Wednesday, 28 January 2009

After work

Long day at work. On the bus at 9.45pm couldn't face going home and cooking. Dropped into Pizza Express instead. Table for one. Got my book out to while away the time between the order and arrival of the food. The waitress chatted about books. She suggested reading Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres, encouraging me to get through the first 2/3 chapters (boring bits of history apparently). She was studenty and excitable. Not sure if she just didn't want me to feel lonely. It was nice. She forgot to add my water (bottled) to the bill of £5.75, so I gave her a £2 tip. I hoped she didn't get into trouble with her boss for talking too much. A French woman was talking too loudly to her boyfriend. As the customers thinned out, the background hubbub died down, she became more instrusive.

I sat behind a man whose hair was purposefully greasy. It stank. When he got off I almost expected him to be a tramp but he wasn't - a respectable wool coat, nice jeans, sweater and shirt.

We can't call a tramp a tramp anymore in our PC work world (we need to be inclusive rather than judgemental and derogative). But in writing it down I wonder if it evokes the same imagery if we say homeless person. Homeless people makes me think of body shapes sleeping in doorways in damp sleeping bags on flattened cardboard boxes. Tramp seems to be more characterful. Or something.

A man comes out of the chicken shop and hands the plastic bag carrying his box of chicken and chips into the mouth of his black labrador. The labrador takes the bag obentiently, doesn't tuck into the box or anything, just holds it off the ground and jogs along side his owner. Eager to please, dogs are.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Journey Home

In the dark of the early evening in a bus winging its way northwards. The streets are bathed in the particular light pools that streetlamps provide. Away from the crowds of Oxford Street, past the eastern end where all the businesses are boarded up. Past the shops closing up for the evening, security staff guarding the doors as the last customer purchases are rung through the tills. Past the large darkened buildings on Euston Road - municiple Camden Council Buildings, closed offices. Occassionally a pub emitting yellowy light from windows, a couple of the clientele standing outside smoking. Into the bright shabbiness of Kings Cross (still the south side of Euston Road remains largely untouched by the regeneration) - all illuminated fast food joints.

An elderly man walks purposesfully, while keeping steadfastly to the shop-edge of the pavement. He holds his over-large suit jacket close around him. He has no trousers or socks though.

Crawling up Pentoville Road. Roadworks at the top of the hill hold us up. Trees are bare - upper branches in the dark above the streetlight.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Pigeon Man

On the tube, standing, crowded between people. He kept looking all around, persistently changing where his eyes were directed. Head back, nose forward, peeking out from almost closed eyelids. Couldn't decide whether he was really tired or wearing varifocals and only looking out of the bottom third of his glasses.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009


Elephant and Castle, Northern Line exit, 10.00am. Crowd of students waiting to get up to street level. Noticeable by their youthful trendiness (skinny jeans, day glo, big hair, stripey socks, all stars or ugg boots), or their europeanesse. I suspect they are traipsing over to the London College of Communication fashion or graphics departments. I followed a person up to the lifts wearing a moth eaten red fox fur coat, and a forties hair do complete with hairnet (front part of the hair wavy around the face, back part of the hair in the net). As I passed her by she changed from an elderly eccentric trapped in her youth, to a youth, clearly flowing against the tide at college and choosing an altogether different style. I did wonder if it was granny's coat.

Friday, 16 January 2009


Browsing the cheap DVDs at the supermarket I came across Fame. I loved it when I was a kid. It was exciting, dramatic, different to my boring school life. So I came home and put it on the and lo! but here was Dr Romano from ER when he was a very young with lots of hair. Still like the movie. Probably because its a part of my youth history, rather than it being a terrifically good film.

Its got the excitement of self discovery as you grow into what you want to do, the pain, loneliness, waiting for things to happen, wild life to find you or you to find it, and then it occasionally does. Then there was the Rocky Horror Picture Show scene with Tim Curry watching in his Frank N Furter costume, and an audience full of goths all dressed up reciting the words.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Last season

Oh my god - they killed Pratt! I'm distraught. Awful first episode of the last ever season of ER...

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

The Perils of Long Hair

I have long curly hair. Well I say long, actually, if we're splitting hairs its actually mid-length. I don't brush it because if I do it gets fuzzy and fly-away. Much better to wash it regularly and condition the knots out of it. The bad thing is that I molt quite badly in the bath.

The boyfiend popped in the bath water after me the other day. After a while he called me to come and look at something. When I got there he demonstrated some very impressive penis puppetry using a string of hair that had become wrapped around the end. He wasn't amused. I tried not to laugh. Honestly. But it is hard to take someone seriously when they are naked, floating in the bath and performing tricks with their willy (even if those are not really intentional but intended to demonstrate how awful it is to have to bathe with all the loose hairs).

Thursday, 1 January 2009

New Year Fireworks 2009

Happy New Year!

"I've got to hold on", he said taking a large handful of her satin-encased bottom. She shaped her very-red lips into a mock oo and carried on chatting to her friend, reaching out and adjusting the feather in her hair. A jolly time. Squeezed into the 243 winging its way towards town. The bus driver was very fond of his message buttons, particularly the please do not stand on the upper deck or stairs, which he replayed over and over until the offending passengers realised that meant them.

All the cool kids were going to Old Street - different cliques dressed in their own style. Passing old haunts and wishing I was actually going to one of them. It gave me a twinge of feeling old before my time. Urge to go clubbing, dancing all night, meeting new people. Instead I had the brilliant idea to go and watch the fireworks on the Thames. Arranged to meet the boyfiend at Waterloo, bus chucked us off at Holborn, walked down Kingsway, cut off at the bridge (shut for crowds) and headed off towards Blackfriars.

Finally made it to that bridge along with thousands of others (for a while it felt like going to the most massive flashmob) and by midnight was crushed on a pathway that was still attempting to move despite there being no where to go, when the fireworks started and were out of sight around the corner of a building. One drunk group opened their beers after shaking them up - spraying everywhere. Another youth was telling his mate that if anyone else shoved him he was going to elbow them in the face. I decided to leave.

The boyfiend was chucked off his train at Charing Cross and didn't make it to the fireworks either. Heading back home we stopped in a pub that had hired the typical crap-wedding DJ and was playing a Bucks Fizz track - we didn't stay. Waiting at the bus stop there was a third floor flat holding a party playing music off the balcony, occassionally someone would lean out the window and shout Happy New Year! This, it turned out, was the best our new year party would get!

So anyway, wishing you all the best for the new year. Happy 2009!