foot wide reflecting pond that also serves as a barricade."They integrated security into the design of an embassy for the 21 century," said State Department spokesman Jonathan Blyth. "Part of its inspiration came from the tradition of English architecture, where they did build moats."But Blyth was quick to say that the body of water isn't technically a moat. "It's a reflecting pond," he said."Our objective is to prevent the possibility of a vehicle getting to the embassy to cause damage," Blyth said. "But we also wanted to make it an inviting area, and urban parks are very important to the landscape here in London.Construction on the new embassy, which will be built in the Battersea district, will begin in 2013 and is expected to be completed by 2017.It will be the most expensive embassy in U.S. history, surpassing the $700 million pricetag for the recently-built U.S. embassy in Baghdad.  Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Graphically busy

Judging by the sheer volume of work flowing from his pen, Neil Gaiman is a one-man fantasy factory. The movie version of his graphic novel "Stardust," starring Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro, opened Friday, and next month comes "Beowulf" (featuring a screenplay by Gaiman and Roger Avary), as a slew of other projects wait in the wings.Gaiman's works mash up the real and the fantastic, with both realms intermingling or living side by side, as in "Stardust." It's a talent that's won the laid-back Brit (who, with his shaggy haircut and leather jacket, looks more like a Rolling Stone than an author) just about every fantasy award in existence."I wish I had a nice neat origin story" for his love of fables, says Gaiman. Such as? He offers this "Amazing Stories"-style twist on his life: "'When I was 4, I got bitten by ... radioactive myth!'" As for the truth, Gaiman says, "I discovered Marvel comics when I was 5 or 6, and I loved Thor more than other heroes, [mainly] for the ideas behind them."While Gaiman's friend and fellow graphic artist Alan Moore turned his back on Hollywood after seeing his works turned into less-than-satisfying films ("The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," "V for Vendetta"), Gaiman's taken a more hands-on approach, tapping "Layer Cake" director Matthew Vaughn to direct "Stardust" and co-producing it himself. "I'd done my 'Stardust,' and Matthew had a vision of how he wanted his film to be. I worked with him." Gaiman plans to do some directing himself, following up on his 2002 mockumentary "A Short Film About John Bolton" with an adaptation of his comic-book miniseries "Death: The High Cost of Living." "I spent two weeks in Budapest shadowing Guillermo del Toro on the set of 'Hellboy 2,'" he says. "He invited me out and let me follow him everywhere."Gaiman points to "Neverwhere," a 1996 BBC fantasy he scripted, that didn't live up to his expectations. "It was disappointing, but there were some cool bits in the Continue Reading