Friday, 29 January 2016

Return to Thatcher's Britain

My overwhelming memories of the endless Thatcher years were of striking teachers, striking miners, war mongering in far off places and abject poverty for a growing underclass living in cardboard cities that spread out from the centre across the city. 

I witness begging on my tube journey home three out of five journeys - heart wrenching stories from a variety of people needing hostels and food. In the morning a different kind of begging - sellers of packs of tissues to feed themselves and their children. Equally heart wrenching. A recent trip to see the London Lumiere on some of the coldest nights of the year - homelessness like the 80s in doorways along the strand and all over the West End. We came across a soup kitchen with a queue of people going round the corner being given food just off the strand. Regular beggers at all the stations I use, even in the outer areas. 

It didn't take long for the carelessness of Tories to take hold again. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016


Unusually a gridlock at the end of my street - cars from both side roads bullying their way into traffic on opposite sides of the road, lines of cars on the through road stuck behind buses trying to pass one another. 

White van drives up to the stuck traffic on my road. His frustration overflows. He honks loudly for a long time then smacks his steering wheel.
"You fucking imbeciles - couldn't fucking wait, had to push through and NOW look at you - gridlocked. Absolute. Fucking. Assholes."

In the middle of the gridlock school children spill out of cars trapped at 8.45 to finish their journies on foot (I do always wonder why they aren't walking anyway - we had to and were probably fitter for it). A tiny space is inched as the traffic lights onto the main road far down the street go red once more and white van joins the queue towards it. Walking I reach the main road far in advance of the cars in the gridlock. 

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Lumiere London 2016

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Trafalgar Square

Coldest night of the year. "Meet me in Trafalgar Square at 6.30. Dress warmly."
He panics as the phone loses power. "Go somewhere wait for me. Tell me where you are. Maybe order something." She looks around. Decides.
"Bottom of Trafalgar Square. 4 lions around Nelson column. South west facing lion - looks at cafe Nero - I'm in there. It's the road that goes towards Piccadilly."
She drinks hot chocolate. Thick and warm. Bought from a Barista who made the drinks and transferred the payment to his on-shift-coming colleague. "The señora had a grande and the señorita had a small." The new colleague tried to charge the señorita for both drinks until she said they weren't together.
She sat in the window waiting and warming her fingers. Watching the traffic wend it's way round Trafalgar Square and the crowd gathering to see the exhibits of the London Lumiere. Plastic bottles in the fountain

Monday, 11 January 2016

David Bowie RIP

Absolutely shocked and strangely devastated by this news. It's making my stomach upset... Maybe we never expected such a weird oddity to age (although we occasionally saw him older) or be anywhere close to death, or other mortal worldly states. 

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Belated Happy New Year

Been back at work for two manic days - full of enrolling students and left over building maintenance from last term. 

But in the most welcomed time off I have had for an age, we did have a rather marvellous time and I forgot to say Happy New Year to the world at large. 

Best present to ourselves was a new mattress which made getting out of bed increasingly difficult - didn't surface at all on New Years Day following the celebrations at two parties - getting home at 4.30am after the panther secretly threw up - far too generous portions of rum given on the final lap. I didn't manage to drink most of mine after being commandeered to dance with a talk skinny woman who was trying to attract the attention of her partner by engaging in some girl on girl play (dancing mainly, and I seem to remember some forehead pressing and fierce staring)... 

Back from the weird and wonderfulness  of a Christmas period wholly played out at other people's parties where the only pressure was to be pretty and entertaining (I made the panther a necktie that matched the dress I made myself - in a sort of bronze fabric - appropriately shiny for the season - a Christmas bauble of a dress). It's all back to normality. Colder, but with lengthening days. 

Happy 2016. 


As a fan of the eyebrow (I have been known to fall for a person on the strength of their eyebrows alone) I am having an anti-reaction to the fad of the heavily drawn on version sported by some women in recent months - those which are not just filling in the blond or patchy versions but are fiercely drawn with a high arch and squared off inner eye ends that give a sort of Cruella De Ville fakeness to the face. It comes after the fierce pluck fad where natural eyebrows were plucked to within a millimetre of their lives, and goes with the over-groomed male eyebrow in attraction terms - i.e. most unattractive in their fakeness and particular trying-too-hard style. I blame celebrity adoration for this live of all things fake - hair extensions, collagen lips, fake nails, drawn on brows, coloured contact lenses. Cheap versions of all these things add to the plastic-fantastic looks of women at the moment. Kim Khardasian has a lot to answer for.