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Showing posts from September, 2003
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…
Workin' Hard for the Money... So hard for the money...

I am now working in Elephant and Castle. And I commute from Haringey. People have commented that I just can't help but chose the choicest parts of town.

I must say there is something about Elephant and Castle that is familiar. The building I work sits on top of a shopping centre, and the centre reminds me of the Valley Centre Plaza back home. I don't know whether it is the smell of piss and last night's hobos that does it, or the stream of cheap bargain stories that abound here, or the fact it is surrounded by major roads to other parts of London. Elephant and Castle may be the arse end of London, but there is something quite likable about it. I am not the only one to think so. A new TV series on BBC one called The Crouches , which is set in this area. The show is badly written and just gross in parts but what sets it as "cutting edge" is that it contains an all black cast set in the local area. T…
Just what is the deal with Barbican?

After my simulated post-apocalyptic trip to Barbican the other night, I decided to venture back there on Friday because the Museum of London was there and I wanted to see the remnants of the Roman Wall that was built around the city (that were also at this site).

The guidebooks were right about saying this is the most inaccessable museum in London, but having been in this part of town earlier in the week I was prepared for the convoluted walk up three flights of stairs to a flyover of a deserted road that then took you past a walkway and into a side entrance that then led you to the museum. To be fair, they have thrown a lot of money at revamping the site, and the new entrance opens on Tuesday. But all that new entrance will do is cut out the last side entrance. But anyway, inside there was fascinating stuff about the Roman settlements, and the periods since.

It is surprising how much history has been lost over the years. There are gaps of …
Diets
It is still warm enough for people to go jogging around the streets and in the parks, so they do. The fitness levels of Londoners are quite fascinating. While many were having panic attacks when stories about the aitken's diet being a health risk broke, there are plenty of gyms and other weight control products for the punters out there to amuse.

Those returning from their holidays with tans and tone are keeping up their healthy regime by jogging the parks and streets. It all makes for interesting people watching... Mind you, none of this happens near me. Its all Turks and Kurds hanging outside shop stores, but it is only about 10 minutes away where it all happens.

Hot spots
The holiday spots of choice seem to be Ibiza and Africa. Well Australian's go to the Pacific or Bali...
Zip! I'm a little hectic
One thing I didn't mention about last Saturday was that two things happened to me.
* I stepped in my first dog poop
* The zip to my Marcs trousers (thats WITHOUT an apostrophe) broke while I was at Oxford so I had to walk around with my fly down for most of the trip. Fortunately I was not only wearing high quality underwear, but I was also wearing a jersey that covered the problem.
Well anyway, I thought that I could get the problem fixed this week. Alas it turns out being somewhat fashionable trousers (you can't call them pants here as that is what they call underwear) they only have a five inch zip. Standard issue zips come at six inches. I was told on Green Lanes if I could come up with a five inch zip the tailors would fit it for £6.

Touristing II
* After hearing about 2 jobs that didn't work out, I went to the Tate Modern gallery to take a look at what was there. There was something for everyone there, although I did tend to wonder a…
I have not often walked down this street before...
* But there is less trash walking down the other side of the street where I live.
* I don't bother looking into the dark alleyways

Job on offer I can start next week. But there are a few others (that pay more £££) in the pipeline but they look like they are going to take a bit looooooonger to happen. A job in the hand I suppose is worth many more that could be out there...

Touristy things...
* After yesterday mornings interview I hit the internet cafe and then went to the National Portrait Gallery. There were quite a few things to fascinate and amuse there. The civil war section was interesting and so was the Victorian era and early 20th Century paintings. Incidentally on this day in 1658 the Lord Protector of England died trying to work out what sort of republic and system of government England should have. Silly git. By the time one got to the Andy Warhold silk screen print of Joan Collins, you couldn't help think that …
Welcome to the Jungle...

It took a while to get going to move on Sunday afternoon. There was a lot of emailing and blogging to do for starters, and then when I got back to West Hampstead "The Way We Were" with Robert Redford and Barbara Streisand was on Channel Five. Since neither Skye nor I had seen it from beginning to end, that was an excuse to delay things as well. And then after the ending we both had to compose ourselves before heading out. Well actually, it wasn't that emotional for me as just as those chords started playing for the intro to the title song, the voice over for the upcoming programs started which sort of killed it for me. But I digress...

It took under an hour for us to get to Manor House station, but there was a good 10 minute walk to go. A good 10 minute walk is more like a good 15 minute walk with luggage. Fortunately Skye was there to assist. As we walked up the street past Finsbury Park and smack bang into Haringey, Skye started to get a…