Saturday, 30 April 2005

Saturday Riders

Its my misfortune to have a job that requires occassional evening and weekend work. This saturday morning was one of those days.

As I approached the tube gates at Kings Cross with the usual haste I was overcome by a feeling of being a bull in a china shop. And then it dawned on me - the tube was full of the underground equivalent of Sunday drivers. Everyone was on go-slow mode, not sure of where they were going, having to slow-down to peer round corners and at signs. Tourists standing on the wrong side of the escalator. People with large rucksacks. I kept finding myself almost falling over people - something to do with the fact that I automatically go into commuter rush mode when down in the tube (never travel on it at the weekend if I can possibly help it). Easier at the time of day to get a seat though.

Thursday, 28 April 2005

Transformation: a post for Harry

Bails had an extreme realisation: she no longer needed dreadlocks to feel like herself. Made an appointment that day at the hairdressers and within a week was reborn, free from the constraints of locks (and praying that she had in fact done the right thing). A week on and it seems that yes, change is good.

Things I didn't know about really knotted up hair:
It took 3 people the best part of 3 hours to comb out. There was stuff in there that looked like the reminants of the beach at Valencia last August. The combing out process was done dry. Once combed out the hair had to rest before it could be cut - time needed: 2 days.

Wednesday, 27 April 2005

Boy Trouble

I'm sat next to a woman in the depths of despair. We sit facing backwards by the bend in the 73. She attempts to muffle her chest-wrenching sobs and snotty tears with her hands. Middle of a relationship breakup, snorting snottily into the phone to a succession of girlfriends who are attempting to level some calm.

As I step out of the bus at Newington Green I catch the strains of a different conversation, "but, like, d'ya fancy 'im?"'ll only lead to trouble.
First Lecture

I think I might be an anti-intellectual. I find myself in the midst of class feeling frustrated by the other students' intellectualising, or their attempts to out-smart each other, or their need to bring everything back to their own work, or their inability to transfer knowledge across to other situations. I'm an inverted snob. Having spent my entire school life being one of the swottier ones I now feel like I'd rather sit in the back and not do my homework. I'm hoping to get over it soon.

Tuesday, 26 April 2005

9th & Hennepin

And I've seen it all, I've seen it all
Through the yellow windows of the evening train...

From the overland up above the street, through the window of a smart warehouse apartment in Borough, a man packs a bag, grabbing clothes from the wide low-slung kingsize bed and patting them down inside, his hipsters hanging just a little bit low revealing a whisper of builder's bum.

Sunday, 24 April 2005

Blogging Year 2

Oh my gad! My second blog birthday is upon us.

Right in the middle of a total blo(g)ckage. I've been thinking a lot about how In the Aquarium may have changed over the second year of its existence. My little sis made an observation after her last read that it has changed a lot - more descriptive and 'deep' (her words) and less light hearted and funny.

Particularly lately, work has been harder. I'm tired. Less enthralled by going out. Staying at home more, staying local more. Almost like the 34th year has brought great change - my restless self has learnt to be more controlled, considered, settled. Much less need for constant motion, excitement. Like I've become an observer of life rather than a participant. And yet, and yet. I have a yearning for being entertained, for doing new things in new places, finding other more exciting scenery. I think its the fact that the search for excitement is so often disappointing, great expectations dashed.

I have a feeling this is reflected in the writing here. I feel like I've had fewer ideas, fewer exciting experiences. Less to laugh about.

And then there's been the hemorrhaging of blog buddies left right and centre (hey Elsie, Mr rather more Invisible Stranger, My Ace Life who I still visit to see Floella Benjamin popping up). I miss you all.

BUT. I intend to rediscover my life. Its a couple more weeks until I reach my most dreaded mid-30s (hating every minute of being over 30) and I don't want to be bored or boring any more. Dad's old adage, "only the boring get bored" rings in my ears. I intend to look with new eyes at the things of old. I intend to go on holiday and recoup some enthusiasm. I hope I haven't driven you all away!

I started an MA in January, the first module of which was in computer mediated communication. Whilst trying to figure out how CMC can help students learn and teachers teach I have discovered that I like blogging as a medium for computer mediated communications better than the software we were using for this module. I like the fact that I feel part of a community of bloggers; people come back over and over and comment; that I can tell that there are more visitors than those who are commenting (my stats tell me so - hello to all you lurkers out there); that every once in a while a new person comes along and makes contact - making the whole thing feel like its gathering steam. I feel a great attachment to my fellow bloggers - my favourites are linked on the further reading column, some of you I have met in the flesh - which has always been hugely enjoyable. :-)

[Incidentally, isn't it weird that the spell check in blogger doesn't know the words blog or blogging!]

Monday, 11 April 2005

Two Pair

On a narrow balcony in a block of flats two men cut metal poles in half. One holds the poles while the other weilds the chainsaw, sparks flying off the balcony onto the grass below. This looks a little dangerous me thinks.

A couple of houses away a man in a grey suit stands outside the front garden and takes a photograph, through trees, of the other man (also in a grey suit) as he stands by the doorstep posing with one hand in his trouser pocket. Two estate agents? They don't usually pose in the photo. Perhaps its a new purchase.

Friday, 8 April 2005

Grey Skies

Grey clouds swirl past the window left to right threatening rain and/or hail.

Occassional black birds pass right to left, and back again.

Bright blue plastic bag passes left to right held fully inflated by the wind.

Reminds me of The Red Balloon - fab film (and book I had as a child). All black and white apart from a red and a blue balloon.

Thursday, 7 April 2005

The Fingersmith

(Not that version, My version!) Some man gets on the bus pushing a sleeping toddler in a buggy with one hand, a rucksack slung over one shoulder which he is trying to keep up whilst talking on the phone. My mind makes a comparison to those men you see parking their cars (cars with powersteering) whilst holding and talking on the phone. Trying to do important things together without due care and attention comes to into my mind.

He parks the buggy in the alloted area and then comes and sits by me, which I think is strange because the bus isn't too crowded and this isn't usually a seat of choice for baby carers. He acts a bit weird. He keeps thinking I'm looking at him when I'm not really I'm just looking past him at the street on the other side of the road. Then he starts shifting in his seat, ever so slightly so his back is towards me. His rucksack in covering his lap and leaning on my leg.

then I become aware of the faintest of tickling sensations on my thigh, close to my coat pocket. I shift. He shifts. I feel it again. When I move my hand down it goes away. I get my pass out of the other pocket on that side. The tickling starts again.

I feel sure he's checking my pocket out. But I have a slight doubt. I am relieved I never keep anything in there. But when I get off I feel violated in a creepy kind of way. And everyone in the street seems to be behaving like freaks. I can't wait to get inside where I can get away from people.

Tuesday, 5 April 2005

Public Personal Habits

Number One.
The Public Nose Pick.

So we return to a subject I've comtemplated with some disgust several times. This time to consider what could possibly be considered 'acceptable' for the length of a public pick.

In my estimation a public pick should be swift, over before it has really got going, only long enough that it can still be mistaken for an irrespressible itch having to be scratched.

On no account should it be used as an alternative to a hanky and involve persistent deep digging. In both nostrils. With contemplation of finger. For ten minutes.

Number Two.
Female Grooming.

Today the train was delayed for over half an hour. So I had to ride the tube for a considerable number of stops (in comparison to normal). I always manage to forget that there are women who are unable to get all the necessary grooming tasks done before leaving home and have to do grissly things like clipping their nails or curling their mascara-laiden eyelashes with torture implements whilst on the tube on the way to work.

This morning I watched a woman brush her hair (not so bad). And then something else caught my eye.

When I looked back she was angling a mirror to see what must have been offendingly dark chin hairs so she could tweeze them out. The tweezing actually pulled the skin before the hair popped out. It reminded me of a cruel thing I learned in biology once about ageing skin and how it looses its elasticity, proved by pinching the upper hand skin of my mother vs myself to see which sank back quicker AND some art film which used to show constantly in the Great Eastern Dining Room basement bar where a man put hooks into his skin and had a crane lift him across some landscape hanging by them. One of those hideous sights you can't quite tear your eyes off.

Monday, 4 April 2005

Monday's Life Class

The model was 7 months pregnant. Interesting to draw. Poses were longer - so she didn't get so tired out with all the moving around - first one a 20 min pose, then all 10 minute poses until the last one which was 35minutes. I quite like it but its sort of too smooth by comparison to some of the others. I prefer the marks to be a bit more interesting. I missed the short fire poses which really help to loosen you up.

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.

All original drawings £25 excluding postage and packing (A1 sized). Or alternatively, A4 sized prints for £5 excluding postage and packing. For further details see the lifedrawing gallery or email me.

Sunday, 3 April 2005

Regent's Canal Stroll

In search of lunch we went over to the Narrow Boat Inn. Unimpressed with their menu we decided to walk along the canal to Camden, certain we would be more in luck there.

Its mostly tranquil along the canal between Islington and shortly before Camden. Quiet. Walking along beside the green slick water. Passing locks, canal boats moored, aquatic birdlife, fishermen and other towpath users. The gas towers that used to mark the skyline in Kings Cross have all but one been removed, mass building work happening in its place bringing the channel tunnel link closer. The water was very high and gushed at some rate through the overflows on the locks.

On making it to Camden we were thrust into the mayhem that the market has become, all tourists, youths, noodles and tie dye clothing. We stopped by Camden Lock to decide where to head. A man close by was packing up his folding chair - a man with a mass or rings through his face, ears, head and neck. A face painted green and red to match the tattoos smothering the rest of his body. A body exposed to the air on this warm spring day, no trousers just silver pants.

We crossed the market to walk up the main road towards Chalk Farm in search of the perfect menu, failing to find it, we found ourselves at Marine Ices, behind the painted and pierced man who somehow had beaten us there and was eating a single cone sitting on his folding chair by a lampost on the side of the road.

Marine Ices - great ice cream, a favourite of my mother who would treat us on occasion in the early 70s after swimming lessons at Prince of Wales Road Baths. We never had a double cone like we all did today though.