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Jan. 23rd, 2014 06:46 pm
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I'll be inside a plane exactly 24 hours from now, about to depart London.  I'll try my best not to cry...
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It's been a week since I arrived in London.  I've used these past days to say goodbye to this city and friends that I love so much. I fly back to Brasil on Friday... I have no clue when I'll be back in the UK.

My good friend [livejournal.com profile] live_life_like  started this journal in Brasil in May 2001 as a way of keeping in touch with myself and another friend we had in common. Thus the name. In September that year, a week after 9/11, I left Brasil and moved to London with my boyfriend to start a new life.

This journal has been a great place to inhabit during my 12 years in London.  I survived many dull temp jobs thanks to it, and met tons of people who went on to become close friends. I'd like to one day sit down and read through it - there have been some dramatic posts and some epic flamewars!

This journal will come to an end when I fly to Brasil on Friday. It brings to an end my 12 years in London.

Here's to whatever comes next!
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Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gone Girl is an enjoyable thriller in the mould of Patricia Highsmith's fiction, and reminiscent of Lionel Shriver's "We Need To Talk About Kevin".

Nick and Amy Dunne are a New York couple with the kind of perfect relationship that annoys their Facebook friends. They are young, wealthy and good-looking, with media careers and a bit of fame (Amy's parents are the authors of a successful series of children's books.) So why has Amy disappeared on the morning of their fifth anniversary?

The disappearance unravels through Nick's account of the police investigation and the issuing media circus, and Amy's diary. But the novel is also about the breakdown of the American dream - how young couples like the Dunnes have to leave New York for the Midwest in search of work, how communities were ripped apart by the 2008 financial crash. The final twist is marmite-flavoured.

A film version is in production, with Rosamund Pike playing Amy (great casting) and Ben Affleck playing Nick (terrible decision.) To me, Nick should be played, ideally, by a young Mickey Rourke lookalike.

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If you have been replying to my comments on your journals well, guess what: LJ hasn't been sending me those replies!  I'm not ignoring you!

I still get comments on my own journal - it's just the ones I do elsewhere that don't trigger email notifications. Anybody else having the same problem? Is it a settings thing that I need to update?
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Patti Smith: Advice to the young from Louisiana Channel on Vimeo.

Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned about doing good work. Protect your work and if you build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency.
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Top July Films by myETVmedia
Top July Films, a photo by myETVmedia on Flickr.
I came home from work on Hallowe'en to groups of children with their parents, walking up and down our street dressed as creatures of the night, carrying orange buckets for their sweet goodies.

I saw a neighbour come out of the corner shop and at first I thought she had made herself up to look like a zombie. Upon closer inspection, I realised she was just tired.

My boyfriend and I spent the evening watching Byzantium, a pretty decent vampire film set in a nameless location in the British Isles. It had a new twist to the genre: a mother and daughter were on the run because vampires were a brotherhood that did not allow women.

(Nobody knocked on our door.)

The 16-year-old daughter had been moping like a teenager for 200 years. She dealt with her curse by feeding off elderly people who wanted to die. She played the piano beautifully, which made me think of the pianos in St Pancras, with their signs "Play Me." There's one just by the Eurostar's arrival door: visitors from France and beyond, quite often, are greeted by some random traveler playing it as they roll their suitcases into London. It's quite a nice idea and I salute whoever came up with it.

I wish I could play the piano. I wish I could play any musical instrument actually (apart from the triangle.) I'd drop by St Pancras once in a while on my lunch break, sit at the piano and whip up a sonata.


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There was commotion outside Bethnal Green tube station this evening.

Walking from the station to the nearest bus stop, I spotted an elderly man sat in the middle of the road, surrounded by passersbys and the driver of a black minivan. Cars swerved around him, cyclists slowed down to take a good look, pedestrians lost interest in where they were going or the conversations they were having on their mobile phones to stop and watch with furrowed brows.

The man, it seemed, had been jaywalking with some other people when he was knocked over. An elderly Polish lady touched his shoulder and he swatter her away. She crossed over to the bus stop and told someone: “he’s rude! He’s rude!”

The black minivan driver rubbed the old man’s back, got into her car and drove away. New people arrived and formed a human shield around the man. One bespectacled gentleman got off his bike and became a traffic warden. A few of them spoke into mobile phones (emergency services?) The old man remained seated on the cold, wet asphalt, hunched over, cradling his arm.

Buses arrived and people climbed in. I decided to wait for the next one, as did the Polish lady.

“Did anyone call an ambulance?” I asked her.

“He’s lying!” she blurted back. “There’s nothing wrong with his arm! I touch it. I touch it hard. If it was broken, he would feel pain. He feel nothing. He’s pretending.” [1]

“Oh,” and I looked back at the old man (now turned into a con artist in my eyes) and the group of people (suckers.)

“I was behind him when he fell. Nobody touch him. He just fall by himself. He make this to get money from the government.”

“I’m sure the ambulance crew will figure this out when they check him.”

“I fell down my building’s stairs once. I get bruises on my back. I can’t bear even a small touch. So that’s how I know he don’t break arm. I touch and he feel nothing! I know what to do in this country. You go to hospital and you get doctor to write everything down. That’s how you get money from government. But he wants people to believe what he says, and not what the doctor says. He do the wrong way.”

A much emptier No.8 bus arrived and we climbed in together. Her Oyster card was a Freedom Pass. I climbed upstairs and sat on the seat right at the front, where I could look down on the man as the bus drove by. He had now been moved to the median strip. He looked a bit confused.

[1] Recreation of the lady’s Polish accent may be slightly incorrect due to author’s incapability of remembering verbatim what she said.
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One Direction by hmv_getcloser
One Direction, a photo by hmv_getcloser on Flickr.
In honour of the approaching NaNoWriMo, I'm going to start writing one hour a day. I don't mean necessarily write for one hour, but have that time and space dedicated to it. I may just stare at a screen or a paper journal for 60mins.

What I want is routine. I already have one with exercise, and even with my little cafe excursions on Monday mornings before work, so why can't I have an hour a day for writing? And for days when I absolutely can't get an hour to myself, I could add it to the weekend so - say - on a Sunday when I'm at home, I can write for three hours and catch up on the hours I owe (though that sounds like a cop out already, doesn't it?)

So I'm here, sitting in the living room listening to Jarvis Cocker's show on BBC Radio 6 (<3), the wind rattling the windows (bring it on Super Storm of the Decade About to Hit Britain), only a few minutes gone by in my allocated hour.

Can I write on LJ during my allocated hour? Yes I can. Can I write on Twitter or Facebook? No, I can't - those networks don't count.

I wish we had a cat. It would nestle against me when I was focused, then sprint away when I tried to pet it.

My mouth tastes faintly of chai tea. And a little bit of the cheese and onion Ruffle crisps I had for lunch with a salmon and cream cheese bagel, on a bench in Victoria Park.

I went to the gym first thing this morning - it's always empty on Sundays, which I love. I took a bath in the afternoon, with a candle for company (a scented one that one of the Sissies gave me for my birthday.) I listened to songs from my iPhone while I soaked - 100 randomly selected songs from my iTunes.

I have a brasilian friend in town who I met for drinks and a play at Soho Theatre last night. (A very good feminist play that was a hit at the Edinburgh Fringe - highly recommend you see it you have a chance: Bryony Kimmings: Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model.) We were meant to go to Columbia Road's flower market today... I'm still waiting for their phone call.

Last Tuesday my boyfriend and I marked 15 years together. Fifteen years ago we went on a date in Montreal, to see Bride of Chucky. I gave him David Sedaris' latest book, which I bought at Gay's the Word (one of London's best bookshops). He gave me a collection of short stories written by bloggers, edited by Dennis Cooper.

He's now in his cupboard office, going through his bills. We just watched the final episode of The Killing III. I'd been under the impression that it was the last series ever, but the ending has left a door open and a return more than likely. This makes me happy even though the Scandinavia portrayed in the series is as bleak as fuck.

A few weeks ago I toyed with the idea of doing a fanfiction NaNoWriMo - a thriller based on One Direction. Here's my pitch: girls from all over the world adore the boys and want to meet them at all costs. But little do they know that... One Direction have a bloodlust for their fans! They enjoy hunting and killing them for sport. (There's some subplot about One Directioners disappearing and a cop who wears ugly knitted sweaters investigating these cases.) The opening scene is a One Direction bus pulling out of the stadium, with blacked windows - girls screaming their heads off around it and begging the boys to come out. Little do they know that inside its soundproof walls, Harry Styles is wielding a chainsaw and advancing on a terrified Directioner... and so on. My heroine in this fanfiction comes from Nottingham and survives a night in One Direction's hotel after her friend is killed. She turns into prey as the band hunt for her, even going so far to track down her family's home (they announce to the world that they are bringing their arena tour to - surprise surprise - Nottingham!)

I may have Moussaka for dinner tonight. I bought some at M&S during the week and put it in the freezer. Oh, I forgot to mention: we didn't have Pancake Saturday yesterday! I don't know if the boyfriend has been reading my journal but it suddenly became French Toast Saturday and I was in charge. (I make some mean french toasts I'll have you know.) I'm determined to have Pancake Saturday return next weekend.
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Cutting for StoneCutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

They say "write what you know." So physician Abraham Verghese, born in Ethiopia from Indian parents, chose for his first novel a narrator born in Ethiopia that was raised by Indian parents and who eventually becomes a surgeon.

Cutting for Stone is an epic soap opera worthy of Sidney Sheldon's best. A nun traveling by ship from India to Ethiopia saves the life of a British doctor onboard. They later become colleagues in an Addis Ababa hospital, Missing, and silently fall in love with each other. The outcome is tragic - the nun gives birth to twins, Marion and Shiva, and dies in the process. The father, Dr Thomas Stone, is overcome with grief and abandons the babies to a pair of Indian doctors - Hema and Ghosh - to raise.

The twin boys grow under the shadows of Missing and experience some of Ethiopia's historical changes. Marion, the virginal and unremarkable twin, is the narrator. He's not as clever and seductive as his brother Shiva (who steals the girl he loves from under his nose), nor is he his adoptive mother's favourite. Fate eventually exiles him from Ethiopia, to a life in a poor hospital in New York where all doctors are foreigners, all patients are on Medicare and all corpses can expect to be organ harvested for rich Americans.

You can really see Ethiopia and its people in Verghese's novel and it is one of its few pleasures, alongside the look at the unfair healthcare system in America. But the plot - full of sentimental coincidences and love making worthy of a Bad Sex in Fiction Award - leaves a lot to be desired. Marion is an unlikeable narrator, but I don't think that was Verghese's intention. The writing only comes alive with the scenes of hospital proceedures, and although these come along quite often they are not enough to hold this long novel together.

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A nice blend of Cocteau Twins with ABBA and Fleetwood Mac. Didn't see any good reviews for the album but... I'm digging it so far!
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Hackney Downs by IanMH
Hackney Downs, a photo by IanMH on Flickr.
Saturdays in our flat have become "Pancake Saturday". My boyfriend has mixed feelings about this as he's the Pancake Master. I like to say on Friday night things like "I can't wait for Pancake Saturday tomorrow." Or, "I notice we have bananas and blueberries - Pancake Saturday is going to be extra special tomorrow."

In the morning, he'll try a "you do the coffee then." I'll smile, hit the coffee maker's button and go sit on the sofa. I prepare the coffee maker the night before, you see.

I love nothing more than BBC Radio 6 on a Saturday morning, a copy of the London Review of Books and the smell of pancakes frying in the kitchen. Yesterday, I read in the LRB a review of a Nijinsky biography. About his famed beauty, the choreographing of the Rite of Spring, the ensuing succès de scandale, his madness… before I knew it, I had disappeared into a search through YouTube footage and Tumblr photos.

In the evening, we met my friend Vini Bambimi in Stoke Newington for some drinks at the Three Crown and a spot of dancing downstairs, in The Waiting Room. It was a 90s night - a 90s I'd forgotten about. Utah Saints more exhilarating than Elastica; Hole instead of Nirvana (very popular with the attendees, I'll tell ya); the unfairly neglected Urban Cookie Collective.

It was a LGBT night too. The crowd was mostly young but one or two oldies were also on the dancefloor. It was a good mix.


The Waiting Room

Next Friday night is 80s night - I'm thinking of checking it out with [livejournal.com profile] millionreasons. (We are going to some birthday drinks in Bloomsbury beforehand and I'm planning on dragging her to the club afterwards.)

It's a very small space - the kind that would elicit many casualties if a stampede broke out. But it has that thing Electric Dreams doesn't have - a dance floor without bright lights straight in your face. Also doesn't take long to get a drink from the bar.

This morning, the boyfriend made an omelette and hashbrowns to go with the croissants we bought on the way home last night from the 24-hour bagel shop on Stoke Newington High Street. We then took the 425 bus to Clapton, where we met Vini Bambini again for a 5K run through Hackney Downs, London Fields, Broadway Market, Regent's Canal and Victoria Park.

I wish I had an Agatha Christie to watch tonight.
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bus going by by patart00
bus going by, a photo by patart00 on Flickr.
On the way to work, hop on the No.8 on Roman Road and get off at Bethnal Green Tube station. Sit behind a man with a copy of The Sun. Sharon Osbourne on the front cover claiming Dannii Minogue had an affair with Simon Cowell. His thumb tentatively plays with the page; I can see a Page 3 breast poke through. The woman sitting beside him wears a yellow hijab.

After work, the No. 8 from Liverpool Street station because I just can't squeeze into the Central Line. All the windows facing North on Bethnal Green Rd are lit, open. Shirtless young men stalk front rooms. Young women hunch over laptops. Mixed students cook dinner together. Rooms jammed with clothes or completely sparse, just a few postcards bluetacked to the walls.

The young man sitting beside me holds his mobile phone up, trying to capture a good connection. He's on Grindr.
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The Drowned Man
The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable, production shot


Gradiva is the story of a young archeologist who buries his desires, but of course what is repressed always returns and one night he dreams of Pompeii; it is the time of the eruption of Vesuvius, and he sees his Gradiva there, the dream image of a woman depicted in a plaster-cast bas-relief, with a particular gait that fascinates him, for which he searches in the streets. He is possessed by her ‘lente festinans’. The woman in his dream lies down as if to sleep, stretched along a broad step. She dies (it is a moment for which Jacques Derrida says all historians wish: to witness the coincidence of the event with the archiving of that event). She is like a beautiful statue and a veil of ashes covers her face and soon buries her. In 1907, Freud published his essay on Gradiva and delusions and dreams. It is also a ghost story, unstable and distorted, its happy ending uncertain even when resolved. [1]

In that same year, Freud wrote a postcard from Rome to his wife, Martha. "He invited her to think of his joy in encountering––or re-encountering––after a long solitude, a beloved face. It was, however, as he remarked, a rather one-sided recognition, for the face to which he was referring was that of the bas-relief of the Gradiva, a figure stepping lightly, high up on a wall in the Vatican".[2]

106 years later, to the date, I step into a building near Paddington Station, London, for Punchdrunk's latest production, The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable.

Contains spoilers... )

[1] & [2] A London Fantasy, by Sharon Kivland

April 2017

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