commonpeople1: (Avatar)
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)
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
commonpeople1: (Avatar)
Lovebox Festival by J_Ymmit
Lovebox Festival, a photo by J_Ymmit on Flickr.
Went running around Victoria Park this morning with my boyfriend and heard Goldfrapp doing the soundcheck for her gig tonight at Lovebox.

Ran past a gentleman who wished me a good morning. Ran past other gentlemen who ran their eyes between us with a certain curiosity.

Read on Twitter that Lil Kim was late for her performance so Lovebox decided not to let her on stage (fair enough.)

Almost regretted not having a ticket this year but the memories of being arrested and strip searched last year are still very much fresh in my memory.

Didn't win the lottery last night.  Didn't even get a single number right.
commonpeople1: (Avatar)
29/1/2013 Lottery ticket by barbourians
29/1/2013 Lottery ticket, a photo by barbourians on Flickr.
09
Everytime I go to my local community garden, I buy a Lotto ticket at the WH Smith inside Stratford Shopping Centre. I have more chance of shagging David Beckham while Posh Spice looks on with a grin on her face but still I persist.

12
Our Garden Club leader is on holiday in the West Counties, so there was only weeding and watering to be done today. I learnt to "dead head" flowers and that people who use our garden during the week (it's open to the public) have no qualms about leaving behind their cigarette butts and energy drinks. Fuckers.

14
Rails have been set up across Mile End Road as you approach Grove Road. This is to stop drunk young ones from running into traffic when they stumble drunk/high out of Lovebox this weekend. Girls in hot pants, boys in black wife beaters. A lot of dodgy tattoos. Up on the double-decker bus I feel more than ever exiled from the land of youth.

21
Descale the shower head and get into lukewarm water. A cool breeze runs through the apartment. Plug my laptop, turn off the lights and watch trailers for upcoming films. Boyfriend returns home from his solitary studio.

30
iTunes on shuffle plays my brother's favourite song when he was a pre-teen, Simply Red's "Holding Back the Years". It's his birthday today.

49
These are not my lucky numbers.
commonpeople1: (Sea)

An evening at the Barbican with colleagues from work, to see Deborah Colker's Dance Company perform Tatyana. Based on Pushkin's novel Eugene Onegin, it's a story of unrequited love and tragedy. Two young men, Lensky and Onegin, meet two beautiful young women in the countryside, one being Tatyana.  She falls in love with Onegin and opens her heart in a letter - but he rejects her.  Years later, he runs into her again - this time married to a rich man in St Petersburg - and realises she was meant to be with him... but now her feelings have changed...

The first Act has a large contraption on stage - a sort of wooden tree - which the dancers climb all over, jump from and dance around. The second Act is more surreal and modern, with the dancers dancing as if suspended in the air while light is projected and run through them.  Their style is more modern dance than contemporary - with a lot of ballet thrown in the mix in the second half.

Two interesting details which I thought raised the performance: each character is played by four dancers, and a new character is introduced into the story - Pushkin himself (played by a blonde male character dressed entirely in black which I first thought represented death, and who sometimes was substituted by Deborah Colker herself.) This idea of a character having four dancers works well when demonstrating emotion: four Onegins surrounding one Tatyana gives the impression of "overwhelming emotion" or "excessive love".  And the idea of Colker herself taking turns with Pushkin inside the story was an obvious, but nice, idea of the author never being too far from its creation, and that maybe a love story written a century ago by a man can gain new life today through a woman from another side of the planet (Brasil).

commonpeople1: (Default)
Leigh Bowery by James Birkbeck
Leigh Bowery, a photo by James Birkbeck on Flickr.
I wrote this huge post this morning about Leigh Bowery, Romo music in the 90s, the band Minty, going to see Boy George's musical "Taboo" last night with [livejournal.com profile] naturalbornkaos, getting inside a party with him for the launch of Grand Marnier's brand experience The Bubble and much more... then bloody Flickr ate my post! I lost everything.

Don't know if I can be bothered to write it again. Here's a photo of Grand Marnier's Bubble on the roof of the Brixton Clubhouse (which also houses "Taboo".) The sun is about to set and [livejournal.com profile] naturalbornkaos and I are inside it with bloggers and party hostesses, being filmed and getting tipsy on free cocktail drinks:



I don't like musicals and "Taboo" didn't really change my mind. It was nice to see Boy George so close (he introduced it and explained that it was just a dress rehearsal and things might go wrong) and spot the 80s references on stage (no wonder the musical bombed in the US - it's so English-centric.)

The guy who played Leigh Bowery stole the show. Was surprised to learn later that it's a contestant from The Voice UK!

Plans to visit Hampstead's Ponds today have been scuppered. Might do it Monday or Tuesday if weather allows. Latest plan is to visit Edvard Munch's exhibition at the Tate and do the whole shebang: full price entry, electronic guided tour, cappuccino in the bar.


commonpeople1: (Default)


Arnold Wesker, Chicken Soup with Barley, 1956
I found out yesterday that 90% of the people in council housing in Kensington and Chelsea will lose enough of their benefits to make it impossible for them to live in the borough.  The person who told me this compared it to what happened to Paris and New York - these beautiful, expensive cities where only the wealthy can live in, all the immigrants and poor (i.e. the interesting people) pushed out.  It will be such a shame if this happens in RBKC or the entire city - what sets it apart from other global cities is its unique mixture of people and the way rich and poor still live side by side.

This was further brought home to me in the evening when I saw an ode/lament to Socialism which just opened at the Royal Court.  It starts in the 30s, when the Jewish families in the EastEnd rose up in unions and demonstrated against the spread of Fascism.  The years go by and the comrades slowly get co-opted by Capitalism, their ideals disintegrating in a post-war world, except for Sarah, the mother of the family who still clings to Socialism as if it were a faith and who fights to hold her family together through hard work and honesty.

The play reminded me of Two Thousand Years by Mike Leigh, shown some years ago at the National Theatre, which also looked at a Jewish family (this time in North London) and their politics (Zionism).  Families sitting around to eat, getting passionate about their political views, then the long silences in between.  Both plays have a slow burning pace that pays off with big ideas laid on stage for contemplation.
commonpeople1: (Schiele)
The Most Incredible Thing

I accidentally ended up in a party last night with Jodie Marsh.  She is tiny.  She was wearing an all black, tight outfit, high heels and long dark extensions. It's a sin to see someone so young wearing so much make-up.  There were other famous people there, like that blond woman who's always on TV shows about music, and that older guy with long hair and a moustache, and those young people who are probably in Skins or something.  And I think I spotted the actress who used to play Ian Beale's wife and died falling down the stairs.

It was the press night for The Most Incredible Thing at Saddler's Wells - a dance piece collaboration between the Pet Shop Boys and coreographer Javier De Frutos.  Purely accidental - the £10 tickets we had were arranged by our friends Vini Bambini and Bia months ago and nobody warned me to dress to the nines.  Suburbia was absent.  Everyone's life there was on show, flamboyant clothes below those so hard smiles.  Every actor needs an audience; every action is... a performance. West End girls mingling with Dalston boys.  Two kisses on the cheek.  Very thick quiffs.  Expensive midriffs.  Sugar and daddies.  Buckets of champagne everywhere and me with my large glass of white wine.  A few people from my past: that woman from the NT who is so nice; that girl who assisted the directors (now busily working the cord that separated the riff raff from the VIPs.)  Avoided them both.

Sadler's Wells gets hot when it's full. I thought of [livejournal.com profile] fj and how he should be there with us. We sat near the roof, our view the beginning of a roller coaster's descent.  The show started well, with robotic domino dancing to a disco beat swelled by the orchestra.  Then tedium set in: uninteresting fairy-tale, lame jokes about reality shows, gaps that were far too long, clichéd choreography (apparently, full of references to famous classical ballet, but who cares?) and a limp climax.  What have I done to deserve this?

Outside, we met Bia's uncle and his friends - an older generation that loved the piece. It massaged their brains with all the classical references it threw on the stage.  But to us, with our ignorant gut reactions, it didn't say a thing beyond "is it Christmas?"  Left to my own devices, I'd have taken the show's music to a smoky nightclub. The sun would welcome me from the club's gloom to where the streets have no name. I'd end up home and dry.
commonpeople1: (Mr Stamp)
Secret Cinema's latest show has come to an end. They've made a little video to give everyone a flavour of how it went. I think I may be in it: go to 0:16 and look at the right-hand corner, right at the front (by the stage). There's a guy with his coat's collar turned up:

commonpeople1: (Log Lady)

Secret cinema
Originally uploaded by Benjiwun
[livejournal.com profile] wink_martindale and I went for the first time to Secret Cinema on Friday.

This is what happened (contains spoilers) )
commonpeople1: (Jehovah's Witness)
I went into Waterstones during my lunch break yesterday, just to kill some time, and came out carrying three books: Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger (ghost story), C. J. Sansom's Dissolution (crime novel set in Thomas Cromwell's time) and Peter Ackroyd's The English Ghost. I wanted to buy this last one after reading a review last week that the English are the people on the planet to have reported the most ghost sightings. Ackroyd has put together a collection of newspaper stories, diary entries, etc, on reported ghost sightings. His introduction is worth the price alone. To me, Christmas holidays are all about ghosts and murder, so I'm pretty happy about these books.

In the evening, I went to the Royal Opera House with a colleague for their annual Firsts season. These are collections of performances - of all kinds - from young artists and companies. It's a way for the ROH to support recent graduates and for people like us to discover new talent we can commission. The one performance that really stood out for me was Ten, by Hetain Patel, which was a mixture of stand up comedy, choreography, music and a study of heritage and language... and more! It was really cool.

I chatted to my colleague about my impending contract termination (ends in the middle of January) and she confessed that it would be great for me to stay on. It's similar to what my boss has said but unfortunately I'm not allowed to apply for the new position being created until everyone in the council at risk of termination has a go. If none of them get it, I'm allowed to apply.

Onwards and upwards. Have started glancing at job listings again.

Oh Shush

Sep. 24th, 2010 12:04 am
commonpeople1: (Jehovah's Witness)
I noticed a beautiful girl on the escalator at Angel tube station. She had that poise that good looking people sometimes have - as if she was somewhere else while we all looked in. Long, shiny brown hair. Dark eyes and smooth skin. Except... she had two large soot smudges on her cheek. I think she got it from the escalator's handrail. It completely disarmed her poise and made her interesting. I wondered how long it would take before she figured it out.

I met old co-workers at the King's Head for Neil LaBute's play "This Is How It Goes". It was a misogynist's homage to Alfred Hitchcock and race hate. In an introductory note, he said the play was inspired by Aimee Mann's songs. I've been meaning to check out her solo work. I listen to "Voices Carry" from her 80s band Til' Tuesday quite often.
commonpeople1: (Jehovah's Witness)

joe_orton_1967
Originally uploaded by mtstud54
There's an exhibition currently at Viktor Wynd's Little Shop Of Horrors (11 Mare Street) of prints gathered (drawn?) by Zoe Beloff on Albert Grass, a guy who worked in Coney Island's amusement park in the 30s and filled notebooks with his dreams in the anachronistic style of Lynchian comics. His real dream was to one day convert Coney Island into a giant Freudian amusement park but Depression-era America and its people were not ready for a libido pavillion that featured a naked 50-foot pre-pubescent girl.

We dropped by the Little Shop of Horrors yesterday with our friends/landlords and enjoyed the exhibition very much - so much in fact that our hard-earned cash stayed behind in place of books and prints. Then we parted ways and went to see Metropolis's re-issue at the Barbican - with brand new footage found in Argentina last year which hasn't been seen by any audiences until now, together with the original score. A total thing of beauty. I got so excited in the cinema when the lights went down that I spilled beer all over my jeans.

Afterwards, we dropped by our landlords/friends because they had a lot of left over chicken and ham that they wanted to share. They made a roast dinner for us which we accompanied with three bottles of rosé and Tangier-scented conversations. Somebody mentioned that there was a guided walk happening in Islington that was on the playwright Joe Orton.

'Do you know Joe Orton?' M asked me.

Nope, never heard of him. Of his imprisonment after tampering with library books. Of his meeting with the Beatles to write a screenplay for them. Of his famous plays. Or of his openly gay relationship with his obessive and ultimately murderous boyfriend. Today, during my lunch break, I cruised an used bookshop by Tottenham Court Road and found Joe's diaries in hardback, originally published in the 80s. £3.50. I snapped it on the spot then read its introduction in a blissfully empty bus home. (Blissfully empty because today starts a Tube strike in London and my experience of these has always been crowds, pushing and shoving to get into buses.)
commonpeople1: (March of the Dead)
The Duchess of Malfi

Punchdrunk and the ENO's Duchess of Malfi )
commonpeople1: (Wein)
Diana Vickers is an X Factor contestant with an unusual voice who nearly won the show two years ago. I saw her a few months back in the West End with [livejournal.com profile] neenaw ; she was the main star of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.

Hurts are a synthpop due from Manchester and my new favourite band. Rammstein are a band from Germany who had that creepy song in Lilya-4-Ever. (Hard not to feel down after watching that film.)

Last week there was news of Rammstein's new single coming with a Hurts remix. This week, Hurts' live cover of Diana Vickers' first single "Once" appeared on YouTube. It's all a bit confusing.

It now seems like every new band must show some knowledge of the pop world while carving their own ground. A band going from Rammstein to Diana Vickers in the space of two weeks just wouldn't have happened when I was a teenager. It was all ghettos, collaborations with obscure artists and rejection of the charts (while secretly feeling elated if your favourite band hit the Top 10).

But I'm not complaining: if Hurts watch X Factor and secretly hope to one day play Eurovision, all the better! The "Once" cover isn't perfect but it's definitely better than the original and makes me all the more excited to see them live this summer. The fluffy and boring Diana Vickers production turns into a near perfect James Bond tune in their hands, all moody strings and piano as lead singer Theo croons:

Who or whatever you do
Don’t let anyone love you
Touch them where it hurts
And then you’ll leave

I’m only gonna let you kill me once
I’m only gonna let you kill me then some

commonpeople1: (Cormac)
The Priory


For any of you who were fans of the TV show Spaced and were wondering what Jessica Stevenson is up to at the moment, she's starring in a very good comedy at the Royal Court called The Priory. In a way she revisits her character from the series (a somewhat failed writer) only this time she's older, slightly more melancholic and stuck in a medieval monastery-cum-weekend getaway for a New Year Eve's party with trainwrecked friends. I loved how natural the dialogue felt - the kind of chit chat I have myself with friends, but funnier - and how some of the characters, in particular the women, were fully fleshed and unforgettable. What's meant to be a relaxing holiday with friends descends into drugs, drinks, The Big Chill soundtrack pumped through an iPhone and a menacing hooded figure that may, or may not, be the ghost of a monk. Everything that could possibly go wrong on a New Year Eve's party, goes wrong - with some funny but also slightly shocking consequences. It's been extended until mid January and I highly recommend it.

Afterwards, [livejournal.com profile] wink_martindale and I hit Sainsbury's for some Xmas food and last minute gifts. Now I'm listening to some Madge while preparing to make the living room off limits for Wink until I've wrapped presents and placed them underneath our spider plant. Later, I will finish a Xmas story I'm writing and which I wish to post here tomorrow. It's a story about one of you!! Wink is drawing some images to go alongside it too...

Last night, we had a Xmas party with our book club. I won some homemade chutney and a strange contraption that makes my ears glow. It will come in handy when I walk down Regent's Canal at night.

Glowing Ears )
commonpeople1: (Toni)
Last night, [livejournal.com profile] teqkiller and I saw Diana Vickers star in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice in the West End. We were disappointed that no slebs showed up - not even this year's current X Factor contestants - but I did spot a footballer right in the front with his wag.

This kitchen sink drama tells the story of a young girl who lives in a godforsaken backwater with her alcoholic mother until one day an unscrupulous showbiz empresario discovers she has a beautiful singing voice and decides to milk her for all it's worth. When Diana first opens her mouth, you'd be forgiven for thinking she's lip synching - such is the beauty of her voice. It only gets better from there onwards, especially when she hits the piers' nightclubs and hops from one big band classic to the next. She can really sing, and act too! (Yes, I was as shocked as you.) Probably the person who should have won the X Factor last year, but oh well.

Afterwards, walking home down Bethnal Green Road, I spotted a drunk in the middle of the road, hailing cars, kicking buses and nearly toppling in front of incoming traffic. I followed him for some minutes, but when he failed to move to the sidewalk I picked up my mobile and dialled 999 for the first time in my life. The police showed up while I was still on the phone and asked the bloke if he was trying to walk home. He had a startled look on his face - he had tried, at first, to get into the police car's passenger side when they'd stopped and was having trouble putting one word in front of the other for the coppers.

Today, I dream of being rich and free.
commonpeople1: (Rachel)

St James' Piccadilly
Originally uploaded by efsb
Margaret Atwood is in town promoting her latest sci-fi speculative novel, The Year of the Flood. Last night, Kevin and I went to St James' church, Piccadilly, and sat through a performance of selected passages from the novel which included a choir singing hymns and five actors playing characters from the story. Atwood herself sat on a chair slightly to the side, in the role of the narrator.

Our seats overlooked the ground floor but didn't face the whole stage. They weren't kidding when they said restricted-view tickets. Still, I could see when the choir took their place, and when the actors wandered in with Atwood down the main aisle, dancing gently to the introductory hymn while blue balls glowed in their cupped hands (the kind of balls you get offered by deaf mutes in Cretan cocktail bars). We also saw, a few minutes earlier, when Miranda Richardson arrived late with a friend and, failing to find a good seat, had the luck to have a press officer gently move a couple from the front pews so they could have preferential seats...

Afterwards, I lined up dutifully with many others for an autograph. I donated £10 to RSPB, one of the many not-for-profit orgs that Atwood is supporting during this book tour - they fight to preserve the habitat of wild birds, especially birds of prey which are being hunted into extinction.

When she took my book to sign, I thanked her for the evening. "I hope you were able to hear well," she asked. I replied that yes, I had heard fine the whole performance. She smiled and handed me the book back. "Best of luck with the rest of the tour," I said. "Thank you, thank you very much!" She seemed a little... taken aback by me speaking to her? Other people just handed their books, got their autograph and left. Maybe I broke protocol? Or - more likely - this is an aspect of the tour she doesn't enjoy so much (I don't see how it could ever be not weird to have a huge line of people waiting for your autograph).

And that was it - we were very quickly out in the cold rain, rushing home with a brand new hardcover novel to read tucked inside a hemp-like carrier bag with the book's title stamped on it (now destined to be my grocery store/fashion bag.)
commonpeople1: (Drew)
Bill Bryson's Shakespeare

Bill Bryson, Shakespeare, 2007
I started reading this book on the 12th of August after returning from a brilliant staging of Troilus and Cressida at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. I wanted to keep some of the feeling and ambiance of the theatre with me, so what could be better than a biography on the great English bard? This is a very slim volume - the reason being that Bryson wants to look at exactly what we know about Shakespeare through hard-earned facts. It turns out there's very little we know about the man. Nevertheless, he conjures Elizabethan and Jacobean England immaculately while fitting in the evidence for Shakespeare's existence and genius. He shares some amusing and bizarre facts about the period (people were considered to be rich and noble if they had teeth blackened from too much sugar eating, for example) while at the same time aiming a crossbow at all previous scholars that have extrapolated on the man without a shred of evidence. Part bitchy, part brilliant - never boring. If anything, I have not been satiated by this biography and now wish to learn more (I've just ordered a biography on King James I from the local library.)
commonpeople1: (Kate)
Last night, Kevin and I visited Shakespeare's Globe Theatre for the first time - a blasted curse on our names for not visiting before after nine years in London! The play was Troilus and Cressida, which I knew nothing about, and which I loved (despite there being a preponderance of despicable queer characters with no redeeming qualities). The only actor I recognised was Matthew Kelly, who played a camp old queen who likes to perform a song or two for the audience and fawn over semi naked young men. He stole the show just as much as the actor who played the leprous hunchback beggar. It was only a fiver to stand and now I'm in the mood for buying season tickets and reading Bill Bryson's biography on the Bard (which I started, anyway, last night in a fit of excitement, and which is very good.)

On Monday, I was given a tour of a fairy house in South London (not open to the public), tucked away behind some bushes and an unmarked door on Wandsworth Road: the home of Kenyan-born poet and writer Khadambi Asalache. His house, which is now being taken care of by the National Trust, is completely covered with beautifully designed wood carvings, art works, paintings and collections of random things (tea cups, ink bottles, etc), many of which inspired by mathematical theory (he had a MPhil in Math), Islamic design and his memories of Africa. In his writing room, we heard one of his poems read out loud as we stared at one of his murals. Afterwards, we sat in his kitchen drinking tea and talking about life. No photo does justice to the place.

Photos of Khadambi Asalache's home )

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