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: (Default)
Seen after rain by Roland Ramanan
Seen after rain, a photo by Roland Ramanan on Flickr.
I leave the flat at 8am. Storm gushing down on the EastEnd, the sky dark like a fairy tale. People huddled underneath the bus shelter on Roman Road, their umbrellas open and protecting their flanks. I walk past them and avoid the puddles because I know the holes in my Doc Martens won't be able to resist a drink. I hold my UNIQLO umbrella against the wind pushing me towards Mile End, admiring its resistance.

On a crowded platform I wait for either the District or the Central line to arrive. I edge my way in and stand at the foot of the aisle. A short woman keeps elbowing me from behind. I've got a copy of the book published by the British Library last year for their Sci-Fi exhibition - essential read for anyone who loves the genre.

When I finally get a seat, a guy I recognise from my gym walks in and stops by my feet. We avoid eye contact. He's reading a Clive Cussler paperback and sporting autumn colours. His beard has really grown this winter.

I switch at Oxford Street and finally come out at Vauxhall. The sky is now blue, sunny - clear. I can almost hear the seagulls above the Albert Embankment din. I've entered a new city - the start of my work day.
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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?

Wordmonger

Jun. 18th, 2011 01:23 pm
commonpeople1: (Default)
If you are a writer or enjoy creative writing, and you are on Twitter, I've discovered a great little way of sparking things off through HerLindsayness's blog. She writes:

Created by Monica-Marie, the idea (behind #wordmongering) is that at the top of every hour, participants write as much as they can for thirty minutes. Then they take a 30-minute break to stretch, snack, and generally refresh for the next round. You can participate in as few or as many rounds per day as you have time and energy for, and the encouragement shared between writers is invigorating. There is no contest and every word count, no matter how small, is congratulated.

I'm going to do my first one in 45 minutes. See you there?

Meanwhile on LJ, [livejournal.com profile] millionreasons has started a random postcard project which I also find interesting. I'm following her example and thinking of using Igor for my postcards.

Yesterday, an idiot carrying a cappuccino machine into the train dropped part of it on my elbow.  It's hurtin'.  I then got soaked wandering around London dropping off brochures for my arts festival in July.  At midnight, a brasilian friend arrived from Germany to stay with us for the weekend and we spent a few hours talking while I heated for him chicken and mushroom soup. I'm fighting annoying manflu so I can be well enough for drinks with him and his friends tonight.

38 minutes until my first #wordmongering...
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The past couple of days have been wonderfully long and enjoyable. It started on Friday with a talk on time travel at the British Museum as part of their current exhibition on Science Fiction, Out of this World. Audrey Niffenegger, who wrote The Time Traveller's Wife, was part of the panel as well as sci-fi novelist Stephen Baxter, some guy who writes for Dr Who, some other guy who writes on the science of time travel and a woman who works in publishing (and who chaired the talk.) Audrey was a cross between Margaret Atwood and Tori Amos, all deep husky voice and very funny down-to-earth comments. The audience had a few nutters who shot theirs arms straight up when it was question time. I spotted a few friends of [livejournal.com profile] hester 's in the audience but I couldn't remember their names or LJ handles.

Yesterday, I went to the garden's Summer Fair then met friends in the evening at Rich Mix for the documentary Senna. It's a wonderful film which is hard for me to be objective about. Because I'm brasilian, I grew up watching Senna race every Sunday, my family and friends filing my home with cheer for his victories or despair for his losses. Seeing his life played out on the big screen brought back nostalgic memories for me as well as some good laughs at how naff Brasil was in the 80s. Well, wasn't the whole planet?

Senna was to Brasil what Lady Diana was to Britain in their deaths: this outpouring of emotion that showed the true extent they had affected people's lives while alive. He was different from her though in how there was nothing contrived about him: he was pure talent, hard work and charisma. There was something about his eyes that was very beautiful, his smile too - that gave away how idealistic he was about Formula 1 and making a mark in the lives of the less fortunate in Brasil (I suppose similar in that sense to Diana).

Everyone in Brasil knows where they were when they heard he died (i.e. most were in front of the telly) just like everyone in Britain still remembers hearing of Di's accident in Paris.



Today, I woke up early to meet [livejournal.com profile] kirsten at Columbia Road market for breakfast. It was rainy, cold, grey and horrible. We had a look around the shops and found a table in Restaurant Espagnol, which has lovely coffee and breakfasts (chorizo on top of fried eggs and toast; why did I never think of this?!)

We then drove to Camden so she could get a piercing at Cold Steel. On the drive back home we blasted 2 Many DJs and talked about Salt-and-Peppa and what the hell happened to them. Weirdly enough, a few hours later I watched a documentary by Chris Rock called Good Hair, which featured interviews with them. It's a bit of a surreal documentary that falls under that subgenre "we all live on a crazy planet". It looks at the multi-billion dollar industry surrounding hair in America in the black community, and its consequences to themselves and other parts of the planet. Funny at parts, weird in others. Made me wonder what will happen to all those people who spend thousands of dollars on their hair if the American economy continues to slide into the hole. It's completely unsustainable, like a lot of other things in America...



Tonight, we are watching Soprano episodes while eating our dinner, reading old newspapers in bed and listening to classical music. Global warming feels like a dream when the typical grim British summer returns to chill our apartment and cover the city with rain.

P.S. More Gingerganza this way! (thank you [livejournal.com profile] kirsten for the link.)
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: (Livia)
One day before I arrived in Brasil, my mother saw a UFO. She'd stepped outside at night to watch my brother and his bride drive off when she noticed something in the sky, just above her head. It was an object that emitted red light in all directions, reflecting on the clouds gathered at the top of the mountain our house is built on. My brother says it could have been an airplane, but my mom is convinced this it's just the latest of many sightings in this region.

Every time I visit Brasil, there is talk of UFOs and sightings, in particular around here. Discussing flying saucers here is like talking about the weather in England - something people do everyday, without a hint of embarrassment anymore. There's a town nearby, Varginha, where the entire population witnessed a UFO display in the sky in 1996. Later, some people in the town saw one of the aliens in a park. The creature was apparently captured by the government. Years later, a massive blackout hit the south of Brasil and plunged hundreds of cities into darkness. It coincided with the passage of a tube-like UFO witnessed by people in these cities, but the government claimed it was one of their airplanes protecting brasilian airspace.

Yesterday, while everyone napped after lunch (common occurence in my family) I lay in the living room watching hours of UFO documentaries on the History Channel. I'm starting to sympathise with Robbie Williams (who is a self-confessed UFO enthusiast). There's always fresh coffee on the go, cakes placed in strategic points across the house, biscuits in many jars, fruits at arm's reach from one of the many trees in our garden - and it rains rains rains, so I stay inside and scratch the heads of sausage dogs with my feet while I read books.

If you love The Goonies, Labyrinth or the Neverending Story, you must watch Bridge to Terabithia. I'm not a big fan of children in films, but these ones are excellent actors, in a very well-told story that actually manages to mix fantasy, a love story and a criticism of Christianity in a much more powerful and subtle way than Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. The trailer for the film (linked above) is actually the most misleading trailer in the history of cinematography - everything you see in it is actually a small percentage of the actual story! Highly recommend it as a thoughtful and moving film to watch during this holiday season.
commonpeople1: (Default)
Picnics in London are well dodgy: you could be approaching the park under the warmest sunshine only to have rain piss down on you as you wait for your friends at the appointed meeting spot (a bridge in Regent's Park, in my case yesterday.) As [livejournal.com profile] tom correctly pointed out later on, a summer day in London can immitate the entire season: plenty of overcast hours, a few showers, and even fewers spots of sunshine. And whatever the appointed meeting time for the picnic, you can be sure you'll be the first one to arrive even if you are half an hour late. You'll worry that your friends have found a spot somewhere beyond the trees (your mobile phone is about to die and they are not replying to your txt msgs - they are ignoring you on purpose [livejournal.com profile] hester jokes later on) and you'll have no other option but share a bench with a loner reading the Daily Telegraph who will eye your jam and chocolate donuts, your salt crisps. At least you'll have your Sicilian red wine to drown your sorrows.

When drizzling, find a spot under the trees: the ground will be drier, and during the short bursts of rain throughout the afternoon your food will be protected from most of the water. But stay close to the concrete paths so you can keep an eye on whichever friend has brought roller blades and is trying their luck after a half-glass of wine. Scene of the accident. And don't act surprised when [livejournal.com profile] christa, the picnic organiser, is one of the last to arrive. Forgive her when she cracks open the strawberry box and passes it around (can your stomach fit another berry?) Feel happier when the picnic brightens up with the arrival of [livejournal.com profile] beth and her own personal, and very cute, cabbage patch kid, [livejournal.com profile] katie (emo haircut edition).

When the wind grows too chill and the light through the leaves mesmerizes (here comes autumn) adjourn to a nearby pub (pray there are no football supporters - apart from [livejournal.com profile] suzi, that is). Say goodbye to some of the picknickers, say hello to a pair of newcomers ([livejournal.com profile] richard and [livejournal.com profile] krys). Find a corner at the back of the pub and run the gamut of topics that weren't broached on the grass (Israel, Georgia, Russia, Dexter, Popstarz, Cloverfield). Laugh maniacally when someone finds a giant hunky photo in a Sunday newspaper supplement of that actor from House, laid out like freshly baked chicken, ready-to-eat. The New George Clooney?

Lights and music are on your mind as you walk down Roman Road, heading home. Neneh Cherry stuck in that soggy head ([livejournal.com profile] yearning in there), and the East End overtaken by a giant rainbow that grows like an explosion from Stratford, reaches across the sky (capturing a few planes that fly back & forth from Heathrow) and lands somewhere beyond the Emerald City Canary Wharf. Many people looking through the rainbow, as if it weren't really there. No second-takes, eyes to the sky, smiles - nothing. What kind of person doesn't care about a huge rainbow covering the sky?

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