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West End Extra - The XTRA DIARY
Published: 13 March 2009

Victoria railway station pictured in 1928
Victoria celebrates its 150th

FOR most people, Victoria Station is an unremarkable place. At a push it’s an architectural curiosity in an otherwise dour area, but for the main, it’s a necessary transport hub to get to somewhere else.
This year, the underground part of the station celebrates its 150th birthday – a history that’s taken in two world wars and an average of 240,000 passengers every single day.
Built in 1868 by the Metropolitan Railway, later the Metropolitan Line, the station was part of a route that ran from South Kensington to Westminster Bridge.
It was the first underground station to be lit by electrical lights and was once the site of an ancient canal complete with mooring rings.
During the Second World War, the mainline station survived serious bombing and in 1969 it became part of the Victoria Line.
Line manager John Doyle said: “Victoria Station remains as important to Westminster today as it was 150 years ago. The station is a gateway and a lifeline, connecting the borough to the rest of London.”

Monty director bares all about film

Leading film director and producer Uberto Pasolini is working with Westminster Council as part of his research into what happens when someone dies alone, and how the local authority deals with such situations.
The man behind The Full Monty plans to accompany Westminster’s funerals officer as she tries to piece together the life of someone who has died alone, as well as attending a funeral where no friends or relatives can be traced.
Mr Pasolini said: “I am very interested in the work that public health officers do to celebrate people that are alone at the end of their lives. The film I am hoping to make recognises this.
“This is very specific to the western world, as in developing countries there is still a family structure and older people are less likely to be so isolated. In Europe and the US there has been a change in society.”

Artist’s career has a bit of a wobble

HAS Bassett’s campaign to get the Dr Who writers to consider a makeover for the Cybermen paid off? Not quite.
The jelly babies in this Mayfair mews are part of an exhibit by pop artist Mauro Perucchetti. Matching social critique with pop aesthetics, Mauro has incorporated familiar icons from today’s culture as part of the Apopalyptic exhibition at the Halcyon Gallery.
“I have put everything into making art,” he said. “I hope that people will connect with the messages and ideas in my work – and above all I want to put the ‘art’ back into conceptual art.”

* Apopalyptic runs until April 25 at the Halcyon Gallery in Bruton Street.

DN eh? War on bike thefts

DIARY spotted this rather alarming sign in Bayswater this week, which proclaims: “Protecting your street with DNA property marking.”
Whose DNA exactly? Well, the scheme is not quite as Orwellian as it sounds.
Rather misleadingly, it’s not human DNA but a clear paste that dries clear, and contains microdots with special security numbers on them. In leafy Bayswater, where bike theft is apparently a big problem, you register your pot of “DNA” paste with a company called Selectamark and then paint it on your bike.
Should it be stolen, and the police are clever enough to recover it, they routinely check for the paste with a UV light, call Selectamark and trace the rightful owner.
Sounds expensive, and it is – about £40 for a pot – but police have been giving them out for free, with another round of deliveries due next month.

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