commonpeople1: (Avatar)
There was commotion outside Bethnal Green tube station this evening.

Walking from the station to the nearest bus stop, I spotted an elderly man sat in the middle of the road, surrounded by passersbys and the driver of a black minivan. Cars swerved around him, cyclists slowed down to take a good look, pedestrians lost interest in where they were going or the conversations they were having on their mobile phones to stop and watch with furrowed brows.

The man, it seemed, had been jaywalking with some other people when he was knocked over. An elderly Polish lady touched his shoulder and he swatter her away. She crossed over to the bus stop and told someone: “he’s rude! He’s rude!”

The black minivan driver rubbed the old man’s back, got into her car and drove away. New people arrived and formed a human shield around the man. One bespectacled gentleman got off his bike and became a traffic warden. A few of them spoke into mobile phones (emergency services?) The old man remained seated on the cold, wet asphalt, hunched over, cradling his arm.

Buses arrived and people climbed in. I decided to wait for the next one, as did the Polish lady.

“Did anyone call an ambulance?” I asked her.

“He’s lying!” she blurted back. “There’s nothing wrong with his arm! I touch it. I touch it hard. If it was broken, he would feel pain. He feel nothing. He’s pretending.” [1]

“Oh,” and I looked back at the old man (now turned into a con artist in my eyes) and the group of people (suckers.)

“I was behind him when he fell. Nobody touch him. He just fall by himself. He make this to get money from the government.”

“I’m sure the ambulance crew will figure this out when they check him.”

“I fell down my building’s stairs once. I get bruises on my back. I can’t bear even a small touch. So that’s how I know he don’t break arm. I touch and he feel nothing! I know what to do in this country. You go to hospital and you get doctor to write everything down. That’s how you get money from government. But he wants people to believe what he says, and not what the doctor says. He do the wrong way.”

A much emptier No.8 bus arrived and we climbed in together. Her Oyster card was a Freedom Pass. I climbed upstairs and sat on the seat right at the front, where I could look down on the man as the bus drove by. He had now been moved to the median strip. He looked a bit confused.

[1] Recreation of the lady’s Polish accent may be slightly incorrect due to author’s incapability of remembering verbatim what she said.
commonpeople1: (Avatar)
Can any of you recommend a good CRM for a small arts organisation with little to zero budget?  I've already had a look at MailChimp and SalesForce but they don't "quite" work.  Many thanks!
commonpeople1: (Avatar)
Lovebox Festival by J_Ymmit
Lovebox Festival, a photo by J_Ymmit on Flickr.
Went running around Victoria Park this morning with my boyfriend and heard Goldfrapp doing the soundcheck for her gig tonight at Lovebox.

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

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

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

Didn't win the lottery last night.  Didn't even get a single number right.
commonpeople1: (Avatar)
29/1/2013 Lottery ticket by barbourians
29/1/2013 Lottery ticket, a photo by barbourians on Flickr.
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

These are not my lucky numbers.
commonpeople1: (Avatar)
Gary Numan : Warriors by See Gee
Gary Numan : Warriors, a photo by See Gee on Flickr.
I returned to Electric Dreams last Friday. It was good - solid four hours on the dance floor - but emptier than the previous time. I've noticed a pattern with the DJs: start out with popular synth tunes, get the dancefloor going. Then, bring on a DJ that plays obscure stuff that only the hardcore enjoy. Finish it off with a third DJ returning the popular tunes (even Madonna!). 3am, lights go on, everyone goes home.

It's a dying scene though. Always the same (old) faces. Everybody stuck in the same decade. Thatcher is gone but we still keep dancing. As soon as it hits midnight 31st December 1989, we get thrown back to the start of the decade. Everyone else moves on.

On Saturday, I saw Star Trek: Into Darkness on 3D. It was fun, or maybe I was just too gobsmacked by the £17.50 ticket to see it for what it was. No wonder downtown cinemas are dying. The meagre audience had a good chuckle when the screen said after Fast and Furious 6 "reserve your tickets now and avoid the rush." "What rush?" asked the woman beside me holding the tiny £5 popcorn bucket.

I've been going for runs in Victoria Park during week mornings and, last Sunday, I returned to the local pool after a year away. I've been reading loads, working loads, working out loads, wanting to go out loads... but broke.

I'm supporting Norway in tomorrow's Eurovision.

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 [ profile] fj), walks around Regent's Park followed by beers and burgers (with [ profile] suzi, [ profile] clay, [ profile] sarah and [ 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)
After getting some new bespoke running shoes at Runner's Needs (thank you [ profile] sparklielizard for the tip!) I've become a regular jogger in Victoria Park. I like to go in the mornings, with my iShuffle plugged in (dangling from some very expensive, neon Adidas running earphones I also got at the shop). I do one full circuit of the park - the equivalent of 5K - then follow it up with two days at the gym doing weight training.

Yesterday morning I noticed a group of short, skinny people doing sprints in the park... Olympic athletes! They were from Rwanda, I learnt later. Apparently they didn't feel like practicing in the Olympic stadium and asked if there were any nearby parks they could use. Victoria Park was the suggestion. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I do.

This London Olympics, which felt very British when it was first announced, has become progressively more "American" as the years have gone by (and especially under the Tories.) Do we really need the biggest McDonalds in Europe built right inside the Olympic park? With a ban on nearby businesses from selling french fries because McDonals has the sole permission to sell it? It's the next best thing to having a giant American flag waving in everyone's face. And by "American" I mean in this context profit-over-commonsense - that neoliberal idiocy that businesses ultimately choose what's best for everyone.

Still, despite all the weird stories surrounding the Olympics (from slum conditions for cleaners living near the park to graffiti artists being arrested), I felt a thrill of excitement at suddenly being so near to Olympic athletes in Victoria Park. My dance company is also involved - we performed as part of the Olympic Torch relay through London and many of our dancers are part of the opening and closing ceremonies.

On McDonalds related news, HBO Documentaries has made available online its recent "Weight of the Nation" series. You can check it out on YouTube. It's in 4 parts and quite compelling viewing, especially if you also recently saw the BBC's "The Man Who Made Us Fat". The series is often mawkish but has some eye-popping figures and graphs. It's made me go off soda drinks for life.
commonpeople1: (Default)

I just came back from my first trip to Westfield Stratford shopping mall.  Holy guacamole, that place is huge.  You could lose pounds walking up and down the interminable corridors - and that's just the indoors shops.  The 339 bus from outside my door takes 10 mins to get there... dangerous!  interestingly, despite the bus being nearly empty on a Thursday morning, it had to stop just before the mall for a security guy to check for bombs.  That's modern life now, get used to it.

All the high street stores are there, but you can't buy art works or art supplies.  And only one bookshop - Foyles - which isn't even open yet.  A tiny food court and sofas circa Big Brother 5 spread out on all levels for you to sit and chill out.  Might prove tempting to all those people who regularly spend their days in libraries.

I bought tons of chocolate in Waitrose, a skin for my laptop, a universal plug converter and a traveller's shaving gel.  I wanted to buy some pens for my nephew but, as mentioned above, no art supplies spotted (maybe well hidden?)

They have a Balans! Right beside a West Ham store!  Tons of people walking about with a look of wow-I-can't-believe-I'm-walking-through-Westfield.  The building's architecture is pretty uncreative.  Security seemed to follow me for a bit and I got paranoid.  There were about 50 people working in the Apple store and just a handful of customers (cult alert).  I bought a coffee and had a brief chat with the barristas about how crazy the opening days had been.  Everyone excited to be there, to work there.  Tons of teenagers and the unemployed (apparently).

Very convinent, very dangerous to the pocket.  Ok, now I better finish packing up and get ready for my flight.  Cheerio.

Dead Geeky

Aug. 22nd, 2011 03:30 pm
commonpeople1: (Default)
I just bought this game, which I may soon grow to regret (thanks to its hundreds of hours of game play):

Reasons to buy it:
- [ profile] wink_martindale will fly to Canada soon for two weeks and I'll be home alone
- I do like videogames and haven't played anything immersive in years (this game has received good reviews)
- It looks fun
- I like sci-fi/fantasy

Reasons I shouldn't have bought it:
- I could use my spare time for yoga or the gym / writing a novel / going out / watching films
- I could have used the money for a nice meal out plus drinks
- All that time could be used revitalising LJ with tons of posts
- My reputation will be potentially damaged

Also, has anyone played Dead Island? Is it any good? *stern look at [ profile] naturalbornkaosand [ profile] sarahofthedead*
commonpeople1: (Default)

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

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

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

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

I'll shut up already about this show.

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

Fopp have a sale on - tons of great albums from 2010 for £5 or less. Classics for £3 or less. Worth checking out. I'm going back to CDs. I don't see the benefit of digital downloads unless they are remixed b-sides.
commonpeople1: (Log Lady)

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

This is what happened (contains spoilers) )

Hey Joe

Oct. 20th, 2010 10:26 pm
commonpeople1: (March of the Dead)
I’m Diplomat Joe McDonald; I have been trying to reach you on your telephone about an hour now just to inform you about my successful arrival in John F. Kennedy International Airport with your Two Consignment Boxes worth $750 Thousand Dollars each which I have been instructed by ECOWAS COURIER DELIVERY COMPANY to be delivered to you. The Airport Authority demanded for all the legal back up papers to prove to them that the Fund is no way related with Drug nor Fraud Money, I have presented the papers I handed to them and they are very much pleased with the paper’s I presented but the only thing that is still keeping me here in the airport delivery is Yellow Tag which is not placed on the Two Boxes, one of the Airport Authority has advise that we get the Delivery Tag so that I can exit the airport immediately and make my delivery successful. I try to reason with them and they stated that the Delivery Tag will cost us just $109 Dollars only to get the Two Tag placed on the Boxes as that Tag will enable me get to your house successfully without any interference. They scanned the Two Boxes and found out that the Fund is 100% spendable and accepted by any Bank in the whole world.

Please try and reach me with my International Roaming Number: +123-45678910 or via email ( as I can not afford to spend more time here due to other delivery I have to take care of in Bangkok. Here are the papers backing the funds together with my ID CARD as I can accompany you to your Bank were you will deposit the fund successfully with these papers. I have more vital paper with me but I can only present you the hard copy when I reach your house as that it’s the Diplomatic rules, such as authorization to deliver.

You can direct the Tag Fee through Western Union to our Head Office as they will get it here for you and they are entitled to receive and make any payment to foreign countries authority.


NOTE: You must stop all further contact or communication with every other person or Offices regarding your Funds because it is only me Diplomat Joe McDonald that have the legitimate right and mandate to Pay you accordingly. These mentioned criminal suspects attempted to secretly divert your Funds into an unknown Account in Europ.

As soon as i received the $109.00 Payment Information, I will proceed my journey to your address without any further delay.

Best Regards,
Diplomat Joe McDonald.

Hello, me Igor. Hear telephone ring but scared it is bad people. Very sad it was you calling from airport. So sorry. Igor bad. Igor don't want to be bad. Igor want to help but how? Master is arrested by bad people - cri-mi-nal suspects - and they treat Master very bad. Yes. They say Master must show them where the money is. We have statue of Virgin though . Many many statues with gold coins inside. You want one Virgin Diplomat Joe? Maybe can buy more than $109 Europop? If money in the crate - many many money - not possible to use that money to pay for bad people to let you out of airport? Igor want to help. Igor don't want to be bad. Igor very sad for being bad. Igor try calling your phone but woman call me shithead and say she was Ryanair and Igor wasting time. Igor confused. Igor didn't think Ryanair had office in JFK Airport. Please Diplomat Joe McDonald, please say how best for Igor to send money to get crates. Master happy if crates here when he leaves prison. Yes, he very happy! Igor happy too if Master happy. Igor await your reply and hope cri-mi-nal suspects don't make Diplomat Joe sleep on uncomfortable airport seats.

Goodbye from Igor
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: (Paris)
Dynasty First Season

Dynasty: The First Season, 1981
Dynasty's first season is neither campy nor kitsch: it's pure, unadulterated bad art. Launched at the height of Dallas' popularity, it follows its format to the tee in the hope of gaining some of its popularity - going as far as borrowing plot lines (the oil business) and characters (Krystle's rag-to-riches story) - but on a lower budget (supporting actors are rehashed, such as the prosecution lawyer who is only a few episodes before a punter in a disco club). There's no tension, no antagonists (if you discount the "hero" Blake Carrington's rapist homophobe rages when he doesn't get his way.) It's like the anodyne garden of Eden before the snake (Joan Collins) arrives and wraps itself around Eve (Linda Evans) for a fight in a puddle of mud. For the DVD launch, the producers sneakily hint at Collins' presence on the box's cover as a way of tricking unwarry shoppers - she makes her entrance only in the Second Season. But get through the First Season you must if you want to reach that campy good fun. And, in any case, there's some pleasure to be found in the show's fossilised impressions of the early 80s: rotary phones inside limosines, cellphones the size of heads, Emily Dickinson quotes by crackling fireplaces and a lot of unprotected sex.
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?
commonpeople1: (Jehovah's Witness)

victoria park.
Originally uploaded by Stakka Carn
I arrived in London yesterday at 1pm. On the 277 bus home from Canary Wharf I was reminded why Londoners are some of the rudest people on earth. The flat was empty and had the feel of someone who's lived alone for six weeks, who slowly encroached on the territory of the lover who flew to Brasil: plants on the kitchen windowsill nearly reaching the ceiling, a drawer knocked out and propped against the wall, piles of newspapers on tables and floors. When [ profile] wink_martindale arrived, he confessed that he'd become addicted to EastEnders while I was away. I looked into his eyes and wondered whether a body snatcher had taken over. (What's all this business of Lucas murdering little Ben Mitchell?!?!)

I slept for twelve hours and dreamt with ghosts. I woke with Wink leaving a plate of toast and a mug of coffee on my bedside table. We pottered around all morning and then I made chicken wraps with tzaziki for lunch. (It's really hard to be a vegetarian, for me, but I'll keep trying.) I briefly spoke to my mom on Skype, who is learning how to use it. She told me to take a shower and shave while my grandmother moaned in the background that I was living too far away.

After six weeks of being on the horizontal, stuffing my face with homemade cakes, I figured I should go for a walk and get back into some sort of exercise routine. Victoria Park was stunning under the sun's warmth and the afternoon's silence, though there were quite a few people sunbathing, biking, jogging, clearly skiving of work. I did a circuit of the park and sat on a bench facing the pond. I brought my camera and had two great, but missed, photo opportunities: an elderly homeless man sleeping inside one of the park's half-shells dedicated to the 1st World War; and three hasidic jews whistling at the ducks (one of them on a wheelchair).

Now I'm downloading Lost episodes while Wink bakes fish and chips. We'll eat our dinner while watching EastEnders catch up (Wink just gave me a brief rundown on all the recent craziness with Syed and Christian.) I'm completely broke and if I don't find any work soon I'm gonna be in deep trouble.
commonpeople1: (TV)
Via [ profile] peteyoung : The ash cloud that shut down British airspace, stranding thousands of people has produced an unlikely creative connection; a collaborative magazine (zine). Full story here. What a great idea!

Via [ profile] pixxers :

I better start looking for work soon. The days are going by fast and I'll soon be back in London. I'm considering a flatshare with more people (will have to see what [ profile] wink_martindale thinks of this) so I can pay less rent, pay off my credit card and lend my mom some money. When you are safe and sound, you are untouchable.
commonpeople1: (Default)
I'm loving this unemployment time off work. Yesterday, I had fun with [ profile] kirstenlj and her son at the Museum of Childhood, followed by a dip in York Hall's pool. Today, I went to the gym[1] and spent the afternoon browsing the net (job sites, school courses, etc). I've also set up an interview with the Institut Français for next Tuesday.

I'm now thinking if I should go back to school and get some skills that are more practical and job-friendly than a MA in Portuguese Studies. I found some good info on horticulture courses but the impression I get is that they are aimed at kids straight out of school and are mostly based outside London. I've got that typical pre-February fantasy of leaving office work for good and pruning park hedges for the rest of my life.

Tonight, I'm seeing Sherlock Homes' latest adventure with an ex-colleague. Tomorrow, I'm doing volunteer work at that LGBT organisation I briefly worked for two years ago (how time flies!)

[1] My number one tip for anyone out of work is to get some exercise into your day. You benefit from the endorphins, the tension release, the routine, and the self-esteem boost of course.
commonpeople1: (Cormac)
Do any of you know where I can find out which singles are being released this year during Christmas weekend? I want to confirm whether Rage Against the Machine is the only act, apart from the X Factor, that will make Simon Cowell some money (he owns shares in their record label, apparently).

I already did some searches on Google but had no luck.

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