Saturday, 31 July 2004

People I met today

I spent a very fine day in the company of:

Blue Witch and MrBW
Diamond Geezer
Those Wonderful People Out There in the Dark
London Calling and These Moments I've Had and Edward (fly catching dog extraordinaire)
Oddverse and S
Planarchy and Z
JetSetPiggy and Paul

and if I´ve forgotten anyone I apologise profusely I don´t mean it honest. It was great meeting y´all!

Friday, 30 July 2004

i'm emailing from my phone just to see if it works

Thursday, 29 July 2004

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Pops was taking me to the theatre again. I hadn't looked at the ticket until I was on my way out of the office and then when I did I had visions of Frankie Howard, Up Pompeii, Barbara Windsor with a yellow bikini flying off and my heart sank and my heels dragged. I just never really got the carry-on films.

Anyway it was bright jaunty music, lots and lots of innuendo (and the audience loved it) and a shaky cardboardy set and cheap tacky looking costumes - all, I believe, purposefully so.

The audience was much fuller than usual of elderly people and all-male groups. The man in front kept breaking wind in the silent but violent vein vain (vane - which vain is it?) (thanks Harry). Lots of thick plastic framed glasses of the sort popular in the 70s with thick bottle bottom lenses (like my grandad used to wear). In the interval a couple had brought sandwiches wrapped up in a tea towel that they ate while sitting on a bench on the balcony outside. And the sunset was marvelous.
The Tiny Bag

When will we see the end of the mini-handbag. The sort often seen hooked under the armpit of girls who don't appear to be low-maintenance but who manage to cope with a bag that appears to only have room for a purse/wallet, a lipstick and a mobile phone (unless of course they are TARDIS like - bigger on the inside than they appear from the outside).

Two such lovelies on the bus today (immaculately made-up in the Jordan School of more is more with irridescent cheeks, thick foundation AND powder, blended eye shades in complementary tones, lipstick & line and industrially straightened hair laiden with product) had bags so small they could barely be seen and couldn't possibly fit any touching-up stuff in and had to carry their reading material (thick 1000 word novels with gold-embossed lettering) in their hands along with their cardigans.

Surely the impracticality of such bags has worn thin. But then again maybe thats the point (I'm trying to think of a point - like, I'm so gorgeous I don't need money, or I wear combat pants with pockets therefore I don't need a bag - haven't quite got it yet as you can see).
Consumer Terrorism

(Stories from the pub). Some residents of Highbury cheesed off [pardon the pun] with the very up-market Fromagerie in Highbury Barn (up market to the point of up-their-own-arseness - they wear smocks behind the counter) decided to take positive action and with a a bit of diversion and slight of hand planted a round box of Dairylea triangles and some Kraft individually wrapped slices of cheddar into their window display on christmas eve, where it remained unnoticed until boxing day and beyond. A mark of success against this most loathed bastion of upper class snobbery.

Monday, 26 July 2004

Dead Air

This kind of stillness is hanging over us. Even though it isn't hot exactly its stifling and close. The air tangible on the skin.

The abrasive call of a magpie reverberates between the houses on a residential street. Its dead quiet and dead still.

When I get home there's a sick pigeon sitting on the windowsill. He's sort of pinky with an ankle cuff on. We look at each other through the glass. Unsure what to make of each other. Eventually I decide to just leave him alone.
Monday's Life Class

Lots and lots and lots of short poses.

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.

Saturday, 24 July 2004

Seagulls Over the Supermarket

On the way out looking up over the roof at a gaggle of seagulls sqwaking urgently overhead against a clear blue sky. It put me in mind a quayside of a seaside town in Cornwall when the fishing boats come in. Frantic diving and an urgency of these solid white birds. I imagined the boats bobbing on their moorings, a mixture of pleasure boats all white and sparking and working fishing vessels dark and weathered, men with broad accents and wind-whipped red faces, the cool unphaseable gazes of men who work with the elements. Sunshine glinting off the sea, big nets, lobster pots and ladies in flowery aprons. And when I looked back down I was still in the sainsbury's carpark with four bags of shopping to lug back home.

Thursday, 22 July 2004

Searching for Answers

People search for things in Google and come here hoping to find the answers. I'm sure they click in and click out again swiftly. These writings are inspired by the searches that led people here (the title is the search term).

Black Umbrella Gentlemen Walking
Swing the umbrella out with the forward stride, slight back-whip of the wrist, snapping the tip down onto the pavement with a click, body moves forward past the upright brolly and swing... (repeat, all the way to the bank).

I walk over London Bridge from the station with all the other city rats. Resonating clickety-click of umbrella tips and leather soled shoes. I come from Deptford. Lucky to have a job in a bank really. But one day I’m going to kill my boss. I’ve worked hard to get where I got and he won’t let me forget where I came from for one minute. Yeah I may share a council flat with me old man just off church street but there isn’t a bank manager working today who deserves more than me. The work is boring but I can do it and I get a regular wage for it. Can’t say I haven’t given considerable thought to breaking the bank but I’m not quite ready, yet.

Girl Wrigley
Bubblegum beauty slides down the shorefront paving in disco rollerboots and hotpants. Hitting the sundecks hard has brought up a Miami beach-bunny tan. Blond hair, part sun- part bottle-blond. Rolling past the palm trees and the sand, chewing gum and singing Britney songs in her head. Tomorrow’s pressures put off by today’s carefree wind-in-the-hair freedom. And then she blows the most enormous bubble that bursts sticking all over her face and trapping the tips of her hair.

Toulouse Lautrec Brothel Life
I’ve grown fat and lazy since being here. My lace is fading and my velvet going bald. I was a young woman when I arrived, shock of red hair, loud laugh and back-street brash. Popular with the well-to-do gents, who seemed to love my pale skin and those freckles across my nose, I did very well for myself in the early days. Oh they bought me things - chocolate from Belgium, flowers from Holland and clothes - dresses with pink net petty coats, lingerie that held my stomach in and pushed my tits up.

I came to Paris to dance in the theatres but there was stiff competition from the sophisticated girls trained in ballet. I sought solice in the bottom of a wine glass in a bar near Montmatre, where I met Madame. She took me in, taught me the trade and showed me how easy it was to live like a queen on the gifts they brought me. They dressed me up to take me out, fed me fat and then I lay back and let them have their way with me.

As my looks faded I took a specialism. I bought a riding crop from a saddlemaker on the outskirts of town and dressed in pantaloons with a tightly drawn corset and laced up boots. And I gave them a jolly good spanking, and how they loved it, they came back again and again.

But I'm tired now, the younger girls are sparky and bright showered with the guady baubles and flashy dresses that they buy for them. I sit here in the corner with my greying skin and liverspotted hands and can't even be bothered to disguise myself with rouge. I haven't had a gift in an age. I have regulars, they like me because I'll still do what their wives won't and I'll still do it more often. Just enough so that Madame won't toss me out onto the street. Just enough.
From Wells Terrace to Seven Sisters and Home

There's a tunnel that joins the entrances of the tube station, one section goes from Wells Terrace to Seven Sisters Road. Walking against the flow of traffic who are all coming up on the left-hand side of the barrier (keep left keep left printed everywhere) people pass me in flashes sort of like street lights passing overhead on the motorway. Glimpses of things pass the periphery of the eye, no full pictures.

Loud wharhol-esq Che Guevara shirt, old lady with dyed black hair, her husband behind her thick brown glasses glazed grin, platform flip flops talking to herself, pink hair and tights to match, trousers belted too high, coat with daisy buttons.

At the middle point there's a three way junction, aiming to go straight, having to dodge the people coming from the right passing over my path and moving to the left, steady stream. Man in a ticket box not collecting any tickets. Tunnel is lined with tiles that have been recently painted.

Weird blast of cooler air as pass out the other end.

Black boys, all dressed in all black, sitting in a parked black car. Blond dreadlocks sitting on top of a dustbin leaning against a lamppost. Purple and black braided hair, purple and black stripey tights.

The heat is heavy, I'm glad to get home and take off my shoes and dump my work bags.

Sitting here I can see a white swan and a grey signet on the canal.

Wednesday, 21 July 2004

The Surrender

Looking out of the office window I noticed that someone had hung a white sheet on a stick out the window of one of the houses. It was blowing gently between the satellite dish and the biggest shrub in the garden like a white flag of surrender. I wondered if the kid in the vest and pants who is always pressing himself up against the narrow slatted window had learned a sign.

Tuesday, 20 July 2004

Monday's Life Class

Only four poses this evening, drawing with the overhead lights off and three spotlights trained on the model. All about shadow. A 20 minute pose followed by two 15 minutes and a long 40 minutes after break.

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.

Monday, 19 July 2004

An Eye into the World of Child Centred Living

Its a marvelous day, the sun is up, the sky is blue (despite weather girl warnings of pending rain) and I'm sitting in the office waiting for my 9.30 meeting.

I've spent the last week playing with my neice aged one and three quarters after work - endless rounds of repetative games of walking up and down the garden stopping to pull flowers off shrubs and to play the wind chime (its loud but it isn't pretty), bubble blowing until my mouth is sore and my hands are sticky, bathing games of moving water from one container to another and story reading (I now have intimate knowledge of peepo, the hungry catapillar and Mr Greedy).

My sister and I went for a brief trip to the West End, childless, to scout for that truck of the perambulator world the double buggy (she's expecting a second in September so for a couple of months she'll have a couple of under 2 year olds to contend with). Massive pavement filling contraptions which mostly don't fold down (where are you going to store it at home, how will it get in the car?). And those posh range-rover style four wheel drive versions with three huge wheels and bullbar-esque frames that are popular in Crouch End also have a two seater cousin.

Remarkable to be shopping for those things that are the bain of the childless' lives - nothing worse than to be confronted by a gang of buggy weilding mums bombing down the road to get to Starbucks for their coffee morning. And interesting how by being at work and going out after dark you manage to almost entirely avoid that side of life infrequently glimpsed on trips to Crouch End during working hours where everyone is either retired or pregnant or with buggy.

There's a whole other world out there.

Tuesday, 13 July 2004

The Most Revolting Man in the World

A whale of a man dragged himself huffing and puffing onto the bus, searched in his pocket for his bus pass leaning heavily on the bus driver's coin shelf, on pulling it out dropped his lighter on the floor.
"Know what I mean?" he growled to the driver by way of telling him off for jerking the bus and causing it to happen. He waited until the bus was stationary before bending over to pick it up. He leaned down with great difficulty holding on to the rail for support stretching a fat hand down to pick it up.

When the lighter was finally back in his pocket he turned to find a seat, he had a half smoked cigarette lodged in the gap where a missing inciscor should have been. And then his enormous grey liverspotted belly revealed itself from between the flappy sides of his open shirt. The most revolting specimen of man the world has ever seen. Blinded by the sight I tried hard not to stare and fixed my gaze on something out of the window. He slumped into a seat opposite a man with some shopping bags.
"You gowin shoppin?" His booming 60s gangster voice addressed the man. The man ignored him. "SHOPPIN?" He said again waving his own green plastic carrier in the man's face.
"Yes, shopping", the man finally replied.
"20 years"
"You ain't doing very well with the old english are ya?"
Before it got any worse I was glad we pulled into Finsbury Park and I could alight. One glance back through the bus window left me with the vision of him slumped in his chair, his shirt hanging away from his massive round belly, huge sloppy pecs sliding down either side, a vile grimace on his face.

I breathed deeply, having only just realised that the stale ashy smell that had caused my nose to close up and my breathing to become shallow was eminating from him, relieved to be released from what could have turned into bus hell.

Monday, 12 July 2004

Monday's Life Class

It was a testing class what with the bad ankle and standing for two hours. Did plenty of drawings though - we got right down to the very short 30 second poses again. Tall amazonian redhead.

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.
3 Pals And the Beautiful Woman

The girlfriend was picking up her boyfriend and his mate. They had just arrived from somewhere and she was taking them home on the bus.

They got on and sat in an arrangement where she sat next to the friend and the boyfriend sat across the isle from her next to someone else. They chatted in spanish across the seats.

When the boyfriend's seat companion got off he patted the empty seat next to him to encourage his girlfriend to join him, which she did. The two men exchanged some kind of jokes, "whats wrong with sitting by me?", "She's my girl", to "I'm lonely and cold now". And at that exact moment a tall thin bronzed beautiful brunette slipped into the seat beside him. The girlfriend shot him a look behind her that say, "there you are!". Laughs all round.

His new companion looked great but from my vantage point I could see the grey roots of her dyed hair.
New Week

Having found some excellent adhesive sports strapping am returning to work before I'm overcome with an inability to function outside the confines of my house.

My dad once talked about having some kind of injury which kept him in hospital for a considerable length of time, finding as time went on that the thought of leaving those safe and nurturing surroundings became frightening to the point that it was slowing recovery and therefore elongating the stay. This is not that kind of injury but the longer I was off the nicer my bed and duvet and the view of the garden through the huge kitchen window were becoming, and not going out meant I wasn't spending any money which is very exciting for a horder like me (watching the unspent pounds mount up over the days) and the creeping boredom (unnoticable but gradually apparent) hadn't yet got the better of me, with a few sympathy texts each couple of days I felt thought of and had the ability to bask in the joy of ailment discussion (old age creeping up).

THEREFORE, we start the week with a return to work, the wearing of full dress including closed-toed shoes and tights with the aim to rediscover the working mind.

Friday, 9 July 2004

Living Life Through Others

HS txted me to say she had been for a drink at London Bridge and had walked over the water at dusk. Its a beautiful view - the Thames at night. Long reflections of lights and lit buildings stretch out over the swelling water, banks edged by frilly architecture or buildings glowing pink or blue or stark white. Love the strings of bulbs hanging from those tres fancy street lights with fish curling round the bases that I think are old enough to be in pictures from the wartime of couples canoodling on the riverbanks. City riversides are often romantic, paticularly when they are pedestrian and therefore discrete and secluded with dancing light and the sound of water.

A Pint and a Path Walking the Thames
The River Thames Guide
Bronze Age on the River Thames
History of the Southbank - the dates
From the Depths of the Bed

So snippets of the week that was just because I haven't been doing anything:
  • ER's - old ones (we still have Benton, Sally Field as Abbey's mother having bi-polar episodes, Abbey and Lukar, Dr Green hasn't died - reincarnations are great).
  • Third Watch season 3 (ambulance crews, fire crews AND Police - a veritable fest of uniforms and hunky heros and heroines to choose from - they all live in dark brown New York apartments, marriage jealousy, babies dumped on unsuspecting fathers, partner problems - for the cops, Russian criminal gangs, shot police officers - its all very exciting, really).
  • Richard and Judy (the over-advertised interview with Bill Clinton is on Monday when I hope to be back at work) (she is morphing into an owl - you can tell by the rings around her eyes - they go all the way round not just under).
  • Big Brother - theres been fun and laughter, bitching and irritation. The Bunny Boiler has been remarkably quiet until yesterday - determined to get her own way she behaves like the older woman feels she should - being in control and demanding only to find that the apple of her eye sometimes behaves stubbonly re-exerting his own will - causing her to go into a sulk. The spanking episode following a mammoth session of truth or dare that turned into kiss or dare resulting in lots of nudity and licking jam off bossoms. The silence. The burning hat. (I gotta get back to work).
  • And the rain, I think I could draw the outline of the tree outside blindfolded, watching the wind and the rain and the lightning and thunder. Talking to people a mile away who have downpours when I don't and then getting it later. When I went into work earlier in the week to get some work to do from bed someone said "global warming is here". It could be. The news said there were tunnel? or funnel? clouds over England (beginnings of twisters), floods and the worst summer storms.

Normal service will be resuming shortly (I'm willing it better - theres so much to do - I want to see Fahrenheit 9/11, Girl with a Pearl Earring showing at the Prince Charles on Sun, Tues or Weds, Shrek 2, Sounds in Space at the V&A and the Edward Hopper at the Tate Modern). I'm so bored...

Tuesday, 6 July 2004

Stages of a Trip

Tripping is most common when inebriated, however it can also occur at other times for a variety of reasons such as wearing a new pair of shoes (particularly ones with a particularly different shape to your normal ones - like having very pointy toes), council neglect of pavements paved with slabs (you can get money from them for this if the offending paving stone is over a particular height out of line), or taking a dark route when having just stepped out of a brightly lit pub. My own trip followed the last example here - and no I had not been drinking, honestly.

  1. Unassuming walk under some trees on the way home after dark. Not drunk (really, its true).
  2. Darkness led to inability to see two branches, therefore stepped on the first and slid one way, in recovery stepped on the other and slid the other way. Way scary. Fell onto side on the grass.
  3. Lying on the grass dealing with pain stabbing through the ankle. Rolling around in agony. Concerned friends.
  4. Finally laughter. Following acute embarrassment. Falling over is always embarrassing - we are not 'old people' after all. And we rarely manage to make it as graceful as Naomi Campbell in those shoes. Its all agony, spewn out bag contents (lipstick, condoms, tampons, change rolling, eyelash curlers - any combination as befits the bag owner), knickers flashed and torn tights. And then being snappy with caring passers by because actually you'd rather the ground swallow you up rather than actually gratefully receive some help (we're nuts really - its only the embarrassment talking).
  5. Some discussion around likely injury - twisted or broken. Wish I could remember the actual level of pain a broken leg was (did do that when I was 11) because I'm certain that it must be worse than a severe twist but really its hard to compare after all these years. Twist is the final prognosis.
  6. Getting up, getting on the bus for one stop, changing buses - all fine. The final walk up the hill to home takes longer than usual but not too bad. Pain sets in. Hobbling.
  7. Preparation for the night - ice pack, wrapped in towels, painkillers, ankle raised on cushions over the level of the heart when horizontal. Ice so cold that it hurts.
  8. On waking put a stretch bandage on. Spend day with foot up in bed watching Sunday's crap TV - including Pop World, Hollyoaks, Big Brother repeats (sad sad), some of East Enders (as much as can stomach), tennis, followed by football, Big Brother: the psychology episode. Square eyes.
  9. Bandage taken off for the night. In the morning a lovely purple and yellow florid bruise appears.
  10. Take as much time off as is fitting for the injury. So far by third day (second day off work) its still painful to walk on and hobbling is the only option. Probably go back tomorrow and hopefully the days with raised ankle and mind-numbing daytime tv will help a swifter recovery (although have discovered again, that they have ER repeats and a great programme called Third Watch, after that it all goes down the pan with antique sales, house make-overs and tidying up programmes - I've not only got square eyes but a headache).
  11. The crap on TV makes it a joy to go back to work. And there will be sympathy due to the pathetic hobbling, at least for a day or so.

Saturday, 3 July 2004

Trapped in the Cubicle By Two Girls Gasing

I was in there when they came in and there just wasn't a moment when I felt like it would be ok to make an exit (wouldn't want to be accused of earwig-ing after all...I know I know, its what I do best).
"Oh I'm really pissed off - he's making me so grumpy"
"Don't feel grumpy"
"I can't help it, he's really pissing me off"
"Oh come on, I'm the fat one. Wouldn't you rather be the grumpy one than the fat one?"
"Don't be silly"
"Its true"
"FUCK off!!"
"Do I look ok?"
"Your hair is beautiful like that. Oh I can't believe he's making me grumpy. I think I'm gonna stay in here for a bit"
"So what can we do to stop you being grumpy?"
"We're probably missing out on a round by now"
"We better not be"
"Hey what have you got in there? Anything new? Did you get that new lipstick yet?"
"Nah, but try this"
"How do I look?"
"Great. We can go y'know, if you want to."
"Nah, its ok, I don't want to spoil your night"
"You wouldn't, honest."
"Nah really."
"Come on then, lets get back"

Trouble Shooting

Bails has recently been put onto the Duty Principle rota requiring her to deal iwth the kind of trouble only an FE college can throw up. All the Fs - Fire, Fucking, Fighting and Flashing.

An example of a recent incident involved two boys (actually young men) pulling their trousers down in front of some fashion students. Pants stayed up but it merited the police being called because one had a very visible erection.

When I worked there the mens toilet on the second floor was shut for a year because two people had been found having sex in there and the layout was such that it was ideal for peeping toms and toilet festishists to sneak into the ladies unseen and get their cheap thrills.

Last week a spanking crop was discovered in the mens and apparently it wasn't the first time such an item had been found.

Hotbed of hormones raging in a controlled environment.

Friday, 2 July 2004

I Am A Passenger

I got on. Chose a seat, went over and sat in it. It was central on the middle seat section. Became aware of the fact that on 3 'corner' seats (those on each end of the row of seats) were elderly gentlemen: one with a tartan shopping trolley and a huge belly; one with one of those hats on with under-chin fasteners that were hanging down floppy around his ears and checked socks with his sandals; and a third with a suit on. And they were all staring at me. So I buried myself in my notebook and tried to ignore them. At the following station a man got on and sat next to me. Middle aged. Very hairy hands. Fraying shirt cuffs and a digital calculator watch. Haven't seen one of those since I was in junior school in the 70s. They were the bees knees then.