commonpeople1: (Avatar)
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.
commonpeople1: (Default)
tube, london by milenavan
tube, london, a photo by milenavan on Flickr.
I walked past a young man this morning in the Tube (Bank station), sitting with a Transport for London staff member and holding a cup of water and a bar of chocolate. She seemed to be explaining to him something. (Don't travel on an empty stomach? Drink more water?)

On Friday, the same happened on the Northern line, only it was a young woman who fainted inside the carriage. The crowd on the platform gathered at the door instead of giving her space (bunch of nitwits) but luckily she quickly revived with the help of TfL staff and was led away.

These two incidents made me think of the growing amount of anorexics I now see wandering around London. (in a sort of unrelated way). People go on about the obesity epidemic - that Britain is trailing close behind America - but I think there's a directly opposite problem growing in the background.

If I go on my lunch break to - say - Russell Square - I'll walk past at least 3 of them. Perversely enough, either in cafes or supermarkets. And just as many young men as young women. Today, Tumblr announced it's banning blogs that promote self-harm and anorexia, which has been hailed by some charities like Mind as a good move. There's also this interesting blog post about Pinterest and how it's become a favourite site for pro-ana and pro-mia users.

I don't really know what's the answer. Western society has been skinny obsessed for a long time now, but it's more enforced I think in big metropolises like London - especially with people who feel they have to compete with others on the way they look or fit into fashion. There's a difference between wanting to be slim and healthy (e.g. mine and your case) and wanting to starve yourself to beyond size 0.

Also... I kinda think gyms should have the power to ban anorexics from working out/joining. (Is that harsh?)
commonpeople1: (Default)
The Guardian Review Book of Short StoriesThe Guardian Review Book of Short Stories by Lisa Allardyce

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This collection of short stories came as a free souvenir with the Guardian at the start of November 2011. Considering the calibre of authors included - Margaret Atwood, Rose Tremain, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - it's a surprisingly poor collection. The distinct feeling from the get go is that these are cast away stories the authors drudged up to let the Guardian use - the kind they would never dare use in a collection of their own. The one exception is Audrey Niffenegger's surrealist masterpiece Moths of the New World, which made me want to read more of her stuff (though I already knew she was awesome, based on the talk she gave on time traveling at the British Library earlier this year.) William Trevor, apparently the greatest living short story writer, opens the collection with the weakest story of the lot - a sentimental half-baked thing called An Idyll in Winter.

Most of the authors in this collection are also part of the Guardian's upcoming creative writing master classes, but I'm sure that's just coincidental...

View all my reviews


Jul. 16th, 2011 05:24 pm
commonpeople1: (Default)
Milly DowlerRupert Murdoch

It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly's wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.

Wise Man

May. 15th, 2011 11:26 am
commonpeople1: (Default)
John Waters

Poppers are the only drug I still take. I used to take them on rollercoasters which was insane. I tried heroin, but itching and puking isn't my idea of fun.

This Much I Know: John Waters

I said this on Facebook and I'll say it again: John Waters should MUST host the next Oscars!
commonpeople1: (Jehovah's Witness)

Kill TV
Originally uploaded by paulo jose
Grace Dent agrees with me that The Killing is the best thing on the telly right now - even better than Boardwalk Empire and all the other new U.S. shows.

I'll shut up already about this show.

There's an article in yesterday's The Guardian that mentions Livejournal. It's about depressed people who create online personas and fake illness in order to get sympathy and attention. I think everyone on LJ by this stage knows at least one person who has done this or has had first hand experience of being tricked.

Fopp have a sale on - tons of great albums from 2010 for £5 or less. Classics for £3 or less. Worth checking out. I'm going back to CDs. I don't see the benefit of digital downloads unless they are remixed b-sides.
commonpeople1: (Sea)
I've mentioned recently how The Killing is brilliant TV (currently on the BBC). This guy at the Independent agrees with me.

Honestly, just watch it. You'll know what I mean when you can't pull the hooks out.

Speaking of great Danes, I discovered this singer recently on Late Junction (thank you BBC again!) which I think some of you may like:


Agnes Obel Riverside music video from porkfish on Vimeo.

Her whole album from 2010 is available on Spotify and is worth a listen. The kind of sound you want late at night with hardly any lights on.

commonpeople1: (Cabbie)

I bought a copy of the new i paper this morning, partly because I agree with [ profile] dickon_edwards that it's about time a newspaper was named after a Magnetic Fields album. The man at the stall asked me if it was any good. "I don't know! I'm buying it to figure that out," was my reply.

My verdict: better than the freebies content wise, but not much different from them in style or range and definitely London-centric. If anything, there's more variety in the Metro (more gossip and weird news) whereas the i paper regurgitates stories throughout its pages (e.g. Take That and Robbie Williams tour story in the first few pages, which then reappears towards the end - same with the story of the giant stag, which appears on the front page, page 2, page 4, and probably a few other ones.) Surely there's enough content out there to stop repetition?!

Things I've learned: Cheryl Cole's hooker tights from Sunday night sold out after her performance and that Cherie Blair has put an autograph of Tony Bliar up for sale on eBay for 10 quid.

I was tempted to leave it on an empty seat in the tube, beside a copy of the Metro, and see what people went for first. But my £0.20 expenditure made me bring the copy into the office with me.
commonpeople1: (14 yrs old)

John Hughes
Originally uploaded by I Want You Magazine
The Guardian Review this weekend had an article on what politicians, artists and writers are reading over the summer. Amongst the name dropping of new books, old classics and obscurities I was surprised to read that David Hare is taking Molly Ringwald's Getting the Pretty Back with him on holiday. Why did he choose it? Because he was so moved and impressed by an eulogy she wrote in the New York Times for John Hughes when he passed away last year.

David Hare was so impressed by the beauty of her words that he's hoping for a repeated dose in her book. I read the article today and have to agree with him: it was well written and, on top of that, it made me want to revisit her in those 80s classics.

A tiny detail caught my attention in the article: John Hughes used to make tons of mixed tapes for Molly and Anthony Michael Hall. I want them! As some of you may know, I'm a big fan of mixed tapes - my ultimate dream is to find a charity shop that sells people's forgotten/abandoned tapes, collage covers and track lists included.

If you have old mixed tapes that you don't want anymore, please consider posting them to me.

commonpeople1: (TV)
1) [ profile] idioticpoet mentioned on Facebook how his town's library had created a "quiet room". It struck me as a very Borgean notion: add a quiet room within a space that's already meant to be quiet. Then imagine that quiet room needing a quiet room once all the noisy and affronted left outside decide to go in (because we know they'll be the first ones through that door.) The same noisy people I see when I visit Tower Hamlet's Idea Stores (the Borough's version of libraries) in search of a book: mothers that let their children run riot and think libraries are daycare centres, teenagers giving lip to security guards, adults chatting to each other over coffee. The quiet rooms within the quiet rooms' quiet rooms can only go downwards, eventually - chambers and alcoves underneath East London.

2) The Saturday papers carried news of the search for a heir to Hackney's "mole man" William Lyttle. He died this month and left behind a Victorian home worth £1million. The catch: he was known as the "mole man" because of the tunnels and rooms he built underneath his home, prompting a battle with Hackney Council to evict him when they discovered everything with the help of ultrasound scanners. I like how he cheekily claimed to have just a big basement.

3) The papers have also recently carried stories on the explosion of the mole population due to a ban on poisons used before to kill them. Perhaps this was the inspiration for Big Brother's producers when they randomly selected a contestant to go inside the house dressed as a mole (an outfit he wouldn't be able to remove until he completed certain secret tasks in behalf of Big Brother) and sleep in a mole hill in the garden. Some of the tasks involved him scurrying around tunnels inside the Big Brother house which the other contestants were not aware of.

4) While I was writing this post, I went to my bookcase and grabbed one of Wink's books, Creators on Creating. It's a collection of essays by various writers, thinkers and artists. I flicked it open and landed on Michel Foucault's The Order of Things. The first paragraph goes like this:
This book first arose out of a passage in Borges, out of the laughter that shattered, as I read the passage, all the familiar landmarks of my thoughts - our thought, the thought that bears the stamp of our age and our geography - breaking up all the ordered surfaces and all the planes with which we are accustomed to tame the wild profusion of existing things, and continuing long afterwards to disturb and threaten with collapse our age-old distinction between the Same and the Other. This passage quotes a "certain Chinese encyclopaedia" in which it is written that "animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies."
commonpeople1: (TV)
Via [ profile] peteyoung : The ash cloud that shut down British airspace, stranding thousands of people has produced an unlikely creative connection; a collaborative magazine (zine). Full story here. What a great idea!

Via [ profile] pixxers :

I better start looking for work soon. The days are going by fast and I'll soon be back in London. I'm considering a flatshare with more people (will have to see what [ profile] wink_martindale thinks of this) so I can pay less rent, pay off my credit card and lend my mom some money. When you are safe and sound, you are untouchable.

Book Talk

Jan. 18th, 2010 10:23 am
commonpeople1: (Margaret)
I've come up with a game that involves history books. The rules are as follow:

1) Pick a non-fiction book to read, preferably about a person or period centuries ago. (If you want a real challenge, start with the Egyptians.) In my case, I picked Bill Bryson's brilliant biography of Shakespeare.

2) After you've read it, find a way to move chronologically forward in world history through a subject raised somewhere in the book. I chose King James of Scotland since he came into power halfway through Shakespeare's life.

3) Keep doing this until you reach present day.

After King James I, I was re-directed to the Americas, the colony of Jamestown, John Smith and Pocahontas (the first modern celebrity, in my opinion). My next book will be on the first African slaves brought to the east coast colonies.

The Guardian's most recent books podcast is on the future of Science Fiction. They mentioned how Ursula K. Le Guin had a problem reviewing Margaret Atwood's most recent novel, The Year of the Flood, because Atwood refuses to label her distopian fiction "science fiction" (she calls it instead "speculative fiction".) Something to do, it seems, with Atwood's fear of being shoved into the sci-fi ghetto. I love both Le Guin and Atwood and hope they don't get into any Dynasty-style cat fights that might lead to a balcony fall.

One of the podcast's speakers predicted that 2010 will be the year Paranormal Romance novels like Twilight lose their popularity to Epic Fantasy (thank god.) HBO is currently filming a series based on George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels, which made me think Avatar's style and success truly is the face of what's to come. The Guardian's Saturday Review also had a small article on Avatar and a recent accusation of plagiarism aimed at it from Russian sci-fi writers. But, the article said, the person with the biggest claim against Cameron is Ursula K. Le Guin (there she is again), whose novel The Word for World Is Forest is uncannily similar to the film. I hear an echo from the time reviewers said Le Guin should take J.K. Rowling to the courts for lifting so much stuff from her Earthsea novels.

Today, I'm finishing off Stephen King's latest novel Under the Dome, meeting a friend at the Museum of Childhood and then going for a swim which will hopefully fix my back.
commonpeople1: (Cris)
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, by Kate Summerscale

Kate Summerscale, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, or the Murder at Road Hill House, 2008
The cover of this book promises only a murder mystery, yet the contents inside deliver much more: the reader gets an indepth reconstruction and study of various elements surrounding a notorious murder in Victorian England - the killing of a child that cast suspicion on all the people who lived at the murder scene (Road Hill House) and which became a national obsession (somewhat similar to all unsolved child murders/disappearances since then, like the abduction of Madeleine McCann for example.) Summerscale looks at the case using the techniques of classic murder mystery novels, including the use of red herrings and the arrival of a brilliant up-and-coming detective, Mr Whicher, which is ironic since the murder at Road Hill House inspired the birth of the genre. The role played by the period's newspapers is examined as well as new forensic scientific techniques, the changing of social mores and the effect the case had on all involved in the long run. If you love crime stories, you MUST read this book.

I hope Summerscale turns her attention next to Jack the Ripper because it's about time someone conclusively solved that puzzle!
commonpeople1: (Peta)
I learned yesterday in The Guardian that my borough, Tower Hamlets, has the highest concentration of swine flu patients in Britain. The borough's centre for Tamiflu distribution has, apparently, a line up snaking round the corner, with colour-coded rooms depending on whether you are infected or not - a melancholic scene from 28 Days Later left on the cutting room floor. Kevin said that our tower block must definitely have some cases, which I agree because it's been ages since I've shared the elevator with somebody else. Some of the graffitti on the elevator goes like this:

David is Gay (to which I added "Love", and then someone added "Rocks")
Pigs live here (to which I added "oink oink!")

Yesterday, we walked through Victoria Park, sat on a bench and watched the hundreds arriving for the Lovebox Festival (Florence and the Machine, Doves, Groove Armada, NERD, Gang of Four, etc.) I kept thinking to myself "welcome to swine flu central!" I even saw Nikki Grahame from Big Brother 7 in the crowd, looking so skinny her knee bones were poking in one direction while her legs moved the opposite way.

Later, we slipped under the covers with a bowl of bombay mix and watched an interesting, quirky American indie date film, In Search of a Midnight Kiss, which I think one of you recommended aeons ago. It left me puzzled with straight people's mating behaviour. Then we watched trailers for upcoming films and I despaired.
commonpeople1: (Default)
Some branches of Tesco and W H Smith have featured The Crimes of Josef Fritzl: Uncovering the Truth as an ideal gift for Father's Day. One W H Smith store displayed the title as one of its "Top 50 Books for Dad" (buy one, get one half-price), declaring on a nearby display: "Fathers are heroes". A Tesco store in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, alarmed shoppers with its suggestion that the book would be a suitable symbol of father-offspring love (The Independent.)

In the spirit of these chain bookstores, here are some more ideas of gifts to give your loved ones on those special days:

Mother's Day: Finding Shannon: The Inside Story by Richard Edwards

International Children's Day: When Kids Kill: Unthinkable Crimes of Lost Innocence by Jonathan Paul

International Women's Day: Hot Chicks with Douchebags by Jay Louis

End Racism Day: Identity. Magazine of the British National Party # 100 by John Bean

Christmas Day: Luciferian Witchcraft by Michael Ford

Valentine's Day: Beyond Belief: The Moors Murderers: The Story of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley by Emlyn Williams

Pope Benedict XVI's birthday: Gay Men and Anal Eroticism: Tops, Bottoms and Versatiles by Steven G. Underwood

Gay Pride Day: The Pursuit of the Good Life by Ted Haggard

World Vegetarian Day: Meat: How to Choose, Cook and Eat it by Adrian Richardson

International Day of Peace: The Leadership Genius of George W.Bush: 10 Commonsense Lessons from the Commander in Chief by Carolyn B. Thompson and Jim Ware

Did I miss out any day?
commonpeople1: (Rockasilly)
Hot, young flesh is pouring out of Mile End Tube. Skinny jeans, low waists, droopy eye lids, bangs, boob tops, T-shirts, fresh fresh fresh-scented skin that is going to rub up against each other in Victoria Park when Radiohead plays - very soon. I'm at home with all the windows flung open; since the park is just a stone throw away, I want to see if the sound travels here and I get to hear a concert for free. I am standing, they are there - two worlds colliding - and they can never tear us apart.

I went for a job interview today - the first one since I left the National Theatre last July (I don't count the one from The Guardian since I cancelled that one at the last minute after I realized how little they were going to pay me.) I've got mixed feelings: I talked a lot and yet described myself as shy; I called myself highly organised yet described my biggest weakeness as "managing" (I meant the opposite of administering, but did they understand me?) The job is for a small arts organisation in Hackney, a bike ride away from home. Not much money, but plenty of sunlight through the large windows that rise all over their spacious office and exhibition room. Well, if I don't get it, at least I had the experience of going to an interview; I can work on what I did wrong for the next one.

Thank you to everyone who gave suggestions on how to write a job statement. I took your advice on board and it worked! I think the secret is to be candid and warm, yet show that you have the skills they need. People want to know there's a human being behind the application form. Being too formal and general makes them think, I imagine, that you are just cut & pasting job statements from one application to another and don't really care about their organisation.
commonpeople1: (Steven Lubin)
Dear lovely Livejournal friends with paid accounts,

Could one of you turn these blogs into LJ feeds for me? --- friend from the National Theatre who is going on a 6-month trip through South America. She'll be writing about it in this blog. --- Poet and mother of Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors. --- Good friend of mine who gets paid by a brasilian magazine to travel the world and attend alternative events such as the World Psychedelic Forum in Switzerland and the World Wrestling Federation Convention in Orlando, Florida. It was originally [ profile] deporter but I think the blog's address got changed and that feed no longer works.

Many, many thanks!


May. 30th, 2008 09:55 am
commonpeople1: (Log Lady)
The Last Tribe
More photos here

One of South America's few remaining uncontacted indigenous tribes has been spotted and photographed on the border between Brazil and Peru.

From the BBC.
commonpeople1: (Rockasilly)
While most goths have travelled up north this weekend for the shabby & stinky (or so I hear) bi-annual Whitby Goth Festival, I've got the Love Music Hate Racism Carnival arriving just outside my door... and it's free! Ha. I know The Good, The Bad and The Queen will be playing, as well as Patrick Wolf. Full line up here. Should be fun, if the weather permits. I can see myself rocking out with a veggie hotdog in one hand and a plastic cup of beer in the other.

Something found over at [ profile] morrissey_shot:
Morrissey Loves Music, Hates Racism
Press Release From Love Music Hate Racism: 25 April 2008

Morrissey has personally stepped in with a significant financial contribution to the Love Music Hate Racism campaign in order to allow their 30th Anniversary Rock Against Racism concert to go ahead in Victoria Park, London this weekend without financial loss or burden to the charity. In addition to his own contribution he has rallied his management, booking agency and promoters to make up the majority of the £75,000 deficit LMHR was faced with after their main sponsor pulled out.

Morrissey commented, "This is a historic event spreading an important, anti-racist message so it must be allowed to go ahead. Love Music Hate Racism got in touch and explained that the NME had pulled its support, possibly as a result of their association with me, and asked if I could help as they had not been able to replace them. This is something I am committed to and we appreciate everyone coming together so quickly to make it happen."

K2 Agency, Live Nation, Pacifica Artists Group and SJM Concerts are all associated with Morrissey and have made donations to Love Music Hate Racism at his request.

Is anyone else confused by the NME's behaviour? Surely they wouldn't want to disassociate themselves from such an event, especially with their upcoming court case against Morrissey? (where they have to answer to articles they printed which implied Morrissey was a racist.) If the NME was run by mature people, they'd continue supporting the event, even with Morrissey joining in as well. Their behaviour reminds of the kid who won't share his football with other kids unless he gets to choose who plays.

Maybe Le Moz will make a surprise appearance?
commonpeople1: (George O'Brien)
We Are Now Beginning Our Descent

James Meek, We Are Now Beginning Our Descent, 2008
Anyone expecting a great follow up to James Meek's brilliant The People's Act of Love is in for a disappointment. Like his previous novel, this one revolves around war - this time, though, he tells the story of a journalist stationed in Afghanistan, Adam Kellas, who falls in love with hard-to-peg Astrid, another journalist. The novel then traces Adam's search for Astrid in America as his personal and professional life falls apart.

Meek's experience as a Guardian journalist during America's latest invasions seems to have been a large source of inspiration. Like his previous novel, Meek is very good at showing the surreal nature of life under war, and the horrors that can be visited upon someone without any notice, changing their lives forever. What he has failed to do here is create believable characters that can carry the reader through the story. What we get instead is dialogue that either explains plot or sounds artificial and stilted, meant to prove Meek's own views on war, America, or the publishing world, rather than any internal character life. At times, plot is revealed too ackwardly. An example is when Adam makes a discovery about Astrid, towards the end of the novel. Instead of Meek trusting the reader to understand what can easily be shown (and was there before) he feels the need to have his character explain the obvious. It kills what was meant to be meaningful and pivotal to the story.

Strangely, it's hard to completely dislike the novel. There are some very good scenes - like Adam's meeting with his American book agent, his overblown rage at a posh dinner party in London, and the shelling of a Taliban convoy. Hopefully, Meek's only way is up after this novel.

April 2017



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