Friday, 22 May 2009


I've just started reading Louis de Bernieres' A Partisan's Daughter. There is a lot about London in the 70s - Archway in particular. "It was winter, not that you'd ever know what season it was in Archway, because in Archway it's always late November on a good day, and early February on a bad one." Its still like that - always windy, a bit miserable (not as miserable as it would have been in the 70s - it would have been worse then - grey, drab and probably messy).

I was a kid then. There was an advert on tv with 3 young people walking along a wide york stone pavement beside the cream columnaded houses around Regent's Park to a soundtrack of old fashioned millionaire. The boy gave one of the girls a piggy-back. It was everything that being a young adult was going to be (in my childish mind). And there were the multicoloured hair men (before punk made that more normal) - extraordinary and exciting. We were allowed to swim in puddles that formed in the playground of the nursery school (something that health and safety executives would never allow now). Covent Garden was full of sunken gardens made in the voids left by demolished buildings that could be overseen through spy holes in the hordings. Years later Mum told me they were full of hippies smoking grass, but that wasn't something I noticed at all as a child. It was just the secret, hidden, mysterious spaces - not perfect, not commercially produced. Openings in the dense city. I miss the curiousity of childhood, the potential and the optimism.

I hate the fact that the world is smaller than it used to seem, that the news is so overwhelmingly bad, that our politicians are corrupt and that working is such a drain on our time. Now that I've finished The Partisan's Daughter [this blog post has taken me over a week to complete] I think that's how the adult non-alternative life is portrayed. I hate that my life has turned out like that. I was supposed to be an artist. With an alternative lifestyle. I admire women who lead their own lives, uncompromisingly. And those who wear their passions on their sleeves - emotional, experiencing life in its fullest. I'm just not sure that early 21st century life allows for that kind of throw-caution-to-the-wind living (with all its doom and gloom economy & climate, politics and killing).

So this year I think I want to continue building the creative back into my life. I'm keen to do a jewellery course and I'd like to learn basket weaving. Perhaps I'll do some more regular blogging...

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Morning rush

A man's mouth contorts. Jeans, K Swiss, a cap, reading a magazine. He takes he glasses off and rubs his eyes. Tired? Migrane? He holds the visor of his cap down low and wipes a tear from his right eye. Crying? He sits head down for a moment or two. Then he puts his glasses back on. Heartbroken? Bereaved?

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Underground Overground Googling Free

Google street view - some love it some hate it. I like the fact I can see my sister getting into her car outside her house - its so ordinary and yet somehow feels like being in touch. Maybe over time as the image gets old it'll stop feeling like that. I've also been round to all my relatives houses all round the world to check them out.

I was emailed a link to something much more interesting done with street view. The overground route of the Northern Line Charing Cross branch. There's something demanding about the arrows on the street that have to be followed. I think of London like this - sort of a huge mound - from suburbs to suburbs through an increasingly chaotic and built up centre. This is a visual representation of the journeys I sometimes write about. The work of Ian Buchan. Take a look. The Overground Underground Northern Line.

Saturday, 2 May 2009


The stinking alcoholic leaned heavily on his woman, talking over her shoulder to anyone listening - about how they'd been together for 14 years. Love of my life, fantastic she is. She was dark brown with filth. Eyes staring listlessly out the window. His voice was coarse, heavy with drinking and smoking. She was silent.

Turning left onto Upper Street her eyes passed over an advert on the side of a bus going the other way. £54 to Corfu. Wouldn't it be nice to get away? Yeah, he said, it would be great to get away from this shit hole.