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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.
commonpeople1: (Avatar)
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 [ 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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The start of Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life", sat on a hard chair, surrounded by white walls, faint whiff of the cold coffee to my right and a gentle creaking that is either raindrops or just the window moving to the air outside.

I'm in the spare room - my office - surfing the net and listening to a playlist on Spotify I put together from Electric Dreams songs. My back is sore and I'm sitting up straight; trying not to break in half.

If I concentrate on being in this moment, it feels like I'm sinking into the chair.
commonpeople1: (Avatar)
Baby swim by Eythor
Baby swim, a photo by Eythor on Flickr.
I went swimming today and it was just as good as last week. 1pm on Sundays are the ideal time: lessons are finished and extra lanes are opened for free swimming; however, most people are either hung over or sleeping in, so the lanes tend to be empty!

I was spoiled when I learned to swim in Brasil. I was taught in an Olympic pool that was pristine and well-tended, with round-the-clock coaches happy to give you exercises and tips. You always had a lane to yourself.

Here in the UK, on the other hand, you have to share lanes usually with about 4 other people (optimistic outlook.) And at least 2 of them are in the wrong lane (should be in a slower one.) Plus, the pools are quite grim (just ask [ profile] steer about the one we use in Bethnal Green) and the pool staff couldn't care less. I actually think most can't even swim - would hate to put my life in their hands if I suddenly had a cramp and sunk to the bottom...

But whatever... I have this hour on Sundays and I will try to stick to it. Feels good to let my thoughts wander and just go and go and go.

My boyfriend is currently in the kitchen, making cookies. In 11 minutes I'm going to embark on an hour-long writing session.
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TWIN PEAKS, a photo by WMHART on Flickr.
It's a Sunday for spending indoors, cooking lunch with friends (brasilian feijoada) and watching Twin Peaks. It's a Sunday where I've finished Madame Bovary for the 2nd time while getting through my 2nd cup of coffee and now have a skype date with my family in Brasil for 8pm tonight (but my mom says my nephew may not be there as he's afraid of computers.)

It's a Sunday of two fried eggs on top of toast for breakfast. It's a Sunday where my boyfriend and I had initially planned to go for a 5K run in Victoria Park but now we are aiming for an hour-long walk to our friends' apartment in Clapton (where said Twin Peaks marathon will take place.) It's a Sunday for further inroads into A Storm of Swords (Game of Thrones #3).

Grey, uninspiring Sunday. Like the radioactive dust that falls on your hands and on your face... on your face... on your faaaaace.

Hungry Sunday.

Monday never comes too late. And for the 6th week running I'll find a coffee shop in the neighbourhood, around 8.30am, and do a bit of creative writing before heading into work.
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Friday Night:

Watched Paedo Roman Polanski's The Tenant. Still a disturbing movie after all these years, in particular its climax in the building's courtyard. Would love to know what Zizek makes of it: teeth inside walls, cross-dressing, people hanging out in public lavatories covered with Egyptian
hieroglyphics. To me, it's a film about schizophrenia brought on by isolation, perhaps an allegory of Polanski's own life - and even foreshadowing his escape from America and life in France.

On Saturday:

Ate pancakes with homemade syrup, honey, butter, bananas and blueberries for breakfast.  Drank coffee.  Listened to the Best of the Subway Sect while reading an article in Uncut about Vic Godard. He became a postman in the 80s and has been in that profession for nearly 30 years, but still recording music on his spare time. Then I listened to Tom Waits first album, "Closing Time", while reading another article in Uncut about how that album came to be created and what Waits was like at the start of his career. I did not like the album (too sentimental) but found a cover of "Lonely" by Bat for Lashes that is very good.

Went for a walk with my boyfriend to his
studio in Bow, keeping track of our movements through the App "RunKeeper" on my iPhone.[2] Wandered to Mile End afterwards and had lunch at a new restaurant on Mile End Road, Box Noodle. Walked through Mile End Park and visited Matt's Gallery. It had two free exhibitions: an installation by Susan Hiller called "Channels", with flickering TVs and real recordings of people who have gone through near-death experiences; and an installation of found objects by Mike Nelson which reminded my boyfriend of "Outsider Art", and for myself of Jason Voorhees.

Susan Hiller "Channels".

Mike Nelson

Walked down Mile End Road and had a look around a small exhibition in the Whitechapel Gallery on the multi-media magazine Aspen, which was published between 1965 and 1971. It was a bit like McSweeney's, with each edition curated by a different person and featuring people like Susan Sontag and William S. Burroughs. Roland Barthes' "Death of an Author" was first published in it and you can see the original draft with corrections at the exhibition. I studied this essay back in Montreal when I was in Uni - reading it again reminded me of contemporary dance for some reason, and the question of how much of a piece is the choreographer's and how much is the dancer's (limitations). Still, obviously, an interesting question for writers and what they create.

Bought pizzas and salad at Tesco, took the bus home while my boyfriend returned to his studio to collect some material he'll have printed this week. Played Xenoblade Chronicles. Made pizza with salad and ate it while watching cheesy 80s Brit chiller Haunted based on a James Herbert novel (somebody please make him stop writing! Won't somebody think of the trees?) The only good thing in it was Aidan Quinn, a bit of eye candy to distract you from the terrible performances, the silly story and the ridiculous special effects. Bizarrely, during Aidan's sex scene with Kate Beckinsale, a body double was used for him!

Next, we watched the documentary The Dungeons Masters, about three people whose lives revolve around Dungeons and Dragons. Funny, fascinating and horrifying in equal measures.[1]

On Sunday:

Had bagels, fried eggs and coffee for breakfast.  Went for a 5K run in the glorious sunshine over Victoria Park. Ran past a Canadian couple we recently met through a Scottish friend we have in common and said a quick hello. Drank a protein smoothie, took a shower, shaved and washed in the bathroom's sink a pair of winter gloves and socks.  Now writing this while waiting for Wink to bake some french fries in the oven and prepare Tuna sandwiches with the last of the bagels.

[1] I used to play Dungeons and Dragons in my early teens - I got all my friends into it.  There's even strong evidence I was the first to play Dungeons and Dragons in Brasil!!!  And I'm not kidding - it was something that didn't exist over there - it was given to me as a gift by my dad in the mid 80s after one of his trips to England. But I'll never be able to prove it.
[2] By the end of the day we'd walked about 9km accumulated over an hour and a half.
commonpeople1: (Avatar)
writer's nook - blue pillow by omoo
writer's nook - blue pillow, a photo by omoo on Flickr.
I'm alone in the flat, in my new office (the spare room.) I've just eaten a tuna sandwich and drank a cup of tea (while surfing Tumblr and YouTube for company). I have my headphones on and I'm listening to a mix that includes songs from Grimes, Zola Jesus and Hercules and Love Affair. I'm about to do some writing.

I woke up early today with my boyfriend's alarm clock. He needed to leave the house early to cross London and join his sister for a yoga class. He whispered to me just before he left that there were some pancakes and blueberries in a tuperware for me. I ate them for breakfast with butter, maple syrup and coffee.

Around 10am I left the flat for my local gym. It was blissfully empty (as it always is during mornings.) Afterwards, I bought some groceries at Sainsbury's and took a bus back because of the rain.

I've started a new writing routine: on Mondays, I have my breakfast at a nearby cafe and do one of Linda Barry's image exercises. Last Monday I pulled out of the envelope one of Henry Darger's images - a small girl leaning against a tomb-like stone in the middle of a field, surrounded by two ethereal, snake-like flying creatures. I wrote a short story based on that image which I plan on finishing up today.

Tomorrow morning, another local cafe, another randomly-selected image, another writing exercise. And so on for the rest of the year.

Later today I'll play Xenoblade Chronicles (because I intend to finish it in my lifetime) then cook a stir fry for dinner. There's a bottle of white wine chilling in the fridge and Derek Jarman's "The Tempest" lying by the DVD player.

Just before bed, I'll read a chapter of George R. R. Martin's A Storm of Swords. Only a month and a half until Game of Thrones' Season 3 starts.

commonpeople1: (Default)
commonpeople1: (Default)
Feeling Gloomy
Feeling Gloomy's bar

When I first moved to London in 2001, we lived with three lesbians and Erika (the non-lesbian) in a Victorian house in Stoke Newington.  Some people called it Murder Mile, some people called it the lesbian neighbourhood.  You saw girls everywhere, on dates at the pizzaria on Church Street, at the girls-only karaoke just round the corner - even at the gay bar on Stoke Newington High Street owned by a pair of blokes.  It's all gone!  What happened?  Where have all the lesbians gone to?  On Friday night, my brasilian friends Vini Bambini and Bia invited me over for drinks and food before we hit Stoke Newington's streets for a bit of gay drinks (something I hadn't done in years.)  There's only one gay bar now in Stoke Newington, Oak Bar, which turned out to be depressingly empty and loud.  We had a pint, played some snooker and stumbled to Dalston thinking it would be a good idea to try the Superstore. Hunger got the better of us and we called it a night at 12.30am after a chicken burger meal with Coke and fries.

The New Rose

The New Rose

Yesterday, I went to the gym and cleaned some of the flat in preparation for [ profile] wink_martindale's return today.  In the evening, I met up with [ profile] loveinsuburbia for a coffee before we walked together to the New Rose pub for [ profile] zenithed's birthday drinks. Reserved tables, friends, new faces, people I hadn't seen in a long time, a few pizzas, some whisky, some beer, some Lady Gaga text messages, chats about everything ranging from Big Brother to the Holocaust, then a plan to walk up the road and do a bit of dancing at Feeling Gloomy. (Didn't I promise at the start of the year I'd never go back?)

Feeling Gloomy was ace!  Turned out to be its 6th anniversary, celebrated with the distribution of cake, The Smiths' "Unhappy Birthday" and a free beer token if you made a donation at the door to SANE.  It was still empty when we arrived so we took the seats closest to the dancefloor and hovered over it for the rest of the night.  Very soon it got crowded and animated to FG's classic playlist: The Cure, The Cult, New Order, motown classics, Blur, Pixies, The Breeders, and so on.  As [ profile] zoo_music_girl correctly pointed out, it was Student Union Disco Night. 

We ended the night back at [ profile] zenithed's, chatting in his living room and drinking tea until 4 in the morning.  [ profile] loveinsuburbia and I then had the grim and knackering task of catching a nightbus home without freezing to death or falling asleep and losing our stop.  We had three hours of sleep before mystery caller started ringing my landline non-stop.  I've been feeling sensitive and out-of-it ever since.
commonpeople1: (Default)

Dir. Marco Kreuzpaintner, Summer Storm, 2004
What a sweet little movie.  It's like a combination of American Pie with that classic Brit film from the 90s Beautiful Thing.  It's set in the German countryside, where a group of students in a rowing team go compete against groups from other parts of the country.  Two boys in the group are Best Friends Forever, even going as far as date girls who are also Best Friends Forever.  Thing is, one of the boys starts to discover he has deep feelings for his best friend.  To complicate things further, when they arrive at the camping site where all the other rowing teams are based one of the teams - Queerschlog - is made up of cute, out-and-proud, gay boys that don't mind stirring shit up.  Cue comedy of disasters, mistaken identities and broken hearts in this lovely, low key coming of age story.

It's the sort of perfect film for a Sunday afternoon.

commonpeople1: (Default)
We came in from the heat and sat down at a corner table covered with cowboy comic strips from the 50s. A man in the corner played a trumpet until a basil-scented pizza on a platter arrived for him from the kitchen.

The girl behind the bar wore lipstick that was slightly too red for her face - as vivid as the cowboy's shirt on the comic strip. We rested our drinks on the cartoons - beer, lemonade, Coke - and pulled out our notebooks and pens for a spontaneous creative writing exercise brought about by hours of talks on literature and art in a nearby park.

We were grateful for the fresh breeze that came into the pub from all the open windows.

After the trumpetist was done with his pizza, he picked his instrument up again and was joined by a man at the piano. We stopped our writing to clap every time they completed a song. Then we were back into our pages, the cartoon smiles from the American Wild West peeking at us from underneath our notebooks. More people arrived and the clink of glasses from the bar counter, and the chatter from outdoor tables, rose whenever there was a pause in the free jazz.

Vicky said we could be in Italy.

commonpeople1: (Cabbie)

Originally uploaded by shotbygrant
[ profile] wink_martindale and I sat beside Carole from Big Brother 8 this weekend. She was with a friend at the same coffee shop as us and she sang along to one of the songs on the radio at one point. I bet most of you don't remenber that particular Big Brother: it was the one where the housemates were initially all-female and then slowly men were introduced in the next couple of weeks. It was ferocious.

We had gone to the coffee shop to do our NaNoWriMo and I thankfully ended up breaking through my problem of not knowing what my story was about. I've now got a direction and I'm excited about my characters. I followed Natalie Goldberg and Ian McEwan's method of writing: jot down anything and everything - even if it means pages and pages of random narrative - until something clicks. It really does work.

Last night, we got home in time to see the fireworks in Victoria Park. As my landlady/friend correctly pointed out, it was probably the last one the park would have (thanks to the government's cuts.) The theme was the death of dozens of people at Bethnal Green tube station during the Second World War - where many had panicked after hearing sirens and rushed down the stairs, causing a crush that killed 176 people on 3 March 1943.

Just before the fireworks began, Wink told me that Bethnal Green was supposedly the most haunted station in London, with a very high amount of ghost sightings. Suddenly, in the park's darkness, sirens began to roar and lights pointed up at the sky. Tower Hamlets' logo at centre stage exploded on fire and two voices began to sing: "London Town is on Fire, London Town is on Fire..." It was very haunting and macabre. The fireworks were accompanied by popular hits from the 1940s. The memory of those who lived and died during the Great War was never far away.

commonpeople1: (Karaoke)
I held my first X Factor party yesterday. Friends met [ profile] wink_martindale and I at the Victoria pub in the afternoon, where we spent a good amount of hours chatting about vajazzles, people who sleep with corgis, trips to Berlin, upcoming karaoke and Nicola Roberts' pending solo career (which I think will be the best one out of all Girls Aloud). The great thing about the Victoria is that the music is never loud and you can hear all the conversations going on around you. It also helps that they continue to play stuff that I love like Siouxsie, 50s rockabilly and alternative gems from the 80s.

At 7.30pm, just as an indie band was getting ready to take to the stage, we hurried back to our flat - past a cornershop for more booze - and arrived with a few minutes to spare before the show started. I'd forgotten how the view of London from our balcony impresses people - I'm so used to it by now - and it made me realise how we should throw a party here one of these days. Everyone settled down, pizzas were ordered, and one hilarious comment after another came out on the performances on the telly[1]. This sort of weekend entertainment makes its most sense when shared with others.

Once everyone left, the alcohol seemed to suddenly take its effect and everything spun when I closed my eyes. Woke up at 2am and couldn't go back to sleep so pottered round the flat until 8am then slept till nearly midday. Went for a coffee and lunch with my brasilian friend Vini Bambini, played a bit of Nintendo and I'm now killing time online until the X Factor's results come in. Then it's a movie before bedtime and the start of another work week.

Read more... )
commonpeople1: (Vicky Park)

Vicky Park's Visitors
Originally uploaded by olliefern
[ profile] wink_martindale and I pottered around the flat this morning then went to a yoga class at 12.45pm. It was the first time Wink visited my gym; we managed to snag him a free day trial as my guest and had no problem finding a spot in the class. It was only an hour long and not that strenuous. Probably perfect after a workout but not good enough as a stand-alone class.

Our landlords/friends then invited us for a coffee in Victoria Park's Pavillion Café. We got our cappuccinos and sat outside, chatting about this and that - but mostly gossiping about people in my bookclub and the quiz night I attended on Friday.

I'm now lying in the bedroom, listening to iTunes, watching episodes of the brasilian soap Passione, reading bits of Tim Moore's Spanish Steps while Wink plays Zelda in the living room.

I discovered this great community which I think all of you photography lovers would enjoy too: [ profile] everyday_i_show
commonpeople1: (Jump)

Grace Jones
Originally uploaded by virgorama
If a bomb had been dropped on Victoria Park yesterday, it would have wiped out 99.99% of London's lesbians, gays and trannies. Are steroids flamable? Because there was enough there yesterday (covered by fine trimmed hair and tattoos) to set the EastEnd ablaze after the explosion.

I never saw so many gayers in one space. Gaydar and Gaymers banners floated everywhere, drag queens danced and sang on top of a makeshift 1970s New York club (NYC Down Low) while punters with real and fake moustaches lined to get in, Stonewall volunteers paraded with their banners and handed out stickers, and every corner seemed to have a beat going for a happy group of semi-clad hands-in-the-air types. It was all very enjoyable and sunny.

I've got some photos to upload tonight. In the meantime, here's my brief review:

Best Gig
Hercules and Love Affair, hands down. They were fan-tas-tic - like gods from the height of 70s disco coming down to throw a party for us mere mortals. They showcased a lot of new music and it all sounds bri-lli-ant. Possibly better than the first album! I hope they play London again soon, and I hope I can get tickets. Second album is scheduled for a September release, apparently.

Nearly Best Gig
Grace Jones, who changed headware for every song and finished the set by hoola-hooping through a whole track. She was funny, she had legs that went for miles, she wore a thong that showed off her toned butt, and she sounded like Dionne Warwick in the mood for all-night-sex. She closed the festival with a golden key she normally keeps in her 80s dub pop box.

Sadly Missed Gig
Hurts. So very disappointed I missed them! And New Young Pony Club, who we caught towards the end of their set and sounded a-ma-zing and good fun. Must listen to them on Spotify when I get home.

Slightly Disappointing Gig
Cut Copy. Their old material had the crowd jumping in happiness but the three new songs they showcased just didn't do anything for me or most of the crowd. It's a departure from their old material - one of them sounded like Dire Straits - but hopefully it's better on record.

Honourable Mentions
- Amusement park in the middle of festival! Ferris wheel, merry-go-round, slides - all right beside the gig stages. Genius idea.
- Hot lesbians who dirty danced and got everyone in the mood to jump around.
- Gay boys everywhere, in all states of (un)dress. Muscles and fat, smooth and furry, deaf or with just one arm, tall and short, in groups or alone and off their tits. So so so many boys - the lover of people-watching in me was thrilled.
- Lots of great food stalls to choose from. We had Greek wraps and a lot of bottled water.

Dishonourable Mentions
Cigarette smoking. Everywhere. All the time. One after the other. Smoke blown in your face. Over and over. I feel today like I had half a pack of smokes just from all the secondhanding. I had a very dark thought on the way home: if everyone who smoked suddenly dropped dead at the same time, a lot of the world's problems would be solved... the only cranky thought from an otherwise extremely happy, satiated, TIRED mind.


Jun. 24th, 2010 07:32 am
commonpeople1: (Glasses)

Fluffy white kitten
Originally uploaded by Winchester SPCA
This weekend, [ profile] wink_martindale and I will be babysitting our landlady's tiny fluffy white kitten Blanche. My landlady has to go to Spain for the weekend and asked if we could stay over her place and make sure Blanche doesn't misbehave.

My journal entries during the weekend, therefore, shall be known as The Blanche Diaries.

The landlady's Wii also apparently needs a lot of attention so I grudgingly agreed to make sure it stays happy and out of trouble.
commonpeople1: (Toni)
I used to be one of those people disdainful of critics with their up-and-coming recommendations. That was a century ago, when I read Melody Maker and the NME religiously and thought I knew better than them.

Who's got time these days to keep up with music reviews? You got to be grateful for any suggested tidbit that comes your way. I'm happy if someone says "hey check this out, they are going to be big in 2010." Off I go to Spotify, or YouTube, or Amazon, or iTunes, and eventually I listen and make up my own mind.

I'm so glad to say that new Mancunian band Hurts (bigged up by BBC News of all people) are brilliant! They sound like a smooth cross between East 17, New Order, Noel (remember "Silent Morning"?) and somebody else who I can't quite put my finger on yet. Maybe Depeche Mode at their most bombastic? And I like the girl on this video Voguing like it's 1990 while the two boys play Pet Shop Boys.

I recommend this to: [ profile] live_life_like, [ profile] neenaw, [ profile] denalyia, [ profile] muftak (the Arthur Baker mix) and [ profile] knacker_prince.
commonpeople1: (Aiko)

Originally uploaded by mzdtuk
There's a pub near us, right in the middle of Mile End park, that hosts jazz nights on weekends. Eastend grandmas and grandpa don their best garbs, climb the stage and sing standards from Sinatra onwards. The pub is just by Regent's Canal and during the summer many people sit outside on the grass with their drinks - we even witnessed once a few boats arrive with people dressed as pirates (we spent the rest of the night wishing we'd been invited to their party.)

When friends are in town, I like to take them there because it's a warm and welcoming place, its red wallpaper and mixture of people blending well with the music. A few weekends ago, when lovely [ profile] yearning and Henrique were visiting us, we invited a few people to meet us there before heading over to the Underworld in Camden for dancing. [1] Yearning's friend [ profile] mzdt joined us at the Palm Tree and brought along his camera. He took some great photos that night and they can be seen here (that's him on the left-hand side of the photo above, followed by la encantadora [ profile] desayuno_ingles, yearning and myself.)

Kevin and I talk of moving away in the summer of 2010 (yeah, I know - we say this all the time) but it's these friends living nearby, and these great nights that London offers us, that makes it so hard to plan a new life elsewhere. Take desayuno_ingles, for example, whom I've now known on LJ for 6 years. We always joked that we'd never live in the same city, that we'd be fated to be online friends forever, and now she's here and I'm spoiled and desirous of going to many clubs, gigs, parks, bike reads, movies, etc with her. And even yearning herself, who lives in Ireland, isn't that far away from us. Who knows the future... she could end up in London too... ;-)

Then there's [ profile] sushidog, my neighbour and partner of cheap Monday night movies. Kevin and I walked around Mile End and Bow with her last weekend, companions to her research on a 19th century horror novel she's writing (I've already read some bits of it and it's brilliant - take my word for it.) Afterwards, we ate sandwiches in Tower Hamlets cemetery then hung out at the Victoria pub, surprised by the place's beautiful 50s decour, live jazz music, juke box and £1 slices of cake. At night, they were offering a David Lynch film and popcorn for free, served by young emo boys doing their best not to fuck up their first job. They even had stuffed animals on the walls. And posters of The Cramps and Siouxsie Sioux in the gents.

I wish all my friends could live near me. I want more nights at the Palm Tree and the Victoria with them. I want all their novels-in-progress to be published and displayed in supermarkets. I want the X Factor back on the telly soon. I want Adam to win American Idol. I want plenty of sunshine and heatwaves this summer. I want a posse backing me up at the nearest gay dancefloor. I want too many things.

[1] I don't recommend you ever go there, unless you are 18 and enjoy vomiting on yourself. The only good thing about the club was the brief presence of [ profile] denalyia and [ profile] zenithed, who were smartly making their escape when we arrived.
commonpeople1: (James)
Last night, after a few hours spent with friends at Vagabonds (London's premier monthly night dedicated to 80s trad goth/alternative classics), Kevin and I hop on the No.8 bus, heading home. As the bus stops near Brick Lane, a hoard of drunk revellers push into the bus through the exit doors. Kevin and I move towards the back. The doors' alarms beep incessantly because there's not enough space to close them; I look at Kevin and predict we'll go nowhere (my experience in the past has been with drivers refusing to depart unless people pay their fare or leave the bus.)

The bus is crammed, except in the corridor where Kevin and I are standing. Suddenly, someone starts slamming the windows with their hand. I look and it's a guy outside calling my attention. He orders me to move back so he can get in. I ignore him (I'm drunk and, in any case, what difference does it make where I move if the people elsewhere in the bus aren't budging?) He continues to slam the windows and, after a minute, I look at him again. This time he looks at me as if he could rip my head off - he wants to get in the bus and apparently it's my fault he's not succeeding. He calls me a wanker by gesturing at me with his hand; I tell him to go to the driver and pay up. He hurries to the front of the bus.

Now, in the back of my drunken mind, I imagine the guy climbing on board and pushing his way to the back, where he'll confront me - perhaps even attack me (how dare I talk back at him?) The people near the exit finally force the doors shut, allowing the bus to continue its journey.

As the bus pulls away, I see the guy standing by the bus stop with other people that didn't make it inside. He's got that look of a petulant child that didn't get the toy he wanted. We make eye contact. I lift both my hands at him, shove two fingers up in the air repeatedly (that's two fingers on each hand, doing that ever so British V-sign), watch him scream with outrage and try to chase the bus, then feel a rush of excitement and satisfaction as we leave him behind (to hopefully remember the incident to the end of his life.)

Divine justice, Kevin called it.

And Then It Snowed in London Today... )
commonpeople1: (Danielle)
I had no idea how bad things were for America until last night, when I watched this terrifying documentary on BBC2: This World: American Time Bomb. I have my first new year resolution for 2009: pay off my credit card by the end of this month and start a hardcore savings account that I'll never dip into. It's ridiculous that I'm in my early 30s and I've got nothing saved.

Kevin and I went for coffee this past Sunday at Elbows cafe, a comfy little place north of Victoria Park. While I read an interview with Seamus Heaney in the Guardian Review, Kevin pulled out his sketchbook and did a drawing:

Elbows Cafe

He's friends with a collective of artists based in Stoke Newington who have put together a blog dedicated to sketches and drawings: [ profile] sketchbookblog.

April 2017



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