Thursday, 30 September 2004

The Tony Robinson Fanclub

I've just been to my works leaving do. They always call it a DO. But really its a couple of rounds in the pub, what would usually be called a Drink. The one major difference is the present and card giving and the propensity for speeches. Luckily there were no speeches. Not from me nor from colleagues. None of that sadly missed stuff. They gave me a great gift - which was a lovely surprise. And since it was on Thursday rather than a non-work night we missed some of those who I didn't mind if they didn't come if you know what I mean. When all but the three women I work closest with left we went for a Thai Curry. Perfect way to say goodbye to a work place. Oh, and the crew from Location Location Location were there - the chap Phil walked in and cos someone said he was coming we were all watching him (tres uncool, tres sad of us) and he was prompted to say hello because of us staring - how terribly annoyingly celebrity struck we must have come across. Its not true though, we weren't. We're Londoners, celebs are 10 a penny. OK?

I used to wish that work places would miss you bitterly when you had gone, rue the day they let you get away but the reality has always been that once you take your finger out of the pond nobody would ever know you had been there, a seamless transition to you not being there to whatever comes after.

So on the way to the bus stop I was talking to Bails about what had been going on. She was watching the programme about the Peasants Revolting that was being narrated by Tony Robinson. We like Tony Robinson. And if there isn't one already we thought we should start a fan club.

I first liked him in the children's tv programme about Fat Tulip. Camera work was all in the grass and something about the voice and the story telling just got me hooked.
Surreal, frenetic, semi-improvised short stories for kids told with almost psychopathic conviction by one-time alternative comedian and actor TONY ROBINSON. No animation, no illustrations - he just wandered around a deserted house and garden haranguing the camera with tales of short, corpulent Fat Tulip and neighbour Thin Tim. Other characters included two long-suffering frogs called Ernie and Sylve, an heroic tortoise called Lewis Collins and a little white shell called Jim Morrison. Even more bizarre than it sounds.
from TV Cream

Then there was Baldrick, in Blackadder. And of course Time Team. Now The Peasants Revolt as part of the World's Worst Century series.

Its something about his enthusiasm, gusto and love of being filthy. So Bails and me, we are the first two members of the Tony Robinson fanclub. Wanna join?

Visit The Fat Tulip Website - here.

Wednesday, 29 September 2004

Show Us Your Skyline

So I just happened to have this picture I took with my phone of a fantastic sunset when it looked like there was fire on the top of my street.

Its a North London street in that typical Victorian terrace manner with trees lining both sides, in an neighbourhood built on a hill which somehow gives a bigger view of the sky at times. The trees are a mixture of plain trees and something with very sticky sap that drips all through the summer. The council massacres them every 3-4 years so they get taller but never have much in the way of full grown canapy. The plain plane tree outside our house fell over a year or so ago so many of its fellow plain's have been chopped out, some of them have been replaced by new trees (we have one with blossoms and red berries) but some of them have made way for little patches for dog's to poo in. Taken at sunset in autumn so that the dusk was falling already.

Show Us Your Skyline Blog Meme Home at Stu Savory's Blog
Update on the participants
First seen at Blue Witch who got it from LaP of Santiago Dreaming.

UPDATE: slightly larger at the request of drD
Sunday Stroll Revisited

Sunday we went for a stroll around Spitalfields Market. The old market is being redeveloped so all the stalls are crushed into a much smaller space and it seems that tourists have joined the londoners, soon I suspect it will be as unbearable as Camden Lock. There are still a few of the designer shops hanging round and some stalls of own designed work but also a few of the more commercial market traders are creeping in.

When we tired of the crowds we cut down through Hanbury Street, passed Absolute Vintage and through the back entrance of the Old Truman Brewery. Went into the shops all along this sort of arcade and criss crossed Brick Lane into their second hand designs style clothes shops. Wandered along Cheshire Street at around closing looking at the neat little parade of old fashioned shop fronts. Ogled a couple of windows and went into Labour & Wait because it was open and it was selling all sorts of house and garden stuff that we remembered from our 70s childhoods - particular sort of broom with a yellow handle and red tips on the brush end, ostrich feather dusters that wouldn't look out of place on a carnival headdress, gardening gloves made of cream leather, apple peeler & corker, balls of brown twine...

Today I did a dash around the same route running from Old Street across the bottom end of Spitalfields across to Hanbury Street to drop into the end of an exhibition to collect the fabulous brown and black leather boa that I bought from Anne Ogazi of Warped. It was a love at first sight purchase, possibly impractical but certainly divine.

I love this area for its old brown brick houses, with their original shop fronts and old signs. Sagging but many of them lovingly restored. We once visited the Dennis Severs House (18 Folgate Street) at Christmas - a re-enactment of a House and its inhabitants, the residents rush in or dart out, left behind is the smell of baking or candles burning or cloves. Made you want to drink mulled wine and sit by an open fire wrapped in a shawl reading a long tongue-twisting victorian novel where the hero can't marry the heroine until he has made something of himself and therefore has something more to offer her than himself, despite the fact she is in love with him from the moment they meet.

Monday, 27 September 2004

Monday's Life Class

The time has come where I needed a new challenge for a little while. That challenge is to try to draw something with the detail that I can achieve with charcoal whilst using a pen and ink. Its not the same, its a runny medium that is stuck on the page once its put there so there will be a challenge to the drawing. Which is a good thing.

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.
My Face

I went to get some exposed roots covered today (receeding gums, sadly). I had an injection in my upper jaw and my cheek has gone slack. I can't get my lips to close so I can drink anything - I can get it into my mouth but it falls out through the slack side. I've tried smiling in the mirror at work and I am totally lobsided, one side stretches into a smile while the other just sags there. So I'm contemplating going to art class with two fat lips and a saggy cheek. I won't be able to speak to anyone or I'll have to explain why I look so weird.

Thursday, 23 September 2004

The Edge of the Sunshine

Its not often you see the edge where the sunshine stops and the shade begins but today on the way down my street it was clearly lying along Green Lanes. My street is on a steep hill and when you stand at the top of it you can see across Tottenham and beyond into the east of london. The autumn sun was golden and shone on Tottehnam and beyond but stopped short of my house. It made me want to run down through the grey dull shade and stand in the last glinting rays of sun before the winter gets us.

Tagging is the human equivalent of an animal's instinct to mark it's territory. Tagging is pissing on a lamp post.
One of Many

Man, blazer, jeans, says into his phone, "Oh I went out for lunch with one of my girlfriends and her parents..." I wonder if she knows she's one of many.

Tuesday, 21 September 2004

Monday Night Down the Dragon Bar

A couple of beery city boys with no rhythm have latched onto a couple of drunk reggae girls. They are probably here for the music - heavy reggae DJ playing to a virtually empty bar (by weekend standards).

She dances with him, turning her pelvis out so it rubs his crotch, turns round rolls her ass cheeks over the top of his thigh. He stands there with his fat lips smirking, eyes bulging and hands smoothing her extra tight jeans.

He's an ugly man with blond hair and blond eyebrows, thick lips and small hands. He has the sense to wear a nice suit in a dark navy wool but matches it with terrible, cheap loafers with a metal bar across the instep that are in desperate need of a polish and a reheel. He's excitably drunk but trying to play it cool. He rushes over to his friend who is taking a breather sitting down and tries to persuade him to come back and join the party - its hard to get off with a girl while her friend is watching. And his girl wants a shag and she wants it bad. He probably hasn't been hit on by a girl this desperate in a long time. And she's not a bad looker, certainly has some moves, and is plainly VERY keen. Oh and she's very pissed.

A girl who only wore rollerskates to the pub gets up to leave, rolls over to the door (with some difficulty) and falls head first out the door.

The reggae DJ starts scratching. Badly. I'm concerned for his vinyl.

A monday night twilight zone of uncool in the Dragon Bar.
Monday's Life Class

One 15 minute, couple of five minute and some 2 minute drawings.

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.

Sunday, 19 September 2004

Lets All Go Down The Strand, Have a Banana

Open House. I decided I wanted to see St Mary Le Strand - a church I've stood outside many times waiting for a bus and never been in. Felt too lazy to go and stand in massive queues for what may have been some of the more popular buildings - thinking the Gherkin, St Pancras Hotel etc.

I love that part of Fleet Street where the modern roads split and run round central island buildings like streams.

St Mary Le Strand is small and filthy on the outside from centuries of pea-soupers, coal dust and modern day pollution. Due to its location it doesn't have a great deal of space for its churchyard. Vaults are built into the outside walls of the church. There's a lovely chuch garden inside the fence with colourful flowers that edge the old paving stones leading up to the mossy semi-ciruclar steps to the door.

Inside its small but beautifully ornate with coloured glass windows (no stained glass pictures however). Needlepoint prayer cushions. If I was religious its the kind of church I'd like to come to. Quiet, old, dark. Welcomed by a church lady with a big smile and an informative leaflet. The vicar was holding fort at the tea and biscuit stand. A whole other world. Visions of parish meetings, helpful spinsters bustling round organising events and fundraisers and things for the children. Weak tea and cheap coffee and butter biscuits. Gentile and old fashioned. I'm so far from there.

Also popped into St Clement Danes where they do the poppy wreath thing (and famous for its bell ringing from the rhyme Oranges and Lemons - say the bells of St Clements). Just because its behind St Mary's on its own island. Not so sure it was participating in Open House, think it may just have been open. A clean white space by contrast. I didn't stay long. Its the Central Church for the Royal Air Force and it felt more clean cut and military.

I expect they've got rid of them now but there used to be a homeless person encamped at the back of this church - they had a massive tarpaulin stretched between some railings and a tree and would hang a line of clothes out sometimes. They've probably been evicted.

On the way back I noticed the old Strand Tube Station, ex-picadilly line. And some anti-bush graffiti on the sandblasted windows of Kings College. Amazing what you see when you actually take time to look around you. Not sure I've ever walked along this stretch of pavement. Just been past on the bus. Nipped into Somerset House courtyard as well (never been in there either) and looked at the fountains which in winter are turned into an ice-rink.

If you are curious about the title its from a song I learnt at school but these are the only lines I remember. Old cockney song I think (unless of course its a playground bastardisation of an old cockney song, can never be sure).

Previous years I have visited: Lloyds Building (great view into the atrium), Canary Wharf (fab view off the 50th floor), Mary Ward Centre (arts and crafts movement building), Midland Grand Hotel (building over St Pancras Station - amazing inside with wallpaper and carpets designed specially for it - this year is the last chance to see it before its refurb).

Thursday, 16 September 2004

Drink Outside the NFT After Work

Man on a unicycle in the evening sun. Its not a regular unicycle - it has the wheel of a mountain bike.

A tiny old black man in a millet outfit plays the guitar and sings the blues. He has a maraca taped onto one foot and taps a tambourine with the other. "hello gorgeous have a nice evening" he blends into his song to a passing lovely.

The sun dips behind the white buildings on the north bank.

Wednesday, 15 September 2004

Mr Bean and the Delegate List

He's organising the meeting. This involves a highly complex number of tasks including collation and handing out of papers to all attendees, name labels for all attendees, arrangement of refreshments. He has a blue box. Out of the blue box he pulls a stack of photocopies. The Chair of the meeting asks, "have you organised the name badges?"
"I've got to do this first"
"No, the name badges are really important we need them," replies chair.
"I can't do everything at..."
"I'm happy to hand out papers if you will organise the name badges," offers chair. Chair hands out papers. This has messed up his mental plan of what he has to do and in which order. He busies himself with card inserts, sticky labels and clip-on plastic name-badge holders. He's shaking nervously, has a label stuck on the end of one finger, while trying to get a card insert into the badge holder. Once he has achieved this he slams the finished badge down on the table.

I collect my badge from the designated place, it is in the holder back to front so when I clip it on my jacket it faces inwards rather than out and the bottom edge is ripped across rather than cut.

So the meeting begins. He is now taking the minutes. He does this by writing furiously on his pad of paper holding the pen in a manner that is not quite right and his knuckles are white with the pressing. He also sets up a tape recorder to record the meeting. This requires much fidgeting. Batteries being changed. Checking that the tape is winding. Checking for tape to run out. Changing the tape direction. Making sure the microphone is pointing at the appropriate person (i.e. the one who is talking - this becomes more and more complicated as the discussion warms up). After a while when everything seems to be sorted he stares vacantly into space, his face resting on one hand, until Chair asks him to ensure that something is minuted at which he holds up the tape machine and busies himself with it again.

At the end I overhear him moaning to another attendee about the terrible refreshments, "its very mediocre coffee - nescafe". The other attendee complains about the lack of biscuits. "Oh I don't do biscuits," says he. Methinks he is forgetting the reason most people attend afternoon meetings - to get a better quality of biscuit than at the office.

Monday, 13 September 2004


I've got good teeth.

13 years ago I went to the dentist because the wisdom tooth that was cutting through was tearing the inside of my cheek. He pulled it out (not enough room in my mouth). He asked me if he could send the tooth to the dental hospital for dental students to study with becuase you seldom got such a good specimen out. I consented (flattery gets you everywhere). He then said I had two others coming through that would have to go as well. One was easy. The other wasn't fully through and I had to go to the Eastman Dental Hospital for it to be taken out. They sawed my jaw bone to get to it and pulling it out was no mean feat - I thought they were going to push me through the floor before the root snapped and it came out. I was ill for a week. They gave me some of those extra strong pink pain killers - I ate a full weeks supply in three days. The taste of blood and chipped away bone hung round in my mouth for ages. That was my last visit.

Subsequently our dentist retired and his practice was taken over by his son. His son has a terrible tick where his whole upper body shakes. Well thats what my dad reports, I never wanted to go see him, even though dad says he has very still hands.

So time goes by and recently I noticed that I have a crack in one of my front teeth and it appears to be crumbling away at one corner. I get nervous. I contemplate going to the dentist. I contemplate it long enough that the dentist's son leaves the practice.

I think of the Marathon Man scene where the dentist drills Dustin Hoffman's teeth without an anesthetic. Its something about the drilling sound and the lack of control...

So finally someone from work recommended a dentist close to our office, I made a spur of the moment appointment and fretted about it all weekend. I had visions of fillings in all my teeth, long lectures and tellings off about my lack of regular visits, lots of tooth wrenching scraping with the metal thing that would leave my teeth feeling loose for two weeks.

Actually it worked out alright. She was thoroughly impressed with my teeth, although mildly worried about my receeding gumline (too much hard brushing). An examination, three x-rays and a clean. Out of pocket by £83. Eighty Three Pounds. When did going to the dentist get so expensive? I figured out by not going for 13 years I've saved over a grand (not that I'd recommend such reckless behavoiur of course). I shall try to go more regularly in future, just so as to avoid the stress but I can't believe the cost.

Sunday, 12 September 2004

Bendy Buses

So its upon us. The Bendy Bus. The public transport of 21st Century Europe. I've listened to 1,560 complaints (I'm exaggerating for effect!) about them and 1 positive comment (but this is a true figure).

The positive comment is that you can wheel your buggie onto the bus without having to fold it up (which I might add you're also able to do on the more modern double deckers) but its a fair point for parents and wheelchair uses.

Bendy bus complaints include:
  • When I was a kid they weren't called Routemasters they were simply known as Double Deckers. In a world of public transport the double decker is a rarity (its equally thrilling to ride those double decker trains in Europe). One of my favourite things is to sit on the top deck of a double decker bus and watch the world go by beneath you. People stepping on and off the bus below - tops of their heads, weird angle to see people from. Buildings' first floors, decorative flourishes seldom seen at street level (where you concentrate on where you are going, not bumping into others, not stepping in dog mess, not tripping). Easy to see the height of things, the colour of the stone, the sculptures, window trimmings, clocks, signs, and stuff. A view that is above the people. You don't get that on a single decker. Single Deckers are just NOT London.
  • They may have the turning capacity of a regular bus but they are 18 metres long (or is that feet?) and on nice wide european roads that may not be a problem but it is a problem on the tight curves of narrow london streets. While the 149 on its largely straight route doesn't meet this problem the 73 has a very hard time turning on several points on its route - from Pentonville Road round the one way system to avoid the junction with St John's Street and turning from Pentonville Road by the corner of the Scala (where the bus has to pull out across three lanes in order to make the turn) to name a couple.
  • They hold more people therefore there are fewer on the route. So they are always crowded and you can never get a seat. They have capacity for tonnes of people to stand, which they do. Its neither easy for those that need to sit down to be offered a seat or for them to get through the crowd to get to it if you do.
  • You can enter at any of the three doors along the bus provided you don't have an oyster card or a pack of saver tickets, in which case you have to enter through the front doors.
  • They are so long they take up more than the whole bus stop. Fine if this is the bus you want to board, but not if you are trying to get one of the ones coming along behind and you happen to be at a request stop.
  • They are supposed to be faster but there are fewer of them on route so you have to wait longer, they can't overtake one another so get stuck behind each other.
  • Some people standing in or near the consetina'd rubber bit complain of getting headaches (this may of course reduce as the rubber gets older and stops emitting a 'new' smell).
  • Smooth journeys were promised over the chugging of the routemaster, but instead of the chugging you get that swinging sensation as you go round the corners.
  • Character: 0

Accessibility in this day and age should be a right and a matter of equality, but double deckers are a symbol of london (along with the red pillar box and the red telephone box), I mourn the loss of the Routemaster just because its old and gives me a childish thrill to get on one but worse than loosing the routemaster will be if the double decker disappears completely.

Bendy Bus Information
Bendy Bus Routes
Guardian Letters Extra: Routemaster
73 Bus Stories - the final ride
Little Red Boat on bendy buses
Diamond Geezer on the routemaster
Goodbye Old London Bus
Save the Routemaster
Routemaster Association
Routemaster and other bus stuff

Friday, 10 September 2004


A warm wind blows across the carpark, it moves my hair but I can barely feel it on my face because the temperature is the same as my body. Shattered car window glass sparkles on the tarmac like diamonds. The lights are out and the street is dark. I walk. Slowly. Two men talk in the dark behind macdonalds. A ragga girl dripping with gold chain strolls up the street towards me. Man parked on the main street lays back in his seat listening to bad techno that uses a carnival whistle like a musical instrument. He's outside the gents hair salon that I always misread as saloon. The Gents Hair Saloon. Its full of Turks, not cowboys. The man from the shop that sells brooms, washing up bowls and bins made of bright plastic is clearning his goods from the pavement where they tower all day creating an obstacle course between the shop, the hideous orange telephone box and the men standing around. Mourn the loss of the red telephone box. Wonder if the double decker will go the same way. A man sits in the corner of Ye Olde Ale Emporium drinking a dark beer and smoking a cloud. Pass the second employee of Sainsbury's on the way to work. Open all night. Brown leaves scatter in the breeze. Like autumn descended today. Blowing round in circles with plastic bags and newsprint. Better Haringey, says a green recycling box strewn across a front entrance to a house. I'm not so sure. A few last blooms of a lilac in the lower sheltered part of the bush, all the rest are brown and dying. Light streams from my door as I open it and go inside.

Thursday, 9 September 2004

Your Haircut Sir?

Man in a suit. Shortish blond hair. Not shaven, not long, not curtains-style fringe. Just sort of two and a half inches all over. Not quite long enough to get in his eyes.

He had two hairpins holding the fringe back from a centre parting. What I wondered was why he didn't just get a haircut.

Tuesday, 7 September 2004

Back to School

Me and the Yoof are at the bus stop. I'm on my way to a meeting. They've just got out of school. Its a new academic year. There are newbies in perfect, crisp school uniforms, blazers and everything. All oversized - for growing room. Big rucksacks, laiden with books, quiet(ish). The others, second years and over, all broken voices, loud out of school playing-out after being trapped in a classroom all day (especially difficult after a long summer break).

"When are you going to start growing?" says a tall one to a short one, "when you're 15 or sommat?"
"When are you going to stop being annoying?" comes the retort, "And when are you going to start shaving that fluff here?" (finger laid over top lip)
The "conversation" blusters on like this for an age.

One boy in the group falls for his kid sister's trick question, which is heavier a kilo of feathers or a kilo of bricks? She's eager and bright eyed. Trying to get one of the brother's mates to play cat's cradle with her. Her bro is not impressed by being caught out.
"They both weigh the same!!" she exclaims. He shushes her.

The bus arrives, a scrum ensues as school kids scramble for the top deck, all back of the bus people I should imagine without going up to check. Its that time of year when the buses after school stink of BO (too soon for winter school uniforms with jumpers, haven't covered personal hygiene in biology or citizenship yet).

Hell is the top deck after school.
The Goss

"So Pip was telling me about this memo that went round to all the female shop assistants at Asprey's warning them about a man who was getting a reputation for needing lots of help in the changing rooms. He'd take some trousers to try on and then find he needed another size - he'd call one of the girls to go get it for him and when they got back he'd be standing there with his cock out and ask them if they wanted a shag. I mean really, in Asprey's! Apparently he did it in lots of exclusive department stores. Can you imagine?!"
Monday's Life Class

I been getting rusty with all the trips and bank holidays.

While I was away I looked at a book in the flat where we stayed by an artist called Cesar Bobis - his drawing was beautiful - dark with flashes of colour. He had a fascination with flowers and brutalist men. I wanted to find a copy somewhere but so far have been unable to unearth anything - I think he must be a little-known spaniard.

I'm also looking forward to the Boucher Seductive Visions exhibition at the Wallace Collection. I'm feeling in need of some inspiration to continue and move the drawing forward.

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.

Monday, 6 September 2004

Way to Work

Two eastern-european gypsy women go down into the tube.

On the bus just before they were talking to each other across the aisle, the language deep and gutteral, lots of 'boi' sounds. At one point a spital hit my cheek, I wipe it away without her noticing. The one sitting inside of me talks the most. She has brown skin. All but her front incisors are capped with some very red-gold, its either very red gold or it looks coppery. At Manor House they get off. They are wearing long very full skirts which were last fashionable in Victorian times. Odd to see such fashions, or maybe they are just clothes, rather than fashions. One has a baby in a buggy. They look like those women who beg on the tube, a baby in their lap, an outstretched palm and pleading eyes that burn intensly from their faces. Eyes that seem to have seen too much.

These women disappear down into the tube entrance, carrying the buggy between them. Perhaps to beg all day on the tube. Perhaps to travel somewhere. Who knows.

Thursday, 2 September 2004

My Last Routemaster 73 Bus Ride Ever

The beautiful girl paws at her boyfriend, "why do you need to wear your glasses now? Take them off!" He rattles his newspaper. She leans some weight on the hand that rests on his knee, "so you are are reading the paper? Thats for the day, its night now. Reading the paper AND wearing glasses." She pouts. He folds up his paper abruptly. Its crinkly because its Sunday's, its been in the bathroom - its pages have that steamed wrinkliness. He takes his glasses off and puts them away. Beautiful girlfriend smiles - she has her own way. And his full attention. She talks. Or rather babbles. A constant stream of consciousness based on things she sees. He listens.

A couple of seats back a couple of women have caught the bus going the wrong direction.
"Where do you want to get to?" boyfriend asks. Victoria comes the answer. "Oh, you want to get on the tube. Much faster." He's a man. He knows best.

The women aren't so sure. They'd rather not get on the tube again. A woman behind pipes up - just get off at the next stop and walk across the street and catch a 73 going back the other way.

"Oh well then, you want to see some lights and scenery? Jump off here or at the next stop, cross the road. Yeah simple" boyfriend says (reiterating what the woman behind said) patronising the out-of-town women gently. They are working class. Like he once was, but he's rich now. He turns to the woman who's directions he stole and tells her she should work for London Transport, patronising her gently too.
"Oh I used to," she says.
He and beautiful girlfriend laugh.

Later they start talking to the bus spotter sitting in the far left hand front seat. Its the last 73 routemaster tomorrow. Boyfriend gets his digital camera out and starts taking pictures. "This is officially the fastest driver in the garage," bus spotter says. I have a feeling he may work on the 73 bus route. His long hair is familiar.
"So is the 73 ending forever?" asks beautiful girlfriend.
"No, they're just replacing the routemasters with those bendy buses," says bus spotter.

At Angel boyfriend and beautiful girlfriend alight. He runs towards the front of the bus so beautiful girlfriend can take a picture of him with the bus. When he turns to face us he looks a bit like a younger Cliff Richard. All toothy smile, tanned brown skin and purposefully ruffled hair. He flashes a toothy grin at the fastest driver in the garage and he & beautiful girlfriend melt into the crowd.

Wednesday, 1 September 2004

In the Last Rays of Summer

A policeman opposite the bus stop on Seven Sisters road under the railway bridge at Finsbury Park is digging in a bin wearing blue rubber gloves. A tramp comes by and gives him a dirty look like he's stepping on his toes or moving in on his patch. The policeman pretends not to notice and tries not to heave.

A seagull eats macdonald's out of a bag in the carpark, his head twisting oddly to reach right inside.

The sun hangs low in the sky. Rays shine directly into my eyes. The last roadworks of summer haven't quite been finished - holes in the side of the road are protected by light reflecting barriers.

A man has a row into his phone standing in the middle of the road. He's really pissed off, sucks his teeth and hangs up without saying goodbye. I follow another man in shorts and sandals up my street, he's carrying a couple of stalks of tiger lillies in a cellophane wrap.

Sitting quietly in the kitchen surrounded by fruit flies I contemplate opening the pineapple.

I maybe ought to write something but its all been a bit personal and introspective recently. When I got back from holiday I was asked to come to an interview and was then offered the job (this makes you feel good because they want you). My sister had a baby yesterday evening so I have a nephew to add to my auntie duties now. The sky is blue. And I don't feel like I have anything to say.

Its a round and round kind of thing. I have goals. I know what they are but at the moment while working towards them it feels circular like chasing your tail - you never quite catch it.

And then I get delusional. Like wouldn't it be nice to do something that really made a difference. That you would be remembered for. Or, wouldn't it be nice to buy a house or building that needed rennovating and making it into the place of your dreams. Or, wouldn't it be great to have a really fast car and flash around all over town. Or, wouldn't it be great to own your own business (I have for the last 10 years been trying to think of an appropriate venture but my ideas aren't quite right yet) and it make you millions of pounds (or maybe just a couple hundred thousands).

And sometimes I think it would be nice to own a small cottage overlooking the sea with a plot of land to grow vegetables out the back. Only I think I'd get very bored very quickly with this dream.

Having been in a constant state of flux for the last 10 years I don't know how I haven't come any closer to narrowing down my ambitions. There is silver coming through my dark brown hair now, not visible to anyone but me (unless they look really hard), and I'm worried about running out of time!