Monday, 29 July 2013

Strict Undergarments

I found myself in Harmony looking at corsets. Helped by a lovely oriental assistant to actually get into them. We started with a purple one I picked off the shelf - lovely colour. She pulled it tight in the middle. Just about able to breathe. And then laced it up and down. And then went for a second tightening. Breathing was optional I decided. I can see why ladies used to faint. I can also see how you might get hooked on the constriction - it makes you 100% aware of your body (posture, movement, breathing and shape). We decided it didn't fit on the bust. All the squeezing meant it barely covered it. 

We tried a black one next. Much better fit, if a less exciting colour. In between she decided I had to get rid of the bra I was wearing cos it did nothing for me. And I felt I had to listen - this was a lady who looked and sounded like she would take no shit. And then she wanted to take pictures to show my boyfriend, who she believed would love it (despite the fact she knew nothing of him). Her direction was strict - look sultry, don't smile, be confident, don't do your arm like that. And she hated the iPhone camera. 

There's something special about underwear sales assistants. Very complementary but honest if that makes any sense. Not afraid to burst in and make themselves known. 

I always thought I ought to have been born a Victorian! 

Friday, 26 July 2013

Through the Wardrobe

From Rye Lane, Peckham, we drove up through the multi-storey car park and then walked through the iron gates into a display of installation and sculpture accompanied by a warm up for the London Contemporary Music Festival by a choir with their faces painted white.

Finally out onto the top floor to find Frank's cafe and cocktails. Blue sky and sparkling. A haven with a full panoramic view at the top of Peckham. Full of Shoreditch types. Drinking cocktails that were pre-made. Joined an empty queue and was helpfully told I had gone the wrong way (lots of rules in this transplanted Hoxton). The waitresses wore hot pants with their bum cheeks hanging out. And we started off sharing a table with a couple of fluorescent haired tattooed pierced suburbanites. We eventually had to move from their inane gossip. 

Weird and otherworldly. Most unlike what you expect to find on top of a car park. 

A baby seagull had taken a dive from the nest but could launch himself back into the air. He was all long legs and mottled fluffy feathers. His mum dive bombed the drinkers but they mostly didn't notice her or the baby seagull. 

In the corner someone hemmed the trouser leg of one of the choir members. 

And then we went home descending through the floors back out into the reality of Peckham. 


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Cafe Viva

Intense young woman and her apple notebook rubs the shoulder of her friend vigorously. The friend is dressed in the style of a land girl from the forties and is bent over her iPhone texting and rolling a cigarette with liquorice papers. When she finishes, she gets up and leaves, pecking the intense girl on the cheek on the way out. The man sitting next to me has slicked back hair and a moustache that curls at both ends. Head from the 1930s, dressed like a grungy festival hippy. The weather has cooled. They are digging up the street outside and a dustbin lorry goes past stinking. Intense girl turns the volume up on her phonecall to be heard. We all hear. 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Singular of Sheep

At an artists studio someone said (while looking at a wicker sculpture of a sheep) why isn't there a singular of sheep. I said it could follow the pattern of teeth and tooth - a singular of sheep could be shoop. But why don't we have a singular of sheep, someone asked. Maybe I thought because sheep don't normally come in ones. They come in flocks. 

Friday, 5 July 2013

Ly-cester Square

I'm waiting for my companions for the evening. Leicester Square. Being renovated has a mirrored awning around the fountain which reflects back the passing throng of tourists which this area now almost exclusively attracts. More foreign languages spoken here than English. Could be on holiday. 

It's warm. People are strewn over the grass like they've been here all day. The evening sun is waning slowly. On the opposite corner the police arrest and take away a seemingly compliant tramp who looked like he was about to pitch a tent. 

Mostly people are eating burgers and fries and eating pig fat ice creams despite the fact there is a Haggan Das shop on one side and a Ben and Jerry's on the other. 

It's stretched into a long 20 minutes. Possibly double. Still waiting.