Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Evening Sun

Bus stop. Waiting at London Bridge. Stop C. Facing the dipping evening sun. Sunshine warming pale face, and neck where my jacket hangs open. Close my eyes and let the warmth heat my eyelides. Bright orange inside. Imagine a hillside, rolling into fields. Grass wafting in a breeze. Trees rustling. A beach. Water lapping at the edges. A woman brushes roughly past me. Blue spots appear when I open my eyes again. Hum of bus engines. Throng of people crowd towards the opening bus doors.

One woman in a crowd walks down the street with an umbrella. The sun is shining on the tops of the buildings. Its a few minutes before the spots of rain appear on the pavement.

Thursday, 25 May 2006

Boris and Me

So I was off to a meeting at Portcullis House, House of Commons. Mr Boris Johnson MP had requested the pleasure of my company. Bails said, "Ah the buffoon, I wonder if you're his sort..."

I approached the entrance with some trepidation wondering whether I'd be searched (likely) and worrying about the possibility of being Boris' sort. Snippet of a scene played through my head, me being chased round a huge table in a tiled hallway by a Benny Hillesque Boris. I readjusted my shirt, trying to show less cleavage.

As it turned out Boris was shorter than expected, blonder than expected (to the point of yellowness) but just as disheveled as expected. And not at all badly behaved. In fact very properly serious. Until his speech. Then Boris buffooned. And was very Tory.

Saturday, 20 May 2006

Early Showing

I haven't been to an 11 o'clock showing at the cinema for quite some time. I remember going to the Mickey Mouse Club showings at the Baker Street Odeon regularly when I was little - they were always at 11.00. I got to wear a big badge with Mickey on it and saw all the big hits. I don't remember if I ate chocolate, perhaps it was popcorn only and definitely kiora orange with a straw through a specially designed central hole in the lid. But I digress.

I took the tube. The only people on the tube at 10.25 on a Saturday morning are tourists. People with luggage going to Heathrow who forget not to block the exit with their mound of suitcases. People who don't know where they are going and stop dead the minute they have stepped off the carriage or who stand at the platform exit reading a map and pointing at the signs. People who walk incredibly slowly and spread themselves across the whole width of the tunnel. Finding it hard to slow down from commuter pace I kept tripping over people.

So anyway, I was going to an early showing of Hard Hat - a short film that we funded some trainees to shadow filming making processes on - at the Curzon in Soho. I sat on the periphery of the bar drinking tea by the DVD collection, while some around me had beer. 3 kids came up behind me to survey the films.
"I've seen that", one pointed out.
"No you haven't," one of the others retorts, disbelieving.
"Yes I have."
"What's it about then, Jude?" he asks, quickly covering the box with his arm so Jude can't make something up based on the picture. Jude says nothing for a while.
"I have seen it," he insists.
"Where have you seen it?" the inquisitor demands.
"On a DVD."
"I know you're lying, Jude. Sid! SID! Come 'ere a minute." Sid struts over, maybe 9 years old, short cropped hair, white suit, trainers, silver cross on a chain. "So has Jude seen this film, Sid?"
"Nah," says Sid and saunters back towards the crowd of adults.
"I HAVE seen that film," protests Jude.
"I'm going to ask your Dad."
"But he didn't watch it with me." Jude goes off.

The film was excellent. Funny. Sad. Good narrative. And would you believe it but Sid was in it. No wonder he was strutting around!

So its been almost a month! The cootlings are growing up fast, lost their red heads, still quite fluffy but almost full sized now. They spend much more time away from the nest and the mother doesn't sit on them anymore. I didn't see them all together at the same time today either. Soon to be leaving the nest for good I expect. They've been quite a community uniting force - I've had conversations with neighbours I never knew I had while staring through the gate into the canal. It'll be sad when they move on. I'm secretly hoping she'll sit on another clutch (do ducks have clutches?)

Friday, 19 May 2006

This week I have mostly been....Buying a House

Well, I say buying a house but buying a house isn't quite like that. I've been, I've seen, I've put an offer in, its been accepted, I'm in that limbo land between offer accepted and solicitor's letter and mortgage fully approved (on paper). I don't own anything yet, I've only got a verbal agreement (which personally I didn't even hear - secondhand verbal agreement - doesn't feel terribly concrete). People keep telling me congratulations, which makes me feel a bit like a Britney Spears marriage (went to Las Vegas, got drunk, got hitched, got hung-over, big regrets, got divorced). Ever so slightly precipitous. Still. I've been, I've seen, I've put an offer in and its been accepted. Thats the first step. And I'm not even that afraid, yet.

Friday, 12 May 2006

Friday Night Drive Time

A bendy bus driving past a bus stop swung out slightly to avoid the double decker picking up passengers. The double decker chose that moment to leave the stop. Bendy bus embedded itself in the side of the double decker. Big traffic jam. Buses nose to tail up the entire length of Oxford Street from Oxford Circus to Selfridges. Drivers in the front of the queue have left their buses to go up and investigate/help out/rub their chins.

Eventually we get going again. Hit another traffic jam going towards Kings Cross. Woman dances in her seat - let me see everybody's hands in the air - woman duly obliges, simon says style. Man slightly ahead of her in the neighbouring lane in a 4-wheel drive, wearing a big curb-chain necklace cranes his neck to ogle her. She indicates to get into his lane and slides on past him before he really realises. And someone else follows her. Man slaps the steering wheel in irritation with both hands, and gesticulates his irateness with big gestures. Cement lorry squeezes between the bus and the concrete barricades on the Euston Road.

Inside the bus a floppy-haired blond boy reads his GSCE Music revision guide. The woman next to me falls alseep on my shoulder. The bus is hot.

Walking down St Peter's Street theres a piece of single track road with priority given to downwards traffic. 2 taxis are stopped a 3rd way into the street (their priority) nose to nose with a woman in a sporty silver number who evidently made it two-thirds of the way up before the taxis got there. "Look how far I reached", she's screeching over the windshield (top's down). The front taxi driver looks non-plussed, door hangs open, one leg out, ignoring her, the other one stands on the side of the road. The cars which were waiting patiently to one side behind her decide the best course of action is to drive up behind her. Impasse. As I round a bend some distance away, they are all still stuck there - 2 taxis going one way, 5 other vehicles going the other. Or rather nobody going anywhere. Hot weather - makes people angry.

Thursday, 11 May 2006


For some reason the moon has been extremely bright the last couple of nights, shiny in a dark blue sky.
New Journey

I've never taken the train from Liverpool Street to Tottenham before. Just outside the station is a derelict watch-building on stilts. Bails and I were talking about converting old toilet buildings into houses. Image of living in a small house on stilts up above the railway.

The train passes the back of Bethnal Green very quickly, which for some reason I found surprising. Rooftops and uncared for upper rooms of shops. White church steeples. Back of the Childhood Museum that is having some work done - internal walls exposed, painted green and orange.

A building with outside walkways and stairs all with purple railings. London Fields - home of a very good organic pub in the middle of the park.

Roof gardens and washing. A woman gets on with a bunch of purple stocks. They seem trimmed rather short.

An enormous blue wall, curved, just past Hackney Downs. Flats? Or municipal? Couldn't tell.

From being above, find we are suddenly below ground level at Stoke Newington. Buildings tower above the brick-lined cutting the train station is in. Back to being overground again at Seven Sisters. Two middle-aged fat guards in fluro orange vests slouch in plastic chairs enjoying the sunshine. On the other end of the station a man sits on a bench texting with intent. His feet are arranged neatly on the concrete - wool-socked feet side by side, shoes on either side of them, briefcase to the right.

And like a flash I'm there.

Tuesday, 9 May 2006


Monday, 8 May 2006


I've found myself preoccupied and suddenly realised I haven't posted anything for ages. In the words of the cult film song - time is fleeting, and while madness is not taking its toll or taking control (forgotten what the lyric actually is) the real world has been pressing in on my mind.

So we had the local elections. I vote because I feel its a civic duty, and because it was a hard won right. I watched the first Iraqi elections with admiration for the people who came out determined to cast their vote despite facing grave dangers to do so. But I haven't actually felt the urgency of voting since the days of dying Thatcherism and the fall of the Tory Party who held power for the whole of my youth. Since the labour party won I have found I'm not actually voting for anyone as much as against those I perceive as greater evils. Long gone are the days when ticking the box of a-labour-party-in-opposition felt like a mark against evil money grubbing politics that cared little for its populace. All sides have merged into one big blur, and none of them on the side of centre I prefer. The further we get into soundbite and knee-jerk politics the less I want to actively choose anyone on my ballot paper. I don't feel comfortable with a right of centre labour party, can't vote for the conservatives (ghost of thatcher lives long in the mind), and am not convinced that the lib dems have any particular passions. So voting and the election hooplah falls way short of real excitement. So to the aftermath, braying for Tony to name the day, the prospect of Gordon Brown at the healm leaves me feeling somewhat nauseous.

After that was the last-day-of-the-premiership excitement which really did have me feeling nauseous. I've learned to be a football fan. I've developed my understanding and passion, I say passion and mean it loosely - not to be confused with the obsession of life altering proportions that afflicts the boyfiend (mantra: good girlfriends understand their partners interests). The success for the last game of Highbury historically fitting. The joy only marred by continual speculation about the future of Henry. So the joy passed and nausea has set in again. Will he, won't he, will he, won't he. How any long term fan copes with the level of insecurity is beyond me. I'm contemplating giving up fandom (but have found its a tricky habit to kick).

I've also been looking into buying a house. Overcame the fear and stepped over the threshold of several estate agents. Did decide I didn't really want to be sold a house by a man in a black shirt and white necktie (what image is he trying to portray - out of date out of shape mod or gangsta in the 30's Chicago style). And while they aren't all as bad as the Foxton's programme portrayed the fact that its a sellers market is apparent by some of their distinct lack of interest. Perhaps an estate agents would be a good addition to my portfolio of businesses-which-need-a-new-approach. Buying, selling of houses done by humans not salesmen. Fits with the mobile phone shop not staffed by fast talking mobile phone salesmen (thick ties and matching shirts wearing bluetooth headsets more interested in the sound of their own voice), and electricals departments where women are seen as serious purchasers, even if they can't join in the bamboozling technospeak.

Thursday, 4 May 2006


Its a warm night, warm like a foreign country, people sit outside drinking beer, teeshirts. From the bus I watch a youth come round the corner walking with purpose dribbling a basketball, bouncing it from one palm to the other continuously, then spins the ball on the tip of his finger. Summertime.

A rich woman creeps along the road from Grosvenor Square to Selfridges, sort of like a daddy long legs - not too much pressure on the feet, stepping carefully, unable to sraighten her legs due to the height of her heels. She's wearing a red leather jacket, a permatan and wrinkles.