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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I may have Moussaka for dinner tonight. I bought some at M&S during the week and put it in the freezer. Oh, I forgot to mention: we didn't have Pancake Saturday yesterday! I don't know if the boyfriend has been reading my journal but it suddenly became French Toast Saturday and I was in charge. (I make some mean french toasts I'll have you know.) I'm determined to have Pancake Saturday return next weekend.
commonpeople1: (Avatar)
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.
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Harsh beat, stress down my spine and fingers.

Sitting in the spare room, early Thursday morning in London, about to slip on some socks and head to work.

Bjork so hard, drilling a hole in my head.
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Vocals and chords from a tiny device I touch, a roar outside.

In my writing room, 9.13 Tuesday morning, before heading to work.

See myself walking all the way to the station while listening to the Jesus and Mary Chain.
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29/1/2013 Lottery ticket by barbourians
29/1/2013 Lottery ticket, a photo by barbourians on Flickr.
09
Everytime I go to my local community garden, I buy a Lotto ticket at the WH Smith inside Stratford Shopping Centre. I have more chance of shagging David Beckham while Posh Spice looks on with a grin on her face but still I persist.

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

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

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

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

49
These are not my lucky numbers.
commonpeople1: (Avatar)
TWIN PEAKS by WMHART
TWIN PEAKS, a photo by WMHART on Flickr.
It's a Sunday for spending indoors, cooking lunch with friends (brasilian feijoada) and watching Twin Peaks. It's a Sunday where I've finished Madame Bovary for the 2nd time while getting through my 2nd cup of coffee and now have a skype date with my family in Brasil for 8pm tonight (but my mom says my nephew may not be there as he's afraid of computers.)

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

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

Hungry Sunday.

Monday never comes too late. And for the 6th week running I'll find a coffee shop in the neighbourhood, around 8.30am, and do a bit of creative writing before heading into work.
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Last weekend we had a friend from Canada visiting us - one of my boyfriend's oldest friends. He'd left behind his wife and three kids in Canada to spend a week with us (a surprise gift from his wife for his 40th birthday.) He'd never been to Europe before.

The weather was grim throughout his visit. On Saturday, I walked with him down Regent's Canal to Broadway Market and we perused the books in a new barge/bookshop that popped up in the area. The market itself was unusually empty - we had no trouble finding seats inside L'eau à la Bouche. [1]

Later, I spotted Michael Fassbender with a friend walking through the market. They were both wearing hoodies and battered jeans - very dressed down and non-descript. Then they walked past us again holding hot dogs.

We wandered down to Brick Lane and just near Rough Trade East I spotted Marianne Elliot with a friend. I turned to him and said "that's the director of the original War Horse! One of the best british stage directors!" He gave me a blank look that stopped any further conversation.

My boyfriend was sick throughout his visit, with a fever that soaked his clothes at night and a weakness that left him tired throughout the day.

I've run twice this week in Victoria Park, breaking a personal record by achieving over 5K in both runs. I love what my iTunes coughs up during these runs - one morning it was the Cocteau Twins and I swear the trees looked like they could speak.

Life is mostly work and home, work and home. Reading books in between, watching the occasional film, listening to a lot of music.

I heard the new David Bowie yesterday - twice - and I really like it. It's beautifully produced and reminiscent of different epochs in his career. I also like that Yoko Ono turned 80 and feels like she hasn't done enough. It's a weird inspiration for myself, especially as I see older people in my family falling apart due to illness and depression. And so I run more and more, chasing the endorphins that will keep me afloat...

[1] He found the experience cool but strange: in Canada (at least in suburban Ottawa), he says that this sort of market is attended mostly by the elderly. Sitting inside delis and drinking coffees is apparently not for the young in that part of Canada.
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Friday Night:

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

On Saturday:

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

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

Susan Hiller "Channels".

Mike Nelson

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

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


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



On Sunday:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


commonpeople1: (Sea)
Went for a run in Victoria Park this morning with my boyfriend. 5C, clear blue sky, sunshine, other people with the same idea. We did 5K but I felt I could have done more.

Now we've given each other haircuts, showered and vacuumed the hair from the kitchen. He's washing the dishes and trying to figure out if we have any food for lunch. I'm in my new office (the spare room) listening to iTunes and writing this.

He might go to his studio this afternoon and I might finish reading "The Secret Garden" and tidying up my office. I may also play a few hours of Xenoblade Chronicles (longterm readers will remember I've been playing this game for YEARS now and there's still no end in sight.)

Tonight, an old colleague from King's College (from back in the days in 2002 when I temped there and spent a lot of time on LJ because there wasn't much for me to do) has invited us over for dinner.

The bed is looking at me and saying "come have a lovely nap on me..."
commonpeople1: (Sea)
Victoria Park, London 02/10/10

I was on my way to the gym this morning when a young man stepped out of a house ahead of me, also on his morning commute (I assumed.) Tall, skinny and very soon with a lit cigarette in his hands. I felt a little sad for him, like I always do when I see young people smoking.

Old Ford Road runs past Victoria Park. He crossed the street and took the path by the pond. I assumed he was heading towards the canal or north of the park. Then he swerved out of the park, back onto my sidewalk. It reminded me of when I was a smoker and I liked having a cigarette while playing a favourite song. I wonder what that brief walk by the pond as he smoked his cigarette brought to his day.

Ma Journée

Dec. 7th, 2011 09:00 pm
commonpeople1: (Default)
Start your day at 7am, in the dark, rising from a creeking, lumpy mattress. After a shower, put the coffee maker to work and bread to toast and check your e-mail.  It's still dark outside.  8am, it's time to bundle up and step outdoors. iTunes plugged in, a playlist on rotation that only includes new purchases and unrated songs (5 stars gives you goosebumps; 4 stars are well loved; 3 stars are liked; 2 stars are OK; 1 star will be deleted soon).  Walk to Mile End station just under 15 minutes.

Join the masses pouring onto the platforms. Keep hands in pocket so not to slap someone on the back of the head or push them onto the train track. If the Central line arrives first, travel standing up, hot, pressed against people incapable of putting their grubby hands to their mouths when they cough. If District line arrives first, play tactically to get a free seat and read a book or check Twitter until having to switch to the Victoria line.  Re-emerge into the open air at Vauxhall; be surprised at any visible sun light.

Ride elevator up to the last floor. Say good morning to female colleagues that sit around you and ask if anyone wants a cuppa.  Work until 1pm with the occasional glimpse at your personal e-mails/Facebook. Eat a packed lunch at your desk then take the elevator down to the cafe on the ground floor for a coffee and some "fresh" air. Watch cars and buses drive down the six-lane Albert Embankment. Write stuff on your journal which you'll later (maybe) type into your Livejournal.

Return to office just after 2pm. Feebly resist candies and chocolates that keep getting placed on the table next to yours. When the sun begins to set, saunter to the nearest window and take a picture with your iPhone's Instagram. Comment with the secretary/whoever is nearby how an office with big windows makes all the difference in winter. Return to your desk and ask if anyone wants a cuppa. Rinse/repeat work delaying tactics.

Leave the office 5.30pm on the dot. Freeze to death on the walk back to Vauxhall station and join the masses descending the stairs. Keep hands firmly in pockets so not to slap anyone on the back of the head or push them onto the train tracks. Switch at Victoria to the District line where you are resigned not to find a seat. Play solitaire on your iPhone. Get off at Mile End and throw away your plans for cooking something healthy for dinner when you walk past the chippie shop.

Dinner, Livejournal, Television, Books, Bed, Bad Sleep.
commonpeople1: (Default)
I think I'm gonna have to give up NaNoWriMo: the good ol' RSI in both hands has returned. I need them hands. I need them for applying to jobs and recruitment agencies.

A few months ago I bought a ticket to see Hurts at the Brixton Academy. I was really looking forward to this gig and even penciled the date into my iCalendar. Except that I put down yesterday instead of Friday, the correct date. I found out my mistake yesterday morning.

In the afternoon, I took the No.8 bus downtown to meet [livejournal.com profile] loveinsuburbia for a coffee. The bus now detours around St Paul's Cathedral, giving you a privileged view of the Occupy London campsite. It looks realy well organised and put together, with information and university tents, posters with info on all pillars and small groups of people having conversations every few feet. It also has a lot of tourists snapping pictures and the feel of a prominent tourist attraction if it stays there longer than a year. I'm keen to drop by soon and visit.

This is the time of year when everyone in London starts looking pale and horrible, pulling their dark clothes out of the wardrobe. I'm still in denial that it's winter time: you can find me walking around London with my hands in my light summer jacket's pockets, shivering. During my wander with [livejournal.com profile] loveinsuburbia, we came across the #OLSX crowd again, this time marching down Tottenham Court Road; one of them was my upstairs neighbour, the one who sometimes stands outside Mile End Station handing out socialist flyers. She gave me a searing look because we were walking in the opposite direction.

Came back home and watched the frankly dreadful X Factor then an episode of The Wire season 4. During the night, I dreamt that Anne Wintour walked down a hallway - probably the most bizarre and pointless dream of my life.

I need to find a job soon, before this boredom and lack of money consumes me.
commonpeople1: (Default)
Lovebox 17/07/11 by antonyprice
Lovebox 17/07/11, a photo by antonyprice on Flickr.
This was the moment at Lovebox on Sunday when 2ManyDJs ended their set. We'd been on our feet for 8 hours by that stage - most of it spent dancing. We were also freezing cold even though most of our bodies were buzzing (and some didn't even stop when it all went quiet.) No applauses, no calls for 2ManyDJs to get back on the stage. Everyone was too knackered as they trudged through the mud out of Vicky Park (apart from the gay boys who found each others tongues pressed against the ferris wheel's grates.)

My memories in no particular order:
- [livejournal.com profile] kirsten 's mint spray and the delicious taste it left in my mouth. The taste of Kirsten's cigarette. Kirsten's coffee too.
- [livejournal.com profile] amy 's excitement when Blondie came on, and the crowd erupting when they sang "Heart of Glass"
- The discovery of the 80s tent, playing Communards, Journey and Flashdance to ecstatic jumps.
- Dancing R&B with [livejournal.com profile] kirsten and [livejournal.com profile] kevin because it was warm and cosy in that tent.
- Meeting brasilian girl M who knows my friend B in São Paulo and who was high on acid. Going on an amusement ride which flew us into the sky and from where we didn't want to come down.
- Beth Ditto nearly naked, blowing the top off Vicky Park, especially when she karaoked Vogue.
- Marc Almond's lacklustre performance. Very unfair to put him in the afternoon on such a big stage when he'd be perfect in a dark intimate venue.
- [livejournal.com profile] kirsten and [livejournal.com profile] amy 's smiles, which always lifted my mood.
- Coming home like the living dead and [livejournal.com profile] kirsten breaking the news that Rebekah Brooks had been arrested.

My favourite performance was probably Beth Ditto though I had fun dancing to 2ManyDJs. I just checked out her EP on Spotify and it's pretty good - very, very Hercules and Love Affair.

Promises have been made to repeat Lovebox next year. Join us, won't you?
commonpeople1: (Default)
anti-slavery campaign by Herbi Ditl
anti-slavery campaign, a photo by Herbi Ditl on Flickr.
I rode the No.8 beside a sausage dog. I gave him my hand to sniff as I sat down; I wanted to pet him but his owner (young, bearded guy - is there any other sort in the EastEnd?!) didn't seem too keen to share the dog. It made me miss the ones living with my family in Brasil.

The bus went by the circus set up in Mile End Park. During the weekend, I saw families lining up to buy tickets and I was thoughtful of the chavy ones standing side by side with the muslim ones. It seemed like a good family activity to bring together all sorts of people from the community.

Today, though, there were protesters standing outside the circus with signs on animal cruelty. I thought all circuses now were like Cirque du Soleil!? They still use animals? Very sad...
commonpeople1: (B & W)

My six-day holiday has been perfect so far.  Yesterday morning I lounged around home then went to meet [livejournal.com profile] millionreasons for coffee. We have been LJ, Facebook, Twitter, God Knows What Else, friends for four years but only now did we meet in real life for the first time - and she lives just up the road! We had coffee in this nice little café North of Victoria Park and chatted away for two hours about books, the Royals, music and our families. She surprised me by bringing a copy of Atwood's Bluebeard's Egg, which she originally nicked from a B&B in Bath. I have to pass it on once I'm finished.

For lunch, I cooked myself a huge bacon and eggs fry up then got myself ready for the garden. On the bus ride there, I saw police running across Mile End Road, through screeching traffic like cops in a U.S. TV show, chasing five hooded boys. They pushed them all against a wall and started searching them. One of the boys reacted and a scuffle broke out. A few minutes later, I walked past police searching and interrogating more youths in a West Ham park. I wonder if it's related to those squat raids?

The garden was quiet, with just the garden leader, one of the regulars (George) and one of the people who live across the street. I planted five broccoli plants and weeded some of the pathways. At 6pm, I headed for the South Bank to see La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc (1928). Just before the film, [livejournal.com profile] wink_martindale and I bumped into [livejournal.com profile] denalyia . We had a glass of white wine on the Royal Festival Hall's balcony and chatted about the Expanding Mind podcast.

Jeanne d'Arc was accompanied by a live band and singers. Five guitars and basses, drums, harps, keyboards, and more. It was a mixture of Godspeed You Black Emperor, Barry Black, a dash of the Cocteau Twins and church coral songs. It was epic and marvelous. It made the film seem currant and brought out the intensity of Maria Falconetti's performance. I want to own that soundtrack.

Edit: Looking at info on yesterday's performance, I just realised that it was the guys from Portishead and Goldfrapp who created and led the score.  I should have known about this beforehand, shouldn't I?
commonpeople1: (Sea)
Ben Rivers Slow Action
Slow Action is a post-apocalyptic science fiction film that brings together a series of four 16mm works which exist somewhere between documentary, ethnographic study and fiction.

Continuing his exploration of curious and extraordinary environments, Slow Action applies the idea of island biogeography - the study of how species and eco-systems evolve differently when isolated and surrounded by unsuitable habitat - to a conception of the Earth in a few hundred years; the sea level rising to absurd heights, creating hyperbolic utopias that appear as possible future mini-societies.
You arrive outside a gallery near Mile End, between the park's sports' field and Regent's Canal.  It's not yet 12 noon so you sit on nearby picnic table and wait.  You talk to [livejournal.com profile] shuffle81 and [livejournal.com profile] wink_martindale about the gorgeous weather. Three friends sitting nearby chat along the same lines and sip coffee. A girl chains her bike and stands by the gallery's door until it opens. 

It's dark inside and you can barely distinguish the girl who hands everyone high-tech headphones.  She shows where to adjust volume before another door is opened into a screening room.  A woman with a foreign accent speaks softly into your ears while the images on the screen move through an alien desert-like landscape.  It takes you a moment to realise that people are sitting on black leather bags on the floor.  You slowly inch forward and find one for yourself.  For the next forty five minutes you visit the post-apocalyptic societies of Eleven, Hiva (The Society Islands), Kansennashima and Somerset.

To me, this is true science fiction: it's our world viewed through an old camera but at the same time made strange and remote by the stories, facts and figures given by the narrator.  It's here and it's nowhere, it's ideas over action, it's completely devoid of clichés.  It's perfectly formed and delivered, from the gallery's setting to what's on screen.  True science fiction makes you look outside the window and shudder, makes you step out of your comfort zone, even if for a little while, and question the structures and lives around you.  It makes you look leave the screening room and see the outside through new eyes. 

Slow Action
ends today.

Week Off

Feb. 16th, 2011 06:32 pm
commonpeople1: (Vicky Park)

Broadway Market
Originally uploaded by Marco Carboni
I'm on annual leave this week and I'm lovin' it. I feel a little bit like I'm on the dole, hanging out in libraries during the day with angry teenagers (who break my heart by mistaking me for someone's father) then going for canal walks that end in Hackney cafés. It makes me wonder what all these people I see hanging about do for a living if they are not stuck in offices or schools.

Some filming was taking place at the end of Broadway Market this afternoon, outside that pub facing London Fields. A car "smashed" against a street light, film crew hidden behind it with a machine that faked motor vapour and Charlotte Rampling standing around. It must be for the film I, Anna, "a noir thriller told from the point of view of a femme fatale, who falls for the detective in charge of a murder case." Also stars Gabriel Byrne. One to watch out for!

[livejournal.com profile] wink_martindale and I were on our way to the London Fields Radio when we saw this scene. The London Fields Radio has a podcast (I still need to check out) and is situated inside a coffee shop. It was our first time visiting it. It's a small place with wooden boxes underneath the seats which you pull out to use as a table and prints by local artists on the walls. Surprisingly busy for a gray Wednesday afternoon threatening East London with rain.

I spent this morning reading the delicious adventures of Erast Fandorin while correcting NaNoWriMo stuff from two years ago. I'm also working on a crime story for a competition by Brent Libraries. The winner gets a free creative writing course with Birkbeck College. I thought it might be fun to give it a go because you have to create a story based on the first paragraph given by Norwegian writer Camilla Ceder:

In theory, Margaret had functioned well as his partner. She was a faded beauty who had once been a celebrated singer. It would not have hurt for her to drink less.

What would you do with that opening? If you fancy having a go, here are more details on the competition.
commonpeople1: (Icecream)
A friend of mine is leaving London for New York; he got a well paid job in an arts centre over there. He asked [livejournal.com profile] wink_martindale and I if we'd like to buy his Wii and games. I asked how much he wanted for them? He understood that I wanted to buy everything and dropped on Wink's lap a box with the whole lot. We already had a borrowed Wii from my landlady so now we currently have an excess of video game consoles in the house. I'm starting to think I don't want any of them - it's just more distraction from the stuff I need to do (study horticulture, write Mills & Boons novels, become a millionaire).

We went for a walk this morning to find a café where we could sit, read the papers and write in our journals. We chose the Rich Mix because it's always empty, has nice big windows that give you a view of Bethnal Green road and nobody bothers you if your coffee mug is empty. I briefly left to buy today's Guardian from a corner shop and walked past Preston from The Ordinary Boys. He's tiny! He went into a new hipster café with three friends. The Rich Mix couldn't attract hipsters even if it tried, bless.

We then hit the local second-hand bookshops for Paul Auster's Timbuktu (for my bookclub) but couldn't find anything. Went to my gym, watched an episode of a new brasilian soap opera while eating toast with peanut butter and now I faff around online while Wink naps on the couch. He was meant to be making carrot cake for us. I might wake him up in a sec.


commonpeople1: (Straw)


Would anyone like some straight porn? [livejournal.com profile] wink_martindale was cleaning our hallway closet and he found stuff that belonged to the Australians who lived here five years ago. If Playboy's hottest calendar girls and the babes of FHM are your thing, let me know. We also have a tumble dryer in this hallway closet which we have never used. Inside, we found a pair of jeans and silk boxers with sharks.

Last night we watched Bright Star, with Ben Whisham and directed by Ozzie Jane Campion. The film is about the last years of life of the poet John Keats, who died when he was just 25 years old. I spotted Ben Whishaw in Victoria Park in July 2009 and now I wonder if he was researching his character for this film. The way he was sitting on a park bench and writing in his journal was exactly the same as John Keats in the film. The film was shot that year and released in September. Once the film was finished, I flicked through Keats collection of letters which I received from a stranger in New York a few years back [1]. The letters I peaked at weren't as romantic as the ones on screen.

This morning, we had a chilled out morning in the flat before I went do Broadway Market to meet an old co-worker for a coffee.  Never saw the place that empty.  Then went to Stratford's Sainsbury's with Wink for our weekly food shop and watched Agatha Christie's "The Mirror Cracked from Side to Side" after dinner.  

I bought a Lottery Ticket.

[1] The book was sent to me as part of a pyramid scheme involving books.  You got a list of names from someone who you were meant to send books to and, in return, your name got sent to twice that many so they could mail books to you.  I did pretty well in this exercise, ending with Keats' letters, a Haruki Murakami and <i>Snow Falling on Cedars</i>.  I know some people who got nothing.

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