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Showing posts from 2003
I surprised myself too

Well in the end it was an adventure leaving work for the last time (especially after noting on the JAL website that the flight was landing in ten minutes).

Marc breezed through customs and was already waiting by the time I got to Heathrow Terminal Three.

He just looked at me and laughed and various airport meetup scenes from movies of past ensued.

Apparently he figured something was up when nobody emailed him back after his emails from Osaka. Darn forgot that. So much for the great cunning plan. But hey it didn't matter...

So now I am going to bid farwell to my trusty bloggersite. I am leaving paulinlondon.blogspot.com and now you will be able to see my continuing adventures at Paul and Marc in London...

Over and out...
Aha! The counter-surprise operation is still in full swing...

I thought after yesterday's posting the game might be up but then I got this email this morning...

Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 18:40:26 -0800 (PST)
From: "Marc"
Subject: is something brewing????
To: "Paul"

Hey there pauley.... sorry I haven't called or emailed in the last 24... hope you haven't been worried too much. All is well....... Lets just say that there is a little surprise coming your way....you won't know when and how it is going to hit you but I think you'll get a kick out oif it!!!

Love you lots pauley and will talk again real soon


M

Well really, it is all good. We will be back together in less than four hours... not that I am counting down. JAL reports the flight is 20 minutes ahead of time as well... Will Paul make it to the airport in time? Will Marc breeze through immigration and be left waiting for Paul to show up? I have decided not to arrive in disguise given t…
Outplotting the plotter or the plotting and planning in London...

Ok lets talk about Marc. After working out he was arriving this FRIDAY and not MONDAY I have been plotting a suitable counter-surprise... Here's what I emailed Skye earlier this week...

Subject: ok here's the plan...
To: "Skye"
From: Paul
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2003 13:51:41 +0000

Skye,

At 11pm tonight Marc will be in the air... he may try and call you... lets pretend that all is still going to be as he planned... I am assuming that he will try and contact you in Japan either by phone or email so as possible talking points....

* If he starts to waver about the surprise thing then say no you have all set it up and that I seem to be getting over my cold. I informed him that I am getting over my cold just now so he will be aware of that...

* Tell him that you talked him into having my farewell work drinks near West Hampstead at (insert name) bar since it isn't that far from work anyway (he won't …
What the punters have emailed me about Finchley Road...

Oh the humanity! Been very busy the last two days setting up the new place...

Compared to other parts of London (ie Haringey) it was a no-brainer moving to this part of London, and this is what a colleague (an Australian from Melbourne) said:

Finchley road is a really nice spot... close to city, a bit posh without being over the top, great transport links, o2 centre is good (this is the large shopping centre with multiplex cinema and gym), close to hampstead heath/regents park/etc, and quite safe...

It was exactly what I was thinking... Of course the downside is that it is a busy road and the studio is much smaller than where I was... But I do have double glazed windows and the street isn't strewn with litter and scummy vegetables from the 24-hour fruit and vegetable stores.

More on Haringey

Speaking of 24-hour vegetable stores, who is going to go out at 3am and buy mouldy vegetables from one of these stores on Green Lanes? …
Hmmm
The end of the week and not much to report...
Except that for tomorrow I try to start moving to finchley Road...
I get the feeling that the next week will be very interesting as I finish up in my old (two month) job...
Right now I am in Soho making use of the free Wifi access!
A grey area...

Today I spent a good deal of the day setting up my private company for my new job. If you work through an agency on a temporary basis you can do this and not have to pay PAYE tax. When you work in government and know where your 27% of your earnings goes, it makes for an even more sensible idea...

There are loads of companys that advertise on the Aus/NZ/SA TNT magazine to do this. It is a little bit of a grey area in tax law but well worth the effort in doing so. After my 8am meeting to set this up and then a 3pm bank appointment, I could do with an early night! Zzzz
Guy Fawkes Night

Well as I am working back in the office reading emails and the news (and updating the blog), I can see fireworks out of every office window. All good fun and much more fun than the rocket that went off after 1am in my neighbourhood. Meanwhile The Times released new data on "what if" Guy Fawkes succeeded in blowing up Parliament? The answer is that he would have destroyed the whole Whitehall area.

Work

Working on the South Bank gives you spectacular views of the city, and is handy for Tate Modern and the National, but isn’t so great for doing most of the daily routine things like shopping, eateries etc...

Actually the area is underdeveloped... The nearby Oxo Tower is a bit of a white elephant and some substantial reworking of the area needs to happen before the area becomes popular... Part of the problem is that it is just too far away from the major walking bridges (the Golden Jubilee Bridge near the London Eye and the formerly wobbly Millennium Bridge ne…
Aa-choo

Last night on the tube home. A large man sits down next to another man opposite me on the Circle Line. Not all these seats have arm rests so I think it was an issue of personal space that made the man who was sitting down get up. It was a wise move. Next the large man lets fly some really wet sneezes. He sort of covers his nose but he sort of doesn't. I register my discomfort in my scrawled up face. Other passengers concur. He lets another one rip. Achooooooooooooo. I am just imagining the fine particles of mucus now flying around as we pass between Blackfriars and Temple tube stops. So THIS is how you catch a cold in London.

So much for the bang...

It turns out Londoners aren't so easy going about these late night fireworks. The Guardian reports that the Government is set to introduce 11pm curfews on fireworks and stop children from carrying them in the street. There are too many louts about afterall.

Wildcat postal strikes

It started over some dead rottin…
Bang, crash etc...

Guy Fawkes night isn't so much of a night anymore but it is a season. Especially since November 5 is a Wednesday, and due to the fact that an Indian / Asian festival event also falls around this time, the nights over the past few weeks have been full of bangs and pops. Walking home from my bus stop at Haringey the other night I heard an explosion. As I looked I saw the tell-tale cloud of smoke from yet another banger gone off. Since the UK isn't a nanny-state like Australia all that seems fine and dandy with the punters. People are free to blow whatever they like up... Of course there are also the official bangs and pops on the usual river barges and parks sponsored by insert name of company or local government borough. But the odd banger on the street is much more interesting... even if it is at 3am

Tube glorious tube

One of the nicest things about working where I am (well for the next two weeks now) is the nearest station. Public works here in Londo…
All I want is a room somewhere...
Well a room
* Within zones 1 and 2
* Wooden floors
* Washing machine
* Own bathroom
* Walking distance with the tube and near night busses
* For around £170 p.w including as many bills as I can get away with fitting in within that tight budget.
* In a decent neighbourhood
These are the things that you come to realise are the priorities of life in London. Well failing that there is always the streets... I can say: Welcome to London I live very central. Its Oxford Circus tube exit six. Bring your own cup.

Addios IDS (as The Sun reported)
It had to happen. The Conservatives have dumped Iain Duncan Smith. It was a necessary business as the only time IDS ever made headlines since I arrived was when his leadership was in question. Michael Howard is poised to take over and will be the first Jewish leader of any major party (well one who hasn't been baptised)...

Uxbridge
Didn't make it to Pinewood Studios last night as we couldn't get a cab to…
A difference of a few days

Since my last update I have done the following:
* See three one-act musicals
* Get offered a new job and accept it
* Look at a place at the fabulous location of Belsize Park.

So a lot has happened. One of the pluses of where the office has moved to is that it is practically just across the river from The Bridewell Theatre. It is fringe theatre but nowadays since what passes for shows on the West End have become so bland fringe theatre seems so darn entertaining. Last night's show was "Notes Across a Small Pond" - the pond being the Atlantic and the notes being 3 short musicals from writers from both sides of it.

Settling down to the first musical called "Blood Drive" it was a pointless but watchable musical about a guy giving blood. The second musical called "The Happiness of Fish" was a perplexing tale about a woman with insomnia who feels better after dreaming about goldfish. At this point there was an intermission. I…
Teething troubles

Moving into the new office with sweeping views of the City and on the river Thames has come at a price. Apart from being away from colleagues I worked with at Elephant & Castle (as only half the office could move), I have found the following:
* The building is a bit mid-eighties-hotel-chic. Maybe it is because of its height (11 storeys). Or maybe because it was built in the eighties. But whatever the reason it has the look and feel of a hotel with its brass fittings and pale marble floors. The cleaning products used even give it that hotel smell... There is a restaurant on the second floor with a great view of the Thames and a dodgy gym in the basement which also adds to the hotel feel about the place.
* There is no Flavia coffee machine. Ok so the coffee wasn't that great, but there was a roast that was the equivalent of a Robert Timms coffee bag that I used once back home so that was enough to get me going in the morning and it was enough to restart …
Okay, the last update was a bit angry. You know you're in trouble when you read that you put the words "modernity" and "shit-hole" in the same sentence. Next thing you find out that your housemates are having second thoughts about wanting you to leave... But more on that later in the week...

Concorde

Three Concordes flew past Elephant and Castle on Friday. It was a moment when I wished I had my camera. Not just to capture the planes as they flew past as we had a fabulous view of them from our office, but to capture the madness and the phenomenon they inspired. As each one flew by people stopped what they were doing and ran to the windows. As we could see them circle the entire city we had a great vantage point from every side of the building so people ran to every side. Of course I joined in (not one to miss a phenomenon even in Elephant and Castle).

I was probably a little bit light hearted about it after the great Italian lunch we had nearby. My collea…
The Necessary Business

I am a little bit tipsy as I write this update thanks to the UK taxpayer and some farewell drinks as the office moves (I see it as a small rebate for the huge amount of tax the government takes from you here)...

Anyway last night I had the discussion with my housemates that I was avoiding all week. It was the I won't be alone in a few weeks and I need to know if I should be moving out conversation. And yes I will have to move out.

It was a polite sit down conversation over supper... but one that I had to have as I need to give four weeks notice and it is now less than four weeks.

I have mixed views about leaving beautiful Haringey. Well lets face it the neighborhood is a shit hole because it is full of Turks and illegal immigrants who have no concept of modernity. They haven't built a community in this neighbourhood as so much as replicate a middle-eastern slum. On the other hand, Soho is only twenty minutes on the tube...

There are plusses and …
I have seen more radio shows than heard now

Last night I went to a taping of Concrete Cow. It is a mild-mannered sketch show which was funny at times too. Had one of the actors from the odd C4 comedy Peep Show (the actor on the right).

Leaving E&C

Only two more days left at Elephant & Castle before we move to more sophistimicated south bank space. This week there have been lots of explosions going off as the local children play with fireworks (well this is Southwark, and Guy Fawkes night is coming up). Today one of them went off a little too close to the shopping centre creating a small-scale emergency response by police and fire services... possibly because one of the shoppers thought we were under terrorist attack. But it wasn't rabid muslims, only silly Jamaicans. It was over before it began however, but the fireworks have been a fitting final week finale I would have to say...

Incidentally this is one of the views from the the office that I will be giving up...

O…
Things the guidbooks should tell you to take while riding the tube:

* Torch. You never know when the power is going to go out and you are stuck somewhere dark and unpleasant.
* Water. Not just for drinking but washing off all that tube dust when you get stuck in a tunnel and have to walk out.
* Steel capped boots. So the mutant mice dont bite your feet while you are walking in the tunnel back to the station.
* Crash helmet. No trains have derailed today but they seem to be happening every second day of late...
* Padded clothing. You may be secure in your position but Betty next to you might be too engrossed in some tawdry magazine to be holding on to the handrails.

The Northern Line has been out of action in Central London for today while they figure out how to get the train out of Camden Town station... Lets hope it doesn't take them too long to figure that one out...

Squidgy knew she would get squashed is the fun news of the day... The Daily Mirror (not known for delivering …
Bar Bitches

This weekend I decided not to go on an out-of-town excursion as enough excitement had happened in the week to deserve a jolly good sleep in.

I did go to a funky bar at Balham (gateway to the south some may recall Peter Sellers once saying). It is zone three south London on the Northern Line - aka a bloody long way to go for a bar!

What was I doing in Balham? Well it was for Helen's birthday. Helen grew up with Skye so that's the connection. Anyway I was due to meet Skye early at the place but tube delays meant I was a little late. Well over an hour late. There was a line up to get inside this bar that was probably the most sophistimicated bar in Balham. It was quite funky once you got over the fact that it was located outside a Sainsbury's car park.

So I had to enjoy the October London night air. London in October is quite refreshing.

Twenty minutes later and still standing in line to get into a bar however the novelty begins to wear off and you start…
Obsessions...

Recycling is not really a priority in this country. London has seven more years of landfill so that should be plenty of time to come up with a sensible solution. On train rides out of London you can spot the transfer stations by where the flocks of pigeons and seagulls are. Everything is packaged and sealed from sandwiches to cakes to three peppers (that's capsicums to you back home) red yellow and green that you can buy at the supermarket (Actually that is very of them to do that... the traffic light peppers are such a lure I almost bought a packet once even though I only wanted one).

So I figure to hell with recycling. But there are two recycling bins near me however so I try to use them. But there is this strange thing that a colleague has... He insists that the staples get removed. He stressed to me a week after starting work that you must remove the staples from the paper. I had visions of staples flying out wounding helpless paper recyclers or some other …
Actors of no importance

I wasn't planning on going to see an Oscar Wilde play tonight. Skye made me do it. Well Skye and her friend in town for just a few more days and wanting to catch some shows on the West End. But how could one turn down the chance to see the play "A Woman of No Importance" at the Theatre Royal Haymarket (which is where it premiered 110 years ago)?

The cast was Rupert Graves, Prunella Scales, Samantha "You always were a cunning linguist James" Bond and Joanne Pearce. But the real star was Oscar Wilde. In the end who cares about the actors and their rather young lookng photographs in the programmes that don't quite look like who they are on stage? Actors come and go - and some like Graves and Scales even drop a few lines under the table - but Wildes sharp observations of his time will remain.

Afterwards Skye commented that it was the best show she had seen here and that was because I hadn't picked it. Well if I had it would hav…
Sunday shopping

Spent Sunday browsing for coats, gloves and jackets. There is too much choice. Couldn't decide on anything. Explained my dilemma to Skye over Japanese at OSatsuma. We then had coffee in Soho and was up until 1am because of it.

So that's why everyone was at the pub... the telecast of England v Turkey drew the highest ratings ever apparently...


Tonight A play by Oscar Wilde...
Mahler in the Cathedral

Another Saturday rolls by and I had no idea what to do with it, except to catch up on lost sleep from during the week. So I decided to head to one of the train stations and catch a train somewhere.

The somewhere became Canterbury. It seemed like it was going to take forever to get there, but eventually I arrived, and not finding any maps for £1 at the station, I just walked to where the town centre looked most likely to be... Well the huge cathedral helped guide the way too.

I had just enough time to browse through the Cathedral and hear a bit of the Evensong service and then I noticed that tonight maked the start of the Canterbury festival. The opening night concert was at the cathedral and it was Mahler's 3rd Symphony.

After browsing through the rest of the town I made my way back to the cathedral for the concert. I figured it would be a great way to hear Mahler's 3rd for the first time. I managed to grab a cheap seat at the side which had gr…
Steppin' out...

This morning I nearly stepped in it. Walking the subways to work from E&C tube station, there was a fresh pile of crap. It was everywhere. I assumed it was a not-so little calling card from one of the local hobos. Ah one of the problems of not having public lavatories.

As I was arriving at work earlier than usual the street cleaners had not yet had time to deal with it. I thought it would be an opportune time to talk about my experiences to date with hobos.
* I have avoided engagement with hobos. Its a parasitic profession. Most people would view it as hard enough to earn enough to get by in this city without giving it away.
* Yesterday at London Bridge station one was reading a Tom Clancy novel while holding out an old Starbucks cup.
* If you get out your wallet for someone in the street who asks you for some spare change don't be surprised if they mug you.

If The Sun won't support you and your conservative... who will?? IDS's speech last nig…
Things about interviews
* They are a great way to see parts of London you wouldn't think of travelling to (Enfield yesterday, today it was Lewisham)
* They offered me the job from yesterday even though I told them in a roundabout way I was lousy for the job (hey honesty must count, or maybe I was too roundabout)
* I am still happy where I am for now...


BBC Radio 4

After hearing a few weeks ago that you could apply online to get tix to BBC shows - and they were free - I spent an evening applying for anything and everything. My efforts paid off and in the mail I got tix to a recording tonight of The Now Show. It was at the Drill Hall where I had been to see the True or Falsetto show a few weeks back. Not having listened to much radio in the nine weeks I have been here now I had no idea what it was about. So tonight I discovered:
* It is a comedy show based on current affairs / current events similar to the "Good News Week"
* BBC Radio 4 is for slightly-liberal middle-cla…
Hey Enfield isn't that bad!

This evening I had an interview out at Enfield, which despite the drab website, is a pretty picturesque part of London. It is quite a civilised part of town with just enough urban funk thrown in if you want to still keep gettin' jiggy with it. Such a pity you need to take the overlander and a packed lunch to get there (especially if you are coming from Elephant and Castle) but never mind. Oh and the job is not for me. Too much number nerding...

Something to put on a happy face...

A run of Bye Bye Birdie has been playing at the South West End so last night I caught it. The theatre was upstairs from a pub and was quite low maintenance but as I paid only £5 to see it, I tried not to complain too much (or move) on the wooden bench I had to sit on to see the show.

While my glutes were going numb, I managed to be quite impressed with the calibre of talent. It was a professional production. And they did their best with rather dated material.
Tube adventures

I was late getting to Wagamama's last night. There were this cute elderly couple who got on the tube at Lambeth North and there were no two seats together available. I thought it was a shame to break up such a cute couple all dressed up in their smart coats and scarves (and the rest), so I did the very untube-like thing of getting up and offering my seat. The man kicked up a fuss so I said, "No it is no trouble, I'm getting off the next stop". Well I wasn't planning to, but I could change at Waterloo for the Northern Line to take me to Leicester Square. It was a good way to end the debate before it began. Anyway the woman was happy and the man thought that made sense so they let me stand (as by the time this conversation finished there were no seats at all free).

Well I get off at Waterloo and sombody was under a train somewhere on the line so there were huge delays.

So what is the moral of the story? I have no idea. It just amused me at…
We interrupt our regular broadcast...

The events of the past 24 hours have made me wonder if David Blaine isn't the only person in the world interested in self torture. Just letting everyone know I'm all ok...

Off to go to Wagamama for theraputic reasonably-priced Japanese food with Skye tonight in clean minimalist surroundings to put the mind at ease. Hommmmmmmm
1066 and all that

Hastings was an interesting afternoon adventure. I forgot about all that 1066 business but was reminded about it when I got there. The town itself has seen better days. It seems to be a relic of tourist salad days long gone. Now it seems to be over-populated by post-pubescent teens with a penchant for breeding as there isn't much else to do. It is a bit of a pity given the history of the place.

I took a cable lift up to East Hill and went for a walk around the Hastings reserve. It struck me as very quiet. There were people about but it still was strangely quiet. The park scene with low bushes reminded me of the film Blow Up. I was expecting a flustered Redgrave to run into me while I was photographing badger holes (well that's what I hoped they were) and other things and then to find a body. It didn't happen. Just an active immagination.

Walking through Hastings and then to St Leonards along the seafront was great for some fresh air (and to no…
Tits and Press

My CD walkman was playing up this week after spilling water on it last Friday. So yesterday I grabbed The Sun to read on the tube. It isn't a real paper, but it was tabloid size and I thought that would be easier to manage while riding the tube during peak hour. After boarding at Manor House I opened to page three and there staring at me were the two biggest tits in full colour newsprint I had ever seen. People on the tube love to read over your shoulder if they don't have anything so I was well aware these humungous knockers were on full display to everyone. But then I realised it was okay. I was in England. If there is one thing that the punters love here it is Tits... Well tits and poo-poo jokes... I pulled myself together and just turned to the next page which had a full page photo of a dead dog that somebody weighed down and threw into a river and continued my quality read. The Sun is a little at the extreme end of the press but there you can learn …
Lets talk about Sangria

I forgot to mention that on Friday I had my first encounter with Sangria. It is a special treat that one of my housemates makes and I had never heard of it. Being a Cadbury drinker at the best of times after three glasses there was much merriment. I contributed to the evening by making my usual pizzas but the educational experience of the night would have to go to Sangria. It was quite a bit of all right. And it must have been all the goodness of the fruit that prevented a hangover the next day.

Brisbane boys are everywhere

Last night Dr T was in town and I caught up with him for a bite to eat and a drink. We naturally went to Soho for eats. After not being smart enough to find the Soho Wagamama we settled for the Soho OSatsuma which is where I went with Yvette a few Friday's before. Sensibe Japanese was consumed on communal tables just around the corner from Old Compton St.

Afterwards Dr T was keen for me to show him the bars. I felt a bit embarrass…
Evensong at Kings College

Well it was Saturday afternoon, I didn't fancy going to the latest anti-war demonstration in Hyde Park (given the demographics of my area it was a popular option), so I hopped on a train to Cambridge and caught the evensong service at Kings College at 5.30. It was good way to see the Chapel and the choir.

Afterwards I took a leisurely walk around Cambridge and wandered through various bookshops. I stopped by the Town and Gown pub - a gay friendly pub (according to Spartacus) - but it didn't look that friendly so I just moved on for coffee at the local Cafe Nero. Of all the chains of coffee houses here, I think I like this one the best. Their coffee isn't too bad and I can usually find a free wi-fi hotspot for my pocket pc nearby so that does me. Anyway I got home by 10pm and managed to catch Blow Out on BBC1 before falling asleep!

Regression

While I have been here, every now and then I find myself doing something that I haven't done in year…
A place where elephants go to die

A recent poll taken claimed Elephant and Castle shopping centre to be the second ugliest building in London! The ugliest? The Barbican!

Of course with E&C to be redeveloped and the shopping centre to be demolished there is hope for this neighbourhood (pity about the Barbican)!
Some goings on about town worth writing home about (or not)!

La

At £20 ($A50) for a CD album I have decided that if I want to purchase music I will be doing it from amazon.com. But I couldn't resist at HMV on Oxford St the newly remastered and expanded Original Broadway Cast recording of "Nine" for £10. Besides, I need more new music to listen to on the 40-50 minutes it takes in the bus and tube to get from door to door. Not that one needs an excuse to listen to show tunes (although some may disagree), but they are mentally stimulating enough to listen to while in transit!

Super

(Supermarket Chain) Tescos are apparently hiring more staff for the Christmas season ... But what about now? It takes about 15 minutes to buy lunch.

Slower

The much anticipated postal strike looks set to happen in London. But will anyone notice the difference? Royal Mail appears to be a place that employs the unemployable, which is all fine and good for noble social reasons, but if you have…
Chill...

Hmm the weather has dropped a little in temperature for the first time in nearly seven weeks that I have been here!

Meanwhile... the papers are fascinated with Alistair Campbell's full and frank account of spin in Downing St. Such a pity the inquiry forced him to reveal it... would have made smashing reading in a book years later when no harm could have been done!

Celebrities...

On Saturday night Skye pointed out the black female cop from the Bill walking towards us in Covent Garden. She tells me it doesn't count as a celebrity spotting for me since I didn't know who the hell she was. I have on the other hand walked past Lady Archer in a corridor. I don't think bores count as celebrities. And I forgot to ask her about her husband's prison term...
Not Sondheim but important... Bea Arthur at the Savoy

I had been warned off this show by people who had seen it saying that it was contrived and she came across better on the album of the show. But there were two things that struck me about this.

First was that these days contrived is all that is on the West End. The most enjoyable things I have seen have been Fringe performances.
The second point was this since today was my birthday I wanted to celebrate I with something a touch sophistimicated... Especially since my favourite frivol Ute Lemper was about to play in Brisbane while I wasn't there!

Bea Arthur's show was a real treat. It was a bit of a running joke between Skye and I as we started to see the posters go up around town for her show that it was one show that I wasn't going to drag her to. This week she decided to surprise me and book tickets to it for tonight, but that didn't quite go to plan. Instead I offered to get them Saturday morning from the TKTS …
Work work work...
Not a great deal to report. Apart from work. I did discover the joys of large music stores on my way home last night. There was too much choice with the cds on offer so confused I gave up. Besides, pay from last week came through TODAY!

Blainia
* David Blaine in a box is now a set piece for other news. Paul McCartney went to the press today saying he didn't fire his publicist for tipping off the press that he was visiting the man in the box. Punches flew and chairs were smashed in two apparently.
* Oh and in true British style you can bet on him failing!

Other news today
* Labour loses a seat in a by-election to the Lib-Dems, underscoring the sentiment that the punters now want anyone but Blair leading him. It took a 29% swing to do it, but Brent East now has the youngest sitting member in the House of Commons.
* Cherie Blair's soothsayer / lifestyle guru Carole Caplin is still in the news but not for nice reasons. Reviews on her new column offering …
So dip me in chocolate, and throw me to the lesbians

Last night Skye and I decided to see Jerry Springer: The Opera at The National Theatre. It was a bit of a spur of the moment thing when I got into work yesterday morning when I decided to browse their website and I saw that two second row seats were available for the evening performance. I thought why the hell not?

If there is a show in town with buzz at the moment (that doesn't involve a man in a perspex box) then this is it. It has had raves from all the major papers, and from various celebrities. The tube is full of poster ads for its upcoming transfer to the West End. So one just had to see it eventually.

Buzz and hype aside, it really is still a show in development. With rousing operetic choruses set to libretto such as "what the fuck, what the fuck, what the fucking fuck" and "chick with a dick" and "dip me in chocolate and throw me to the lesbians" it is quite a night. You do walk out …
Coffee 2

Found out the name of the coffee machine at work. It is called a Flavia. The testimonials are a bit of a worry. Arthur Andersen said "The stylish, compact design of FLAVIA� is perfect for our offices where space is at a premium." I would have to beg to differ. Mind you it can be a hazzard with all this free coffee on hand... Can make you a bit... Anxious.


Mocks and Spocks

They may sell shitty clothes (think downmarket Target), but the Marks and Spencer take-home meals are so attractively packaged and nutritional they are hard to resist. Take home meals are popular here. I think because after working 10 hours nobody can give a shit about cooking!

I wish I said that
Overheard in the subway at Elephant Castle from a woman to a street beggar after he asked her for change:
"You shut your fucking mouth!"
Street begging is a profession with its perils sometimes the wrath of a woman who has had it with em!
Wake up and smell the coffee
Aside from the aromatic smell of piss as I meander through the subways from the Elephant & Castle tube to my place of work (you can see why there are underground walkways when you click this link), upon arriving I am greeted with other interesting aromas. The fire stairs have that smell of old fat from a greasetrap. A colleague said it reminded her of her grandmas house as in between chain smoking she used to always be frying something up. It is probably the same unmistakable lard and smoke combo that one is experiencing here. The other interesting aroma is from the coffee machine.

Where I am currently working has a tea and coffee machine that works on packets. You stick these packets in a draw and place a cup on a tray and gurgle gurgle gurgle later you have a cup of something. The tea tastes like tea and the coffee tastes like coffee, but the more interesting setting is the 2 packet process of making a "cappuccino". You place a packet…
Saturday night
After wandering throughout the city I decided to skip the Last night of the Proms or its cheaper counter-part Proms in the Park (in Hyde Park) for something a little more obscure.
I went and saw True or Falsetto - A Secret History of the Castrati. It is an encore season of Ernesto Tomasini's one-man show that first did the rounds last year. It is a whirlwind tour of musical history and quite entertaining as he moves from sacred music to opera and then to the music hall. Tomasini has a four octave range so he is quite up to the job.

The venue was intimate and warm at the Drill Hall. The Drill Hall is across the road from the Eisenhower Centre, the deep bomb shelter used by Eisenhower towards the end of WW2 so seeing that non-descript building was a bit of unintentional touristing as well. It was a bit like being a concrete bunker in the venue without much air and with hot stage lights. Tomasini was sweating like a pig towards the end of his performance. Th…
The week that was...
Today I enjoyed sleeping in. It was well worth it after working up to 10 hours a day in an office that was a little bit precious. Politics and office politics combined this week to set the grounds for an office turf war that may not be worth hanging about to see result for. Working for an office where arselicking of incompetent ministers and their flunkies is de rigeur... I could do that back home!

It doesn't matter. I took a call from a job placement agency who have a few things they want to put my name forward for so I will be following those up next week.

In a box near Whitehall
As it was announced this week that Tony Blair overrode his own security intelligence advice in going to war against Iraq, the whole boring affair was being overshaddowed by American pseudo-magician David Blaine being suspended in a box nearby. While many Londoner's are asking "why the hell doesn't he do his annoying stunts in his own country?", the punters ar…