Tuesday, 31 May 2005

Celebs in the Street

Coming out of class sauntering along by Russell Square in the evening light electrified against a dark grey sky I passed Ricky Gervais and pal. Somewhat thinner, without beard and much trendier than on TV. I pretended not to notice (its the Londoner way, y'know).

Sitting on the bus watching a beautiful asian girl with a very large nose and a middle aged middle class couple (he wore blue blazer with gold buttons, she had a laura ashley collar and sweater - quite out dated really) struggle with their luggage from Euston to Angel. A woman got off at Angel who had sat on chewing gum and it stretched from the seat across two poles, round to the door before it broke - imagine if you'd managed to do that at breaktime - would've been the talk of the playground (it wasn't even 3 wads of bubblicious which was always more stretchy).

Saturday, 28 May 2005


I took the opportunity to lie in the garden this afternoon. A great treat for a city dwelling office worker. Joy of feeling the firmness of the earth against your back including the lumps and ridges of our less than perfect lawn. The sky was active today, white clouds moving across the blue, the edges like fractals swelling and thickening as they moved past. An ant carried a dead colleague across my paper, only to drop him and he was caught by the wind an whisked off, much to the distress of his transporter. Tits, sparrows and greenfinches got reaquainted with the feeders which I discovered were being emptied at an alarming rate not by them but by the gymnastic dexterity of our squirrel neighbours (so I moved them all around to put them off for a day or so). Our student neighbours on one side were chatting and laughing in their kitchen, and occassionally the boy who likes to sing burst into song (he's got one of those deep resonant male voices - good for song and carries well). On the other side our gardening neighbour was at work tying cutting rolling. And far away a bass thrum from some loudly played music, probably a Finsbury Park event.

I miss time. Summer holidays that were mrerely 6 weeks long seemed like an eternity. Mind filled with inquiry stuff, finding out about the world. Trips to visit the grandparents - two weeks of nothing but running around, playing in the creek, swimming in the sea, walking acros the heather. No plans. No arrangements. No diary. Nothing but enjoying the world around you.

Friday, 27 May 2005

The White Shirt

The man in the crisp white shirt transfers four perfect black finger prints to his upper arm sleeve from the crevice his fingers nestled into when he leaned his forearm against the doors trying to acclimatise to the tube carriage, which was more sauna than comfortable travelling compartment.

Thursday, 26 May 2005

River Crossing

The air is thick. Expectant. Sky a heavy grey. Stifling being underneath it. Crossing the Thames, the water is choppy. Pleasure boats, tugs and barges are tied together in a central mooring between Blackfriars and Waterloo bridges.

An orange dingy powers its way across the river, bouncing off the oncoming waves, at times making no contact with the water at all - flying in fact. Lone man drives the boat with fury. Reminds me of that James Bond film where he bursts through the MI6 building in a boat.

When he gets to the other side I fully expect him to jump out and run after the bad guy, who he will recognize by his pale linen suit and bad mustache and the fact that he's carrying a briefcase that is handcuffed to his wrist. The briefcase will tick with an activated bomb inside. Our man will get there just in time to have a bare knuckle fight with the bad guy and difuse the bomb.

Sadly I think he's just the river police and not an international man of mystery.

Tuesday, 24 May 2005

The Huddle

A huddle of people are crouched down by a link chain fence. White dots surround them. A toddler wanders off unattended. Surreal scene as we approach.

As we pass by I see 3 people attending an injured dog that is laid flat out on the grass. Dabbing at him with cotton wool.

And then we are gone. Left to ponder the details.

Monday, 23 May 2005

Shakespeare's Globe

Invited to a meeting in the Globe Balcony rooms I was disappointed to discover we weren't in the actual theatre but in a buildng to the side. Did have lovely views though, and I interested myself with the evening shadows and a glass of wine whilst waiting for the meeting, longing to be somewhere else.

Saturday, 21 May 2005

Right Royal Eurovision Roundup

Coming late to all things pop - being as I wasn't allowed to stay up after 7.30 until I was easily 9, and certainly wasn't allowed to watch low-brow shows with lewd dancing like Top of the Pops (70s era - Legs and co and Hot Gossip, never mind the ear-splitting music) - it really isn't a surprise that there is no long family history of Eurovision watching. Lately, however, in keeping with other people's family histories I have caught the whole shebang a couple of times.

The thing that always gets me about this song contest is how little the music really matters, and that actually thats a good thing because it is generally absolutely abominable. This year was no exception. It seems a Eurovision song needs one verse (preferably sung in broken English) and a chorus which can be repeated several times in every increasing crescendo. Very now was kettle drumming, often multiple drummers in unison, and if not kettle drums other drums. Female catawahling was making a big comeback. As were girls who would prefer to be glamour models.

I am leaving it to other more musically inclined people to provide a detailed analysis of the music. I am listing instead, anything that struck me about each performance:
  1. Hungary - all about the one short trouserleg. Sung rather flat.
  2. UK - Javine, a Beyonce-alike who probably would have benefited from having another boob falling out incident as in the semis.
  3. Malta - all about the big red lace dress.
  4. Romania - silicone tits, Stompified act (dustbin lid drumming), an inability to dance due to the uncomfortably high heels. Sang loudly (presumably to overcome the tuning problem).
  5. Norway - Oh my god! The Grandson of Kiss, black lipstick and silver catsuit.
  6. Turkey - gold eye shadow and makrame hanging from the sleeves of her blouse and a song with a weird sound like a pirate radio station is sharing the airwave.
  7. Moldova - a little bit chumbawumba - really should have been left back on the beach where they were discovered.
  8. Albania - barbie in white with red frills.
  9. Cyprus - one for the boys - tight white teeshirt, much groin groping and grinding.
  10. Spain - spanish skirt twitching, great backing vocals by some dancing singers who looked like tame Pogues members.
  11. Israel - boring slow song by another silicone beauty - huge trained frock with no back.
  12. Serbia & Montenegro - boy band, almost sung in the round. More crazy drummers. All a bit over-excited.
  13. Denmark - song that took us away from the high volume wailing and heavy drumming. Bit more relaxed. Bit more like a normal song.
  14. Sweden - psychotic smile, bit swing, bit soft rock, bit west end musical. Girls in Elvis suits.
  15. FYR Macedonia - back to the drums and a chap with very poor posture (wierd stoop - could be that the pink jacket was too much to live up to) and the dancers were like hookers from a cheap bar - straight off the pole.
  16. Ukraine - Ukraine's answer to Eminem. Chant for freedom.
  17. Germany - in the rock chic vein - big power, thrashing guitars, and absolutely crap lyrics.
  18. Croatia - intense dracula a-like flanked by some lovely peasant virgins.
  19. Greece - the favourite - dancing men and rhyming couplets.
  20. Russia - singing was rather flat. Good use of the vocal echo though.
  21. Bosnia & Herzegovina - Abba tribute by 3 blond glamour pusses, Bails said they sounded a bit Diana Ross. Shoulder shaking in time with the drum rolls.
  22. Switzerland - bad girl rock.
  23. Latvia - boys ballading on stools with guitars. Clean cut boys. Bails' pick - she said they were singing a nice mellow song, getting away from all the screaching.
  24. France - wearing canary yellow and strutting at a pace too fast for the song.

After the round up reminder we were keen on the witch ladies from Spain and the souly-pop from Denmark. However we were thinking it was going to be between Israel and Greece (right kind of women, y'see).

And the voting confirmed it - Greece won. But it really is much less about the music than who you share borders with or want to remain political friends with. Therefore bottom of the table were Germany, France and UK. We'll never win again! We are marginalised in Europe!

Friday, 20 May 2005

I'm Addicted

Ever since I noticed that a craze was happening (thanks to DG) I have harboured a secret growing addiction to Sudoku. Today I discovered that the Guardian's version gets harder and harder as the week goes on - today was labelled No: 011 Difficult.

This suprises me for a number of reasons, mostly because I never think of myself as a maths person or a number lover of any kind (I blame school and the fact that it too 3 attempts to get a C at O level despite the fact that everyone always thought I knew the stuff off pat in class). I was scarred (school is good for that). Anyway, I think its because I like pattern and its a lot about seeing the whole at the same time as the parts, if you know what I mean.

Tuesday, 17 May 2005

London Bridge to Russell Square

Happened to be sitting next to where Dave was standing on the underground, had a quick conversation about the family, growing baby and finding routine (always a pleasant suprise to bump into fellow bloggers in the flesh). Shared a carriage with a man in orange with his headphones threaded through the flesh tunnels in his ears. Was concerned about a foreign girl who stuck her hand between closing tube doors in an attempt to make the train. Someone in the lift needed a bath really badly. Got smiled at manically by a man wearing a rosette on his lapel which I was staring at (couldn't decide if it was me that was being odd or him - depends on who was staring the worst, I expect). Internally smiled at a tourist obeying the red man despite it clearly being safe to cross, looking quizzical at the rest of us crossing towards her. Wafted by someone else who needed a bath and smelled like an ashtray. Managed to get to class on time. Phew (always a dash from Peckham to here).

Friday, 13 May 2005

Celebrity Love Island

David Beckham sits on a fake desert island, shading himself under a fake palm tree, reading the paper. Victoria is wearing big Jackie O sunglasses and suppresses her yawns. A woman in a lairy teeshirt shoves a half-pack of love hearts at me with an ad for the next round of celebrity reality tv. Do we really need it? Its Friday morning, its London Bridge Station. And the Victoria-a-like isn't even that good (David, on the other hand, is remarkable, although he doesn't appear to be able to dribble a ball, even though it is a papier mache coconut).
Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday dear Elsie!
Happy birthday to me!

3 cheers for everyone born on the 13th (and yes we're aware that its Friday the 13th and that freaks you'all out but we are very clearly not having bad luck today.

Thursday, 12 May 2005


On my way home this evening, strolling up my street, passed by a little oik sitting on a wall showing off to his little brothers (he must have been about 11, they were younger) and he called over to me, "hey I like your red hair" and as I turned about to smile he said, "it would look good round my dick". And I was shocked into silence, failed find a good retort, or even wiggle my pinkie finger accusingly. (Hate that thing when you are stuck for words!). Pah, the yoof, don't know what they're coming to.

Wednesday, 11 May 2005


I'm out to meet a man about a dog. Well not really. I was out to meet a man about two drawings. Or rather he was out to meet me about the drawings, being as they were in my possession, as it were. Meet you at monument. My favourite long-columned statue, well monument, it can't really be called a statue since there isn't a person on top of it, but the golden flames are a fine, nay great, substitute. Only briefly had that fear that what you think of as monument others may think of as the station, front of which might be the entrance you can't see. The exchange went smoothly - one brown roll for a white envelope. And the deal was oiled with liquor, and the measure of which make me somewhat tipsy (blame it on my shockingly bad tolerance). He told us a story about Scunthorpe Council who installed a firewall and banned all swear words and found they couldn't send each other email anymore.

Tuesday, 10 May 2005


the moon
a sliver
in a pale blue sky
light fades
through dusk
to night
Visitor Explosion

Some weird shit was happening last week - a massive explosion of visitors referred from particular pages - they came up as lists of links and read sort of like the chapters of a book. Turns out they are religious. I found one which was claiming that London was a place of ghetto filth and poverty, with no speciality architecture and that those of us living here and reveling in the squalour of the city were children and grandchildren of the Ghetto.

Honestly, I love it. So there.

Thursday, 5 May 2005

Birthday Meal

It was Bails' birthday on the 3rd, we were too busy to meet until this evening. We stopped by the Hoxton Apprentice for a leisurely meal and a couple of cocktails, sitting outside in the evening sunshine. Loverly. Much excitement when we arrived becuase Bez had arrived just before us and despite the fact that everyone was Hoxton trendy they couldn't help but exude that kind of excitement reserved for celebrity spotting (most uncool, honestly, celebrities really are two a penny in London, pah!)

Love sitting in this serenity watching the people in the hubbub of the bar across the street, all crammed into an open space fenced in by Grolsch netting. One outside section was being cleared to make way for the entrance to a subterranean bar which was hosting a press launch of something and a private party. A group of young men arrived all dressed to the nines with those sort of messed-up, could-be-70s, could-be-the-evolution-of-the-hoxton-fin haircuts, all the trendy men's styles were here both hair and clothes. I reckoned a band. Bails said, "but if that's true where are the instruments?". I said, "they brought those earlier, did the soundcheck and then went home to get dolled up, doh!" She really had to agree.

Meanwhile a group of young people came and sat down for a bottle of wine - 2 girls 2 boys. On returning from the loo one excitedly exclaimed that Bez, yeah Bez was inside. What inside here? Yes. Really? Yes. When did you see him? When I went to the loo (obviously these weren't the brightest young things in the matchbox). The conversation quickly went on to something else. Everyone excitedly talking about travel, work, places in loud voices. One boy started on about playing poker. And like when you hit on anybody's obsessively favourite topic managed to drone on about flushes, straights, betting, getting a hand, to the point that he could have been a stamp collector.

Labour party campaigners from the polling station up the street passed by wearing plenty of stickers and rossettes.

Bez and his stick-thin girlfriend left the restuarant and the group of four stood up to crane over the railings to check out where he went (literally next door it transpired, "Oh Bez lives there! I was going to live in that block," Mr Poker exclaimed).

Whilst we watched the queue for the private press launch party grow, kept under control by a bouncer with bigger sunglasses than any of the must-be-cool guests and a tequila girl (cowboy hat, pinstripe jacket with screenprinted logos), the young people started one of those conversations that begins, "Oh we're getting too old for that kind of mid-week partying". It transpires they ranged in age from the ancient 21 to 24.

Labour party campaigners walked back to the polling station. Presumably been on a knock around.

And then Bez came back out with stick-insect girlfriend and stick-insect friend to join the queue. Cue more gushing and trying-not-to-stare staring.

We left in order to get back to our beds, certain that it must be way past our bedtimes (being 35 and everything - well I am almost, Bails is already, cos like she's older than me!)

Wednesday, 4 May 2005


I managed to give a not very good account of myself today in a bid to get a job. Not holding out much hope. I'm feeling like I'm a jack of all trades and a master of nothing. Been questioning what exactly it is that I would like to do now. Maybe set up a business making coats (rather season work I would imagine), or run a bar which would cater exactly for my idea night out (absoutely no experience of that). Or maybe I could grow plants for a living and spend my days looking out the window. Always a bit of a downer when these things don't go as well as you'd like.

Sunday, 1 May 2005

View from the Tate

One day last week I went to a meeting in the Tate Modern - arriving at 8.50 had to stroll along the Thames for a short while and waste some time looking at the view. The meeting was on the sixth floor in a room with a great view of St Pauls - a view that is largely obscured at street level.