Saturday, 9 December 2017

Being the subject

So it was Friday night, after a long working week. We wanted to do something. Had a few options from calling around. The Wadadlian called by and invited himself along. Set up the back of the van - few cushions and a flight box of alcohol choices (we all drink different tipples). Wadadlian stuck in the back, we sang along to tunes at full pelt on the way. We do half decent renditions of Just a Giggilo, Bohemian Rhapsady and screaming Jay Hawkins’ I Put a Spell on You. Spilling out at the first venue we found live a Latin jazz band whipping up a crowd dancing in cramped conditions. Easy to forget yourself in these situations, feel the bump from the crowd and release the exuberance of after work joy. So dancing a serious salsa with the Wadadlian, easily swung to the rhythm and then taken back to the Panther for our own intense special less formal rhythm. The band came to a halt at midnight and we piled back into the van and headed back across north London to old neighbourhoods from the dimming past. Two floors. Pizza. Softish metal upstairs. We got beers. Hanged briefly and decided to check out the downstairs. Dangerously chipped stars lead to a gothic cellar bar the likes of which I hadn’t been to since Bails stopped dating goths. There was a lot of black dyed hair, velvet clothing and long eye ticks. Dark music. Pale faces, many shaved sides in the heads - men and women. My two companions leaned up the wall and watched in interest. The goth dance is a thing of steps and rules, you do it and it doesn’t matter if it matches the music in timing. It is done in a sort of square. And alone. Vampires, in intense introspection was the conclusion. Vaguely freaked out by my siren dance wafting and drawing them into a trance, we eventually left and went back upstairs. The music had taken a turn for the better - we knew the tunes and they were dancing songs. As it turned 2.30 Madness started their baggy trousers chant and two men besides us immediately aged themselves into our generation by jumping on the appropriate jig. And there we had it - the middle aged masquerading as youths, rolling out to go home.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Dark descends

And outside, the sky has darkened to the luminosity of night, beyond dusk, the air yellow like electric storms. Leaves are blowing off the trees in an upward trajectory to be scattered in neighbouring roads rather than at the base of the parent tree. The end of the world. An apocalypse. Is North Korea still there? This is Hurricane Ophelia's tentacles- having whipped across the Sahara and picked up sand and dust from Spain finally letting go.

Thursday, 5 October 2017


I've not been here much. Its been a difficult year. An annus horriblis. And it isn't over yet.

There have been fights about technology - falling in to the trap of using the phone for connection all the time, even at inappropriate times, followed by long stretches of no contact at all and the technology being switched off.

There are conspiracy's abounding about the bad affects on health of screens, wifi and spying. I'm reading too many espionage novels - borrowed from the window sill in the kitchen area of the office (people leave books there for others to borrow - a sort of library which reminds me of book-crossing) and find I get paranoid, but I can't bring myself to slog through the other type of fiction that abounds there - stories of women in old times.

There has been death. Lots of it. The Panther's mother the most potent. Our neighbour's mother also. One of our younger friend's young girlfriend. The mother of another friend of mine from my previous workplace. My friend Alex from school - from a virulent cancer. I'm guessing the middle age of life is where this starts to happen. I feel for my father, in his mid-80s with his massive collection of photos of dead friends and family

We passed a 3 year anniversary. The Panther and I. Love is still strong.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Evening commute

Got out of the tube and the air was that weird yellow - dark storm clouds one side and blue sky streaked with airplane streamers the other side.

Then a cyclist drove straight into the back of a bus because he was looking at his phone. Clonk. And the front wheel had been forced inwards on the frame and couldn't be pulled out. He dragged it off.

And then I followed a woman onto the bus who had long black hair with a back-combed fringe that stuck out and had just had her lips collogened - all puffed up and swollen.

And dark fell before I reached home.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Lunchtime City

It's pleasant drinking coffee and eating a sandwich in a large plate glass window of the cafe. The window increases the warmth of the sun's rays. I start to relax. Watching the rich at play and the working at much. Apart from the builders across the street who just work. Out of my subconscious I become aware of an urgent click. Every minute or so. Lots of fidgeting behind me. When I get up to leave I find behind me a man with strangely clear eyes playing chess on a large board, against himself, it seems, smacking the 'your turn' clicker swiftly between moves.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017


What's with eyebrows these days. I'm all for thicker more prominent versions than plucked to within an inch of their life. But we are not drag queens - it would look more natural if we drew them on in a alignment with our natural brow. Or perhaps if we did it in a way that it wasn't clearly from a chiselled eyebrow pencil. It reminds me of the worst of male grooming when they shave round them to neaten it up too much and loose the rugged nature of the male face. Too much like a doll.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Birthday eve

The man opposite is feeling the heat - his pumped torso stretches against his sweater, clearly ripped through the cloth, and his head drops and jerks up constantly, his mouth hung slightly open. The tube is hot. And crowded. It's Friday 5 to 6. Everyone is pushy. More than usual. I'm trying to exert my personal space bubble and keep getting leaned on, shoved, bag prodded and pushed. Glad to be off work. Glad the evening sun is shining. Glad we got our temp liquor licence. Glad I ordered the kiln bits my dad bought me for my birthday. Glad I got the Panther's glasses ordered. Thrilled I'm being picked up by the Panther. And tomorrow is my birthday.

Monday, 8 May 2017


We decided to paint three pictures of the Panther's mother to show at her funeral. We began on the weekend.

The painting is about 3 foot across and comes from this photograph. Originally we were going to leave out the man but Panther felt it needed him in otherwise you couldn't read the large triangle at the bottom of the picture.

I find that I like painting. It's a totally different activity than I am used to undertaking.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Time Passing in a Vaccum

Sadly the Panther's mother died. A short stint at home after hospital, then a stay in St James' Hospice and a return to home. Life stops, but continues on, if you understand what I mean. Enveloped into a bubble of mourning and support. We went to church and sang, they prayed. There was a Nine Night - huge celebration of life with many people and lots of rum. Panther started a vigil which is to last 9 nights. Different groups of people keep coming down to his mother's house and sharing the outside fire, drinking and reminiscing. I finally went back to work after a long weekend, staying up until dawn and sleeping away the day to begin again the following evening.

Things have happened which passed us by - three people killed by stabbing across London, a man killed his daughter and himself live on Facebook, it snowed up north in April.

Outside life doesn't feel real and inside the bubble is a supportive seclusion. I'd forgotten how it was in the time after. I remember my father and sister watching lots of videos and never leaving the house, while I went to work and put on an appearance of normality while walking through treacle.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017


The spring sunshine is semi-warm - coat is done up but benefits from a warming glow on the back as I walk through Holland Park. I can feel the breeze about my ears, the back of my head and my neck. Chill but not freezing.

The panther's mother is seriously ill, at home with nothing more they can do for her. It brings back all sorts of grief from my mother's death. This is a woman who on first meeting gave me a hug to welcome me to her family. I told her I loved her son and she said she knows.

I woke up this morning feeling foreboding. I'm not sure how to support the Panther, and I'm not sure I can hide how I feel.

Thursday, 23 March 2017


He wears a crisp white shirt with a black bow tie, black suit and black rimmed hat. Woman in a red dress. Next to me a lady takes a selfie from her best angle - from above left. Very tall man leans on his umbrella.

I'm a bit fed up. Working while looking out the window at the sunshine and magnolia trees in full bloom.

And yesterday there was a terror attack on Westminster. It unfurled in real time by social media. People today shocked at the photographers who took pictures but failed to help. Trump Jr being an idiot about Mayor Khan. Ever since I remember London has had some form of threat - the Irish, then the anti-gay nail bomber, 7/7... we are used to it. We don't have as many incidents and deaths as Americans do from gun owners killing their fellow citizens. I wish we could get away from all the mud slinging. Whatever happened to leaders just expressing sympathy to other nations.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Space Oddity

A grey day that started before the alarm went off. He couldn't sleep from discomfort, got up, did stuff. She lay in bed wishing he would come back to her and ravage her with a morning passion. They died his hair red.

In a cafe a man plays chess against himself and a timer. A roll up board. He plays both black and white pieces. I'm not sure where the challenge is. Behind him a young beardy man with crutches eats chocolate cake. A man with half white face and drawn on black curling moustache hands out flyers to a hairdressers. She listens to her music loudly. Nothing gets through.

An albino child walks by, cap pulled low over his head. Skin so flaky he is scaled like some deep sea fish. Fish out of water.

Tom Waits is singing Gods away on business in his deep gravelly, freak show voice. She was on a different route to usual and didn't realise she missed her stop. Not enough people disembarked so she didn't notice. Waiting at a bus stop to correct the tragectory of travel tall chromed heels flick past flashing light about like knives thrown at the circus.

Boring life, who would want it.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Spring is nearing

And to counteract such blatant irritability some signs that spring is coming

Pet irritations of work: Chewing

Open plan office, long benches of workstations, people out of team sit together.
  • Crisps. Nothing offensive about crisps really, apart from the fact that each downward chew is a massive crunch, followed by a battery of follow-up crunches until said mouthful is done. And then the packet rattles and another mouthful begins.  I have had to avoid sitting next to some people.
  • Chewing gum. I've forgotten that people eat that stuff. In front of me this afternoon was one of those chewers who do it slightly mouth open and wet, like we used to do before we learned to do it silently with out mouths shut. I had to refrain myself from leaning round the screen and saying Quietly in my best librarian.
Other people's telephone calls
Shortly followed by other people's telephone ring tones
Then, sniffers
(Wobetide you have more than one horrible habit!)

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Hurricane Doris

Feels a bit like an oxymoron - all the power and threat of a hurricane but named after a little old English lady - perhaps she will slap us in the face with used teabags and drench us in cold tea. On the weather this morning the outside reporter at Blackpool Pleasure Beach was fighting to stay centre screen, with her navy kagool whipping round her and her soaked hair flicking her in the eye as the sea kept coming up and the sculptures bent over frighteningly. In Scotland 15 minutes of dumped snow. Stories of wild commutes, fighting umbrellas, falling buildings, and soaked children abound around the office. Can't really tell looking out - here in Kensington its sunny and the tops of the trees are gently swaying.

Update - 18:25

So while the wind is windy (reports from home that next door's tree fell on our car - no damage amazingly), there is no rain. However the electricity is stuffed - whilst on the tube making my way round the circle line to Kings Cross we were informed that Euston overland and Underground were shut, then trains were non stopping at Kings Cross from over-crowding, then our train was not stopping after Great Portland Street to Farringdon. Got out and decided to walk to Warren Street and catch the Victoria line. When I got there they were evacuating the station due to an incident. So crammed into a 73 bus, got stuck in a huge traffic jam, inching our way along Euston Road slower than walking...

Everybody Everywhere

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Books on the Underground

Standing proud on the platform's emergency communication device was this book with sticker - Books on the Underground. It looked brand new. I love this kind of book-crossing, give-away thing. Someone at work leaves thrillers on the windowsill by the kitchen which I read and return for someone else. I read the blurb on the back but it didn't tickle my fancy so I left it - hoping someone is reading it though!

Friday, 17 February 2017

Morning Ritual Interrupted

We were sitting at the bottom of the bed drinking coffee and eating cereal singing along to uplifting morning songs and watching the news with subtitles - usual weekday morning routine.

Something crept over my skin and in a fit of alarm I jumped up and screamed (not a whimper, a full-body gut-wrenching scream) and flung what had crept over me away. The Panther stamped on it and we all calmed down. What was it? He wanted to know. A really big black spider walked on me I said not quite confident and hovering in the doorway. We sat back down and carried on.

Moments later the Panther leapt up vigorously brushing something off his head. Its on my head! Where is it? I scarpered to the doorway. We kept looking about, in vain.

Later in the bath I was overcome with laughter. Panther said he didn't know what had happened when I screamed so, and he decided to act out stamping on something just to get me to calm down enough to tell him what it was. I laughed more. I had been convinced he had killed it (there was a wet patch and everything - not that I'm approving of killing spiders you understand). I have no idea how it got from my hand to his head - I must have flung it there, but he claimed it was large, black with yellow bits on it and looked like a tarantula. I'm doubtful. I know Italy has tarantulas now that are smaller than those horrible hairy things in the zoo but even so. Where would it come from? I'm very wary of going in the bedroom now because in both our sudden movements of alarm we just managed to dislodge it and not to capture it and remove it to other environs.

We discussed how neither of us likes to handle spiders, while not normally afraid I can catch one in a glass and put it outside but not with my bare hands.

I remember when we were little staying in a cottage with the family there was a huge house spider in the room I was sharing with my sister, we called for our father while watching it from the safety of the bed, when he arrived and saw it he leapt up there with us and we had to be rescued by our mother who was adept at grabbing them in hand and flinging them out.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017


Issuing executive orders banning refugees from 7 countries including those with governments fighting against IS and others who are supported by Russia, Trump has, by closing the borders made his supporters very happy and feel infinitely safer in their own land. The fear from outside the USA grows as we watch in intrepidation - Trump is acting like a dictator (as might be expected from the CEO of huge companies who are not used to being told "no"), he is raising the fears of people through hatred of the Muslim faith (more Americans are killed by other Americans than by anyone else), and I suspect this won't make the land any safer - it will cause unrest and lead to potential radicalisation of muslims already in the country.

Remember the destabilisation of the region was caused by the vaccum left by America waging war on terrorists in the first instance (based on a lie and at the hands of war-mongering Bush seeking revenge on behalf of his father). And then there is the anti-abortion stance. And revoking some parts of Obamacare. Decisions women make about their body should not be a state concern. And what does it say about a society when it is unwilling to look after the health of those most in need. Care-less. Heartless.

Philip Roth emails on trump

Who is taking the fight to Trump? Its Dictionary Guy!

Friday, 27 January 2017

Morning after

The morning after the night before.

(A festival of fun - started with watching an open mic comedy session at The Grove in Hammersmith - intimate, friendly and fun - personal favourite was The Establishment. Followed by a crazy car journey across town singing along to a number of favs at the tops of our lungs much to the amusement of the bystanding public. Bohemian Rhapsody anyone? And a late night curry in Mile End. Only marred by loosing my travelcard - had it since I was 18, pouch contained the ticket of Carmen that I saw on 03/10/14 the night I met the Panther and £148 worth of travel).

Dropped at the station, held up for a lingering kiss  - a morning joy that is hard to tear myself away from. Taxi driver hanging out his window says, "put 'er down, mate".

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Men waiting

I think I posted this because it reminded me of a play - some modern thing with an ensemble cast. They were standing in such a specific spot on the platform, in close proximity largely, and all male.
It struck me as almost choreographed, and yet it was random.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Feel free

Androgynous, can't tell if they are a young man or teenage girl. Hiding in sports clothes and woolly hat, small feet in black suede trainers. Ring through the nose like a bull. Feel free tattooed on the fingers of both hands - one letter per finger. Is it a statement of mind, a life motto? Or something more sinister? A damaged soul used to performing tasks they don't want to. 

And then they are gone...

Monday, 16 January 2017

Tube talk

"She wants to go theatre"
"What does she want to see?"
"Um.... err....", he scratches his head, thinking hard, "Dunno. I'm supposed to be buying tickets. Have you ever been theatre?"
"What did you see?"
"We will rock you - queen musical"

Friday, 13 January 2017


Of the London variety - after much talk all day yesterday of snow (weather claimed there was a 100% likelihood of snow by last evening's rush hour) when it finally came it was mixed with cold rain and didn't settle at all. Its now snowing again - dry flakes drifting horizontally in the breeze but it doesn't look like its settling. So unlikely to be cross-country skiing home this evening either. People are drifting over the windows taking pictures of the white precipitation - its about as good as it gets usually here.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Getting to work in a tube strike

So I do work on the edge of zone 1. The opposite edge than where I live. The bus from home wasn't bad until it terminated early at Newington Green. Where the bus full of disgruntled passengers alightened to join the already crowded pavement. Then got lucky and caught a 73. It goes to Victoria. Might just ride it all the way there and catch a bus from there to work....

Change of heart. Got off at the top of Gower Street. 
Tall man ties his bike to a railing outside the university. 
Thin, pale woman with deep red lips walks past the back entrance of UCH hospital in black spike heel ankle boots, clutching a document that looks about a ream thick. 

Was thinking to catch a 27, but it's a 14minute wait so jumped on an 18. 

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Happy Bloody New Year

So we welcomed the new year with a round of parties - four stop offs in total. There was family,  champagne and gin cocktails, sparklers, and lots of dancing. I made a dress to celebrate in - a red dress, Japanese kimono influence. Much approval of the dress.

The Panther's mother was in hospital the whole holiday season - receiving cancer treatment. We had to pop to her house around the new year and discovered there had been an upsurge due to a blocked stack pipe blocking all the sewerage from four flats - her ground floor was awash with dirty toilet water, used toilet tissue, baby wipes that someone was flushing down the toilet (they don't break down - they had clogged the whole system), and excrement. Each time someone upstairs flushed their loo a little bit more flooded out over the top of his mothers downstairs toilet. Dismay. Then action - borrowed sandbags from the waste team at the end of the road. They got us through to the emergency service to come and unblock the drain (finally came about midnight - after Thames Water had tried and failed to unblock it - its only at times like these that you struggle to understand the pipe ownership issues that exist).

Then I had a resurgence of the cold that had clung to me since November. It hit us both with a vengeance. We were stricken and took to our bed, not to surface for four days (due back at work on the 5thbut didn't make it). Finally started to feel better after feeding ourselves chicken broth heavy with garlic, ginger and chillis.

And then I discovered that what I thought were mosquito bites ( I know - it's January and they don't like the cold) were actually bed bugs. Ewwwww. Almost at last straws....