Showing posts from March, 2005
A room with a view 22.26: BT tower surrounded by mist...
Scenes from Tottenham Court Road 22.19: Light from below...
News: Tubes, dinners and film

Hundreds stranded in Tube tunnel this evening... On the Jubilee line near Swiss Cottage... Well I don't live in NW3 anymore...
Jamie Oliver manages to change government policy and get a huge government commitment to improve school dinners and tackle child obesity. It shows that in the run-up to the election (and after a very successful doco on C4) miracles can happen. Actually have managed to avoid covering politics for a while, but some smashing political stuff is covered at the Recess Monkey blog...
And the 19th London Lesbian and Gay Film Fest opened this evening and dammit I haven't booked anything yet!

Weather Changes Continue

Still foggy and misty. However just after 8am I got a text from the former flatmate saying he was glad that we caught up and guy-who-took-room-after-me was after my number and would I mind sharing it.

At this point I realised it was the standard two days before somebody makes enquiries about getting numbers. Earlier than two days is not the done thing (you don't want to look desperate), but I was surprised getting it so early while I was in an 8am meeting...

When I finally got out of the meeting I spent about half an hour crafting a response, as I figured this was a message that was going to be read fairly widely. My former flatmates are such awful gossips. Bless their hearts.

Overheard in gym tonight

Muscle Mary #1: Now that he's gone I don't want to have anything to do with him anymore.
Muscle Mary #2: Yeah the break-up can be tough...
Muscle Mary #1: Of course, if he pays to fly me to New York, I'll be there!

After 9pm at the gym, everyone is sing…
Weather changes

Weather today was misty, wet and cold. What happened to Spring? Given the lousy weather I decided to skip gym and come home early.

It was not related to:

Catching up with old flatmates from Haringey and having three or four (or possibly five) Becks over the course of the afternoon
Flatmates wanted all the gory details of the breakup but I just said there weren't any. "When somebody just can't stand the sight of you anymore you know it isn't all about you... So just move on" I told them. Have made mental note to include that line in any future book on postmodern advice that I may write...
Staying out extra longer with the guy who took the room after me. Wasn't quick enough to make silly jokes about "sharing the same bed"... This was probably not a bad thing
Heading out again around 11pm to catch up with a nice Jewish boy from California in Central London. This time it was vodka.

It was all very responsible (and quite enjoyable at the time) …
Scenes from Tottenham Court Road: Old bomb shelter in background... Old VW golf in front...
Movie: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Finally caught The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou tonight. Its a great film but it is nearing its main run in London cinemas so I saw it in the bowels of a cinema on Leicester Square. This was rather unfortunate as given its depth underground, the red lights that were throughout the cinema and the smell of bleach that permeated the air, you could have been forgiven for thinking that it was an "adult" cinema... But this was Leicester Square not Piccadilly Circus circa 1970 so it was very legitimate commercial fare, although the film itself was a relief to be a little different from your standard issue three-act movie comedy/drama...
Scenes from Embankment Tube 22.58. A quiet night underground...
Technology and the thoroughly modern lifestyle

Today it occurred to me that between my flatmate and I we have

3 televisions
3 dvd players / burners
2 computers
3 digital cameras

Its a lot of junk to have... Not to mention the PDA and the iPOD. All this technology reminded me of being in Fopp yesterday (which is a great music, dvd, books and record store) and heard a new track from Daft Punk's latest album - Human After All "technologic":

Buy it, use it, break it, fix it,
trash it, change it, melt - upgrade it,
charge it, pawn it, zoom it, press it,
snap it, work it, quick - erase it,
write it, get it, paste it, save it,
load it, check it, quick - rewrite it,
plug it, play it, burn it, rip it,
drag and drop it, zip - unzip it,
lock it, fill it, curl it, find it,
view it, curl it, jam - unlock it,
surf it, scroll it, pose it, click it,
cross it, crack it, twitch - update it,
name it, read it, tune it, print it,
scan it, send it, fax - rename it,
touch i…
TV: The return of Dr Who

Last night while I was off at the National, I did set the VCR to record the return of Dr Who. Naturally fans gathered to mark Doctor Who comeback. Although not a fan, any show that features a man-eating wheelie bin can't be all that bad...
Scenes from Tottenham Court Road Saturday 3pm. Scientologists and Protesters collide outside their main shop (for non celebrities) in London. And I have to walk past this every day... A few police were on hand to make sure it was all kept civil...
Theatre: His Dark Materials Part II

Snapped up a front row seat to see His Dark Materials Part II at the Olivier theatre. Based on the stories of Phillip Pullman, they have turned it into two three hour plays that cover epic journeys, religion, morality, good and evil and so on and so on...

I figured Part I may have covered a lot of exposition in its three hour length, and so the three hours of Part II may have been more about the action. It actually doesn't work out like that (given both parts have different stories to tell) but anyway.

Sitting in front row meant that as the stage rose and sunk and moved around you did tend to miss out on the action, but you also got the sense at times you were part of the action. It was quite a spectacle and something that really used all the tricks of the Olivier Theatre. Even more of a spectacle were some of the actors and puppeteers, (although that has less to do with the overall appeal of the show and more about my personal taste)...

It was an …
Scenes from Skanky London: Centre Point plaza at Tottenham Court Road Saturday afternoon...
Monster music on Good Friday: St Matthew Passion

Caught the (near) sell out concert of St Matthew Passion with the City of London Sinfonia and BBC Singers last night. Richard Hickox conducted, and the Evangelist was played by Tom Randle who was superb. The first time I had seen someone treat the role as though it was retelling a drama and not reciting an oracle (although the music at times does tend to lend itself to being the latter).

At three hours in length however it is a marathon effort - for the performers and the audience. It is one of those pieces that can work really well or fail spectacularly. I was in a performance of the latter once, so it was nice to see the former happen last night.

For those in the audience that didn't feel like DVT was setting in, they rewarded the performers with a raptuous applause. They had definitely earned it, and you could sense the relief in the faces of the orchestra members and chorus that it was over. They certainly earned their performanc…
Music: Musical Theatre Students

Thursday night caught a performance of this year's Musical Theatre Students at the Royal Academy of Music. It was ninety minutes of songs from musical theatre from this year's class that includes Ian H Watkins (or H as he is known). He wasn't a star for this performance however - it was the class and the ensemble on show.

I went with a group of musical aficionados which meant while they were appreciative of a good performance, they was also pretty ruthless when some individuals chose songs that just didn't work for them. Beware the group of musical aficionados if the costumes look too tight, there is a milky white stain on your trousers, or if the song isn't right for you...

On the other hand I was wondering whether they were getting marks for degree of difficulty, such as the man who couldn't pronounce "H" singing the Billy Joel song "Say Goodbye to (H)ollywood" or the woman who just didn't have the notes …
Scenes from Euston Square Station 19:03.
News: Bang! Bang! and Pussy Galore

Last night was a bit of an odd night really.

First a man gets attacked by a large black furry thing while he is looking for his kitty, and it is assumed that another 'Big cat' is on the loose in London
Then at Brixton Academy two shots were fired in the air during a rap concert causing a situation and stampede out the exits. Gun crime is a hot issue at the moment in Brixton so this sort of publicity was the last thing that was needed. Fortunately there were no injuries in all the kerfuffle, but the English language took a bit of a bruising with this music critic's account of the evening and the "spewing muzzle"... Bleah!

Life Miscellany

Ran into the old Australian flatmate from Haringey last night. It was one of those chance meetings that in such a big city you would never believe would happen, but hey Charing Cross can be like that! He has been on a six month holiday around the world and back in London to live and work. Updated h…
News: Gypsies and other wedge issues

The phony election campaign will last for at least a couple more weeks, but it is Howard that has been getting all the dream press. Today it was the plan to crackdown on gypsies and travelers on illegal campsites... There is a serious issue here but you can't get too bogged down on that during an election campaign.

The mastermind behind the Tory campaign is Australian Lynton Crosby and the Guardian has been asking can he win one for Michael Howard? You would have to say the smart money is no, but there is always the problem for Labour seeking a third term in office that nobody showed up to vote for them... Garden variety Labour voters might be bit prissy like that after the war and things like university fees and may just take their ballot and ball point pen and stay at home...
Scenes from the Northern Line 20:41: It sure aint rush hour...
Scenes of Paul: Apart from retail therapy on Saturday also got standard issue gay mens short haircut. My hairdresser is straight, so does that make it a straight gay mens short haircut or a gay mens straight short haircut?? Whateveryoucallit, I look like everyone else at the gym (except for those one or two horrid people who have long hair, which on men should be banned unless your name is Meatloaf)...
Music: LSO and Elgar

One of the nice things about London is that

You can go online Sunday morning and see what's on, and book a ticket to see an evening of Elgar. It was the Elgar Violin Concerto and Symphony No 1 with the London Symphony Orchestra, Richard Hickox (conductor) and Tasmin Little (soloist for the violin concerto). It was a fabulous performance.
You can get a cheap seat at the Barbican to see it. Mine was £5 because I couldn't see the full orchestra, but I could see the double basses very well (for what that was worth) and the sound was excellent.
You can show up to the concert wearing any old thing including sandals with socks. I didn't, but the man next to me was in sandals. He was with his wife and they looked like they had been together for some time so that may explain why they let themselves go.

Incidentally I wore a smart new jacket that I picked up yesterday for a song while doing some retail therapy. Forgot to bring glasses however so I have no idea if I …
Scenes from Old Compton Street, Sunday 5pm. The temperature dropped on this smoggy day so arms were covered.
News: Delusions

The Socialist Worker put it at 200,000 people - so it was at least half of that that turned out in London yesterday to protest against the ongoing military presence in Iraq. The Washington Post put the figure at 45,000 (based on actual police estimates). Does it show that the ongoing military operations have ceased to be a hot issue for the election? I suspect so... Interestingly it was lovely how the Socialist Worker article could use "civil liberties" and Iran and Syria in the same sentence. Why does the looney left always have to side with the criminals?

There were a few protesters with left-over placards in Covent Garden yesterday. As after a jolly good protest to relive your baby-boomer rebellious youth, there is always great coffee and cake in Covent Garden (or the all you can gorge pizza deal for £20)...
Scenes from Covent Garden 13:54: Behold the fine weather - warm enough to show bare arms for the first weekend this year. Also note the signs. Human statues and people holding very large signs are the prominent feature in the street behind the Royal Opera House... Not really that keen to take up the crap pizza deal, or the crap rock memorabillia...
News: Last orders still at 11 and other bloody stories

Since February when pubs have had the opportunity to apply for extended trading hours there hasn't exactly been a rush of applications... To the surprise of many. Not that they could have opened for longer until November this year, but the application process is such a long and involved process that they need almost 10 months to fill out the form. So no extended drinking hours look likely in the foreseeable future.

That article appeared in many papers, but it is always fun to read the Sun as apart from the tits, you get a very different slant on the world of England (not much more either for that matter)...

By the way despite that axe murder on Monday Eton Avenue is still a lovely street with nice friendly people. Just keep away from the ones with the large heavy implements.

Meanwhile the Hamstead and Highgate Express is calling it Bloody Monday as a nice Jewish pensioner was also killed the same day in what is purported to be …
Scenes from Tottenham Court Road 10:12pm. Being St Patrick's day there were plenty of punters out on the street - all wearing Guinness drinking hats...
News: Axe Murder latest

* The victim was gay
* The killer worked at upmarket west London department store Peter Jones
The story unfolds...


The weather started getting hot today. The first t-shirts on the street were sighted. By lunchtime even singlets displaying bare arms were in view. It was a glorious sunny day and from 8am until 7pm I was inside away from it all... Ah well. It isn't as if I haven't seen the sun before!

News: Murder, pollution and feeling peckish

Found the Evening Standard photographs. Still no motive for the public murder.

One other thing I didn't know about the Swiss Cottage corner (that I used to walk by) is that it is the second most polluted spot in the UK... So what's the first???

The other smashing story is about the man who was sentenced to life for two murders - and one of the victims he started eating the brains of (fried in butter). He killed the second while on release from being sectioned, but there are no systematic flaws in the mental health system

Weather: Spring is here

Well actually, from the 15th it is officially spring, but today was the first day it really felt warm. Winter may have been cold and harsh, but you can always wear something fabulous and warm... Not anymore... It was a balmy 15 degrees today...

Theatre: I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change

Caught a fringe production of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change tonight. It has been playing in…
News: The waiter did it

A waiter has been charged with the murder yesterday. The Evening Standard website had photographs taken from a neighbour's house that showed a man on the street face down in a pool of blood, which have disappeared this evening... It has been alleged that the waiter described the motivation behind the killing as all very long and involved...

Movie: Kinsey

Finally managed to catch Kinsey last night. Whether it is true to life is another matter (it only briefly touches on some of the more bizarre things that Kinsey performed on himself as "research" - and it is a movie biography), but it does make for a smashing film about a pioneer of his time, who created the scale of one-to-six long before we started using such terms as metrosexual, fauxmosexual, straight-acting, and all those other euphemisms... Amazing how science could be infused with such drama as well...

It was worth waiting around until the end when the footage of animals humping was played o…
Interestingly too, while I have walked down this street - which is home to many celebrities - I wouldn't recognise one even if I fell over one. And therein lies the problem. How can you spot the difference between an axe-weilding murderer and a media personality?
News Correction

It wasn't a beheading, and it may not have been an axe, but it still sounds pretty gruesome and a Man was killed in street attack at Swiss Cottage...
News: time to move

You know you made a good decision to move when Man dies after being 'beheaded' not far from where you used to live, (and just around the corner from the Swiss Cottage Hotel where you recommended friends should stay when visiting London)... There goes the neighborhood...
Weekend etc...

Caught up with my sister's friend Jen who was in town for a few days with her friends. I met them at Hyde Park since they were staying at Earl's Court (sensibly Australian thing to do). One of friends had fed a squirrel and was bitten so while they went off to seek medical advice on squirrel bites, I took Jen to the Serpentine Gallery.

Future tourists to London should take note: It is probably not worth feeding squirrels in Hyde Park...
Mess at the Serpentine Gallery - Hyde Park. Tomoko Takahashi’s installation throughout the gallery was an interesting look at junk being art. Personally I would have found it more interesting if the artist was still living in the gallery and walking about with a cup of coffee and in fluffy slippers but that wasn't the artistic experience we were going to get...
Music: Rufus

Rufus Wainwright's latest album was released officially this week and he was in town signing copies of it last Monday. Tonight there is a doco on him on Channel 4 as well. He is very popular here and given his talent for songwriting:

An old whore's diet
Gets me going in the morning
Ain't nothing like it
Gets me going in the morning

It is not surprising...
News: The day that almost never was

Yesterday while it was Friday for most, it was still Thursday at Westminster in what was the third longest day in parliamentary history. As they didn't break the 30 hour session, that means that Thursday never finished and the legislation passes on Thursday (even though it was late Friday by the time it did). This means all sorts of things including the fact that Peers will not get paid for Friday (or get anything for their huge overtime on Thursday)

Quirky parliamentary traditions aside, the fuss was all about the anti-terror legislation and so the parliamentary ping-pong all makes sense with the election looming. All parties need to say enough to get noticed at this point, but the matter of being detained without trial is probably also something many are concerned about.

And the secret the MPs and Peers used to stay up all night? Champagne, beer and pizza.
Scenes from Leicester Square 12.00am
News: Free travel and technology

This morning the entire electronic ticketing system on the tube was down due to a glitch which by some gross exaggerations will cost£2 million as commuters travel free... That sounds expensive... It would only be a free trip if you had pre-pay which (when it works) deducts money every time you pass through a gate... Travelcard users pay a flat fee for a weekly ticket.

And technology is failing me more locally. Have discovered that my wifi setup is not correct (as it has rendered my flatmate's computer unable to connect to the internet) so will be offline until the weekend when I get the new bits to fix it... I think I will manage...

Weather: warmmmmmm

It is a lovely mild seven degrees (c) today. It feels so hot after the last couple of weeks. It also feels hot as the central heating in most buildings still is on "bake" after the last week of snow. I have some potatoes on my desk going a golden brown as I write...
News: The newsreader

Matt Barbet is back reading the London News on evenings. His beady eyes and marvelous speaking voice are just the antidote for the end of the day...
Scenes from Apollo Theatre: 9.15pm
Theatre: A Life in the Theatre

Caught up tonight with the latest play starring Patrick Stewart and Joshua Jackson A Life in the Theatre by David Mamet.

Told as a series of glimpses through a season of repertory theatre, it was a good chance to see Patrick and Joshua in various stages of undress changing in and out of characters and costumes. Some of the audience members found both Patrick and Joshua in pants to be worth making a noise about. Even wearing glasses I didn't see what the fuss was about.

The interaction between the characters change as the season progresses. Initially Stewart sees himself as a mentor to the younger Jackson, but over time, rivalry and jealousy set in.

While it is a comedy, it also depicted the life of the theatre as some nighmarish hell is enough to make you feel happy with my day job.

Stewart also says "She's a cunt" which has to be worth the price of admission as well. An interesting (if not very substantial) evening's diversion for 90…
Scenes from Archway Bridge Saturday before noon: peering through the anti-suicide spikes looking south towards the City...
Where has the time all gone to: The weekend

I am back online today after buying a router (that is pronounced, row-ter, which I only mention as I was in a meeting the other day where non-techy people debated the correct pronunciation of this device) and hooking up wifi in the flat. It was a four-hour odyssey to do this as I managed to get my MAC addresses confused. I have no claims to being a techy and am far too impatient to read instructions that are poorly written and can be bypassed in any event, but the outcome is now that I can blog regularly from home once more...

I can do this as out of the settlement for being in a relationship - I got the laptop. As it was one of those "desktop replacement" models that were oh-so fashionable January 2004 (before people came to their senses in March) it is a big ugly motherfucker of a laptop and I don't particularly like it, but as I curse it, I can think that it is storing nearly two years of photos and cheap laughs, so that has…
Scenes from a bedroom window, Friday: Snow. It wasn't hard to find an excuse to get to work late on Friday. My real excuse was to stay at home and take some photos. Afterall, it was just a light dusting...
Weather: Snow and Ice

It snowed in central London this morning so I decided with this new cold that I managed to pick up in the last day or so I wouldn't rush to work. I got in at 10.30... A sensible start to Friday I say!

Work hard and give advice

In between the usual madness at work I have been advising a colleague at work on relationships which I think has been good therapy for the both of us. Here is a sample from yesterday:

-----She wrote-----
Sent: 03 March 2005 15:04
To: Paul

I know what he wants. Good times, lovely ladies, but deep
down someone special.

-----So I wrote-----
Sent: 03 March 2005 15:23

Deep down we all want someone special, but the question to ask is how low do
you have to go to get there???

News: Cold malaise

The temperature drops and everyone here seems to get the flu or some exotic stomach bug that makes you throw up and feel miserable. Have managed to avoid all that this week (touch wood). I still keep getting asked by people why am I here and I tell them it is the weather.

Today a combination of weather and essential works caused Icy Chaos For Commuters, but you have to put it into perspective.

Just the other day a woman from Sydney was in the office talking about how dreadful the transport can be here, and I was thinking well compared to Sydney, getting around in London is a dream... Of course, my 20 minute commute into work now is a bit of a luxury that most people don't have, and it was only lengthened by a few minutes this morning with the delays (and sidestepping around the black ice)...

News: Luv'ly fush and chups

Jamie Oliver has been getting kudos for his new programme on Channel 4 where he has introduced something novel into a Greenwich School canteen - fresh food.

The programme is on Wednesday night's just before Desperate Housewives, so I don't get in early enough to see it, but his drive to serve fresh healthy food has now got MPs backing him

It turns out school meals at present are cheaper than prison dinners... perhaps the school caterers should swap with the prison caterers for a while...

Weather: Cold

It has been snowing on and off all week. More off than on however the Met office gives such colourful descriptions of severe weather... Strengthening northeasterly winds will also bring problems with blowing snow across hills... Oh the humanity!

News: Secret Squirrel guide to London and other moving stories

A Spy's guide to surviving London life has surfaced. It includes tricks to lose a tail by dashing into Liberty department store on Regent Street. It is a rabbit warren of designer clothing and various grades of handmade paper (amongst other fine merchandise).

Marble Arch may be moved. It currently straddles the "roundabout" at Park Lane and is only accessible via a series of smelly underground subways. Not really the most accessible or interesting monument in London anyway

Other Moving

Handed in the keys to the flat in West Hampstead. The real estate agent commented that she wished all her tenants were as good as we were in keeping the place tidy. Hey I'm tall, thin and neat... It goes with the territory...