Monday, 31 May 2004


Well it seems we do care - spent several hours over the last couple days watching (so sad so sad).

Its all been about the Kitten and how she can manage to alienate herself with her attention-seeking-behaviour, revolution my arse - what in the hell did she volunteer to go in for - she knew the rules! Does she really think she can politically-activate the S-Club-7-Hollyoakettes?

Firm friends - Marco and Emma (bad teeth, squeeky), he loves her and calls her angel, already. Michelle (sort of bland dark hair) and Emma are bisexual (confessions late at night, hugs all round, thanx for sharing).

Vanessa and Shell - most notible for blondness so far, apart from Shell's small outburst of tears at not seeing her family and friends in the audience and her remarkable niceness - perhaps the only genuine kindness towards Kitten (offer of things from her suitcase since Kitten, with an over-whelming majority, was not allowed hers for the duration of her stay in the house - interesting task, many of the housemates seemed to fail to realise exactly what they were voting for - even Kitten might have liked to have a supply of her own knickers). Lessons Kit needs to learn: don't be shy of coming forward and cutting your nose off to spite your face etc - loss of suitcase, lacking a suitable sleeping arrangement (there may be some who would like to sleep in the same bed as Jason but she wasn't one of them).

Victor - self confessed alpha male (I mean really) so far thinks that Nadia fancies him and that he and Michelle have a connection, rather fond of a forefinger and thumb gesture that stands in for gun or phallus (which he can't stop talking about, too much time out of college, not enough action, I reckon). The other man making a bold play for dominant male being Jason - arriving in leopard print g-string, bow tie and pumped body (does this really impress anyone anymore? Or does it just shriek of some kind of insecurity like girls who like to get their tits out in the pub?).

So left with the quiet ones. Hardly a peep out of Stuart-the-Headband skateboardy-type (who can't be forgiven for having union jack swimming trunks) until of course he was throwing Michelle around covered in mud in a bikini (will she become the one all the girls love to hate because of the way she is drawn to all available men?). Ahmed, ex-asylum-seeker, older, non-drinker (methinks this could be the death of him - in a situation like this not being able to fit in with the drunken frolics could lead to his almost total alienation in a very short time), was enjoying a quiet dip in the jacussi in the nude. And then Nadia, from Portugal, already the subject of gossip between Marco and Kitten (you can't gossip with a girl like Kitten - its just not part of her make-up - far too sincere to endulge in the sharing of juice) as to whether she's a transexual or not. A most hilarious sequence of her strutting her stuff in a bathing suit all wet while most of the housemates attempted to cop a feel of her tits (are they real?). And finally my personal favourite so far - Daniel, hairdresser from Hull, sensible enough to be able to chalk up the food shopping board, not too over the top, fits in, enjoys a joke.

Phew and after all that I'm going to try not to watch for the rest of the week.

Saturday, 29 May 2004

Big Brother 5

And by the time I got home the boys were bonding outside - joking and drinking beer in the way boys do. While the girls sat around inside talking about looking good, not eating too much while in BB, weight, feet, pedicures...

Boring so far then.

Cut back to the boys - the scot (Jason) is talking about how they can set up their exercise routine - circuit training in garden, Marco is telling about his new regime with his fitness trainer and training partner with a body like madonna, his fitness trainer was in the military and, coincidence, so was Jason for six years. Marco Daniel teases him about soggy biscuit, Jason claims not to know what he's talking about...(even I know what that is and I'm not a boy, nor have I been in the military).

It sort of feels like they've never been away. They all seem sort of familiar in that eager S-Club 7 sort of a way. Will there be sex? Will there be fighting? Do we even care?
Birthday in Havana

Havana, Hanover Square, that is. Not a first choice of nightclub by any means but a colleague was having her birthday there and we said we'd pop in for a drink. Its a kind of latin joint full of sleazy men and girls who can do a passable samba, lambada or can just shake their hips. Real latin girls come in vest tops, jeans and strappy sandals. Others feel they need to make more of an effort. There's a Thai pole dancer in and extremely short asymmetrical dress (extremely short on one side only) who is being taken for a spin across the floor by almost every man in the joint so far. Of the other girls the favoured dancer is the one in the yellow vest top. Passed around like a parcel from partner to partner.

Its one of those places where the men use dancing as a way to show off - like cocks in mating season, a puffed up chest, some tail feathers shaken. Its the biceps, teeshirts just curling up over them, spinning the girl and holding an extravagant hand outstretched, hips and foot movements. The Matre'd has a terrible two-tone hairdressers haircut - it sticks up like a mohican on the side, is blond on one third, brown on the other and slightly flat on the top.

Us? We were just there for the cocktails, until of course they took their toll and we had to join in. Just for a bit mind. One of my colleagues was whisked off to dance with a man who pressed his hard-on against her thigh at which point HS decided she had to eat and demanded we leave. Shame, I was just about getting into the swing of it.

Friday, 28 May 2004

My Pound Coins This Morning

As I was contemplating going to the fruit lady this morning I checked my change and found I had three pound coins. I don't know why today particularly i checked but I found I had:
  • 2 that say: PLEIDIOL WYF I'M GWLAD (true am I to my country) and have leeks on their tails
  • Of these 2 the writing is printed different ways up - one reads right-way-round if the leek is up, the other if the queen is up
  • The other one says: NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT (nobody provokes me with impunity) and has a lion on its tail

And so off I am to the fruit lady to spend my £3.

British Pound Coins
Royal Mint

Thursday, 27 May 2004

Chain Blogging

I'm playing Chain Blogging - a game dreamt up by Clear Blue Skies, 'rules' explained here. Word Association - find an idea, theme, word or phrase in a participating blog entry and write your own, while linking to the one you are associating with and leaving a comment on the post and (if you choose) with Clear Blue Skies so he can keep a tree diagram of where the chain is going.
Chain Blogging: I Love London (but I think you know that already)

I love (amongst other things):
  • The view from Alexandra Palace, having a beer in the early summer evening.
  • Being steeped in history, beautiful buildings, a chaotic sense of town planning, constantly changing urban cityscape.
  • London's parks - not the countryside, not away but peaceful.
  • The Thames, winding its way through vistas of London that are vast and juxtaposing, historic and modern, industrial and residential, with suprising wildlife. And walking along the south bank in the falling dusk chatting to friends, popping into bars on the way.
  • Sitting on the front left hand seat downstairs or the back lefthand seats of a routemaster, or the front top deck seats of a new london bus in the winter.
  • Not needing a car.
  • Shopping in Selfridges (not even necessarily buying anything) until closing on a Friday or Saturday evening.
  • That an evening out can be spontaneous rather than planned - eating, drinking, dancing, seeing something, at the spur of the moment.
  • Diversity.
  • Having facilities: theatres, cinemas, galleries, historic landmarks, great bookshops,...
  • Parts of town - distinct, with their own specific flavours, atmospheres, fashions, people.
  • That oddness is acceptable.
  • Being constantly surprised by places, people and things.

This list is unending even though there are many things that I miss as a london dweller that I am in awe of when visiting the countryside - like seeing a sky full of stars, the air quality, solitude, dramatic scenery, the sea crashing on rocks. But I am drawn by an invisible chord to this city of mine. I was born here, therefore I feel safe here. Nothing is more frightening to me than the pitch dark on a moonless night in the countryside with no street lights.

This is part of a chain of posts linked together by word association. The previous link in the chain was here @ headCleaner. If you want to write another link here's what to do: Find a word, phrase or theme from this post to inspire your own and go and write it. Try not to write something that's similar to this post. That way the subject of the posts along the chain will vary. E.g. if I write about going to the doctor's, then don't talk about the last time you were ill, instead describe how you used to play Doctors and Nurses with the girl next door. Get the idea? Your post can be in any style you want. Copy this paragraph and tack it onto the end of your post, updating the link to point here, then leave a comment here that points to your new post.

And the next chainpost is: A Sky Full of Stars at Santiago Dreaming
Chain Blogging: Big Brother Starts Tomomorrow

They're calling it the Evil One. Every year I think: its crap why am I watching it, but end up getting fascinated by the crap psychology, stupidity, bickering and stuff and end up watching it regularly (not religiously - did watch tonnes of the first one but steadily watching less and less of them subsequently - now only really catch the long one with the pschologists on it and perhaps the friday eviction, so sad, so sad).

So, a quick round up, just before the next series:

Hated Craig (eventual winner), still can't stand him on that DIY programme he's on.
Wished Anna (lesbian ex-nun) had won.
Laughed at Mel's fickleness - being so drawn to Andy then swopping her affections for Tom the minute he left.
Nasty Nick - cheating double dealing b.... (made for some drama though)
Caroline's lip line
Worst outcome of the programme - Nicola's terrible terrible single.

Glad Brian won, not sure it was so good for kids TV although he fits in well there.
Liked Bubble and Brian's constant fighting and stuff.
The love affair - Paul and Helen (of the amazing I like blinking remarks).
Worst characters: control freak Stuart (pity his poor wife) and I'm so mad Penny.
Best bit - knowing about BB meant I could join in the boysy-gang at work who spent good portions of the day emailing their amateur pschological analysis to one another

Favs: Alex (dancing behind the bedroom door, peeing in the shower - horror), Sandy (Scot, older, walking out).
Least favourite: Jade (can you see my kebabs, am I minging - snivelling wreck).
Flirting - Adele & Lee until Sophie arrived and Adele ditched like a lead weight.
Advent of the great divide - rich vs poor side. I find this is now in common usage - our office has two units divided by a joining door where the other unit is the 'rich' side and our side is the 'poor' side. We spend our time bemoaning our lowly status.
Kate - first girl winner, men's cuppa tea but bland and rather boring.

Cameron, the winner - Scottish, virgin?
This one was all about The Tickle, really wasn't the same after he was chucked out.
Stupid South African swap.
The awful Lisa who was never going to fit in.
I didn't win the sweepstake at work.

And so we come to year 5 - the evil big brother. Not sure whether its going to be an obsessed year or not, yet.

This is part of a chain of posts linked together by word association. The previous link in the chain was here @ The Final Broadcast. If you want to write another link here's what to do: Find a word, phrase or theme from this post to inspire your own and go and write it. Try not to write something that's similar to this post. That way the subject of the posts along the chain will vary. E.g. if I write about going to the doctor's, then don't talk about the last time you were ill, instead describe how you used to play Doctors and Nurses with the girl next door. Get the idea? Your post can be in any style you want. Copy this paragraph and tack it onto the end of your post, updating the link to point here, then leave a comment here that points to your new post.

Burning Art

This is greatly saddening. I heard on the news that some of the works of Patrick Heron (late father of a friend of mine) have been lost, as well as works held there for the National and Tate Gallerys. Much has been made of the losses from Saatchi's collection but I fear the devastation may be further reaching than that.

Big, precious, fragile - counting the cost of art consumed by fire
Saatchi Devastated by art blaze
Up in Smoke
Art Warehouse Probe Begins

Tuesday, 25 May 2004

Broken Blog

Somethings busted and I can't figure out why - the images won't load up from when I did them last night to now. Is this a common problem today?

Then yesterday I also discovered this - someone has copied my blog, comments, images, everything and stuck it on to their own blog. They have submitted it to Blogshares. There is no email address to contact them and ask them to stop it. Blogger support said they never made any claim that they could stop this kind of thing (fair enough) but I thought perhaps they would be able to withdraw someone's account if they blatantly did something like this.

Someone called Bad Karma left a comment around my blog birthday saying that someone would steal something from me soon and I wouldn't realise until it was too late.

This is making me paranoid.
Monday's Life Class

A prolific week. The model who was a trained dancer returned - skinny, very muscled, showed a lot of tension in the body.

We had 15 minute warm up pose, couple of 5 minute poses, 3 two minute poses, three 30 second poses, one movement pose and a long one after 8pm until the end. Somehow I was going so slowly in the last pose that I didn't get but half finished (top right).

Candid Arts Trust: open access sessions and more formal taught courses in both life drawing and painting. Behind Angel tube, Islington - first left down City Road. Contact: The Candid Arts Trust, 3 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ, Tel: 020 7837 4237.

Sunday, 23 May 2004

Tales from the Dark City

In the toilet two girls are talking over the walls of the cubicles they are in. "So what kind of men do you like?". "I'm not sure really. Muscles. I like them to have some muscles".

Three ladies, fancy tops, jeans and stilettos leave the restaurant filing past the waiter who had looked after them all evening. Each of them kissed him on the cheek. He stood there stunned, slightly red and pleased as punch. Good tips! Although it won't buy him any beer later.

In the street outside Home a blond man in a full length leather coat discussing issues with another man in the middle of the road. I can't help thinking he looks like a WWF wrestler - all blond thin longish-hair and mustache (showy, no substance).

From the bus window on the way home as we pull away from the bus stop a man aggressively approaches a woman. They back into a corner. He's urging her to hurry up. She takes off a red trainer, he drops something into it and she puts it back on. Drug dealing pimp with a whore. Or perhaps a drug dealer with his girlfriend. Whatever, made me uneasy.

Saturday, 22 May 2004

Food Shopping

In the supermarket on the way home three skateboard dope boys were buying stawberry milk, cadburies mini-rolls and white sliced.

Friday, 21 May 2004

Brancusi at the Tate Modern

Room 2. A room full of heads. Beautiful, subtle, tactile sculptures. Some more reaslitic than others with indication of hair, ears, eyes and nose, gradually they became more stylized and paired down until they were egg-like with groves and planes where features would be.

Choice of materials was integral to the work. White stone often, ideas worked out in plaster. Stones like marble, smoothed to the point of lustre perfection. You can feel the cold exuding off them. Limestone, texture with sparkle inside, like frost on cold day.

Sort of crushingly beautiful in their elegance and yet deeply touching. Made me feed sorrow at being so far away from my sister and niece.

Room 3. In the beginning of the world was an egg. Potent imagery of creation, birth, nurture.

Further Rooms. The plinths were often sculptural themselves, top heavy, roughly hewn in wood. Squared off blocks supporting sculptures of beautiful stones, delicately carved (how can you possibly delicately carve a hard stone - the end result belies the process of its making). Some of the wooden works had integrated plinths - all carved from one piece of wood. Other works had plinths of several pieces with the curved stone sculpture balanced on them.

The work reminded me of one of my favourite contemporary artists, Alison Wilding, who once wrote in her book that her work was about the relationships of objects to each other - on-top-ness, standing-up-ness, besideness, next-to-ness etc. This is exactly what this work felt like (seems to me he must have been a large influence on her). How does one piece sit on this small stone plinth that is resting on this larger wooden plinth? Wood supports stone. Weight of the stone bares down on the wood making it stable. Contrast of materials - texture, temperature, colour.

Finally bird in space. Aerodynamic, more like a movement than a representation, shiny brass tall thin curve, a sharp edge occurs at a change in plane. Beautiful.

And outside on the balcony in the fading sun a girl in a black leather skirt, velveteen top with the hood up and red stilettos is snogging her boyfriend as he leans against the wall.

And across the millennium Bridge St Pauls stands out magnificently on the horizon. Its ancient dirt accentuating its architectural features and statues.
Friday Afternoon

Been in a meeting with a bloke who could talk for Britain - he talked solidly for two hours practically without taking a breath. I was sitting with my back to the window and the sun was glinting off the corner of my glasses into my eye so now my eye feels burned (I'm starting to think my glasses are too wide. That adds a second problem to these fabulous glasses - the first problem is that they are sprung in the hinges so they grip on the head and don't fall off, this is good apart from the fact that they are causing dent's behind both my ears)

Thursday, 20 May 2004

Tube Journey

In our carriage this evening:

A poet writing on his palm top, wearing a green fisherman's jacket.

Five men on the way back froma meeting discussing the London Development Agency. 3 black suits, white shirts and somber ties. The one on the end looked dishevelled. Couldn't really tell if he had his shoes on the right feet, they looked almost like they could be the wrong way round (something odd about the design obviously).

Next to them was a gigantic builder. Wearing shorts. Legs like tree trunks, very tanned and hairy. Paint splattered.

Long grey haired lady. Purple framed glasses on her face, sunglasses on her head. Lots of silver rings and a huge silver cuff that covered half her forearm.

And then I got off at Kings Cross.
Bus Driver Angst 8.30am

Sunny day (its true that hot weather makes people angsty).

Unlike yesterday when the convoy of 29s was pissing me off - one too full, next one emptyish but not stopping even though we were practically standing so as it had to drive over us with arms outstretched flagging it down - the bus stopped quite easily. Rasta bus driver with a long single dreadlock grey beard.

A white van driver squeezed past him at one of the bus stoops and that really pissed him off (but I always thought the job of white van man was to piss everyone off and so its pointless reacting). As we continued up to Manor House in a single stream of traffic the bus swang wildly across the carriageway lurching from side to side as the bus driver seemed to want to overtake (where would he go though? There was no empty space ahead). Eventually he swang into the oncoming traffic to pull up alongside the offending white van, opened his doors and shouted across to the van's driver, threatening to kick his head in for squeezing by in such a way because it was dangerous and could've caused an accident.

This altercation didn't help the bus driver calm down. Much use of the brakes ensued. Eventually we got to a bus lane, it was empty. We stopped at a stop and he allowed a couple of less full buses to pass him. At the next bus stop we came to a halt to let someone off behind another 29. A passenger decided to take our bus rather than the one in front. As he showed his ticket the bus driver asked him, "Why you walk pass the empty bus and get on the crowded one?". It was a rhetorical question. The passenger looked confused and mumbled something about wanting to go to Gower Street. A sensible explanation as the bus was going to Trafalgar Square while the one in front was going to Camden.

Damn bad start to the day on the bus drivers behalf, I would say. Glad to get off really.

Monday, 17 May 2004

Monday's Life Class

Shadow out of necessity because there were no working spotlights. Not such an interestnig night really. I started doing drawings without lifting the charcoal off the paper and making them an impression of what was there rather than trying to capture reality and then it became more interesting.

Candid Arts Trust: open access sessions and more formal taught courses in both life drawing and painting. Behind Angel tube, Islington - first left down City Road. Contact: The Candid Arts Trust, 3 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ, Tel: 020 7837 4237.

Sunday, 16 May 2004

Check-Out Chaps' Gossip

While we were at the checkout in Sainsbury's this afternoon (bad choice of time for going to supermarket but the basket-only queue was short) the check-out chaps were having a three way conversation over our heads.

"Tom, y'know Tom?"
"Tall Tom?"
"Nah, Produce Tom"
"Oh yeah, Produce Tom. What about 'im?"
"He's in jail."
"In jail?" incredulous, "but he's so innocent. What did he do?"
"Here he is" producing a copy of Hornsey Journal with pictures in. Much shock and incredulity.
"He's in for football hooliganism. You know those Charlton and Southampton fans..."

And we think women can gossip.

Friday, 14 May 2004

The Other Direction

So we rode the riverboat in the opposite direction this time up river to Kew. And then rode it back again. Nice relaxing day trip (just us and the tourists). Its sometimes good to try to see your own city from the eyes of tourists or from an unusual perspective. Different view of London altogether.

The journey upriver is very different from the one that goes to Greenwich - while the Greenwich trip goes through the city, financial and business districts, this journey passes a lot more industry, expensive apartment developments and then parts of London that look like small villages with country-style pubs. And when you get off at Kew, you're still very much in London when you walk off the riverbank.

Thursday, 13 May 2004

This Blogger Business

And I'll just add two-pennies-worth on this: not keen. I keep making mistakes because I can't see the post and the edit on the same page. And I don't like round-edged graphics.

Read all about it @:
Diamond Geezer
Big n juicy

!!UPDATE!! And its soooo slow at publishing now.

Well its my official birthday (as opposed to the blog birthday) and I was going to make a link list to all the blogs whose authors were born on 13th May, because you can on Globe of Blogs. There were quite a few of them. But as it turns out none that I particularly wanted to link to. There were christians of the born again variety, some of the dear diary variety about family and friends, a great ESL blog for learners in Vancouver (better for work than for here), techie ones (one in particular that seemed to be missing the DOS era with his green writing on black background - god thats hard on the eyes - I'd forgotten), a totally hateful-sounding office worker with tales of revenge.

Did find an interesting short bit about chatrooms and men demanding cybersex at Way Too Many Unruly Oranges. And a link to a self-help hypothesis about how lucky those of us born in May believe we are from Digital Fugue.

So in conclusion what I thought was a great idea turned out to be not very fruitful.

I found one: Miss Elaine Neous - who I read regularly already. Amazing coincidence.

Monday, 10 May 2004

Monday's Life Class

Woman with wooden sculpture. The model was placed in front of some scenery props the aim was to get more in than just the woman. I only really liked the wooden form thing, thought it complemented her form and pale white skin very well.

Candid Arts Trust: open access sessions and more formal taught courses in both life drawing and painting. Behind Angel tube, Islington - first left down City Road. Contact: The Candid Arts Trust, 3 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ, Tel: 020 7837 4237.

Power has been off since 10.30. Its midnight now. I'm lying in bed with a candle burning listening to the wind rustling the leaves of the tree over the canal. Its got small leaves and it sounds like water babbling.

Rain starts thrumming into the canal and onto the skylight outside my room. Police sirens in the distance. Lots of the them. Sounds like raids are going on. Dog barks, somewhere.

A train passes at the top of my street. Can hear the trundle over the tracks. That noise that sends you to sleep when you are sitting on them. Haven't felt the rumble of an underground train yet though. Can sometimes feel it shaking the house. One time it turned out to be an earthquake - it rocked me back and forth in bed. Honking - impatient drives in Green Lanes. The train is still passing. Must be a long goods train.

A couple of people walking home pass in the street and their voices reach up through my window, can't hear what they are saying. She coughs.

Can smell the wax as it burns away from the candle. Its oddly quiet without all the noise-entertainments blaring.

Friday, 7 May 2004

My Year in Blogging

There was a post I wanted to write on my blog’s birthday that just never quite got written. But I feel like the queen with an official and actual birthday and since the blog birthday and my birthday are actually quite close together it feels ok to have delayed slightly.

It’s a definitely/maybe kind of situation. Its definitely come out as a blog about London from my perspective more than a blog about me with a backdrop of London, well maybe.

Its anecdotal rather than opinion based. I like it to be shorter rather than longer – I’m a terrible on-screen reader and blip over things the same way I do in newspapers and magazines (short paragraphs are good where you can see the end before you start – it’s a personality flaw, or perhaps it’s a generational thing, TV-generation used to flipping at a merest moment of boredom). I think of blogs more like magazines than books – more disposable perhaps, more upbeat, direct ideas, easy to get.

It surprises me that some readers (specifically those who have to review) find it ‘insidery’ and therefore feel alienated. It was never my intention. The use of initials is only to preserve the anonymity of those I write about, not to cloud the understanding of a situation for the reader. Personally I prefer to use initials because if I had to choose false names for all my friends I’d have to keep a book to reference who was being who, and it could be very difficult to find a name to replace the one they have - names are steeped in connotations and preconceptions. A difficult task indeed.

Not many of my real-world friends read it, so it is written for whatever unknown audience exists. This audience has gradually become better known to me through their own blogs, comments, webpages and emails. One of the most exciting things about all this are the virtual links all over the world.

I associate myself (loosely) with a particular group of bloggers, none of whom I have met but who I visit regularly. There is a britishness / UKishness? [is this possible or is it even accurate?] that I feel comfortable with. I comment on them sometimes but have been a late developer and am shy (yes, really – I’ve always been laughed-in-the-face at when I’ve said this in real life but its true!) I’m overly concerned about what I’m going to say, whether it will be OTT or perceived in a tone I didn’t intend. Its very hard to convey tone appropriately in writing (this is one of the original complaints about email – comes across chatty but is preserved in black and white forever). I don’t want to annoy, irritate or upset people. I want to be liked. I’ve been wary of commenting in some places because of the chatroomy feel – never did enjoy chatrooms, they feel uncomfortable, unreal (well they are), frequently sexually aggressive and sophomoric (in my very limited experience). I read the comments in these places and laugh with the jibes and jokes and am impressed by the quick wit and never quite find the way to leap in. I don’t see myself as part of the in-crowd, unless I’m an IN-CROWD OUTSIDER (any one of these types of outsiders will do nicely).

When I started feeling my way around the blogosphere it seemed to be on a high. Recently it feels like its slipping away amidst tales of intrigue, trolling (being perpetually vicious and nasty for the hell of it in someone’s comments), subblogging (using someone’s comments as your own blog), stalking. We are riding what seems to be a wave of anguish, where people self-censor and shut up shop through hounding. And those who were here first do that thing where they say its over because so many people are now doing it and not doing it in the spirit it was originally done in (too much personal stuff and not enough hard information). We have lost a great many bloggers who I liked over the year, some have come back, some still comment around and about, others are just not there anymore. And perhaps that’s just the nature of blogging – transient, shifting.

So, I have this noteblog. I try things out, theres been good times and bad times, some good posts, some I’d rather forget (and hey I can, if I choose, delete them, although I’ve resisted the temptation so far – important to learn through mistakes after all). I think I have weened myself off my addiction to stats counting and stopped feeling like I have to put something (anything) up everyday or so. It really does have to be fun or at least have purpose to warrant carrying on. And into the second year of doing this I think its amazing how much improvement there has been in my drawing!

Monday, 3 May 2004

Bails' Birthday Boatride

We rode a boat along the Thames to Greenwich and back. It was a ride of two halves: the wet half and the sunny half; the half with the camera working and the half when the batteries had worn out; the way there, the way back. Here's the photoblog of the trip, with rain droplets.

Sad, but true: this photo of Bails and HS reminds me of photos of the relatives in distant times - a great aunt and my granny when they were young, in a suede jackets and hats on a walk up the hills. They won't thank me for saying this (but fortunately they don't read this!)
Teenage Ruse: Fare Evasion

Get on at Angel, sit at the front just behind the driver and make like you're fast asleep so that when the bus conductor comes round asking for fares he'll not bother you for it.

He knows what you're playing at. "Don't play any foolish games wit me now baby girls". He's a rasta with a big wool hat and a jamaican drawl.

Ignore him. Whatever you do, don't stir. As he walks away he says, "you're coming off the bus at the next stop". Fortunately the next stop is close to where you want to go. You stop pretending to be asleep and 'wake up' giggling. He dings the bell to take you several stops beyond to teach you a lesson. This is even closer to where you want to go.

You get off. Mission accomplished.
Saturday Night Tale

Don't know what caused it - funny though afterwards. We had a showroom window full of mercedes on ramps, second-hand but gleeming y'know? Prime location on a busy corner turn in the road. All the traffic drove straight towards them sitting there in a line. I always loved mercedes. I used to sing that song - remember? Oh Lord, won'tcha buy me a mercedes benz? That was my theme tune. My ambition in life was to be a jerk in a merc. I was lucky cos the showroom came up for sale when I had some readies and I knew it had to be mine. Anyway...Anyway don't know what caused it but that night the handbrake cables on all front row cars were snapped and all those cars came crashing through the front windows of the showroom like they were trying to escape or something. Too much reigned-in horse power. That was the end, my finances couldn't stretch to the refit and cover the loss from the damaged vehicles. I can laugh about it now. Wasn't funny at the time. I've put it behind me. My ambition now? I want to be a slag in a jag.

Saturday, 1 May 2004

Man of Letters

Seem him before in Starbucks at Angel on a Monday night. Beige anorak, very thick bottle-bottom tortoiseshell glasses which enlarge his eyes. In Tinderbox he reveals himself to be a man of letters.

He's carrying a document wallet filled with correspondence. Letters carefully arranged so as not to slide around, still in their envelopes. From behind he pulls out a stack of white paper and unhooks one of the green pental rollerball pens (my father used to use these at work before the invention of the Pilot Hi-tech) and starts replying to one in a large scrawling hand with big flamboyant loops under the Gs and the Ys. He's drinking espresso. He favours small white envelopes common in personal correspondence, rarely seen in offices (too many folds required), and blue second class stamps.

He writes solidly until he reaches the bottom of both his espresso and the page. Then he slips everything back into the document wallet, rehooks the pental pen onto the pocket and leaves.
Upper Street Argument

Pin stripe jacket, white short, jeans, baseball cap with sunnies worn over the visor. Having a slanging match with his girlfriend in the street. Very respectable looking. She's wearing a khaki dress with gold wings embroidered on the back. As she turns her shock of blond hair reveals its black roots, tattered and torn split ends and her eyes are dull like a drug addict's. Not so respectable seeming now. She refuses to go with him and leaves him shouting after her, "Katie...katie...."
The Night Gallery Opening

A long time ago I was on the Nux Vomica mailing list. This week I got an invite to an opening of The Night Gallery because I was on this list.

Heady days of Nux - lots of people taking their clothes off in a stripping kind of a way but a bit more burlesque or even Yoko Ono happening and a bit less Soho peep show, if you know what I mean. Apart from the one time when they had the Stripper of the Year appearing - she played the electric violin and melted ice-cubes in her vag, then let the water pour out when she chose - that time men jumped on the chairs to see and howled like wolves at full moon.

And inbetween the clothes off were performance poets, singers and bands. A band of rock chick trannies booed off the stage. Periodic performances by the Tiger Lillies in their pre-Shock Headed Peter days when they made frequent appearances at the Kings Head and you could hear them for free. And could sing along to your hearts content to Suicide, Heroin & Cocaine, Born to Fail and Jesus.

Watch Martin Jacques, dickensian, long plait, teasing out songs on the accordian. A physical instrument that has to be caressed, handled, squeezed. The sound of French love music, tainted pained but passionate. Singing with eyes closed, sweat dripping down his face in a suprising falsetto operatic voice, lyrics base, seedy and low down more Tom Waits than Puccini - drugs, prostitutes, suicide and corruption.

The music building inevitably to a crashing manic end accompanied by the bass and drums played frantically by the two Adrians. I was in love with that sound - odd french-inspired songs from miserable depths of life, squalor that I have found most fascinating almost my entire life (not for me that squeaky clean European living of Switzerland or Scandinavia). Theatrical life, reminiscent of Berlin, Paris or Havana.

Anyway, this is how I first came across Nux Vomica. One summer I travelled to Marseille with a friend and the Tiger Lillies were there for a short while. We went to see them, and while there met Sophie - the wife of Martin. Sophie was a performer, stripper and arts management student and had just started a regular cabaret event called Nux Vomica with a couple of friends.

So, I'm on the Nux mailing list and I got this invite through the post and persuaded HS to travel down to the Elephant with me to go. We went early cos we weren't going to stay long. We had to wangle our way in cos we only had one ticket and the sarf london bancers with ear pieces and suits were being jobsworths and couldn't let anyone in without a ticket. While being held outside while they tried to figure out whether they would let both of us in we were chatted up by a very young film maker who on overhearing our conversation said, "all beautiful ladies come in free at my'd have to pay though!" Good beginning to a very friendly evening.

We sat for a while in a red room by the loos on a settee, waiting for something to happen (films were starting at 7.30). A couple came in and asked us if we were an installation. They thought we were very good. Amazingly once it got started we didn't feel like leaving until 10.30 - too much to see [if this link isn't working look at Seen on the left bar]. Took me right back to the days of art oddity and other stuff.