London has simply become a money park for dodgy money and though ‘McMafia’ reflected elements of that, the truth is far more depressing
Since the 1st January, the nation was engrossed (though many were also totally bored) by the BBC’s eight-part drama series McMafia.
Based on a fictional – though plainly inspired by the likes of the late Boris Berezovsky – Russian mafia family relocated to London, the TV adaptation of this thriller was filmed primarily in Knightsbridge, Mayfair and South Kensington. It showcased what many might consider the extreme wealth of Central London, but, in fact, was presented a little bit amateurishly.
Of the show, Carol Midgley in The Times summed it up well. She remarked: “If this is how miserably the super-rich live, I’d take a semi in Swindon any day” and equally now, if you wander the streets of SW1, SW3, SW7 and W1, you’d not disagree with her.
Recent news that the Fine Art Society is closing in Bond Street after 140 years due to “soaring rents” and “an influx of wealthy international fashion houses” illustrates the effect of the arrival of uncultivated new wealth in that sector, but equally sad is the demise of local restaurants and shops that actually provide things that genuine, full-time residents actually need.
Boarded up in Belgravia this month, after 44 years in operation, the Ebury Wine Bar closed supposedly due to the retirement of its owner, Nigel Windridge. Also gone – aside from the key loss of the much loved La Brasserie in Brompton Cross – are restaurants like Itsu in Walton Street and Racine in Brompton Road. Replaced by shisha bars and other businesses aimed at wealthy Gulfies and oligarchs, the streets of Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea are increasingly becoming utterly devoid of character.
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