I love my city because...
It is constantly changing and yet familiar. Anonymous but friendly. Residential, industrial and entertaining. Fast paced with sedate pockets. I love my city because I am a Londoner.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2003  

In the Belief that when you are Inside you are Hidden from View

I was sitting on the bus on the way back to the office after being at the British Library Conference Centre all day, looking out at the traffic crawling along past St Pancras and Kings Cross - held up in dusty queues all along the Euston Road because of the channel tunnel link roadworks. We passed a maroon black cab (you know what I mean) and inside was a businessman, sitting with his beige leather briefcase on his knees, picking his nose and eating it. Why do we forget that just because we are inside our cars we can't be seen? Or is it just that when we are in them we get into a comfort zone and forget we are actually still publicly visible?

Bogies have been a bit of a theme the last couple of days - Bails and I were having a discussion about them because I had seen a man in a pub have a good root around and then roll it up in a ball and flick it off his finger (vom..) and GS had a boyfriend once who had a collection of them on the window sill - he would stand and pick them looking out of the window and kept them in a line in a place no one would have thought to look for them. Loverly (sorry, bit of a gross out today).

9:42 PM

Monday, September 29, 2003  

Monday's Life Class

So we had a ninja life model today - he could hold a pose with outstretched arms for 15 minutes (and this is truely something to behold). We had a debate about which martial art he studied (and he really looked like he studied something - in the serious sense of the expression). He was slim, musculed and got ready for a pose as if he was preparing for a fight. He was like a bronze statue - skin that had patina. I half expected him to run off the wall and walk on the ceiling (a la crouching tiger, hidden dragon).

Candid Arts Trust: open access sessions and more formal taught courses in both life drawing and painting. Behind Angel tube, Islington - first left down City Road. Contact: The Candid Arts Trust, 3 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ, Tel: 020 7837 4237.

11:14 PM

Sunday, September 28, 2003  


I have stolen the fastest txt messenger of North London award away from M. He had been awarded it by his friends. When we started txting he was very impressed by the speed of my replies (this fills me with a sense of pride - I like to be good at things). I owe it largely to my two-thumbed technique (it has been attracting some attention from the art class cohort recently). Most other txters I have now asked are one-thumbers. I think I use two thumbs because I am a touch typist and the habit sticks with you.

Anyway I have been taught how to master the predictive-text thing by bails recently (never could be bothered to get to grips with it before - preferring to resort to home made and recognised shortenings, shortcuts and code - but she was scoffing at me the other day triple clicking through the letters to txt a message to M, so I let her show me how it works). I'm still not particularly enamored with it but did have a great half hour while I taught it how to swear and then slung insults at bails with the new vocabulary - it comes with a limited knowledge and you have to spell out anything it doesn't know which is then saved in its memory for next time. So all those useful things like damn, shit, piss, muthafucker, ho, cunt are now at my beck and call if I should wish to use them. I have been practicing with it and I don't actually find it quicker because although you only have to click the letter once there are, of course, numerous other words that can be made from the same clicks (I find this quite fascinating - could I use this other word that it has suggested in my sentence or would it be totally out of context?) and this slows me down.

So I have been compiling a list of words that I typed and all the alternatives that go with them:
copy / cosy
least / leapt
of / me
cakes / baker / bales
able / cake / bald / calf / bake / bale / cale
well / yell
note / move / mote
room / soon
dont / foot / font
autumn / button
sun / run / sum / rum / pun
took / tool
plan / slam
plant / slant
rain / pain
take / tale / vale
sale / pale / sake / rake
neck / meal
real / peak / seal / peck / reck / peal
doll / folk
she / rid / pie / rif

I think it could be a new way of encoding secrets or a really hard Countdown game. But in the meantime it is losing me my north london title.

5:44 PM

Saturday, September 27, 2003  

Blane Box Watch

So the dullest spectacle in London continues. Policing is gonna cost him an arm and a leg and sadly they keep cleaning the box. There were some youf with eggs standing around on the hump outside the cordoned area, one of whom managed to get some albumen on a kid's tracksuit leg at which his dad had a fit (you get that off his leg NOW or I'll knock your block off type rage). Security came over to quiet it all down when the womenfolk couldn't manage it (reckon they were fairly used to it - they seemed to know the right tactics but there were too many witnesses for those things to actually work I expect).

I'm not even sure that the crowds below would notice if he magicked himself outta there and never came back.

11:20 PM


Juicy Fruits

(aside: remember them?) This is what I love about London - these things happen for no apparent reason and people barely notice, as if it isn't even out of the ordinary.

Fairtrade Fruits were out for a stroll on Tottenham Court Road (presumably after having been a part of a demo of some sort - bails thought they were fair trade cos of something she saw earlier).

11:15 PM


Kids Games Seen Around Town Today

  • The common, let me ring the bell game (very annoying to the bus driver but the great fun of button pressing satisfied).

  • Sitting on the front of the top deck of a bus rubbing helium balloons on hair to see how high it will stand without the aid of gel.

  • Running in and out of the water jets by the London Assembly Building - these fountains start very low and the jets rise up and down to various levels. They have a random setting making it impossible to tell how high its gonna go. The game was the same as that played at the seaside (will the wave get you) - will the water jet get you. Lots of very wet screaming kids having a blast.

  • How many kids can you get in , alternating with how fast can it go - in the revolving door of Pizza Express opposite Jubilee Gardens.

11:09 PM


Public Transport Etiquette
Rule 4: When speaking make sure your voice is at its lowest possible level

There are two main groups that this rule applies to. Firstly, are school children, particularly teenage girls. Having been trapped inside all day, being artificially suppressed and made to be quiet in the classroom there is an explosion of excitability on being released. This largely manifests itself in much shouting, raucaus laughter, singing, bullying, slagging each other off. Unpleasant as this may be on the street its impact is magnified tenfold when taken into the confines of a bus. It is not big and is not clever - actually you get shown up for what you are (and this is in direct opposition to what you hope to be perceived as).

The other group that this applies to are the mobile phone users. I would never want to bring in such draconian measures as they have on some trains with a banning of use of mobiles in certain parts of the bus or at certain times, however, I have never understood why so many people seem to have to raise the level of their voice while speaking on a mobile so that everyone on their deck can hear every word. The rest of the world neither cares what you have to say nor wants to listen to half a conversation you are having. Give us a break and speak quietly.

12:53 AM


Some Things Never Change

There was a time when I practically lived in the Kings Head in Upper Street (before other bars started opening late when your only choices after 11.00 were the back room here or the old dive Murray's). Much life was played out here. But time passed by and for various reasons it seemed to lose its appeal as more exciting prospects emerged. For a long while it was a no-go zone and only recently have I ventured forth through their sandblasted doors.

So much has changed in my life while so much has stayed the same here - same green paint work, Terry still works behind the bar, End of Culture still plays a friday night and After Noah on saturdays. Its been 10 years since I drank in there steadily but I recognised several people proping up the bar in much the same way as they were all those seasons ago. What has caused them to stand so still? And for the rest of the clientele it seems to have been taken over by the twittish middle class who all want to be actors. So we have a swift drink and thank fuck that we grew out of it.

12:40 AM

Thursday, September 25, 2003  

Public Transport Etiquette
Rule 3: Public Transport as Powder Room

Women should attempt to maintain their mystique. This is not possible when you make your toilet on the bus or tube. Not only will you never be able to do a good job (nothing like a jerky bus for an uneven lip line or an accident with the eyeliner) but you won't be able to wash your hands after applying foundation and you will have to spit into your mascara (ugh). And everyone will see you. We do not need to see that you don't know that you should put eye shadow on before the mascara, that you use curling tongs on your eyelashes even though it looks like an middle aged torture, or that you check your teeth for lipstick stains. Get up earlier and do it at home.

I once worked with a librarian at Lewisham College who I was certain did her make-up on the tube on the way to work (a more terrible application of lipstick has never been seen). She was a fright show - lovely powder blue eyeshadow and orangey red wonky lips. I had worked with her for months before I discovered that she actually did her make up in the staff toilet after she got to work (couldn't believe it).

10:05 PM


3.30 Laycock Street

Theres a park with man-made hillocks outside the office headquarters. School was chucking out and although the park was empty three strangers had chosen to sit together on one hillock, divided by as much space as can be mustered from one hump and facing three different directions.

An ordinary looking woman undeterminably middle age wearing a beige padded jacket sitting on the grass reading the paper - could have been waiting for her kid to come out of school.

Old woman sitting on the highest point, died black big bouffanty hair that made her facial features disappear, patent leather high heels, sitting with heels digging into the ground knees bent up in such a manner that you could see she was wearing pop socks and showing far too much underthigh (bet you could've seen her knickers if you looked hard enough).

A man, not too far from street living in a zip-up 70s jacket lying up against the rise in the ground.

How had they come to rest here together? Why had they chosen to sit together in an empty park?

9:46 PM

Wednesday, September 24, 2003  

Public Transport Etiquette
Rule 2: Bodily Contact When Sitting Side by Side

When sitting next to someone ensure that the least possible amount of body contact is made. Upper hip is just about acceptable. Whole length of thigh starts to feel a little familiar. More than 3 points touching (for example, upper arm, hip and thigh) is distinctly uncomfortable. Try not to trap your neighbour's leg skin as you sit down - if you sit on someone you are too close.

Likewise with standing - don't rest your book, bag, newspaper or arm on the head, neck or shoulder of the person sitting below you. Don't knock them with your rucksack as you turn around. Don't let your body hang into their personal space.

11:54 PM

Monday, September 22, 2003  

Side Street

I had to miss lifedrawing this week to attend a swanky hotel opening (tough life). One of my art tutors at college was a famous jeweller (in the field famous - this is symptomatic of artists and craftspeople - everyone in the field has heard of them an no one out of this circle does) and reassessed what she was doing and became a artist who makes site-specific sculture. She was working with the architect of the hotel to do the pedestrian way along the side of the hotel. This 'do' has become a site-specific work called Side Street. The hotel opening coincided with a private view of this new work.

So here is a glimpse of Side Street by Susanna Heron.

The work emcompasses the whole area - what the walls are made from, the paving, the cafe chairs, the columns, the ceiling and the slate friezes. This kind of slate frieze is what distinguishes Susanna's work. She carves the image into prepared (very flat, very smooth) slate - the image is made from a variety of 'marks' made with a grinding tool - varying depths of cut and kinds of finishes.

Anyway, bails and I went along, had a couple of glasses of free champagne and nicked off just before the speeches started. The funniest thing was the official photographer - SH had to pose sitting at a cafe table holding a flute of champagne aloft (most unnatural pose for her - I think she would rather not have had the wine in the picture at all) and then made her stand on a ledge next to her work - which required taking off high heels, stepping onto one of the cafe chairs and posing next to a slate frieze. The party was full of suits (from the hotel opening at a guess) with the odd arty person mingling between - there was the man in the weird hat, a few pairs of outrageous designer glasses, two overdressed frocks and a couple of pairs of teetering high heels.

11:16 PM

Sunday, September 21, 2003  

Soho Oddities

So we turned into the pedestrian way that goes up the side of Raymond's Revue Bar from Brewer Street to Berrick Street and a girl with long straight blond hair, miniskirt and white stillettos walking towards us was saying to her boyfriend, "I really don't know where I am now, Dave", when actually we thought she fitted in very well.

And then rounding the corner from Old Compton Street onto Cambridge Circus saw a traffic warden in discussion with a member of the public who I had to double take at cos he was wearing a large hooped gold earring and had his blond hair tucked inside his uniform cap - lovely rita the transvestite metre maid.

The bus was packed, we had lots of shopping and an irate passenger had stuggled to get off due to the density of people standing around the door. When he finally managed to alight he turned back to those that he had struggled through and started shouting at them, pointing aggressively, "its you, and you and you. Its your fault that I couldn't get off. I blame you. All you had to do was let me get off...." The doors closed and we moved off. Homeward bound. Phew.

1:19 AM

Friday, September 19, 2003  

Blaine Box Watch

I was drinking in the area so I popped over to have a quick look at Blane in his box.

I have to say I am still disappointed by the fact that he isn't hanging upside down (although the spectacle would have been long over by now if he were). Instead I found him much as he was last time - although interestingly a little less feeble - he had dispensed with trousers, was quite hairy and sat for a while waving at the adoring fans below (and yes most of them were adoring) and then lay down. None of the cheering when he moved this time. Just a weird quiet hush over the area.

And then I realised what it was like - although mixed there was a large proportion of women and girls with good wishes and it reminded me of the stories of girls from school who had been fans (groupies without the sex) of boy bands - they would hang out at stage doors for hours waiting for a glimpse of or to be able to brush the shirt sleeve of their favourite band member, at which they would promptly faint or have hysterics. Here they could hang out for hours and get many glimpses of their idol and if they made enough frantic movement possibly get a wave in their general direction.

And everyone was still on their mobile phone telling all their friends where they were. Security was tight. And there were no anti-Blaine protesters (sadly, I'd have like to see the scuffles between them and the adoring pink fans). But there were some large bottomed superheros who had come to taunt him (for the TV naturally). Weird. A totally non spectacular spectacle.

11:48 PM

Thursday, September 18, 2003  

Inside London Flash Mob ##3
Helluo Librorum

So I found myself in the Nellie Dean having a drink trying to explain to four drunk geordies why we were waiting for someone to give us instructions to do something that we had no idea what it was, that it wasn't about going on a pub crawl or falling in love or some kind of dating club, why we had a book why I didn't know what I was actually going to be doing, why I found this appealing... And thankfully someone arrived and gave out the instructions (how can I answer all these questions - I haven't had the instructions yet - it was clear to me but as mud to them).

I had persuaded HS to come and she had grabbed a bus travel guide to London North on the way out of the office, I had Gabriel Marquez. I had registered my book on BookCrossing so hopefully there will be many readers who will release it back into the wild and it will travel far and wide across the world (or at least thats the idea, I hope it works).

We had to congregate in Soho Square for 15 minutes of book swapping, in appropriate categorized groups (sci-fi, romance, non-fiction, fiction or harry potter - there was a rumour of porn section but I think it was a naturally occuring phenomenon where romance met non-fiction). When you swapped a book you had to sustain a smile between swappers for 3 seconds (which always felt like 3 minutes - you know those gazes you have with strangers that become too intense in a very short period of time and make you blush), if you witnessed a book swapping you had to applaud the kindness of the swappees, when you heard applause you had to applaud. Applause travelled in weird concentric circles around Soho Square with laughing and whistling and much moving about.

Onlookers were confused - HS met a chinese girl who kept saying, 'what's going on, what's going on?', and I met an American (top row fourth picture - tall with dark hair and glasses big grin) arrived today, first time in Europe couldn't quite believe what was happening but was very impressed and enjoying himself hugely, and then I met a man who had been swapped a blank notepad and then a magazine.

I swapped my original book and then made about 10 further swaps, wish I could remember all the titles but the swapping was frantic - at one point I had another registered book, and then a Brahm Stoker's Dracula which I swapped with a teenage boy who didn't want to have his girl's book any longer and finally ended up with a copy of Boiling Frog by Christopher Brookmyre (another registered book) which has a quote at the beginning "let him who is without sin cast the first stone" attributed to some sandal-wearing bleeding-heart who got what was coming to him.

HS swapped her travel companion for a book about lavender with nasty borders around the text and then swapped that for a copy of Stiff Magazine (suddenly realising she was on the edge of the porn section - like I said before where romance meets non-fiction) which she hastily swapped without looking inside (and I hadn't even realised such books were present being trapped in the fiction section, although mercifully segregated from the potty harrys).

The last pitch I heard was from a man with a copy of the bible aloft saying "I'm in the fiction section with the new testament who will swap with me?" and then it was time to leave and give two strangers a compliment - someone liked my hair and another liked my bag and I liked a boy's yellow teeshirt and someones camera (it does the job was his reply). And HS saw Ian Hislop in the street afterwards missing the whole thing by a fraction.

And I've got a new book to read that is described on BookCrossing as great holiday fluff - I shall have to go on holiday to appreciate it I think.

And I was in spitting distance of diamond geezer (as I can tell from the most unflattering picture of me in a huge crowd in his post). He could well be in one of the numerous pictures I took - I'm going to be looking through all the ones I have of people standing on benches to take pictures from that side of Soho Square. I'd also like to point out we both had a hand on Dracula so our fingerprints have now met even though we haven't. This is almost as exciting as the whole event!

11:46 PM

Wednesday, September 17, 2003  

The Oasis Fan

There was a man in a black suit with steel grey hair slicked back - middle-aged from the 1950s. He came barging into the pub - a man on a mission. He was carrying a black briefcase - one of those that when they open them on the tube has only a newspaper and an apple in it. There were two stickers on the outside of it upside down - one for Ego and the other for Oasis. You'd never have guessed.

10:25 PM

Monday, September 15, 2003  

The Ultimate Tag

I have seen this graffito on the ceiling over the stairs of my office every day for months. A student from the Finsbury College released at the end of the day pencils his name on the way out of the building. And suddenly today I thought about it as unwittingly the most perfect tag anyone could make up.

mark: a visible sign or impression, as a stroke, cut, dot etc; an indication, symbol, character, brand, device or token; a character made by one who cannot write; a distinguishing feature, a characteristic; to make a mark; to distinguish or designate or indicate, by a mark or marks; to select or single out.

Tags do this - it gets the tagger known across as wide an area as possible - recognised by fellow taggers or others who are watching such things, seen by everyone else noticed by some but not others. So to be Mark by name and to make ones mark become the same interchangable thing. Simple and perfect.

11:28 PM


Monday's Life Class

So the model was an little old man who arrived with one of those shopping trolley things (like a bag on wheels). The task today was to draw without lifting the charcoal off the paper - continuous line drawing. We drew lots of short poses - 5 minutes for the two individuals and 2 minutes each for the three on a page.

Candid Arts Trust: open access sessions and more formal taught courses in both life drawing and painting. Behind Angel tube, Islington - first left down City Road. Contact: The Candid Arts Trust, 3 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ, Tel: 020 7837 4237.

11:15 PM



Just as we get a spell checker on Blogger I discover this at zed. I always thought from the minute that email surfaced that we were working towards the destandardisation of spelling. Txt has hastened this. Its all about communication - if you can understand it doesn't matter how its spelt. Rock on - back to the middle ages. (sadly I have mostly learned to spell now - spent most of my school days doing it wrong but seem to have cracked it after about age 25).

11:08 PM

Sunday, September 14, 2003  

Saturday Rambling

Birthday present shopping and bed shopping around Tottenham Court Road and New Oxford Street and buying a replacement fascia for a mobile phone cos the plastic shattered (they aren't what they used to be) and unexpectedly meeting up with SH near Exmouth Market and all the while planning to go to see the fireworks performance in Jubilee Gardesns later that night.

Expectation from a couple of weeks of anticipation of an amazing light, fire show like the one I had seen twice when it was in Victoria Park a couple of years ago. We got cake and coffee and sat on the dry dusty grass expectantly with a crowd of kids and parents. See pictures here.

And afterwards we had a drink in the restaurant bar at the back of the Royal Festival Hall. SH had to go home early. Bails, HS and I popped into the Dragon Bar, Old Street, pursuaded HS not to carry a huge piece of discarded wood along with us, and then finished in The Pool (not particularly good but free and no queue).

And rambled on home at about 2.00.

1:10 PM

Saturday, September 13, 2003  

Candid Arts Lifedrawing Classes Exhibition

It was a brief affair (matter of hours) we were asked to submit a couple of drawings and the tutors made an exhibition for us to see each others work and ask our family and friends to visit (very reminiscent of college in the early days). There were cellists and it gradually got dark, cheap wine and people from other classes to chat to who you never see and have never met. And I bumped into a friend from the past who was attending because his friend had work in the show - funny coincidence and a good opportunity to catch up.

And an interesting coincidence occured with Monday's drawing class - three of us chose drawings (totally independently of one another) to submit and we all chose one of our drawings from the same class, same day, same pose - man sitting back to us - and two of us then also chose our other drawings from another class, same pose - man leaning against the wall, heavy shadow. So either the poses made for the most interesting drawings or we were all just having a really good drawing day on those particular occasions. Remarkable all the same.

Candid Arts Trust: open access sessions and more formal taught courses in both life drawing and painting. Behind Angel tube, Islington - first left down City Road. Contact: The Candid Arts Trust, 3 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ, Tel: 020 7837 4237.

1:53 AM

Friday, September 12, 2003  

Everything Changes All of the Time

Everything Changes All of the Time was one of my favourite books when I was a kid.

A bus ride down any high street visited sporadically suprises you with the changes that happen suddenly and without notice showing you how true a statement it is. It shocks you that staples in your repertoire of places to go are no longer there or have changed hands. A pub shuts, is redeveloped, Ruby in the Dust is now an Arab restaurant of some kind, Islington Green Bookshop is a travel agents, the fish and chip shop is gone, there's an All Bar One next to the Mitre and can't even remember what was there before and on and on. Constantly upgrading or downgrading, up scaling or knocking down or building up. Chains, independents, exclusives, cheapies. How's the neighbourhood doing? Going up or coming down. I remember Covent Garden when it had all these sunken gardens developed in vacant lots, when Upper Street was all pound shops and ladies underwear outfitters. And yet despite the gentrification or the fall of the neighbourhood there are some things that are constants in the all changing world - Fatty Lloyds on the corner of River Street and Amwell Road, the butchers we used to go to when I was a kid, Jimmy's Shoes on Essex Road, the deli on Amwell Street corner with White Lion Street, The Kings Head Theatre Pub, Tratoria Verdi Southhampton Row, the 100 umbrella shop on New Oxford Street (can't remember the name).

6:30 PM

Thursday, September 11, 2003  


Highbury roundabout is at a stand still. Traffic queues to get onto Holloway Road tailing back so traffic has to queue to get off Upper Street which blocks the traffic coming round from Balls Pond Road and Cannonbury Road. People are streaming past the windows of Starbucks in both directions. And, as happens suprising often in this massive city, a colleague strolls by wth his boyfriend (even though I'm no longer in the neighbourhood of work). Familiar people out of context - how come we so often see people we know out of the 10 million or so that live here? Waiting for people is often like this.

8:49 PM


Things to do at the Supermarket

So Bails needed a new photocard so she could buy a weekly travelcard from the window. Flouting ALL the tips in my post about how to get the best from a photobooth picture we went to use the supermarket photobooth at 10.00pm (end of the day, tired, crumpled, etc etc) so she could get a photo. However considering all that they came out very well - must be a good machine. We recommend it.

8:41 PM

Tuesday, September 09, 2003  

Decorators Were Here

The indelible mark of a pot of lost paint.

9:58 PM

Monday, September 08, 2003  

Monday's Life Class

Sometimes it is hard to draw on demand. When your mind isn't right or you're tired or whatever. So for the second week in a row it was a hard slog. Finally at the end in the last drawing I felt that it went a bit better.
They are having a small exhibition next week and the tutor asked me to bring a drawing and when I looked back at some that were possibles I think the drawings have improved but there are aspects of the older drawings that I like and need to recapture in the current ones. Like the subtlety of line and the precise nature of the drawing. I think I have become lazy but this could also be that I have reached the end of the useful life of the drawing class and probably need to do my own thing now. Dunno.

Candid Arts Trust: open access sessions and more formal taught courses in both life drawing and painting. Behind Angel tube, Islington - first left down City Road. Contact: The Candid Arts Trust, 3 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ, Tel: 020 7837 4237.

11:52 PM

Sunday, September 07, 2003  

First Words on a Mobile

While we were watching David Blane in his glass box and watching those watching David Blane I was interested that most of the first words of those on their mobiles were (excitedly), "Guess where I am!", as opposed to the more regular (demanded), "where are you?"

3:24 AM


Slow Saturday South Bank Stroll

It was busy, really busy. There was much to see: some kind of fisheries festival in Hays Galleria with oysters and champagne bars, demonstrations on how to fillet fish, octopus balloons, ice-sculpting; David Blane suspended over the Thames; and all sorts of other money making scams up and down the Thames pathway.

I don't know why I thought it would be at all possible but I expected Mr Blane to be hanging upside down by his ankles. As ludicrous as I thought the idea was that he could possibly last for longer than half an hour without the blood pressure in his head exploding, I started thinking that perhaps he could reverse the flow of blood in his body (I know I know severe blond moment...) but like the child passing asked her dad, "is it magic?" I thought perhaps he really was as amazing as his street tricks seem. So when I realised he was not hanging upside down by his ankles but was suspended in a glass box from a crane I thought maybe he could last quite a bit longer than half and hour. It isn't going to be much of a spectacle if today was anything to go by, however. He slept, admittedly naked top half. He woke and feebly waved at the crowd to a roar and applause. He sat up. He tried to screen himself from the sun. He put the quilt up against the sunshine. He drank some water. He slept. He had trousers on. He had a huge tattoo on his back. His hair was longer than we had previously thought (but considering he had been asleep, has no mirror and no gel - it was likely to be kind of messed up).

We saw some people practising for some kind of performance on the next building along from the Greater London Assembly building. It reminded me of De La Guarda because they were doing their signature running along a vertical surface thing. Dangling on ropes and leaping off the side of the glass building - made amazing reflections. Couldn't find a reference to it at all in Time Out however.

The ice sculpture slowly melted away until the whole fishy thing was over. Outside the Tate Modern there were people selling cheap crap batteries, playing bad music, drawing portraits and the budgie man with his trained birds (it all seemed like very old fashioned entertainment - more suited to Chapel Street market in the 1970s - like the man with the monkey dressed in wool clothing that we used to have our picture taken with). And a crowd of people watched the man climb his trick ladder and take the photocopied 20 note from its perch at the top. 1 a go. How hard can it be? Youths dared each other and all of them went away red faced. Like the man with the wobbly bicycle - you can't ever win at these games however hard you think about how to compensate for its deformity.

1:36 AM

Friday, September 05, 2003  

The Reed Interview

Adam from Anthroblog and I met in Starbucks for a chat about blogging. Its the first time I have met a blogger that I didn't know BB (before blogging) [I know Ian who is responsible for Fetish Fun (we used to work together)]. It was interesting to discuss why I decided to blog, what sparked it off, why I write about what I write about, and thinking about why this has become such an important part of my day (very self obsessed, naturally).

I was supposed to be going out with Bails but I'd forgotten about going to the theatre with Pops (he had told me a month and a half ago) so I had said she could pop by for a quick beer between meeting Adam and leaving to go to the National. Anyway she came stomping down the stairs bursting unexpectedly in on what had been an interesting hour for me (its quite intellectually challenging - like being back at college trying to make sense of the creative drive - like I said self obsessed). So she burst in and popped the bubble. In a last passing gesture Adam asked her if she read my blog and she dismissively said she didn't have time. My best friend didn't have time. I felt hurt. She was the second 'didn't have timer' of the week.

She was hot so we decamped to the Slug and Lettuce for a beer which we drank standing at the bar because I had 15 minutes before I had to leave for the theatre. The boyfiend rang but I hurried him off the phone so I could talk to her. Her only comment was that she couldn't be bothered with all that blogging stuff because it was so nerdy. And then we had to talk about her. I had a quick dash to the loo before leaving and when I returned she was on the phone to somebody and couldn't even say goodbye.

Earlier in the week I had been on the phone to SH (an ex-art tutor who I have had a role reversal with and now go round and give feedback on her work) and she said she didn't have time to look at it either.

And last Friday ML and I were talking about blogging and he couldn't understand why strangers would want to read about other stranger's lives.

And on the bus on the way to the theatre I had a Carrie Bradshaw moment, "If none of your friends can be bothered to read your work why would anyone else be interetsted?"

So I retreat to the virtual world and those who return despite not knowing the physical me at all. And my biggest fans amongst the people I know in the physical world seem to be my Dad & my sister (and what a shock that is!).

3:51 PM

Thursday, September 04, 2003  

Phlogging a Dead Horse

I declare the phlog open. Its a sort of project. One photo a day or thereabouts and a prose/poem txt sent from the mobile to phlog.net. Pics are a little pixelated but what the heck. Long live the phlog and all who sail in her.

10:48 PM

Wednesday, September 03, 2003  

My Mobile Phone History

Phlogging I have discovered is using your mobile phone to blog. Finally there is a good use for those cameras on the mobile phone. I hate my current mobile but have loved most of the others I have owned for a variety of reasons.

When I think back over them I have had a varied life as a mobile owner. I was the first one of my friends to get one, much to their derision. I was the first in my family to have one, much to their derision also. 90% of them have now eaten their hats and fallen into the trap of getting one. Only after you get one (and usually in a matter of weeks) do you realise that it is indespensible and can't understand how you managed before.

I worked with a girl at Kingsway College in 1995 who had a mobile phone - relatively few people had one in those days but she was German and moved house a lot so it suited her lifestyle. At that time I was probably out more than I was in. So when I read an article about how we must embrace modern technology or be left behind (technologically)... I decided it validated me wanting to own one. I justified it to all and sundry (because that was necessary at that time) by the nature of my lifestyle - the terrestrial telephone locates a place, therefore they are useful to communicate with people who are fairly static (work or home), the mobile phone locates a person whever they may be. Suddenly I could be at work, or on my way to meet someone out, or at the pub, or going to the cinema, or on the way home or in any number of other places and people could call me to tell me the plans - great for a person like me who needs to be in a state of constant motion. So it facilitated my hectic social whirlwind life.

I wanted to share with you a history of the phone handsets I have had and went in search of a museum of the mobile phone. Sadly I couldn't find one - the design museum may have a physical one but it doesn't have a virtual one, I forgot to look at the V&A but they may have some. So I looked for old handsets, old designs, etc etc. And gradually all the models came back to me, slowly slowly. So I present to you:

Harriet's Mobile Phone History (to date)

So from left to right:

  • Motorola Flare Plus: My first phone and the smallest one on the market at the time (circa 1995). It felt compact and lighter than the others but was a heavyweight by today's standards. BIG battery. We mostly used them for making phone calls in those days - I can't even remember if there was texting then. The handset came free with my brand new number and tarif (didn't have much cash so didn't even think about buying a more expensive one) - the tarif was something called One 2 One Bronze (I only remember this cos I looked back into my phone paperwork folder and discovered my first service agreement). I had that phone for a good year and a half before it started to wear out and I had to carry the charger with me everywhere because it ran out of batteries within a few hours - they were phones then and didn't seem so disposable. Towards the end of its life I met the boyfiend in July 1997.

  • Ericcson T10: For the second phone I chose the smallest on the market. The boyfiend had a nokia banana phone and nothing was quite so space age as that at the time but this phone had a little flip that protected the keypad and was actually tiny(ish). The first time I saw someone talking on a hands free headset was when I was coming back from the toilet at Kingsway and a man was at the end of the corridor walking around in circles talking to himself gesticulating wildly (he looked hilarious but I was fascinated). Sometime during this period texting really began to get a grip in earnest and the T10 was useless for this purpose - the screen could hold one row of digits only - a full telephone number wouldn't even show on the screen unless it was short. And I think this is when they stopped being phones and became mobiles - with accessories and desirability.

  • Motorola Timeport: I got this phone because I was travelling to the USA and needed a triband phone. After I got it out of the shop I never liked it - it was a boring boring phone.

  • NEC db2000: I loved this phone, it had a beautiful shiny chrome-like fascia. It had a large screen and could recognise if you were typing a phone number or a word. I also started always using a hands free set with this phone. I have never stopped using them since - so much more convenient to not have to hold it up to your ear, even if you do look like a crazy person. I took it with me to South Africa when I went to visit Bails (she was living in Cape Town with a South African man who she thought was the love of her life - shortlived though it was). On the beach on Christmas day a wave crashed down on us suddenly and soaked us through. The connectors got wet and eventually turned green. So I had to get them to replace it, I kept the replacement one until I was offered a free upgrade.

  • Nokia 8210: This little red number truly was small and light and like a metallic red car. They offered it to me on a plate - have it for free... So I did and I loved it. It may still be my most favourite phone to date. And the trauma of when it started to wear out was unbearable - but the screen started to wear out - I had to press the LSD to get it to show the numbers and finally, finally it was too much and I had to get another phone. But what to get? The design was unsurpassable. New ones were all flippant and colourful without taste, childish or as if the design was paying homage to the brick phones of old. But eventually I had no choice I had to get something.

  • Nokia 8310: It lit up nicely when it rang, it was small enough. But, but... it didn't have it. What the it was I couldn't tell you - the colour? I bought a new red fascia and that went some way to solving the problem but not the whole way. It was bland, common as muck.

  • Nokia 7210: So Bails was upgraded to this 7210. It had a colour screen. What a leap forward, and a detachable camera! And I wanted one. In a MUST HAVE moment I bought one and a camera. But I hate this phone. Its colours are pretty and it owes it design to the 8210 but its turquoise (although it does match my PDA) and has WHITE on it. Phones at the time were rubbish and this was good. But then the Seimens SL55 came, and those fashion phones by sony and I realised I had made a mistake. But it was too late. I was tied for year to this not-all-that phone. And as a consequence I am abusing it by not looking after it properly (I don't mean to but I can't help it).

So the point of this whole story (and well done if you read it all) is that I am trying to get my phone camera pictures onto the phlog I have set up. Do you think this is easy? NO F****** WAY! I've been on the phone to the service provider. We've resaved the settings. We've done a hard reboot. We've sent it three different ways. And now customer services is shut. So I'm waiting patiently until tomorrow to have words with them. But once its WORKING I'll link to it.

9:35 PM

Tuesday, September 02, 2003  


In times of boredom the mind wanders and I've been giving my office plants a lot of attention - watering, cutting off dying leaves and stems and feeding. And I have been rewarded. The cactus has grown 10 centimetres in height over the last week (visibly every day). And the peace lilly has flowered for the first time in a year and a half. Having spent the last year and a half tripling in size it has finally decided to put some effort into the floral thing. I'm so proud...

9:27 PM

Monday, September 01, 2003  

The Elk in the Woods

After class the boyfiend came down to have a drink with me so I left the lifedrawing gang to it. Since the Dome in Upper Street shut down I have been looking for a relaxed eaty/drinky/coffee type place where you would feel comfortable to sit and read a book for hours eating slowly and drinking cappuccinos on your own (the Dome was excellent for this). And today we were strolling through Camden Passage looking at the antiques - chandeliers, cut glass, mirrors, ming vases - and came across a new version of the Chocolate Bar (in Soho) called The Elk in the Woods.

It had wooden tables and chairs like your granny had, funny pottery with adverts and wooden floors. Nice and cosy. And perhaps a replacement for the Dome, finally.

11:05 PM


Monday's Life Class

Having missed a week of drawing due to bank holidays I was keen to get back to it. However I was very rusty and had a terrible time with the drawing thing - not able to express what I wanted to, couldn't draw in the manner I am used to, felt stiff and lacking in confidence. But I did some drawings and although not my best or favourites these are them. We were supposed to be concentrating on foreshortening (this is hard, but also if you are in the wrong place for a pose it is jut long and rather dull).

Candid Arts Trust: open access sessions and more formal taught courses in both life drawing and painting. Behind Angel tube, Islington - first left down City Road. Contact: The Candid Arts Trust, 3 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ, Tel: 020 7837 4237.

11:01 PM


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