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It's been a week since I arrived in London.  I've used these past days to say goodbye to this city and friends that I love so much. I fly back to Brasil on Friday... I have no clue when I'll be back in the UK.

My good friend [livejournal.com profile] live_life_like  started this journal in Brasil in May 2001 as a way of keeping in touch with myself and another friend we had in common. Thus the name. In September that year, a week after 9/11, I left Brasil and moved to London with my boyfriend to start a new life.

This journal has been a great place to inhabit during my 12 years in London.  I survived many dull temp jobs thanks to it, and met tons of people who went on to become close friends. I'd like to one day sit down and read through it - there have been some dramatic posts and some epic flamewars!

This journal will come to an end when I fly to Brasil on Friday. It brings to an end my 12 years in London.

Here's to whatever comes next!
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I'm about to go on holiday! I've taken a week off though I'm not sure if I'm going anywhere. I'm definitely not getting in a plane as my boyfriend really doesn't like them (neither do I, to be honest.)

What I'm sure: I'll be off email, social networks and my mobile phone for the whole time. I want a complete digital break (though I reserve the right to playing a bit of Wii if I get bored of my books and letter writing!)

The last time I went off the grid was during a week in Crete a few years ago with [livejournal.com profile] king_prawn [livejournal.com profile] neenaw and [livejournal.com profile] wink_martindale It was momentarily interrupted when NeeNaw's mom called to announce Wacko Jacko had died.

What to do with my spare time? Day trips outside of London? Horror and sci-fi novels? The local pool? Zombies, Run? Sleep? Creative Writing? Perhaps a few nights in a B&B? Art exhibitions?

Going with the flow.
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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!
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Walt Whitman by Marion Doss
Walt Whitman, a photo by Marion Doss on Flickr.
I bought a copy of Walt Whitman's poems before yesterday because I've been wanting to revisit Leaves of Grass after hearing him mentioned in My Dinner With Andre. I read Whitman in university and seem to remember my professor not liking him too much; I was a fan though.

I found his poetry collection in that second hand bookshop just by Waitrose in Bloomsbury (the one you go down steps and it's like a Borgean maze of dusty classics.) The book was on the floor, at the top of a poetry pile, waiting for me. £3.

My Dinner With Andre has also made me think/notice about people choosing to dress like what they think they are. I.e. terrorists look like terrorists, designers look like designers, hipsters look like hipsters, bankers look like bankers. We (unconsciously?) try to fit into the stereotype of what we think we should be or look like. Have you noticed? Just watch the news and you'll see confirmation of that.

Who am I? Whom do I look like? I see pictures of myself from 5, 6 years ago and realise how gray my hair has become.

I've also been this week to a launch party by a famous British rapper, and written a letter to a famous dancer (now retired) asking if she'd like me to teach her how to use emails and the internet.

Yesterday, I witnessed two women getting into a fight at the bus stop outside Westfield Stratford. One of them was wearing a hijab and looked Somalian; she was sitting down beside three white British women when she suddenly broke into a loud, angry rant. She accused them of making remarks about her hijab and called them some bad words. Everyone looked at her as if she was mentally ill. A few minutes later, she made a phone call and, during it, began to make offensive comments about the women again. One of them couldn't take it any longer and shouted back: how dare you be racist to me? Somalian lady replied that no British woman shouted at her, which only made the other one shout louder.

An elderly man (muslim as well) tried to calm things as well as the British woman's daughter, but in vain. I saw a policeman walking towards us and made gestures at the daughter that the police was coming. When she understood she tried to stop her mom, but by now there was no stopping that verbal war. More police arrived and the Somalian woman tried to leave. But the police were having none of it - they wanted an explanation as to what was going on. Now Somalian lady looked meek and perhaps aware she was in deep shit (witnesses were also not being allowed to leave - perhaps because it was a suspected racial incident?) I picked up my shopping bags and quickly made a getaway for the Tube.

Later, on my way to friends for a Twin Peaks Marathon, I saw police cars and firetrucks outside my building. People were looking up at the tower block next to ours... one of the flats was on fire.

This morning, I'm debuting a new pair of glasses I bought at Westfield Stratford. The world looks wonky and 3Dish. I can see all the lines on my pale face and I feel even more old.
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An evening at the Barbican with colleagues from work, to see Deborah Colker's Dance Company perform Tatyana. Based on Pushkin's novel Eugene Onegin, it's a story of unrequited love and tragedy. Two young men, Lensky and Onegin, meet two beautiful young women in the countryside, one being Tatyana.  She falls in love with Onegin and opens her heart in a letter - but he rejects her.  Years later, he runs into her again - this time married to a rich man in St Petersburg - and realises she was meant to be with him... but now her feelings have changed...

The first Act has a large contraption on stage - a sort of wooden tree - which the dancers climb all over, jump from and dance around. The second Act is more surreal and modern, with the dancers dancing as if suspended in the air while light is projected and run through them.  Their style is more modern dance than contemporary - with a lot of ballet thrown in the mix in the second half.

Two interesting details which I thought raised the performance: each character is played by four dancers, and a new character is introduced into the story - Pushkin himself (played by a blonde male character dressed entirely in black which I first thought represented death, and who sometimes was substituted by Deborah Colker herself.) This idea of a character having four dancers works well when demonstrating emotion: four Onegins surrounding one Tatyana gives the impression of "overwhelming emotion" or "excessive love".  And the idea of Colker herself taking turns with Pushkin inside the story was an obvious, but nice, idea of the author never being too far from its creation, and that maybe a love story written a century ago by a man can gain new life today through a woman from another side of the planet (Brasil).

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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..."
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I was having a drink last night with my brasilian friends Lila and Bia at the Haggerston when I noticed a guy dancing by the front door. I couldn't see his face (the pub was dark) but I got the hunch he was cute. The DJ was blasting soul & funk and the guy was animatedly dancing to it with his friends and having a good time. He danced quite well too.

Later, when he walked past our table after visiting the gents I realised it was Michael Fassbender. Cue five minutes of me trying to explain to Bia and Lila who he was, complete with descriptions of X Men and Shame, and the obligatory iPhone Google search.

A woman in the table next to ours leaned over and asked: "is that the certain Hollywood gent I think he is?"

Yup.

She rubbed her face in surprise and shrunk back into her boyfriend. "He is THE number one... my number one star!"



Just then, Fassbender picked up his jacket and left with his friends. A search through Twitter informed me he'd been all afternoon in London Fields, causing a commotion with his naked torso. He joined some random BBQ with his friends and talked about chicken hearts (he likes them) with a brasilian girl who only clued in who he was once he'd left.

Other celebrities I've spotted since I've gone on annual leave: Boy George (as mentioned before) and Ulrika Jonsson window shopping for specs in Covent Garden (the shop where Johnny Depp usually buys his.)

This gorgeous sunny weekend also involved an unsuccessful trip to Old School Indie, a club night at the venue usually used for Feeling Gloomy (but still run by the same people.) The idea was apparently to do F.G. but with "happier" songs. It was complete rubbish. The DJ played Rolling Stones after The Cure, amongst other barbarities. Bob Dylan is apparently indie too. RUBBISH. And there was nobody there.

While everyone in London was celebrating the athletes parade this afternoon, my boyfriend and I were at the Tate Modern, enjoying the Edvard Munch exhibition.



It's a beautifully put together show on his life work, arranged thematically. I recommend you use the multi-media guide if you visit: it gives you really good commentary on key work as well as an overview of his life and the key historical events of the time.

Sadly, The Scream is not part of the show (maybe they were scared of another attempted theft?) And my only tiny criticism would be that Munch's photos and experiments with film are almost presented as worthy artistic pieces, whereas they are more like studies of themes he was interested in (self-portraits, ghostly bodies, and other things the moving camera made possible for artists at the turn of the 19th century.)

Edit
I forgot to mention another "celebrity" I spotted this weekend... Maeve from Dalston Superstars! She was working behind the counter at the Haggerston and she looked well tired. (Or was there a camera secretly following her around for Season 2?!)
commonpeople1: (Default)


LET



MY



HOLIDAYS



BEGIN!!!!!!


commonpeople1: (Default)
After getting some new bespoke running shoes at Runner's Needs (thank you [livejournal.com 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.
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Elevator of Doom by olliefern
Elevator of Doom, a photo by olliefern on Flickr.
I came home yesterday to find a young woman sprawled inside my elevator, trying feebly to stand up. It must have been 6.30pm. She was barefoot and she held a plastic bag with two slippers inside. She stunk of booze and had dried blood on the hand she offered to me when I tried to help.

I called the concierge and the both of us carried her into the foyer and sat her down against the wall. Her left leg was dead - she kept saying it was broken. I asked the concierge if there was anything else I could do and he said it was fine - she was coming from Apt. ** and he knew her.

Other noteworthy moments in my day: going past Mile End Park in the bus and noticing various tents pitched up; and having lunch with [livejournal.com profile] millionreasons near my work. I asked if the tents in Mile End Park were to do with Occupy London spreading and she answered that no, it was just the rise of homelessness in the city.
commonpeople1: (Default)
Broken iPhone by michaelallenclark
Broken iPhone, a photo by michaelallenclark on Flickr.
I was leaving the office this evening - carrying two bags of groceries while trying to slide on my headphones - when my iPhone escaped my fingers and ran down the staircase.

"Oh fuck!" I shouted.

"Oops," said one of my co-workers, on his way to the kitchen.

The thing still works so I'm OK for now. I pay insurance to O2 - really hope they cover most of the cost of a new phone, if not the whole thing.

I woke up at 2.30am this morning and couldn't go back to sleep. Have felt knackered and irritated all day.


Bike Ride

Mar. 5th, 2012 08:20 am
commonpeople1: (Default)
There's a Boris Ken Bike pick up spot being set up right outside my flat. I had a look on Google Maps and I could potentially take one from home to work (King's Cross) via Regent's Canal, then back again.

Now I need to gather the courage to ride a bike in London! I've never been on a bike in a big city (apart from once in a park in São Paulo when I was 10 years old).

Also, the bikers that use the canals can be quite cut-throat and pushy. I know because I used to walk the canals to work a few years ago (when I worked in that arts centre that went up in flames - remember?) and I always witnessed their bike rage on each other and pedestrians.

Still, the thought of riding a bike in the morning alongside barges, swans and canadian geese is very appealing...
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Untitled by lucy parakhina
Untitled, a photo by lucy parakhina on Flickr.
Over a month ago I asked you to give me a random sentence from a book. I was meant to join them all together into a short story, get someone to illustrate it, then make it available for download as an eStory.

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

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

I'm now trying to muster the will to go for a swim - my first one of 2012. I'm feeling so lazy...
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I'm feeling stressed at the moment with work - pulled in too many directions (given too many tasks) - and not feeling as if I'm doing any of them well. I'll be up North again this week, on a day trip similar to last Friday's. A lot of time spent in trains. People are a bit scary in the small towns but the green hills are adorable though.

I've been going to the gym in the mornings these past few weeks. I've got tickets to see Porcelain Raft, Veronica Falls, Babel (some giant secret event in Islington in May - #secreteventsfatigue) and my lovely Lovebox in June. I'm still reading "Robinson Crusoe" and enjoying the anachronistic gay subtext.

I'm now lying on the sofa with a belly full of chicken and mushroom soup, listening to the 10,000 songs on my iTunes on shuffle.

Have a good night!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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Today was looking bleak and depressing until halfway through the afternoon, when a co-worker asked if I'd like to have the office's lamps.  We are in the process of moving and most of the desks and lighting are up for grabs; but I assumed that others would have laid claims.  Oh no - the lamps are mine for the taking as well as a brand new desk to put in the living room and finally move away from the rickety picnic table I've been using for writing all these years.

I've brought some magic to people's commute this evening. Curious stares, little smiles, double takes. One of the staff in Camden joked he'd never be able to afford the lamp. A boy who climbed in at Old Street said "nice lamp." It's now in my living room, by the sofa.

I'm in bed, about to watch Source Code. Then I'll read a bit of Robinson Crusoe on the kindle (the first book I read on an eBook, and I love the fact that it's the first novel written in the English language!)  Then the land of dreams.  And may February be kinder to me (to all of us) tomorrow.
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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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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 [livejournal.com profile] loveinsuburbia, [livejournal.com profile] neenaw and [livejournal.com 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.

Ma Journée

Dec. 7th, 2011 09:00 pm
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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.

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