London skyscraper’s ‘deathray’ reflection is melting cars, burning businesses, but also cooking eggs
London’s skyline has a new addition this week: the Walkie Scorchie. Joining the crowded group of glass protrusions, such as the Shard, the Gherkin, and the Cheesegrater, is 20 Fenchurch Street, which had previously been known as the Walkie Talkie, on account of it looking vaguely like a gigantic two-way radio.
But the 37-storey office block, due to be completed next year, has gained a new sinister reputation: the death ray, the fryscraper, the Walkie Scorchie.
Its south-facing concave facade conspires to concentrate and reflect the sun’s rays into an intense beam of shimmery light, hitting the buildings on the opposite side of the road. Along a 30-yard stretch of pavement at Eastcheap – just a Molotov cocktail’s throw from where the Great Fire of 1666 started -London’s burning.
Yesterday afternoon, I was sent out to see if I could fry an egg in the heat, a task that I presumed was impossible on an overcast September day. But, not only was it possible, I had to run out of the death ray that was slowly cooking my egg, because the thinning hairs on my head started to catch fire. The distinctive smell of burning follicles, combined with the sensation of a magnifying glass being shone on my pate, forced me to take cover along the road. (Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)