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 [livejournal.com 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.
commonpeople1: (Avatar)
My boyfriend and I are looking to escape London. Sometime next week, hopefully off this island. We've looked at trains, buses and airplanes. We've looked at Last Minute deals, suggestions by friends on Trip Advisor and on Livejournal, work colleagues tips - anything... it's been hard!

Our latest plan is to take a train to Portsmouth, a ferry across to France and spend a few days over there. But we can't find an available hotel room...

In the meantime, I've been blessed with sunshine in London during this first week off work. I've been to ice cream festivals (with [livejournal.com profile] fj), walks around Regent's Park followed by beers and burgers (with [livejournal.com profile] suzi, [livejournal.com profile] clay, [livejournal.com profile] sarah and [livejournal.com profile] rattler), sunbathing in Victoria Park with my boyfriend, gym sessions, yoga classes, pizza at the Lauriston, pints outside the BFI while watching the crowds go by, some fiction writing, some movie watching, some video game playing and a LOT of resting.

I'm hoping to go swimming in Hampstead Heath tomorrow - my first time there. It's part of my plan of using this time off to do fun things around London I've never done before, while taking advantage of the good weather.

An old friend from uni arrives tomorrow night and spends the weekend with us. I foresee walks down Regent's Canal to Broadway Market, lunch at London Fields, some dancing in the evening, breakfast at the Pavillion Cafe in Victoria Park... all the money I could have spent in some Greek restaurant I'm going to spend right here, in London's EastEnd.
commonpeople1: (Default)
Robinson CrusoeRobinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's hard to believe this is the first novel in the English language. It still feels very modern - to the point where I wondered how much of it was plundered by the writers of the TV show LOST. It was also the first book I ever read on an ebook, which I thought was nicely symmetrical.

A young sailor and adventurer ends up on a deserted island after a storm catches his boat as he returns to England from "the Brazils". He's already an experienced adventurer by this stage - having escaped captivity in Africa as a young man, set up his own plantation in South America and crossed the Atlantic Ocean a few times. After a dose of initial good luck (his shipwrecked boat is not too far in the water and he can salvage quite a few useful items), he settles down to survival and exploration of the island.

It's written as a memoir, probably based on the real experiences of a sailor in the 1600s. Because the voice is so convincing and attentive to the details of the experience, suspense is notched up and intensified as one obstacle after another appears in Crusoe's life. (Did Defoe invent the Adventure Genre?) It's also a fascinating read if you put on your post-colonial/queer lit glasses: Crusoe goes into some length about the slave trade and the differences between Africans and natives in the Americas; and he also develops a passionate and intense love for a captive he saves - Friday - that stands at odds with his complete lack of mention or desire for any women. Well, after more than twenty years on a deserted island, would you say no to a young, beautiful man whose life you save and who worships you? (This could be, though, Defoe's way of also reflecting the very well known habit of sailors having love affairs with other men because of so much time spent without any women around.)

View all my reviews
commonpeople1: (Default)
Untitled by lucy parakhina
Untitled, a photo by lucy parakhina on Flickr.
Over a month ago I asked you to give me a random sentence from a book. I was meant to join them all together into a short story, get someone to illustrate it, then make it available for download as an eStory.

This was my New Year's resolution - a short story every two months, 6 by the end of the year.

Well... I haven't had the time this month because of my new job. The story is nearly finished, but it still needs a lot of work. So... I hope you don't mind if I change things slightly and give myself three months for completion from now on (pushing this deadline to the end of March.)

I'm now trying to muster the will to go for a swim - my first one of 2012. I'm feeling so lazy...
commonpeople1: (Default)
I went for a proper swim this morning for the first time in, I think, a year. 11am, the gym empty apart from a few kids on their half-term break, the fast lane all to myself. I did just over 1km before the plastic around one of my goggles ripped apart and I had to stop. I'd been daydreaming in Brasil of returning to the pool as a form of getting active again in London, and I'm proud I got my ass out of the house this morning and did it.

When I got home at lunch time, a good friend texted me to say she was heading to the British Film Institute to watch an Argentinian film and if I'd like to join her. She was sitting in Liverpool Street station reading We Need To Talk About Kevin when I found her. We took the Underground and drank coffee before the film in the BFI's cafeteria. I was surprised to notice how packed the cinema was. Monday, mid afternoon - don't these adults have a job to go to? It turned out to be the first screening of our film, Medianeras, in London, with the presence of the director for a Q&A (as part of the current 55th London Film Festival.)

The film is LOVELY: a sweet and funny homage to Woody Allen, with Buenos Aires standing for Allen's Manhattan. Very well written, well acted, well paced - a romantic comedy that will probably be remade in a few years time into a horrid mess by idiots in Hollywood. Go see it when you have a chance. It's the story of two solitary individuals in Buenos Aires, living in shoeboxes, searching for some meaning and love in their deeply neurotic lives.

There were two scenes in the film that caught my attention: the first one had to do with the two main characters loving to swim but always putting off a visit to their local pool. Finally they do it (just like me this morning.) The other involved a brief monologue from one of them about the electrical wires that criss cross Buenos Aires' skies, of what a mess they are and how they ironically misrepresent the connections people have in that city. It was something I was recently thinking about when traveling brasilian cities, which are very similar to argentinian ones. I mentioned to my mom how here in England (or at least in London), there are hardly any visible wires because it's all underground - I even took a photo of my street on my way to the cinema to show my mom (unaware that this would be a theme in the movie.) I do love synchronicities.

commonpeople1: (Icecream)
The first question you must ask yourself when looking for a job is: can I turn it into a successful blog? Sitting this morning at my local Job Centre Plus[1], I saw a job ad for "Ambulance Cleaner". 45 hours a week, minimum rate per hour. Although the Ambulance Blog genre is already well represented by Suzi Brent's Nee Naw and Tom Reynold's Blood, Sweat and Tea, I think there's still space for someone reporting from the frontline after the shifts. In this day and age of Broken Britain's Bing Drinking, someone must report on the vomit that needs to be scraped off the insides of weekend ambulances, and of the struggle to make ends meet with a pitiful salary after a long week. Someone must leave little secret love notes for ambulance drivers so they can feel happier speeding across the city.

The people at the Job Centre were lovely - they breezed me through the interview even though I hadn't brought my latest lease or payslip. Regulars studied me from the corner of their eyes. I got a handshake at the end and an interview next week with a Careers Advice company in the city. Let's see if they can get me a job mowing lawn landscape gardening.

I went to Mile End's swimming pool afterwards, which was much cleaner than the one by Bethnal Green. It's probably because hardly anyone uses it. On a negative note, three blokes thought the Fast Lane was about standing in the middle of it splashing water at each other.

I'm now working on a job application for a Park Ranger position in my borough (insert amusing blog name somehow alluding to my sexuality and that I can't drive the park's truck due to lack of license.)

[1] Why is it Plus? Do I get more value for money? More jobs in less space?
commonpeople1: (Sea)


Originally uploaded by paper_pal
I've applied for Job Seeker's Allowance and Housing Benefits. I have an interview tomorrow at the job centre but can't find our latest lease: I'll have to come up with some excuse - maybe give them my landlords' contact details to prove I live in this high rise? This is all just in case my temp agency doesn't find me any work in the next while. I'm also applying to at least one job a day - at this stage, I'm really not that fussy... just need some money coming in!

I've said this before: the best thing to do when unemployed is to exercise. It's a good break to the day and the endorphins help keep the spirits up. Yesterday I went to the pool, today to the gym. Tomorrow, the pool again after my interview at the job centre. Then a yoga class first thing Thursday morning. London pools are diiirty but I must stop comparing them to the clean, well-tended beauties in Brasil. This is my life and this is where I live.

I've got no job, no savings and a huge credit card debt. Funnily enough, Barclays just decided to double my credit rate. Coincidence?

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: (Default)

Apartment Flood
Originally uploaded by mbrand
Long time readers of this journal will remember how my apartment got flooded last year. This morning, I got a call from Kevin that it was happening all over again: water gushing down through our electrical fixtures in the bathroom, the walls wet and the wallpaper beginning to peel off. Luckily for us, Kevin had the day off so could easily place buckets in the worst areas and keep the water from reaching the carpet with towels. He called the housing association, Old Ford, while I tried the landlady from upstairs as well as Elery Crackhead (neither returned my calls - typical).

It turned out that the neighbour two floors above was flooded, affecting the upstairs flat as well as ourselves and the pensioner below us. Nearly everyone and their mother was called but when it came time for the housing association to speak to the guy, they told him he had the option to stay at work until 5 or return home to deal with the "leak". So he obviously stayed at work until 5pm, convinced it was just a minor problem. Boy, he must have sure been happy when he got home and realised the problem was a lot bigger than the housing association let on.

Kevin and I are becoming pros at dealing with disasters and calamities.
commonpeople1: (K)
I walk through Victoria Park every day. On my way home today, I got the shock of my life: a large white stripe had been painted by the border of the pond, from one edge to the other. And the following words were painted in large font by it, every 20 feet or so: Caution Water

I'm very glad Tower Hamlets Council decide to alert me of this otherwise it was very likely I'd walk straight into the pond.

In the coming weeks, I expect the following to appear:

Near trees - Caution Branches and Leaves Above
On the paths - Caution Fast Cyclists Runners Baby Carriers Dogs Drunks Litter
By the benches - Caution Don't Stand on Bench When Wet and also Caution Back May Hurt if Slept On
Hanging off the necks of all geese - Caution May Stare at You in Threatening Manner

Or the Council could just employ all the people struggling to find a job at the moment to meet people like myself as soon as we step outdoors and then follow us around issuing warnings for all aspects of life.
commonpeople1: (Nick)
shirtless men jogging up and down Regent's Canal.

vomiting a little in your mouth as you walk past hipsters sipping coffee on Broadway Road (do these people not work?!)

the modern world in your ears.

a solitary ham and salad sandwich at London Fields.

copies of London the Biography and Me Cheeta in Broadway Road Bookshop when all the main chains are sold out (mental note: always try independent booksellers first).

hasidic girls opening the flood gates for a barge to go through, under the command of a stern but attentive (non denominational) young instructor.

a flotilla of children inside colourful canoes clogging the canal, splashing each other with paddles.

a giant sunflower drooping down on you, a bee crawling its black eye.

a grey heron flying a feet above the water.

a crow calling out to you from the top of an apartment building.

a red-nosed and dazed drunk, sitting on a bench, eyeing you suspiciously.

a beautiful guy that looks at you twice.
commonpeople1: (Scott)

York Hall, Bethnal Green
Originally uploaded by LoopZilla
I sat outside York Hall for over an hour yesterday evening before my brasilian friend Vini Bambini arrived on his bike. I knew he was going to take a while so I divided my time between an old copy of the Guardian's Review section and my iShuffle. There was a long line up of muslim women, who have special hours and days of the week when they can use the pools with no men about. My music selection reached a song by Dead Can Dance from their first album - one of those wailed by Lisa Gerrard over intense drums and exotic strings - and those housewives suddenly gained a more mysterious air.

Vini is my gym buddy now that my landlady cancelled her membership and only goes for occasional runs in Victoria Park. He suggested we try out this evening Pilates class because we've both had issues with our backs in the past and we want something else on top of the usual gym routine. It was going to be my first ever Pilates session but the instructor didn't show up. An australia wrapped up in white cloths substituted her instead and put us through familiar Yoga moves and mantras. My brain, in the cool and dark air conditioned studio room, returned to the muslim women swimming in the building's gut.

On Thursday, I'm meeting Vini Bambini at the gym, 7.30am. He'll do the treadmill for over half an hour because he's trying to shift some weight; I'll strain my wrists in the weights room. Then we'll say goodbye and I'll take a solitary shower in the changing room while he bikes across London to his office.
commonpeople1: (Jellybean)
I walk up and down Regent's Canal every week day because it's the easiest way for me to get to work. I wonder if a day will come when the canal is as clean as a fresh river again and London's eastend residents can enjoy it like an open-ended lido. I once saw a large carp in it, and the swans and coots don't seem to mind the floating plastic bags, but it still looks damn dirty and uninviting to me.

Yesterday, on my way home from work, I saw a student from the Bridge Academy in the water, holding on to his instructor's canoe while his classmates splashed him with their paddle. This morning, a girl tangled her cloth bag with her bike's front wheel, spun in the air and landed at my feet, griddled by her bike's spokes. I helped her up and asked if she was OK, then tried to make a joke that at least she hadn't fallen into the canal. "That would have been terrible," she said. She was deeply embarassed and cycled past me all hunched up, as if I might not notice her anymore.

Up ahead, I came across a note tied to the canal's railings. It said something like this: "to the girl who crashed into me yesterday (01/07/09), I never got a chance to get your number. Drop me an e-mail. ______@gmail.com" I wondered if it might be the same girl who fell off the bike - each day a different boy at the receiving end of her disastrous biking skills.

In the afternoon, I heard laughter and cries from my office window. I looked into the canal and the canoeing students were at it again: this time, at least three of them were in the water, trying to get back on their canoes while the others splashed them and fought like gladiators.

I'd be in heaven if I could go for dips in the canal on my lunch break.
commonpeople1: (Pietr)
Hello James,
When is Igor coming to africa??

Hello Mr Lawrence,

I am very worried about Igor. I don't know when he'll arrive in Africa... I don't even know if he's still alive!

About a week ago, the ship he was stowed away in sent a distress signal that was picked up by the YMCA Royal Navy. It appears that the ship encountered heavy storms on the way to Africa and crashed against some rocks. Many died or disappeared under the waves; Igor was one of the few that survived (his morse code was sent from the captain's cabin just before he jumped out of the window and managed to land in one of the dinghys.) Unfortunately, he lost all of the Virgin statues with the gold coins, apart from one stuffed down his trousers (maybe it's enough for a down payment on your property, if he gets there?) The gifts for the security guards were also lost.

About a few days ago, I received a text message from his mobile phone. It appears that the survivors of the ship found an island off the African coast and are currently there. All attempts on my part to locate the exact position of the island, however, have been futile - it's as if the place is off the maps! He was in high spirits until this morning, when a distressing message arrived together with a mobile photo: "They all died. Please help me. I'll try to make it to the second island in a boat I found. They killed them, the Others killed them all..."

As you can imagine, I'm deathly pale with worry. I sincerely hope he manages to make it to Africa and buy the land for me, but I'm not getting my hopes up. I fear the worst.

Attentiously yours,

James Carvalho

Last photo sent from Igor's mobile phone )
commonpeople1: (Pietr)
Dear Mr Carvalho,
Thanks for your early mail, i want you to know that meeting with mr Igor will not be a problem, i will be happy to welcome him with my hands open.
Regarding the guards of the duplex i told you about, they are tall strong and phisically fit they can guild any where in the world, but before my Igor can come here i will want him to pay some certain amount of money so that i can prepare some government papers and pay for some government revenue tax here in west africa.
So Mr carvalho the total amount of money that you will have to pay is $3,800 so that i can start to proccess the land document before i can meet with mr Igor. if you know you are ready to pay for the documents kindly send me a mail so that i can send you the westrn union information that you will use in sending the money.
Regards
Adams Lawrence

This is the land certificate:

Mr Lennon's Land Certificate
Mr Lennon's land certificate


Dr Mr Lawrence,

Thank you for your e-mail and for explaining so succinctly what I need to do next. Igor, as well as being my P.A., manages my finances. I ordered him to find $3,800 in my coffers so I could pay for your government tax and papers, but he came back and told me we only had gold coins and that he would need to have them converted into paper money. He then proceeded to take some of the coins to the port and look for sailors interested in buying them. He was gone for a long time (which is why I haven't replied earlier to you - I was so worried he'd been captured by those men who seek to destroy me that I couldn't bare to visit our local internet cafe.) When he came back, he told me crazed tales of sailors and ships no longer existing at the port, of people laughing at him when he showed them the gold coins and calling him a fool.

You might wonder Mr Lawrence what I did next. Well, I gave Igor a beating! How dare he tell me these lies? Does he take me for a naive babe? I know the world we live in; I know that my gold coins are still valuable and can open any doors I wish to enter.

Finally, after skulking around the crypt for a while, Igor suggested hiding the coins inside statues of the Virgin and taking them to Africa with him. He will be stowing away inside the next boat that departs England and after a few weeks at sea, will arrive at your country and give you the coins. I'm sure you will be able to sell the coins and get the money needed to secure the land for me.

Please let me know if this plan seems a good one to you. If you are happy with it, I shall send you a photo of Igor so you can recognise him when he arrives.

With warm regards,

Mr Carvalho

Catch

Aug. 21st, 2008 08:38 pm
commonpeople1: (Steven Lubin)
Victoria Park has these large asphalt lanes flanked by tall trees. One of them separates Regent's canal running North-South and the lake that dominates the southern side of the park. As I'm walking home, down this lane, a skein of Canadian geese fly over my head, followed by two pigeons late for the party. It's that glimpse into another world that you sometimes get when you are mellow for home, too much oxygem has hit your brain and the sun plays tricks on the clouds.

I found a bench facing the lake and pulled out my journal. Checked out the boys that came and went - some jogging, some strutting - until I heard a rambling drunk approach and ducked into my journal, hoping he wouldn't sit beside me. Two benches away, he found a young guy also drinking beer, plugged into his iPod. The young guy didn't seem to care when the drunk sat close to him and went into a monologue about their different choices of drink. A cute Jack Russell terrier, white-coated with black spots, belonging to the drunk who'd just sat down, played between their feet with a plastic 500ml Coca-Cola bottle.

The Jack Russell played a solitary game of throw-and-catch until the bottle landed in the lake. He ran to the edge and stared in desbelief as the bottle slowly drifted away. A whine grew in his throat as he edged back and forth, until it spilled out as a low bark. It grew louder, louder, and louder, until he was in doggy hysterics.

His drunk owner couldn't care less, but the people on the other benches stopped what they were doing to watch the drama unfold. The bottle, at first static once it was a few feet away, slowly began to drift back to the edge. The closer it got, the louder his barks grew. His little paws splodged no further than the scum-coated border, his black eyes never left what was so desiredly close. Not even a dog unflatteringly sniffing his butt, or a family pushing a pram who stopped for a minute to giggle at his despair, took his mind off the disaster.

All hail the Great Saint Bernard in the Sky! The bottle was finally at reach, so close to his snout - if only he were to edge a little bit in, get his paws wet, open his jaws and... off the bottle went again, disturbed by his frenetic movements in the shallows, drifting away from his reach.

'Go on boy! Go get it, boy!' Shouted his drunk owner from the bench, suddenly hooked like everyone else. But the little thing didn't; he barked and barked until I felt it was a giant pessimist lesson, in the molds of Beckett, on what happened to anyone in this life who chased a dream.

BUT THEN HE JUMPED! In less than 30 seconds he had the bottle in his possession and, dripping wet, was running up and down as if he'd won the canine lottery's jackpot. I nearly clapped.
commonpeople1: (Under Water)
I sit on a bench facing the Thames, searching for a word to describe the water's colour. There's the sky's blue of course, faint as if from a desert mountain seen from afar, but also the light brown reflected from the old walls that keep the river from drenching London. These two colours alternate in the water's ondulation, only occasionally broken by speed boats. I'm reminded of the sea in how violent the waves suddenly become in one of these aftermaths. But there's no scent of brine, just that faint London whiff which doesn't really smell of anything once you have lived here long enough.

When I arrived at this bench, a shave-headed butch girl was sitting in the middle of it, one foot nearly tucked underneath her ass. Her whole body language spoke of bench ownership, regardless of the hundreds of people walking up and down the South Bank, regardless of the other fully occupied benches, regardless of anyone who might need a little break. This attitude, like a red flag to a bull, challenges me to join her. She slides to the other end of the bench, surprised. A minute later, she's up and off, clearly pissed off.

I don't have the bench to myself for long. Four eastern european girls and a baby buggy join me; the little one needs a feed. The girls are barely out of their teens; they wear miniskirts that tease the men on nearby benches with their fluttering dance as they lean over the railings and gossip over the river's spray. Girls that don't wish to hide very much, and who speak loudly to each other, to the baby too. They leave me abruptly, back in the flow of people heading towards the Tate Modern.

Now a young office worker joins me on the bench. He's got a sandwich and a complete lack of presence. My attention drifts back to the waves, where I spot a football bobbing along, not too far from a soft drink bottle. Behind me, a busker in a tight blue polo shirt and red bell bottoms has set up shop and sings the first lines of a song I've heard before... but I can't put my finger on it. Neil Young? Bob Dylan? I'm searching for the song's name when a guy I know from the National Theatre crosses my field of vision. He's hunched over, smoking a cigarette, looking in my direction from behind large sunglasses. I bite my lips and look elsewhere just as he gives me a double-take and walks away. If he had stopped to speak to me, he'd have spoiled my day.

Five people performed Tai Chi this morning in the park outside St John's church. They held invisible suns in their hands.
commonpeople1: (Default)
When was the first time I did something REALLY wrong? Was telling a friend in kindergarden that I had magical powers wrong? Was sending an anonymous note to a girl in my 3rd grade class wrong? (she freaked out) Was betraying the hiding place of a birthday boy at summer camp, in 5th grade, wrong? (he got pelted with rotten eggs then thrown in the lake; most of the girls never forgave me.)

I grew up in a condominium of three buildings in São Paulo. To my luck, many of the residents had children my age, so I immediately made friends and became part of a big gang of kids. I'd spend all day downstairs, running around, playing hide & seek, swimming or watching the boys play football and basketball (they tried to get me to join in but I never cared much for it.)

I collected board games (but also made my own, like "The Towering Inferno" - a favourite) and we used to play them in the buildings' reception areas when it rained. I loved horror movies and made up games inspired by them for the sunny days: "The Killer Elevator", "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Jaws", you name it. My friends enjoyed the games as well and started asking me to come up with more of them each day (to be honest, the games were usually variations on each other - "Jaws 2" was pretty much the same as "Jaws", but involving pool inflatables - so it wasn't such a hard creative act.)

So much power at an early age went straight to my head. I dictated who could play and who couldn't. But I was generally a benefic despot, ruling justly over my people. One day, in a rush of tyrannical madness, I suggested to some friends that they ask another boy what he thought of me. I was curious to know what my subjects really thought. I hid behind the basketball court's wall and heard the boy, Ate (yup, that was his name), snicker that he was annoyed by me sometimes. Out I jumped and planted a punch in his gut, then told him that he was banished from our group of friends.

I forbade all my friends to talk to Ate from that day onwards. He couldn't play with us, he couldn't join us at the pool, nothing. I feel so awful that I did this to him. I think Ate didn't speak to us for months, though it felt like years. Then one day he approached me sheepishly, when he was already sort of talking to my brother, and we became friends again.

We continued to be friends through adolescence, then lost touch in our twenties. The last time I saw him was the day I introduced him to my boyfriend Kevin. Up until then, we'd laugh about what had happened - it was common for all my friends to sit around joking about when I ruled over them like a tyrant - but I still wondered how much of the experience had stayed with him. I don't think anyone ever truly gets over something like that, and it's weird for me to think nowadays that I was responsible for causing that type of pain to someone else, that I was a bully.
commonpeople1: (Steven Lubin)
Echo Beach
by Martha and the Muffins

I know it's out of fashion
And a trifle uncool
But I can't help it
I'm a romantic fool
It's a habit of mine
To watch the sun go down
On Echo beach, I watch the sun go down

From nine till five I have to spend my time at work
The job is very boring, I'm an office clerk
The only thing that helps pass the time away
Is knowing I'll be back at Echo Beach some day

On a silent summer evening
The sky's alive with light
Building in the distance
Surrealistic sight
On Echo Beach
Waves make the only sound
On Echo Beach
There's not a soul around

From nine till five I have to spend my time at work
The job is very boring, I'm an office clerk
The only thing that helps pass the time away
Is knowing I'll be back at Echo Beach some day

Echo Beach
Far away in time
Echo Beach
Far away in time...

commonpeople1: (Under Water)
After months away from the swimming pool, I decided to brave the shallows again with my brand new ear plugs. It was somewhat hard to get through my usual 1.500 metres, but I'm sure with time and practice I'll be back in form. I love that breathless feeling when coming out of the pool and walking to the shower room, the hot water washing my body and dissolving my muscles. Also, nothing strips faster a winter beer gut than solid swimming sessions - I speak from experience.

Kevin prepared tuna sandwiches with a pinch of curry powder (highly recommended) while I dropped by Canary Wharf's Tesco for some crisps, juice and pizza. We then headed for the park with a copy of today's Guardian, his iPod, books, journals, food, bottled tap water and a whole bunch of other stuff that was probably unnecessary. I lay in the sun after eating and dozed off to Agustin Lara in my ears. Bolero, sunny parks, wine and topless boys kicking a ball are a divine combination. Too bad we forgot to bring wine.

April 2017

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