Friday, 24 April 2015


So on Tooley Street (very touristy at this time of day) this dark blue old Rolls Royce passed me at the lights. I thought it must be advertising a new "loony" party to vote for in our upcoming elections. Vote National Bird emblazened on its old (looked original) paintwork, with little round pictures all over it with birds in them. Sitting here in Borough with a coffe, chill out music playing and the sun shining I decided to look them up. 

It transpires that Vote National Bird is a campaign to elect a new national bird (potentially). Coinciding with that other big election taking place. In the mid-60s the robin was voted Britian's favourite bird. This campaign is giving you the opportunity to vote again. So if you think another bird ought to be our national bird you should place your vote. 

There are a few to choose from. Barn owl, blackbird, blue tit, hen harrier, kingfisher, mute swan, puffin, red kite, robin and wren. 

I don't know why but I'm drawn to the common ones we see all the time as the ones that ought to be our national bird. So none of these sleek birds of prey, nor the flashy (gorgeous though) fisher or puffin, nor the aristocrats that belong to the queen. So it's between the blackbird, blue tit, robin and the wren. I see them all in our Tottenham garden. Wrens being the shyest. Blue tits are cute. And between the blackbird and the robin I'd still probably pick the robin for its nosiness and neighbourly behaviour. 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015


Early. Day is bright. Sky blue. Coat open. Bus was in good time. Down into the underground. Big crowd being held in the ticket hall. Somebody was taken ill further down the line and the platforms are now over crowded. Eventually we are let through. Our escalator is being refurbished so we have to use the stairs. A kid in front of me isn't slow but does keep stopping and starting. The flow of walking is interrupted. Somehow in the bottom on flat ground I suddenly find myself flung flat on the floor. I have no idea what happened and feel a bit of shock. A man leans down, "are you ok?" I think I am. But I don't think I said anything. He asks again. I say yes and look at him. He offers a hand and picks me up. Passes me my paper and bag. Checks one more time I'm ok and rushes off down the corridor in a blur of beige. An older black woman smiles sympathetically and says she hopes my day improves. I would be embarrassed except that it all happened so fast I'm not sure it was real.

Sesame Street

Walking through an estate in the way to visit with an aunt. It's one of those that is in the middle of being redeveloped - there is one tower left in a sea of low rise buildings and a huge fence blocking off the scar left by a previous tower and the most direct routes. We pass a heap of rubbish. Lots of cardboard. A bicycle handle bar is sticking through one piece its wheels just visible below. "Look at that", says the Panther, "a bike dumped here". We stop to look at it. It's scuffed up. And tied to the wall by an inner tube. It doesn't dawn on us quickly enough.  BAM! A flap of cardboard snaps open and a head and torso fall out of the wall shouting, "LEAVE MY GODDAM BIKE ALONE". We jump out of our skins. A real life Groucho living in a hole in a derelict wall. The Panther apologises and assures the man we weren't trying to take his bike. The head and torso are not having it. The Panther reasons that he is with his girl, why would he be trying to take the bike. The head and torso still isn't having it. We walk away apologising all the way. Once round the corner we laugh out our shock. The Panther is amazed by what just happened - he says all he is thinking through the whole altercation is OMG look how the man is living.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Long Lost Film

I watched a film once. A cowboy film. It was shown on TV (in the days when that sometimes happened). It was hilarious, I remember (we are talking maybe 30 years ago). I remember nothing much about it apart from I laughed out loud and there was a character called Handsome Stranger in it who wouldn't notice the leading lady's blatent attempts to get him in the sack. Anyone i ever asked thought it must be Blazing Saddles (it wasn't).

So today for some reason I typed "Handsome Stranger" into Google and do you know what? The oracle (otherwise known as Deja Reviewer) told me the name of this long lost movie - The Villain, a 1979 movie staring Kirk Douglas chasing Charming Jones and Handsome Stranger (played by Arnold Swartzenegger would you believe) in an attempt to get their money. It's really a real live action version of Roadrunner and Wiley Coyote cartoons (which might be why it appealed to my 14 year old self).

See it on uTube. 

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Crazy laughing

It's the morning rush hour. Walking fast along the platform and jumping into the tube train as far towards where I need to alight as I can get before the doors close. A man gets on behind me. Slightly odd look about him. A tooth sticks out beyond his closed lips. Boggly eyes. As the tube train doors shut something tickles him and he begins to laugh heartily. He laughs long enough for the other passengers to go from staring in vague disbelief to some catching the infectious laugh finding themselves tittering to themselves and others burying themselves in their papers or music. Then he stops. The momentary reconnection to each other evaporates. At the next station people crowd on shoving and standing like rocks holding  space like their lives depend on it.