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Showing posts from October, 2005
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Scenes from Soho Thursday 23:29. After failing to get into a pub on the Southbank where an Australian TV programme was being filmed, Ad and I walked back into Soho and went to a more familiar bar that had a much more cheekier display. The bar dancer moved like he was imitating a spin cycle on a front loader, but the punters seemed to like that anyway...

Left Baggage

On Saturday catching a tube back home someone left a bag in the car I was travelling. The first thing I knew of this was when a passenger pulled the emergency alarm. The rest of us just sat there as the passenger informed the driver of the situation. He must have been awfully worried about this piece of left baggage as he took off while the rest of us just stayed on the car. The driver appeared. He asked the car if anyone owned the bag. Nobody did. I looked at the bag. It was just across from me. It looked very thin. There was a small child sitting there earlier, maybe it was hers. Anyway, surely it was much too thin to hold an Indian Tupperware containing some sort of explosive device. So I just sat there like everyone else. Surely it was harmless.  Station security must have thought so too as after a few minutes a man appeared and grabbed the thing and the journey continued on…

Idle Friday Lunchtime Chatter

Paul: I live near Tooting Bec Common now
Fa: Well you will have to get yourself a dog so you can walk it in the common
Paul: Yes I notice that dog walking or walking small children is the popular thing to do there
Fa: Hmm... I would just stick to the dog...
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Scenes from SW2 Thursday 11:35. The morning milk run...

News: London is Lousy?

Another rant from Gwyneth this week has set everyone talking. She calls customer service here rubbish and complains about the dirty streets and the weather. Actually she is sounding more and more like a local…

Her best advice though was to bring your cashmere sweater when coming to Britain. Of course it is worth noting that cute little outfits that cost a fortune carry no cachet with Londoners. Dress shabby.

And of course customer service here IS rubbish. I used a pretty lousy minicab service the other night to get to SW2 and was charged an extra £5 for carrying luggage. Ok so it was a little TV, a monster suitcase and a few boxes but I still thought that was outrageous. I suspected I was being scammed here but in the end I couldn't be arsed to haggle over it. I just made a mental note to write about it on the blog and to avoid that company in future…

Housekeeping...

I will be moving out of WC1 this week. I will miss living in zone 1, and having the view of the BT tower from my bedroom window. Well maybe for some other time…
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Scenes from South London Monday 13:32 - Approaching Clapham Junction on a foggy day...

News: Chicken's off

A bird in the hand may be worth throwing in the bush as after a week of scaring the general population with threats of 50,000 deaths in the UK from an outbreak of avian flu, this week the threat is what it will do to chicken sales? While there actually may be no link between the flu and dead chickens, all this talk of diseased birds are certainly putting one off a chicken roast for now. How the rest of Chicken mad Britain reacts is another matter…

Movies: Wallace and Gromit

Caught the new Wallace and Gromit movie last night. As it had just come out (in time for the school holidays here) it was particularly popular with the punters. A wasn't sure about seeing such a high culture film but I suggested that since it is a hit in cinemas in several countries it could be considered to be selling British culture to the world.

Indeed there were a lot of typically British things on display including:
A passionate love for not killing animals
Overzealous gardening (and it all looked very organic)
Upper class twits and eccentric town folk
Edwardian terrace housing, and
The usual red telephone boxes and post boxesSo who could ask for anything more? On the downside the Odeon cinema where I saw it is such rubbish. It is only five minutes away so it is handy but it smells across between a toilet and a candy store. Indeed the threadbare carpet has a stickiness about it that makes you wonder about how it got that way. Perhaps children gorging on fruit pastilles vomited them…

News: Northern Line

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Golders green station
Originally uploaded by kirwilliam.
Northern Line trains being refitted with safety equipment at Golders Green.

This week everyone has been an expert on trip-cocks and other things that stop trains when tube drivers do a SPAD. The Northern Line resumed a very limited service tonight for the first time since Wednesday evening. But it will be another few days before there is anything like a regular service… A good time to be on holiday…
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Scenes from WC1 Saturday 10:33. Morning mist...

Life Lessons of the week

It has been a bit of a quiet week while I sort out some all-important matters (such as whether I am staying here in London beyond November). This weekend however I have started to move my things out of WC1. I will say goodbye to all the delights and conveniences of Zone 1 living (such as being able to walk to the gym, to Covent Garden, to Soho) and will be staying temporarily in Zone 3.

This week my flatmate R was also at home on holiday so it was a bit of the idle life this week.  R and I were reflecting on the past few months this week and I would have to say that my time here has been the best of all my living experiences in London. No prissy queens, no heavily medicated boyfriends, just good sensible living, with a smattering of gentlemen callers. Actually this week it has been more like lashings on R's part I don't know how he has the stamina to keep up, but I digress…

Reflecting on it all R mentioned that he had sussed me out pretty quickly, but what I didn't mention…
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Scenes from the supermarket Monday 21:07. Sarnies in a box for sale.

News: Squirrels on Crack

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Shocking news over the weekend. Not of cocaine being found in Boy George's apartment in New York (who would have thought?!), but of South London squirrels on crack. Not content to just hide nuts for the winter they are digging up stashes of drugs buried by the locals for later use. Brockwell Park is definitely worth an autumn visit now in search of dazed and confused rodents.



And speaking of Boy George, there is the tragedy of his arrival at Heathrow yesterday. After wondering for years why he wears all that hideous makeup the truth is that he is concealing an even more hideous reality. He looks like the rough trade you find at The Black Cap on a slow night… Put the makeup back on!

Bar Chatter

Ad and I were talking to some Austrians at a bar in Soho on Friday night…

Ad: Well Austria's greatest contribution to society was Hitler wasn't it?
Austrian Woman: You are so rude!
Paul (to the woman): Yes he's terrible. And if the drinks weren't so expensive I'd tell you to throw your glass of wine at him…
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Scenes from W1 approaching Dickens and Jones Saturday 12:50 - Does anyone still wear a wrap?

Television Torture

On Thursday evening I travelled out to White City to the BBC Television Centre to watch a taping of a variety show on musicals. It was two years since I last did this and forgot that television recordings are a five hour odyssey.

At the time I thought it was just because I was seeing a taping of Celebrity Mastermind which made it dull, but this was an odyssey too. It was one full of bad jokes (the warm up man used the line "dirty stinkin' gypos" which I thought surely wasn't very BBC-ish), hideous sets, and endless repeats of poorly arranged songs. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, they managed to find an arrangement to do so.

Television is a curious thing as well as what makes it what it is, is local celebrities and local in-jokes, so it is a difficult thing to appreciate culturally as well if you have not had the years of exposure to it. The host was a typical garden variety smarmy type who had hosted several game shows and curiously seemed to be…

Theatre: The UN Inspector

On Tuesday evening as a diversion from waiting for news on other matters, A took me to see The UN Inspector at the National Theatre. Well first we went for tapas at Meson Don Felipe where after a bite to eat washed down with sangria it certainly put one in the mind for a silly sort of comedy update of Gogol's "The Government Inspector".

This version was set in a Ukrainian-style country where an English conman was mistaken for a UN inspector looking into the country's human rights record. Michael Sheen was quite funny as the bumbling English conman but every once in a while the comedy ground to a halt when someone's tongue was ripped out, or people were killed. A little bit too black and not enough comedy perhaps. Also at nearly three hours, it tended to drag a bit.

Geraldine James as the President's wife was also particularly amusing, although A suggested that Jewel in the Crown and Gandhi were the days of her better work, but I suggested her best work surely …

Domesticated Dialogue

Paul borrowed some socks off A last week and after washing them returned them to him this week…

A: Thanks for washing them. What washing powder do you use they smell terrific?
Paul: Why I use Fairy… Non bio…

At this point Paul does not mention the M&S fabric softener as A is too busy cracking up…

Weekend Brunches: Skirting around the issue

On the weekend I managed to have brunch both days with Ad. We went to the same café in Soho on both days which was a cause for concern for Ad as he was worried that people would think that we were an item, as we usually end up laughing and looking like we are having a good time (and that would hurt his chances of picking up).

I told him that there was nothing to fear as if by chance he saw something that took his fancy I would rush to the bathroom or make some sort of quick exit. Of course Saturday and Sunday mornings in Soho are not the places you are going to find the most eligible men in the city so I figured I would not be making any quick departures…

On Sunday Ad had the skirt steak and it was a source of much discussion as to what part of the animal this came from. The waiter was none the wiser on its location. It was of particular discussion as Ad said it was tough (and it looked like old tyre tread). The waiter agreed and he suggested to Ad that he feed him something else next …

Sunday

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Originally uploaded by Pauly_.
Scenes from Tottenham Court Road Sunday 12:21. A quiet start to the day...

News: Saturday sparks and crowds

Just as the suicide bombers hit Bali yesterday a power surge at London Bridge caused a few sparks along the tracks and caused a mild case of pandemonium south of the Thames.

Meanwhile closer to WC1, there were plenty of punters out and about as Oxford Street closed to traffic so there could be a street party. The effort was to boost sales that have been sluggish even before the July bombings.

No number of street performers bussed in from Covent Garden can conceal the fact that Oxford Street is a bit of a disaster. The shops east of Oxford Circus are mostly rubbish, and what is west to Marble Arch you have to fight through the crowds on poorly maintained footpaths. Oxford Street is really something to cross to get to the gym, to get to Soho, or to go anywhere else…

Later in the day the punters were out at the Astoria in force as Robbie Williams was doing what was described as "a small preview concert" of his latest album. Who would have thought so many females under 25 could be…