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Showing posts from October, 2003
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 …