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One Direction by hmv_getcloser
One Direction, a photo by hmv_getcloser on Flickr.
In honour of the approaching NaNoWriMo, I'm going to start writing one hour a day. I don't mean necessarily write for one hour, but have that time and space dedicated to it. I may just stare at a screen or a paper journal for 60mins.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just Eat It

Mar. 4th, 2013 07:44 am
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Real Food: What to Eat and WhyReal Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If I had to categorise the nutrition fad Planck falls under, I'd place her with the people who believe we should go back to a Paleolithic diet. (It's the belief that our ancestors back in the Stone Age got it right - loads of fat and protein and hardly any carbs.)

Planck's theory is that we must go back to the earth, get our food directly from the original source (as best as possible). The more processed, the worse for you. Some of her theories are hard to buy because they go against current common sense: saturated fats are good (including lard) and full-fat milk directly from the cow, unpasteurised, will do wonders for you.

She isn't completely dismissive of vegetarians but you can sort of see the sneer as she lays her theories as to why meat is better. (And lets not mention vegans...) But her vision is utopian: it's just not possible that everyone in the planet can switch from processed to organic, directly sourced food.

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Brief Post

Mar. 3rd, 2013 07:43 pm
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Lying on the couch, watching telly. About to eat chocolate cake.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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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.

Get Real

Sep. 23rd, 2012 06:49 pm
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The Reality Overload: The Modern World's Assault on the Imaginal RealmThe Reality Overload: The Modern World's Assault on the Imaginal Realm by Annie Le Brun

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very academic collection of essays that suffers slightly under the translation from French into English. Nevertheless, it's packed with ideas and polemics on how the dissemination of GMO foods in our world is not unrelated to the information explosion we are going through. In a nutshell, Annie Le Brun's theory is that an attack on our imagination (led by globalisation and French Theory, mostly) has left us incapable of standing up against corporate interests (such as the ones behind the replacement of our food supplies with GMOs.)

I could relate to Brun's views on art: she believes that the excess of information we are under has eroded our courage to stand up and say "this is shit". Our culture wants us to believe everything now has equal weight, everything is subjective. You just have to walk through any museum to see this in the way curators add equal weight to a Picasso and a Damien Hirst. She reserves her final essay for an attack on the French theoreticians from the postmodern school of thinking who opened this door and allowed this disaster to happen. (I imagine Annie Le Brun would get along swimmingly with Camille Paglia). Elsewhere in the book she critics the bodies of Olympic athletes and bodybuilders (non-erotic and only meant for "repetitions"), deforestation, the breakdown of language, and much more.

I couldn't possibly do justice to her book and all the ideas in it. Suffice to say that it's an urgent call to arms for what remains of our world, for us to stand up against changes that are being imposed on us without our consent. If only we could find the strength to disconnect from the reality overload...

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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?)
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Veronica Falls @ Scala by Park012
Veronica Falls @ Scala, a photo by Park012 on Flickr.
Three shocking things I learnt about [ profile] zenithed last night at Veronica Falls' gig at the Scala:
  • He's never seen a Friday 13th movie ("They look rubbish so I never bothered")
  • He's never played any JRPG (Final Fantasy, etc)
  • He thinks I'm growing a moustache
We met before the gig at a nearby pub called King's Cross Social Club, with Britpop on the speakers and some decent beer on tap. He didn't believe me when I said Shed Seven have quite a few good songs.

We arrived at the Scala just as Nutella Novella started their support act. I'm still reminded of Smashing Pumpkins when I hear them, but they've definitely moved their sound now to shoegaze waters (with new fringe bangs to match.)

Second support band was terribly-named Male Bonding - four Shoreditch blokes going for a Grunge sound. Terrible.

By the time Veronica Falls took to the stage, I had four pints sitting in my empty stomach. It was over too soon and the new songs didn't leave much of an impression.

We lost Zenithed on the way out and [ profile] wink_martindale then pressured me into eating some Burger King because he'd "only nibbled on celery" that day. Back at home, the bed span whenever I closed my eyes so I had to sit in the living room and watch Poker Games on Channel 5 until I was good enough to sleep.

Woke up this morning to no water in the flat, including the toilet's cistern. Joy.
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I was by the photocopier this morning when one of the directors came up to me and asked how I was doing.  Fine and you? I replied. "So I hear you are the best temp we have ever had," she said. That made me stumble. Really? I mumbled something about this being a quiet time and my luck at not having many tasks to deal with.  It made me feel so good about myself the rest of the day.

Then this night I thought, maybe she says this to all temps?  Not that she doesn't mean it, but, as a very cunning woman (as most women are) she noticed I was a little too quiet, a little too set in keeping one foot out of the door, and this was her way of lifting me up and making me feel more part of the team (as all temps before me?)  Women are smart creatures...

I went to Boddington Café for lunch with colleagues.  It apparently used to be a squat ages ago before being turned into a very affordable vegetarian/vegan restaurant.  It was delicious, with a great atmosphere. Highly recommended if you are in the Vauxhall area.

On Sunday, I met old colleagues from King's College for brunch at Soho Townhouse. A bit too expensive for my taste but the breakfast was good.  Rupert Everett was sitting in one corner with a pair of good looking (gay) men.  One of my friends thought she spotted Billy Zane with his parents, but I had a look and I'm not convinced it was him.

On Saturday, I hung out with [ profile] loveinsuburbia, [ profile] neenaw and [ profile] king_prawn at the Pig Ear's Beer and Cider Festival, in Hackney. It was interesting. Our sport was to sit in the second floor circle and try to spot gay people in the crowd.  Later, I went back to Flapping Central and drank some more, ate some dodgy pizza (I swear I'm never eating spicy chicken takeaway EVER AGAIN), and talked back at the X Factor.  Flapping Central's wi-fi is called Scrotum.
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  • A bit of videogames
  • Crisps, crackers, pretzles, and cheese
  • Eggs on toast
  • Red wine
  • Big Brother launch (just so I can see who's going in and if perhaps I know someone)
  • Clipping of toe nails
  • Maybe a movie
  • A bit of reading before turning off the lights


Aug. 29th, 2011 02:18 pm
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I'm lying in bed, under the covers, listening to my iTunes on shuffle and reading a crime novel by Miyuki Miyabe, "All She Was Worth". I'm craving pasta with meat balls after a tweet I read (I'm occasionally checking online through my iPhone.) I'll pop out in a sec to get food from the corner store and then watch a film in bed with [ profile] wink_martindale. I also feel like playing videogames and reading C.J. Lines' "Cold Mirrors". It's that sort of bank holiday Monday.

I'm slightly hung over from hanging out with various friends last night (at the Victoria, at the Empress of India, at the Inn on the Park.) I feel like watching brasilian soap operas, I feel like having a glass of water.

Big Mouth

Aug. 4th, 2011 02:00 pm
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This is a little late but I feel like I want to put down my two pence regarding what Morrissey said about the recent massacre in Norway:

"We all live in a murderous world, as the events in Norway have shown, with 97 dead. Though that is nothing compared to what happens in McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Shit every day."

Coming so soon after what happened, it was a grossly insensitive thing to say, even for Morrissey's standards (if anyone remembers his recent comments about the Chinese being a "subspecies" because of the way they treat animals.)

It was reported that Morrissey chose to stick to his guns and had no further comments, but the general disgust made him issue this statement a few days later:

"The recent killings in Norway were horrific. As usual in such cases, the media give the killer exactly what he wants: worldwide fame. We aren't told the names of the people who were killed - almost as if they are not considered to be important enough, yet the media frenzy to turn the killer into a Jack The Ripper star is .... repulsive. He should be un-named, not photographed, and quietly led away.
The comment I made onstage at Warsaw could be further explained this way: Millions of beings are routinely murdered every single day in order to fund profits for McDonalds and KFCruelty, but because these murders are protected by laws, we are asked to feel indifferent about the killings, and to not even dare question them.
If you quite rightly feel horrified at the Norway killings, then it surely naturally follows that you feel horror at the murder of ANY innocent being. You cannot ignore animal suffering simply because animals "are not us."

Most of you know that I'm a fan of Morrissey's and he's mentioned here a lot (and his song titles used as tags.) I don't want to defend him, but I feel like I need to understand. The person he is now is so different from who he was before - crass words, lack of sympathy, lack of wit. What happened?

Morrissey's personality was shaped by the punk movement and its uncompromising attitude to the media and the world. He was in the audience when the Sex Pistols played their first gig and he worshipped Patti Smith and the New York Dolls. His aesthetic has always been un-PC, though ambiguous and playful. It fit well in the 80s and made his fortune. Nowadays though he's too direct with his words, lacking in humour. We know who he hates, we have no clue if he loves.

Context is everything. The whole story about him being anti-immigration, racist: he championed Echobelly in the 90s (Britpop band fronted by a British Asian singer with lyrics about racism in the UK); he allowed a band made up of illegal immigrants to do a cover of "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get" (but don't try to Google for information on this band because it's strangely not available anywhere); and he's issued statements against racism and helped fund a concert against the BNP/EDL. But those are not the stories we hear in the media or stick in the mind of those that don't like him.  To most people he's a dickhead with some racist tendencies.

Did Morrissey say some shit that he regrets and doesn't stand by anymore? Very likely! But why has he lost his way with words and seems to put his foot in it so often these days? (I didn't even listen to his recent interview with Dermot O'Leary because it was apparently cringeworthy.)

In his last album he sang about using anti-depressants and this made me think of family members I have who are on Prozac and the way they have become insensitive to the world. Dealing with them is so difficult because they can't understand why their words would be hurtful - they are chemically numbed to the pain of others (but perhaps not to whatever ideology they stand by, like Morrissey's "vegetarianism".) For someone like Morrissey, already a misanthrope searching for a little hope, it must mean that all the barriers have been erased. The poetry is lost, the songs all sound alike and we get nothing but a has-been making a spectacle of himself.

I think it's time for him to stop. Perhaps concentrate on writing books (he has an autobiography coming out soon, apparently). Stop now before all that was built before is completely destroyed.


Jun. 1st, 2011 07:17 am
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Primeira ovada by MariBiasutti
Primeira ovada, a photo by MariBiasutti on Flickr.
In Brasil, we celebrate our friends' birthdays with eggs and flour. Secrecy is of the utmost importance. Those with the know-how prick holes in the eggs a few days before and bury them so that they rot in time for the celebration. The flour is hidden behind a bush or wall near the place the birthday celebrant will unsuspectingly walk by. By some invisible sign, everyone pounces on them at the same time. Tough boys sometimes fight back and get some of the goo on their assailants. If there's a swimming pool in the vicinity, the egging ends in there - regardless of new shoes or clothes.

This was a ritual in my pre-pubescent and teen years. Maybe some continued to celebrate in this fashion in their 20s, but not my gang. It's all just a memory now, alongside everything else from the 80s.
commonpeople1: (Beer)
I woke up today at 6.30 and made a smoothie out of strawberry yogurt, banana and orange juice. I checked my e-mails while sipping on tea and left the house at 7.30. Dark and miserable rain fell on London.

To my surprise the gym was busy but not as infernal as the evenings have been since everybody and their mother decided to follow their new year's resolutions. I like the gym in the mornings and will be sticking to it from now on.

I took a shower after my workout beside a gay man with legs severely affected by polio (at least I think it was polio). There was nothing ugly about his body. He flinched a little when I joined him in the showers; I wondered afterwards if that's how he felt every time someone saw him naked. He had large stretch marks on his muscular back and very smooth skin. I was so awake I disappeared into my own thoughts.

Had a bagel with peanut butter and a coffee at the office. Briefly met my boss who told me some very good news. The rain stopped but the temperatures remain in the 8s - no need for a scarf when dropping by Tesco's for dinner tonight.

Time for my afternoon coffee.
commonpeople1: (Schiele)
On my train ride to Toulouse I sat beside a girl with a dog on her lap. On my train ride to London yesterday I sat beside a girl with a cat on her lap. The dog was called Diana and was as blond and shaggy as her owner. She got slaps whenever she growled at loud small children wandering past us. Her owner's laptop had Dexter's cast members as its desktop image. I think the cat was called Emel and it was quiet, dignified and gorgeous. Its owner fell asleep often but the cat never tried to jump away. The three children in front of us kept peaking over their seats at it.

We stayed with [ profile] wink_martindale's sister and her french boyfriend in a modern apartment by the river. Our blinds went up and down with the help of a remote control ("I feel like I'm in L.A.!") Later in the week, Wink's other sister and her husband joined us from London (there was minor drama with this because of all the flights being canceled thanks to the snow). They stayed with Wink's parents, who were in an apartment nearby rented specifically for the holiday.

Our typical day consisted of breakfast followed by walks through Toulouse and its shops. We did most of our Christmas shopping there. The city's centre ville reminded me of a Parisian neighbourhood, perhaps Le Marais sans les pédés. The architecture hinted at medieval but had very modern homes, pretty shops and restaurants. At night, we had dinner back at one of the apartments.

The whole point of the trip was to have a Christmas dinner with the french boyfriend's family. They consisted of the boyfriend's brother, parents and grandparents (a couple in their eighties and a "papi" who was 93) . Real characters - a very boisterous, fun-loving group of people who spoke perhaps 5 words of English between them. Thank god for my previous french courses! They gave us a banquet on Friday that consisted of a whole bunch of sea food I'd never eaten before in my life. I had a go at oysters, bigorneaux huîtres (small snails for you and me), langoustines (just the meat in their claws) and bulots (large snails that look like fuzzy, pinkish snot). And a pie that contained fish brains. It all tasted good, but what a trial! When the plates arrived, I felt like Indiana Jones in that scene from the Temple of Doom. All this food was topped with trays of cheese and dessert - and a lot of great wine and champagne.

The eve ended around 4am. We returned the next morning as soon as we woke up for more sea food, foies gras ("just keep telling yourself it's hummus"), haricots verts, gratin dauphinois (potato bake) and a franken roast that was delicious, composed of duck, pig and a few more animals. It was prepared by the young brother, who is a butcher. Again, followed by cheeses, dessert (ice cream and fruit salad). Plus the usual wine and champagne.

We took loads of pictures but the camera is still with Wink. When he's back in London (on the 3rd) I'll upload the photos and post a link. Tomorrow morning a friend from Brasil arrives to stay with me for a week or so. It's her first visit to Europe. I'm looking forward to seeing London through her eyes.
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.

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commonpeople1: (Office)
The guy in front of me at Tesco's bought three carrier bags worth of food - all discounted stuff or "value" brand. Enough food to last a week, maybe more. Total expense: £14

I bought dinner for tonight, some marigolds and dish scrubs, a bottle of olive oil, Doritos and salsa dip. Enough stuff to last until midnight tonight if you don't count the oil. Total expense: £17

I'm such a Guardian reader.
commonpeople1: (Jehovah's Witness)

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: (Beer)

Lauriston, South Hackney, E9
Originally uploaded by Ewan-M
The Lauriston was packed yesterday. If we had arrived an hour earlier, perhaps we would have got a table, pizzas and drinks for the rest of the night while [ profile] desayuno_ingles hogged the stage with Nina Simone, Sugababes and Dolly Parton. But, as it was, we stood with our pints by the bar, people pushing past every second, the loud drunk laughter drowning out the singing, pizzas back and forth under our hungry noses, and we couldn't do anything except shout conversation at each other. We lasted only a few songs before heading for the posh chippie round the corner.

Then, instead of hitting another pub, we bought cans of beer and cider to take back to our place and watch American Gigolo. But the world needed to be put to right, and so we fixed all its malaise until 2 am while listening to Morrissey, The Shins and bad 90s music for the cringe memories (Whatever happened to Barenaked Ladies, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Hootie and the Blowfish and Del Amitri?) Did you know Grooveshark has as much music as Spotify for free, but no ads? Must transpose my playlists from Spotify to Grooveshark and see if nothing gets missed. I get the feeling more poppy mainstream stuff is not available on Grooveshark, but they seem to have a good archive of everything else.

We've been invited for lunch today by Silky Bonaduchi and a friend of ours from up North. They're preparing some type of fish dish. If the weather holds, we'll then go for a walk by the river.
commonpeople1: (George O'Brien)

Originally uploaded by PEPE CARDOSO
I went for a drink with [ profile] etre_moral on Monday in a lovely pub near Hampstead Heath and he turned to me to ask: "So how are you? I know plenty about your cultural life, but how are things with you?" And that was a good question: I know I haven't been sharing much here or when I see people in real life; I know I've been feeling like nothing is going on, that life is just pottering on as [ profile] wink_martindale visits his family in Canada and I live for Fridays.

So what's going on? Well, I'm currently watching Dynasty[1] on YouTube (from a channel pointed at by [ profile] fj many moons ago that has every single episode uploaded to it) and downloading episodes of the brasilian soap Passione. I've been reading four books at the same time. I've been playing the Wii for the first time after my landlady lent me hers while she goes on holiday for two weeks. I've been listening to podcasts on my bus rides to work. I've been going to the gym on my way back.

I'm still on that temp job - feeling grateful for the money but at the same time getting slightly tired with the admin and thinking it's time to get my ass in gear with the job search. Two weeks ago, I went for work drinks and ended up staying late with my line manager. She offered me 4 days a week, perm, so I can use my 5th day to take a horticulture certificate at Regent's Park. I spoke to Wink today on Skype and he thinks it's a good idea but... I don't know if I can handle the mind-numbing admin for a whole year - no matter what my long term goals are for afterwards.

On Saturdays, I'm still going to that community garden. It just gets better and better. Last week I brought home potatoes, onions, spinach and green beans. It's been good for quite a few meals. And as I get to know the other gardners better, the conversations get more interesting, the jokes better and the plans for the future more exciting. It's a special place and I'm so glad I found it. I must remind myself of this feeling every Saturday morning when I feel lazy and just want to laze around with the Guardian and my Spotify playlists.

[1] [ profile] petercampbell recently wrote a great post on kitsch and its definition - a far better explanation than the one I carried with me from Milan Kundera. It coincided with [ profile] millionreasons pointing at a Milan Kundera quote on kitsch with an image from Dynasty that got me thinking... was Dynasty kitsch? The first season certainly is (I'm on the first episode and it's so laughable I want to smoke a joint) but I get the feeling that the appearance of Joan Collins in the second season tilted it towards camp (and therefore, as by Peter Campbell's definitions, instantly removing the kitsch from the series.) I guess there's only way for me to find out if that's the case: FIGHT!

April 2017



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