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Showing posts from February, 2005
Housekeeping and the Weekend

No computer set up at home yet, so have done this update from an internet cafe on the Strand. Oh well, it's nice to get out on a Sunday evening... Even if nobody else does!

I will look back at this weekend and think of the fabulous things that could have been done such as:
* Russian Orchestra at the Barbican
* Walk through the Heath in the light snow
* Take coffee throughout Bloomsbury
* Major blockbuster Turner, Whistler and Monet at the Tate

But no, instead I cleaned the old flat at West Hampstead and after downsizing (ie throwing lots of things out or giving them to Charity) I moved everything else into my new place in Bloomsbury. It was exhausting. You don't want to be carrying an ironing board, two boxes of books and clothes and a wheelie suitcase everyday on the Thameslink. It didn't help that this weekend the Jubilee Line was out for engineering works either. There is no dignity when moving on the cheap. By the time I got to Kings Cross I decid…
Location Location

To think I was considering moving to the East End - Mile End to be particular and just yesterday a bit of meat cleaver incident happened at Mile End tube station.

WC1 seems so much more sensible. Especially since I have found that there is an Italian cafe nearby that sells the best coffee I have tasted in London for just £1... I am easily pleased...

Dialects

Was talking about accents to a manager here who is Melbournian and returning to Oz shortly... She was scoffing that neither of us have strong accents and I went... "Naaaooooooooh we doooaaaant".

She is so Melbourne with her dark clothes and dark makeup... Actually some people referred to her as the "Ice Queen" so I would just tell them that's what all Melbournians are like... They wear dark clothing and sit in inexpensive restaurants offering quality food while espousing liberalism while downing a double expresso...

I tell them as well that you can't do that in Brisbane because it is …
The view from the city

In some ways the view on the cover of Ian McEwan's novel Saturday is the view I see of the BT Tower. Although it is definitely from another angle since there are none of these homes within visable distance!
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Snow and Lights in the city... BT tower is somewhere there in the clouds as well...
News: No snow without ice

As no let-up is predicted in Britain's big freeze (and it is snowing outside as I write this), I can confirm that it is cold and London has finally had winter. Its cold but bearable. During a bit of snow last night, I went out last night to get some water and odds and ends at the local M&S and found myself being accosted by Scientologists on Tottenham Court Road.

Alas I forgot that I now live just around the corner from the cult and I had to pass it to get to the store. It isn't their centre for celebrities which is Mayfair, this is just their shopfront for plebs so there was no chance of spotting Tom or John or Kirstie or whoever.

The pleb-shop's ploy last night was to get perky happy looking people to stop you on the sidewalk outside their lair and offer free personality tests and a break from the snow. But I knew once entering there would be no exiting. So I kept walking. Will this be a regular ordeal to have to pass by... or will I start c…
News: Ok just this once

Youngster Pete Doherty, who rose to new heights of fame in the past few weeks having photos of him drugged out (and possibly drooling) on the front page of most of the tabloid press following a hotel fight will be allowed out late for a gig in Brixton. His previous bail conditions required him to be home between 10pm and 7am.

The bad druggie boy image however has just given him more street cred amongst the twenty-something punters...

Weather: Brrr

It has wavered between sleet and snow today. Snow after lunch and then sleet into the early evening... There is a chance of "significant snow" overnight but anything is possible in a city that has its own weather... It is a great time to be out there moving the last bits and pieces into the new place... Or not...
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Scenes from Bloomsbury 5.26pm: Cold and quiet, but at least the rain and sleet held off as I moved my stuff out today, or rather, this afternoon / tonight
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Scenes from West Hampstead 5.21pm: Late afternoon lunch
Moving from NW6 to WC1

Today I finalised getting a new place in Bloomsbury. Hello Central London. Farewell West Hampstead. Its a downsize but a sensible location. Rather than pack of course spent way too much time wandering around West Hampstead, which seemed a little daft given the light sleet/snow that was falling from time to time.

Theatre: Talk to the hand/ass/stigmata

Jerry Springer outing last night wasn't bad, although some of the principals were not performing and it showed a little (lacking a bit of style alas). I sat next to a man from New York (who was in London for a week and had seen at least a show a night - although he was a theatre teacher/director) who enjoyed it a lot and couldn't believe what he was hearing (or seeing)...

Unlike a Jerry Springer show, the characters in the Opera are quite likeable which gives the show its charm amongst all the profanities. The morality of it all is still a bit ambiguous. Is it a critique of modern TV - the celebrity culture wh…
News: No tube for smarties

Mass consumer hysteria has broken out over the news that
Smarties are set to lose their tube packaging and plastic lid and will be sold in a box. Consumers have hit the BBC website demanding a boycott. Smarties have been sold in a tube in Britain since 1937, so people are finding the thought of life with a tube-less Smarties a bit hard to take...
News: Light up

London Landmarks are to be lit up tonight for Olympic bid. They should commence in a few minutes and are expected to woo the 2012 Olympic Bidders, who yesterday traveled two stops on the Jubilee Line to see how well that would work should London get the games...

London Weather

It hovered somewhere in between 1deg and 8 deg today, but there is a chance of snow over the next few days... Whatever happens, it will be a bit of a brisk weekend to start moving things... But it looks like that will be the case..

Another Jerry Springer Moment

Going to see Jerry Springer: The Opera tonight. It closes tomorrow night before going on a national tour... It will be a chance to again savour opera with such lyrics as:

I don't give a f*ck no more
If people think I am a whore...

The move?

I may have found a new place to live. Will have to sort out the details tomorrow but it is a small flatshare in central London. I discussed this option with my colleague at work and she pointed out:
* I go home late
* I like old buildings
* I got on well with the potential flatmate

So it all seems like the logical thing to do... But that means that this weekend will mean I have to start moving...

Moving

Which books are yours?
Which tapes and dreams belong to you and which are mine?
- From "Where Do You Start" Johnny Mandel and Marilyn & Alan Bergman

In reality however:
* All the computer magazines and tech books are not mine
* All the books about literature and art (and the Tube) are mine
* Most of the CDs and DVDs (of Elaine Stritch and Betty Buckley) are mine.
Simple.

Cleaning

There is a product that has been around for a few months called Cillit Bang which has caused a bit of minor storm amongst the domesticated since it is one of the few cleaners on the market to clean off…
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Scenes from Westminster Tube 9:15pm
Living: The hunt continues

Went to Ravenscourt Park (near Hammersmith) to see another place. Definitely would take it if offered. Don't know if I passed the "beauty contest"... Since I was late coming from work (again).

It was the first place where the person offering it described a 10 minute walk as 10 Minutes.

This was unusual given the London exaggerations such as:
* A five minute walk really takes ten to fifteen minutes
* Close to shops and transport links means forget about getting to them without a car
* Modern furnishings = Ikea
* 8" = 6"

Its all part of the games people play in London. Sometimes you just have to go what-evaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Actually I say that at work a bit and for a skinny white guy saying that, it gets lots of cheap laughs.

News: Ken not sorry

London Mayor - that's the Mayor of the Congestion Charge and general publicity - Ken Livingstone is in hot water for likening a reporter to a concentration camp guard.

While most reporters here are …
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Scenes from the tube 22:20: Heading home from a flatshare hunt in the east end of London. Seat coverings in garish yellow and "back the bid" logos... As for the place at Mile End... Great place and unusually large as it is a warehouse conversion...
Music: What I am listening to...

Today despite the 2500 my iPOD tells me I have on it, I realised I need more music for the gym. I do have music but it is the same music I had two years ago and it seems so 2003. Music is all about association and I didn't need to re-live two years ago. So I went to HMV to get Kylie's "Body Language" album, and picked up a reissue of Liza's album with the Pet Shop Boys from 1989. But thinking of Bernstein's Candide from last night I did like the following lines from the final number Make Our Garden Grow:

"Let dreamers dream
What worlds they please
Those Edens can't be found.
The sweetest flowers,
The fairest trees
Are grown in solid ground."


A stanza for those very sensible realists out there in the world no doubt...

Moving: What move? Oh that move

Before I move out of the current quarters, it is probably worth noting for the record that from today I officially living alone in West Hampstead. This is not a great …
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Saturday Night at Leicester Square 8:49pm: Thousands waited and watched the cars of stars go by at the BAFTAS. I was just walking by. Forgot that Cate, Leo et al were attending and already inside.
Up and down on the Piccadilly Line

Today looked at:
1. A place near Holburn - Excellent place in a sensible London location, but I don't think I will get it as I didn't think I bonded with the person there. Later today saw the guy at the gym I have just joined. We both had iPODs on so follow-up conversation was not required...

2. A place near Earl's Court - Nice place and large room sharing with a couple. It was made clear that the spotless kitchen was "the way it always is". I started having flashbacks to leaving coke cans on kitchen tabletops in Haringey. Still the couple were interesting enough and we chatted for a while. Providing I didn't use the kitchen for anything more than getting a glass of water I guess I could live there.

Actually, the kitchen was in a very odd place. It was an alcove off the living room and there was no dining area. The area they used as a bedroom was the obvious choice to put the kitchen I thought but I guess that would make the pl…
News: Crushes and constitutions

In the past two days:

* Charles proposes (and nobody seems to care) to his long-term mistress. Constitutional experts and the tabloids seem to show most interest. Thursday night Camilla was in a red dress so The Sun splashed the headline The Lady in Wed... Weally...

* Ikea store opens in North London and people are crushed and several hospitalised while trying to get a £45 flat pack sofa. Emergency services couldn't get to the store as people had abandoned cars on the motorway in search of a bargain. Once again proof to never get in the way of Londoners and their insatiable desire for a bargain. A stabbing was attributed to the store opening as well until it was determined to be an unrelated gangland incident that happened nearby

Music: Candide

Went to BBC Concert Orchestra's Candide tonight. The audience seemed a bit ambivalent to the concert until "Glitter and Be Gay" was performed by Carla Huhtanen (it was that sort of audience)... Mich…
News: Now f*ck off and cover something important you tw*ts

Alastair Campbell's advice sent by blackberry in error to BBC's Newsnight team. Know your technology.
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Scenes from the Metropolitan Line Monday 9.59pm. Rush Hour has passed...
Life: A place to live

* traveled to Hampstead to see a place. Nice location, expensive and ex-Council flat...
* Then traveled to Clerkenwell to see another place. Not bad location, not bad place and 10 minutes walk to the Barbican and walking distance to the fun bars and restaurants in Islington

Looking for a place to live is such a beauty contest as well. Even when you really really want a place, you have to pass what the others think of you. Today I did my best to look conservative and stable. Picked safe shirt and jacket and pullover to underscore this.

In many ways it is great fun looking for a new place. You get to visit strange and interesting new parts of London and meet some pretty interesting people as well... If neither come to fruition, then there are lots more to check out...
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Scenes from GBK West Hampstead Sunday Night: The best burgers in London... and dare one say... anywhere!
Music: What I'm Listening to - Kristen Chenoweth

Downloaded a Kristen Chenoweth album off iTunes last night. She's showy and she's brassy and she's loud... But her album had many songs I weren't familiar with so it was aIt has this wonderful little ditty written by Comden & Green called "If" with lyrics that include:


IF: you had been on the square, and had treated me fair, and we'd not had a tiff…
IF: you had not said I should go and jump right off the nearest cliff!
IF: You had stayed off the make, and you never had taken to coming home stiff.
IF: I hand not smelled perfume with a nasty unfamiliar whiff!
I'm gonna miss you baby
Things could've been teriff!
Ah, what's the diff…


...Amen to that honey!

Actually while we are on the subject of music that I listen to, a colleague at work saw me on the tube a few weeks back in my own little iPOD world. He had his own music so I didn't interrupt. We don't work together so that was …
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Got this in the mail from Vodafone today... Not terribly well targeted I would have to say...
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Scenes from SE8 at 4.30pm: The Thames looking east towards Greenwich. The Housing Estate block on the right is being demolished. Two others nearby are still standing...
To do: Nightlife

As I have a quiet night in I was compiling a list of places to visit and of course, there is already a comprehensive list of pubs and clubs in London...

A place to live... the search goes on

Today I decided to look at a place in SE8... Canada Water on the Jubilee line is nearby, or rather 20 minutes walk away, and it was near the river but not quite on the river. The guy offering the room owned the place and was nice and friendly and we got on well, although he mentioned he was going out to XXL tonight and I wasn't sure what to make of that information...

The room overlooked a common garden which looked charming in that English people who potter about on their garden plot on the weekends kind of thing, but what loomed large over the garden plot was a hideously enormous and monolithic Council Estate. I imagined waking up first thing in the morning and seeing this out the window and screaming. Even if I was here for just a few months I think it would be tough going.

The Thames was a short five minute walk away and I was informed that there were plenty of restaurants and bars along the riverfront. Curious, I decided to walk along th…
Theatre: By the Bog of Cats with Holly Hunter

Holly Hunter in a West End play was too good to pass up at £15, so I went to Wyndhams Theatre to see By The Bog Of Cats tonight. The house was half full so there was plenty of room to stretch out in the theatre.

It was an updating of the Medea story to Ireland amongst the peat bogs and the travelers who live in them, so that might explain why it hasn't found an audience. Holly Hunter could stand on stage and recite a list of vulgarities and it would be still worth seeing her act of course...

At crucial moments in the story the man sitting next to me kept rustling his bag of nuts which was a bit of a distraction, and just before Hunter's character gets killed by a man with a white face (not sure about the logic behind that part) somebody's phone went off. The magic of live theatre...

Miscellany

* Liquorice Allsorts are back on my table.
* Was followed tonight at Piccadilly Circus tube station by a man in a pinstripe suit and a …
Politics: New Labour testing ground

Labour is testing a series of posters that it may use in the election on the theme Britain is working. Don't let the Tories wreck it again (which borrows the same slogan from what the Tories used 10 years ago but anyway...). They are all are pretty underwhelming in the mudslinging stakes and surely must only appeal to the most die-hard of campaign fanatics...

Meanwhile over on the Conservative.com site, the new slogan: "Are you thinking what we're thinking?" is being rolled out... Quite cryptic really...

News: Crimes against intruders

Amid concerns that crime is out of control (and depending on what statistics you look at you could argue this toss one way or another), in the battle over what people can do to protect their homes during a burglary, new guidelines released this week say pretty much anything now goes. You still can't set traps or punish a burglar by death, but anything else is fair game. The advice was released to …
Conversation: Haircuts

Paul (to colleague): I am leaving work early tomorrow at 5.30 to get a Haircut.
Colleague:: Is this allowed?
Paul:Well I need to look my best now...
Colleague:NOW???