Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Cycling in the wind

At the end of a warm June day cyclists criss cross the intersection where I'm sitting. The wind is blowing up the sleeves of my jacket and chilling my armpits. It's supposed to be cooler tomorrow. With showers.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Yoko Ono Private View, Serpentine Gallery

I've gotten here too early - I'm a guest at the regular old Private View for the plebs and there is still half an hour of the Special Private View (for the Special People) before I can go in. I've persuaded the lady with the list to let me into the compound to sit and get a drink. (Don't want too much mingling of the plebs and the VIPs). I'm trying to see whether I recognise any of the special people, but at the moment I'm not sure that they aren't all plebs waiting for our time... Maybe I should get nearer. They've just relaid the lawn and there are stewards on every corner trying to keep the crowd from spilling onto the grass.

There are rich Knightsbridge people here - you can tell by the clothes and the shoes and the mwah mwahing on air cheeks. There are some fabric designers sitting next to me talking about clients, contracts and designs.

The Work

A film, in real time, of Yoko's eye staring you out. She doesn't blink for a really long time. Finally she closes her eye, slowly. It looks painful to do it. Then it opens again and starts staring once more.

Two films showing opposite each other. Both called cut piece, one from 1965, the other from 2003. The audience is invited to cut the clothes off Yoko. She is still and deadpan. People snip small bits of fabric off. Until someone goes for it and cuts something big off (in 1965 it's her slip which reveals her brassier, in 2003 it's her skirt which leaves her sitting in bra and pants). These things happen quite far into both films and by that time I was outraged by someone coming up and exposing her so suddenly. Somehow the 60s version felt more exploitative.

Fly on a nipple film - totally freaked me out, and some other woman standing next to me. Close up of bottoms walking - reminded me how I like that bit of a person. Quite like to feel a bottom as it walks along (if someone will let you!)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

New Cats

So last weekend, Susanna and I drove up the A1M to Glaisdale in the North York Moors to collect my new kittens (its a long way to go for a cat but they are bred by Susanna's uncle and come from a very good mouser - which considering my most recent affliction at home was important in the decision making).

The kittens were decidedly stand offish while we were staying in Yorkshire. Didn't like being touched much but did play with string. Getting them into the box wasn't as difficult as I expected and they didn't make a peep all the way home (5 hours). Let them out at home and they promptly hid. I'd forgotten from the previous time we got cats that they did that.

For the next 2 days I gradually tempted them out (the girl likes cooked chicken, the boy eats anything) playing with corks on string (excellent simulation of a mouse I think). They still are stand-offish though - its hard not to feel rejected when they hide the minute you come in their general direction and hiss with arched backs if you put a hand in their direction.

Its a week now - I've managed to stroke the boy - his purr is fantastic. The girl is still shy but at least has stopped hissing.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Most Irritating Laugh In The World

She's sitting very close by with a big group if friends and her laugh rings out loudly like a machine gun. Waaahhahahahaaa. Haahaa. Ah hahahaha. It's like that Billy Connelly routine about the primordial laugh that exists in each of us that comes out when we least, and most embarrassingly, expect it. Only hers is always like it. Gunning for us with laughter.

Two Men Talking

In the pub waiting for the football to start. At the next door table two men are talking.

I like her. She's younger than me. 10 years younger I think but the age gap doesn't seem to matter...

A couple of tiny Latino women are looking for a seat. The men offer them space at their table. Everyone moves seats so they can accommodate a new party at the table.

But that's not just knocking the door mate, that's trying to open back the relationship.

A man slaps two drinks down on my table and sits down without checking if that is ok. It is ok but it's politer to ask. His partner is noticeably drunk.

...should build a house and then sell it.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Kingsland Road

Its just me and the crazies walking in Kingsland Road. I'm walking from Church Street to Shoreditch. The crazies are just walking or hanging in various states of dispair. At the canal end there are lots of arty types on bikes - vintage 40s dress, trouser legs tucked into red socks with black spots, and the rest. It's a funny road with niches of activity around the villages of Stoke Newington and Dalston and then Hoxton and Shoreditch. Long periods of nobody using the pavement. Clearly a weird way to walk!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


As I was walking from home to Wood Green I saw:
  • a black laborador in the park with three legs
  • a man on crutches with one leg
(I'm imagining this like that rhyme my mother used to tell us - as I was going to St Ives, I met a man with seven wives, seven wives had seven somethings ... how many were going to St Ives - clearly I can't remember all the words).

Monday, 4 June 2012


On the 476 riding to town. At Stamford Hill I noticed a man running with a red knapsack. The bus wasn't going particularly fast and we cat and moused him along to Stoke Newington Station. Then our bus went round the one way system along church street, down Albion Road and round Newington Green. Stopping at the next stop the running man went past. He was listening to music and keeping a steady pace it seemed to me. The bus pulled off and took over him on the corner of the road that turns towards crossing Balls Pond Road. I was surprised he kept up the cat and mouse all the way along Essex Road eventually loosing him as we reached Islington Green. I changed from the 476 at Angel onto a 19 that pulled up behind. Went upstairs and sat down as he ran past again. He switched routes to follow the 19 and I spied him again running past Sadlers Wells. He kept pace with us all along Rosebury Avenue, past Grays Inn and along towards Holborn. He caught up with us again at New Oxford Street and I watched him take off into the distance of Oxford Street proper. Awesome running I thought. Even though he was just running, not competing or anything. Alive. Wish I knew where he was heading for. Something inspiring and sexy about it.

Friday, 1 June 2012


An elderly male character in the book I'm reading was talking about his recently deceased wife saying, "I did pretty damn well, I'll tell you that. You snag a woman like that, you don't ask what you did to deserve it. You just hope she never wises up and changes her mind." (The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson)

It made me smile - is that the key to longevity in a relationship - to think everyday how lucky you are to have bagged your partner?