Friday, 22 July 2005

Someone searched for Cleavage Mishaps

Have to say I've never had a cleavage mishap. Or a boob mishap either for that matter (unlike Judy and Janet - although Janet's must have been staged since you're hardly likely to wear nipple sheilds for no reason, anyway..).

I have had cleavage exposure mistakes however. Wearing a top which is either too short or too low cut and not being able to decide whether exposing a smidge of stomach is worse than a smidge too much cleavage. At work. Tirelessly undecided all day I seem to remember. Or having bought a new beaded top with a wide neck realising that the cut was not quite right and it didn't stay on the shoulders correctly creating a bra-exposing problem in a non-bra-exposing-situation (colleagues wedding - one of those family affairs where the women all wear mauve and are rather up-tight in their catholicism).

There's still time, though I suppose. One can only hope (that it never happens).

Thursday, 21 July 2005

Macho Macho Maaan

There's an imposing motorcycle cop who has a pitch outside Moorgate tube where he guards the city - his shift is about 6.00pm. He wears a big mustache and each time I see him he puts me in mind of those Tom of Finland pictures. Very British Village People.

Monday, 18 July 2005


Its been a bit of a disaster. The boyfiend lost his phone between my house and his house somewhere between 12.30am and 3.30am last night. He's convinced its at my house and we spent some 45 minutes looking for it at 3 in the morning. He couldn't find it. I couldn't find it. In the morning I was tired and consequently left my work case on the train on the way to work - my diary (all my appointments, some important numbers, annual leave card, picture of my mother and stuff), two notebooks - one for my MA, the other for work, and a book I was reading for my course, and work keys. All sailed away to Beckenham Junction. Southern trains said it might be a week before the warehouse at Victoria calls me (if they do at all). A week.

Friday, 15 July 2005

Giant African Snails

I had a friend who kept being given pets for birthday presents. There were goldfish who lived in a tank that became algae infested and slowly turned silver. And before that was the giant african snail. He was rather cute (I say he but really he was a bit of both), as long as he hadn't crawled on your newspaper or the table - BIG slime trail. He was also fond of nibbling her bills - she couldn't understand why her paperwork ended up with these weird holes in them for ages. She let him wander in the garden one day and he made a break for it and was never found. I like to think he met some up-for-it commonal garden snail and created a mutant Stoke Newington snail strain, but I fear the cold did for him.

Today in Peckham the butcher was selling two big baskets full of them. Not as cute as said cute pet, they had a darker foot but were equally up for it trying to get away. Its just a bit hard for them dragging that huge shell over the edge. Apparently they get made into a very strongly flavoured stew. I was half glad when they said stew - I was having horrible images of trying to get the cooked snail out of its shell with the picker thing that they give you when you're eating escargot. And it would be a bit of a chewy mouthful. Ugh.

Wednesday, 13 July 2005


I'm loving my city this balmy evening, bare legs not cold, night black with illuminations - blue Lloyds Building, green & blue on Nat West Tower, orangy gold reflected in the Thames. My mood enhanced with alcoholic lubrication and a mammouth bitching session with colleagues. Men in hats, particularly hats which are not caps but have brims and are worn pushed back on the head, or as part of a hawain shirt baggy jeans big chain and converse hi-top ensemble. And drunk love is in the air. Girls hanging off guys, snogging, glowing faces. Outside All Bar One in Finsbury Square an office girl sits astride a man slumped in a chair, her skirt ridden up in an undignified manner. Oh the hangover tomorrow. The man in front of me eats his dinner on the bus - tuna sandwich and crisps. Somehow the crips smell worse than the tuna.
French Polish

I've never really understood the whole french polish thing - I think its supposed to look natural - sort of au natural nails with perfect and lovely whites across the top. Just so. Very chic. Not at all gaudy.

But in reality I always think the white is too stark and doesn't quite manage to look nude enough. Worse still is the french polished toenail. A splash of colour to make something of toes in sandals yes but to bother with the hassle of french polishing, when the effect is sort of illuminous stark white toenail ends shouting out. Honestly I couldn't stop staring. And I don't think one's toes should steal one's show.

Monday, 11 July 2005

Monday's Life Class

Oh. My. God. The pain that is not having drawn for 3 months. Still having finished the lectures for the MA module for this term it feels good to go back and do something creative again. Gets better with practice (I keep reminding myself).

Top three = 5 min drawings. Bottom left - the first drawing of the night 15mins. Bottom right - last drawing of the night - 30mins.

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, 10 July 2005

Reclaiming the City

Set out on a trip into town today - wanted to feel the city under my feet and get comfortable with that feeling again. The 73 took me past the front of Kings Cross, sweeping us past the cordoned area which was filling up with deposited flowers for those who died deep down under the pavement, a crowd surrounded it, complete with film crews and plenty of police. Shortly after we went past the top end of Tavistock Place, a huge awning erected to seal off the crime scene. Again at the top of the street a small camp of reporters and film crews, looking like they'd been there for some while. Police tape across the other side of the Friend's Meeting House signalling quite a considerable area sealed off against intruders. Roads closed to traffic. Coming down Gower Street evidence of cordons as we passed SOAS and the other side of Fitzroy Square.

I met with HS in Starbucks and we sat for hours drinking tea and watching the people pass by the window in front of us. Seemed to be a lot of tourists. Plenty of buses, plenty of crowds coming home from Oxford Street. We strolled across to Neal Street where the shopping was continuing apace. Eventually ending up eating pasta opposite the Opera House, drinking wine and soaking up the city. Watching the weird and wonderful arrive for some kind of do at the Theatre Museum (feathered hats, shoes only practical for standing in, white suits, naval officer uniforms, top hat), the audience arrive to the opera house (floral dresses with layered skirts, silk and satin), several hen parties stagger past. By the time we caught a 341 home again we were at one with the city again.

Friday, 8 July 2005

The Aftermath

I am bound to my fellow londoners caught up in the collective, not grief exactly, emotion, perhaps grit.

I feel distraught for those who lost their lives and for their families and friends. I am proud of those who helped, either because they rushed in, or because they were there when it happened. Our collective spirit is strong. I hope those in trauma can at some point overcome their fears and find peace again.

I'm not sure I'm at one with the 'they will not change us' blitz mentality at the moment. I feel fragile - largely because I didn't realise the danger we could be in, I was in the vicinity of the blasts, caught up in the evacuation but not in any actual danger ever. I only got scared when I got to work and saw what was happening on the news.

We've had the fear before, we've been a target on and off for years and we've had big blasts before. I think I had just forgotten that the danger was real. Today the danger feels real. And I'm going to stop watching the news now.

Thursday, 7 July 2005

Getting Home

If I had known this morning I would have gone home from Kings Cross, wasn't until I got to work that I realised the full horror of what had occured. The way home was weird - got a train to London Bridge easily, from there the best advice was walk. People at London Bridge station were studying the departures closely, London Bridge itself was spookily empty of traffic for rush hour, just swarming with pedestrians. I tramped along in the sunshine. Eventually 141s started passing me on their way to London Bridge. I strolled past Moorgate, Old Street, Gainsborough Studio Apartments. Stopped for a coke at the Rosemary Branch. Pissed off the barmaid because I asked for some crisps after she'd rung up the coke - she threw them onto the bar at me (wish I'd told her there's no need for that, but I didn't). Then strolled onto Newington Green, where the buses seemed to be more boardable. Caught a bus from there to home. My ex-boyfriend got on the bus at Manor House and I wasn't able to get out of having one those conversations which are dutifully polite (hows your parents, sister had a baby, how did you get here, blah blah). Still I don't have to go in tomorrow.
Living the Travel Chaos

My house to Finsbury Park - all Moorgate trains stopping at Drayton Park. We all decant. Moorgate has either a. a defective train or b. power failure. Jump on a train to Kings Cross in order to catch the Northern Line. As we walk along the platform some german bloke is saying into his phone, "they're practicing for the olympics, and I'm going to be late", I have an overwhelming urge to deck him. The whole of Kings Cross is being evacuated it transpires when I get to the front of the station. Fire engines, ambulances, police. Masses and masses of people, all on the phone to their workplaces, some hanging outside McDonalds watching the TV through the window, surging in different directions - some towards Thameslink, some towards Euston, confused tourists with luggage standing inbetween.

I call the boyfiend. He says theres been an explosion at Liverpool Street - according to the shopkeeper he is buying a newspaper from at the time.

Rumours abound: 2 trains collided at Liverpool Street causing a power surge that has knocked out the whole underground network; behind me a woman on the phone tells a colleague that someone in the crush outside Kings Cross told her they saw people covered in soot coming out of the station; the network won't be working by tonight even; another woman is being told that their friend was behind a bus which exploded, dead people all over the place.

Crowds of commuters watch breaking news on TV screens in a hotel behind Kings Cross. People everywhere. Walking. Telephone network is busy and I can't make any more calls. Our determination to get to work urges us on - I'm on a bus watching whats happening out the window below me. It flashes past my minds eye that crossing town everyday to work is not great for my personal safety. A cop car flashes past going towards Kings Cross. Shortly after that another one flashes past going the other way.

The man sitting next to me is letting his leg lean heavily against me - my awareness of this grows stronger and starts to upset me the more I think about the chaos playing out beneath me. I'm feeling trapped against the window in my seat. I excuse myself and sit somewhere else.

An emergency response unit is parked outside Cannon Street. Still the crowds continue.

At Elephant and Castle the sign outside the station says - underground network closed due to security situation.

When I get to work someone else tells me their friend said a bus exploded at Russell Square.

Its all chaos. Nobody really knows anything.

BBC news - several injured in London Blasts
The Guardian - many hurt as blasts rock London
Ananova - Explosions reported on three buses
My Ace Life
Viper Squad Ten
aprosexic - see 7 July 2005 (can't figure out how to trackback)
Little Red Boat
Mad Musings
Bomb Blast Plunges London into Chaos - Guardian newsblog at G8
Met police advice
London Underground Blog (be patient can take some time to load)
More a way of life
Sky News timeline
Pfff: a response to anything negative
My Thoughts Exactly

Here's hoping that all those of you who live, work and travel through London are safe today. Harriet xx

NOTE: the comments are misbehaving - I can't see them in the box but I can read them in my haloscan account - I have raised it, but don't know when they will deal with it.

Wednesday, 6 July 2005

London Gets the Olympics 2012

I wasn't expecting to feel like this but I'm actually excited by the prospect of the Olympics being in London. We watched them religiously as a family when I was younger but haven't followed them so carefully since they split up the winter and summer games. I want tickets!

Sunday, 3 July 2005

Street Drinking

On a bench by a scrawny neighbourhood tree with a discarded pizza box to one side, drinking a can of speical brew through a straw.

Saturday, 2 July 2005


The market traders in Berwick Street are complaining they haven't seen it this deserted in ages, inbetween their "pand a strawberries comon...pand a bowl, pand a bowl, any bowl ya like" shouts.

"Its gay day," one says as an explanation.
"And live aid with that Bob Geldof," adds another.