|Saturday, December 21st, 2013|
|Penultimate Push (365L)
Within touching distance of the end of my 365 London Project
:361/365: Explore Your Creative Side
. There are plenty of opportunities to get creative all across the city. Dozens of colleges offer art classes in almost any form and there are semi-formal clubs and societies too. I chose something fun and not too challenging for my limited skills - to paint pottery. There are a number of places in London which offer this opportunity - cafes and shops where you can paint your own pots, plates, vases or novelty ornaments which will later be fired in kilns to last their lifetimes. 'Art 4 fun' in West Hampstead is where I chose to hang my artistic hat for the afternoon. The staff were welcoming and friendly and for a modest fee I happily spent an hour painting a mouse to look like a tiger. (I would have painted it to look like a zombie but I want to make it a gift rather than keep it). I wont get to see the finished product until early January but it was fun regardless.362/365: Enjoy Top Flight Football
. London is home to a large number of football teams from amateur and non-league to Premiership teams. One of the things I had intended to include in this project was watching a premiership match. This fell down partially due to the three month off-season during the Summer but also the price of tickets. They are difficult to obtain for the better matches and prohibitively expensive at the best of times. Arsenal has been my team of choice since I first took an interest in football and visiting their stadium in North London has been the cheaper alternative I have selected. Most (if not all) of the premiership clubs offer organised tours of the grounds but that too comes at a price.363/365: Celebrate The Cable Street Mural.
Cable street holds a special place in British history. When Oswald Mosely tried to march his band of fascists through a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood in East London. The locals though would have none of it and came together as a community to stop them. The locals managed to see off the fascist threat and the police protection that the fascists had been given. A large mural which commemorates the rising (The Battle Of Cable Street) is painted on the side of the council building in cable street. Its a joy to see the fascists (and police) being routed with possibly my favourite part of the mural is the depiction of someone emptying their piss pots onto the fascists from the upper windows!364/365: Visit Limehouse Marina. Limehouse Marina
is one of the more pleasant corners of London to visit. The Thames and the canal meet in Limehouse so the yachts of the super wealthy are moored alongside narrow boats to make for some tranquil but quite remarkable scenery. On a sunny day (even in the Winter) the place is joyful.
Only one more and the project is complete!
This week I have been mostly reading: How Proust Can Change Your Life by Allain De Botton Current Mood: busy
|Thursday, December 19th, 2013|
Almost there with my 365 London project
:355/365: Visit The Brunel Museum. The Brunel museum
stands on the site of the first successful project to tunnel under the Thames. Brunel (then aged 19 and working with his father) was the first engineer to devise a way to do this successfully and safely and his methods for deep tunnelling are still used under the city today. The small museum to his life and work (and especially the tunnel) can include a trip underground to see the original tunnel's workings (on advertised days). River trips are also a regular feature and these include a train ride through the oldest under-river tunnel in the world.
356/365: Drink In The Mayflower. The Mayflower pub
sits on a site within meters of where The Mayflower set sail for America. The pub that now stands (although pretty old) is not the original structure but is built on the site where a pub stood at the time - not that the puritans would have had much use for it. Places like this are nice reminders that London was once a major port and also that all journeys have to start somewhere.357/365: Visit Rotherhithe Picture Library. Rotherhithe Picture Research Library
contains a massive collection of images on a mind-blowing range of subjects and its free to access. The building (a converted granary) also functions as a supplier of period film costumes. It is one of the most fascinating buildings in London and is tucked away in such an unprepossessing corner that if you were not actively seeking it out you would never know it was there.358/365: See The View That Inspired Turner.
It was from the shoreline at Rotherhithe that Turner witnessed the battleship 'Temeraire
' being towed into dock before being scrapped. His romantic reaction to the scene led to the creation of one of the most highly regarded British paintings of all time. Everyday is by comparison quieter now along this stretch of river so a large portion of imagination is required to recreate the scene in your mind. It was the Docks which made London what it was and while much of that has now gone the history of it feels much closer here.359/365: Admire The View From Stave Hill. Stave Hill
has only been in existence for about 25 years. When the docks in the area were closing and being filled in waste building material were used to create this artificial hill. It rises about ten meters of the ground which might not sound like much but it offers great views of parts of central and South East London.360/365: Visit The Ecology Park At Stave Hill
. Also built land reclaimed from the former docks, the ecology park consists of an area of woodland and a series of waterways which provide a habitat for birds an small critters you would otherwise rarely see in such a heavily urbanised environment. At the moment (especially with the trees being seasonally bare) the area still feels a little bit new and sterile but given time I hope a little bit more wildness will grow into it and then it really will be something to see.
Photos of the project so far are here: http://s866.photobucket.com/user/shaved-ape/library/365%20Project/365%20London%20Project?sort=3&page=1 Current Mood: awake
|Wednesday, December 18th, 2013|
|Around The Tower (365L)
Racing towards the finish with my 365 London project
:347/365: Admire The Monument.
In East London there is a massive monument to the memory of the devastation of the Great Fire. Its hundreds of feet high and when erected it towered over everything around it but it now gets a little lost among the high rise offices that now surround it. There is a staircase inside that visitors can climb but as I suffer from both asthma and a fear of heights (not to mention a fat arse) I decided to admire the memorial from ground level.348/365: Contemplate The Sky In St Dundan's Church. St Dundan's church
is possibly the most unlucky church in the city. Various incarnations of the church have been claimed by The Great Fire, German bombs during the blitz and general neglect. All that remains of Christopher Wren's re-design in a single tower and the now roofless structure has been left to form part of a community garden. Its quite a nice place to sit and think in a part of the city where few such spaces exist.349/365: Visit The Trinity Gardens Memorial.
In the shadow of the Tower Of London lies the Trinity Gardens Memorial. The memorial was erected to commemorate those in the merchant navy who lost their lives in the First World War. An expanded garden was added to account for those who lost their lives in the Second World War, tens of thousands of people in total who (almost entirely) do not have graves elsewhere because of the circumstances in which they died.350/365: See The Tower Of London.
The Tower of London is one of the most visited attractions in the city. Its free to walk around the tower but getting inside the grounds (and visiting the crown jewels) requires an entry fee which I was not prepared to pay. As a UK tax payer I have paid enough for the crowns and the inbred idiots who wear them so I have no desire to pay again. (the long queues of tourists can have that pleasure to themselves. The history of the Tower itself is interesting in its own way and the walk alongside the river is pleasant enough - that will do for me.351/365: See The Royal Barge In St Katherine's Dock
. For a slice of 'How the other half live' you cant do much better than a stroll around the marina in St Katherine's Dock. Multi-million pound yachts are moored among high end shops and restaurants. Since the diamond jubilee the Royal Barge which carried the Queen through the Thames pageant is also moored here on public display.352/365: Cross Tower Bridge. Tower Bridge
is one of the great icons of London, rivalled possibly only by Trafalgar Square for for its global recognition. I passed under the bridge in a boat and over the bridge on a bus but crossing the bridge on foot after sunset creates a unique view of the city which is as much of a marvel as the bridge itself. Seeing the drawbridge raised would be something of a treat for interested spectators but that rarely happens now.353/365: Visit The Design Museum. The Design Museum
in Shad Thames pretty much does what its name suggests. The museum is home to all things design related - making it a kind of contemporary version of the Victoria & Albert museum, (for me) only much less interesting. Most of the collection which I saw seemed neither that fantastic nor significant. Anglepoise lamps for instance were an interesting innovation as far as lamps go and a great piece of design but are they worthy of a display in a museum? Maybe one day, but today is not yet that exciting day.354/365: Admire The View From The Blueprint Cafe. The Blueprint Cafe
is the single best feature of The Design Museum. The cafe's large windows overlook the Thames near Tower Bridge and provides a glorious view at any time of day. Sadly, at the end of 2015 the museum is moving to a new location in Kensington and this beautiful aspect will be lost. Current Mood: awake
|Monday, December 16th, 2013|
|Into The Final Twenty (365L)
Getting there with my 365 London project
!342/365: Become A Philosopher At The School Of Life: The 'School Of Life'
in Marchmont Street is a book shop
with a difference. By day it is a bookshop which specialises in books on philosophy
but at evenings and weekends short philosophy courses
are offered within the shop. The course prices seemed a little bit rich for me at the moment (around £40 per session) so I just treated myself to a couple of books so that I can study at home.343/365: Visit John Wesley's Chapel. The Methodist Chapel
built by John Wesley, 'The Father Of Methodism' is a Georgian listed building that stands on the fringes of London's financial district (near Old Street Tube). The small complex of buildings that are set slightly back from the busy main road also house The Methodist Museum - where (if that is what rings your bell) you can learn about the history of all things Methodist. I (for example) learned not to bother visiting on a Sunday because they are closed. The buildings look lovely though and pleasingly they manage to look elegant without the over-ornamentation that features in many of the other major churches I have seen.344/365: Wander Bunhill Fields. Bunhill Fields
is one of the few remaining open spaces in a massively developed part of the city so offers quite a pleasant respite in the area. It was (and still is) a cemetery
but was closed to new burials back in the 1800's. It was the graveyard of choice for many of the dissenters of the period (for those who dissented against the state of things in general and organised religion in particular). Dafoe
is buried here as is William Blake
(among others). Blake's grave is particularly striking as the headstone now stands in the middle of one of the busier pavements.345/365: Shop At Columbia Road Market. Columbia Road market
specialises in flowers
and such so is quite a pleasant place to browse. Its busiest day is Sunday where the crowds come thick and fast. The street is also lined with independent boutique style shops that sell all manner of tat and the combination of the two make this a fairly unique shopping experience which is rare enough anywhere now - including London.346/365: Drink At The Royal Oak Pub. The Royal Oak
is a pub in Columbia Road
. It overlooks the flower market
(so its also quite busy on a Sunday). Somehow the pub has managed to retain many of its original pre-war features as unlike many other pubs and buildings in the area it managed to make it through the blitz unscathed. Its quite a nice little pub with an old school feel that is so evident that film crews regularly pitch up to use it as a location.
This week I have mostly been re-reading: Burmese Days by George Orwell Current Mood: awake
|Tuesday, December 10th, 2013|
|The Season (365L)
Trying to nudge my 365 London project
towards the finish line:339/365: Visit The Sikorski Museum. The Sikorski Museum
in Kensington functioned as a 'Museum In Exile' for many Poles since it was established in 1946. (Poland's incorporation into 'The Eastern Block' caused considerable problems for many Poles). Originally the building was an archive and memorial to the Polish contribution to the Second World War (and is named after a Polish General). It is now home to The Polish institute and a considerable reference library for all things Polish.340/365: Visit Winter Wonderland.
During the Christmas season every year a section of Hyde Park is turned over to 'Winter Wonderland' which comprises a fun fair, a circus, an ice skating ring and a Christmas market of craft stalls. Most people do not seem to mind the aggressive commercialisation of the festivities. I find that a good serving of curried German suassage and a mug of mulled wine helps.341/365: See The Oxford Street Lights. Oxford Street
is the main commercial district for London and as such they spend an enormous amount on their Christmas decorations so that the hundreds of thousands of people who pass by every day will be put in a 'festive' (i.e. 'spending') mood. The crowds of people and permanent traffic jam that is the usual state of Oxford street is enough to put me off the place at anytime of year and that only gets worse at Christmas (and worse again around the post Christmas sales). If you like Christmas lights then there is some pleasure to be had but I think they are best enjoyed from the upper deck of a slow moving double decker bus - and they all move slowly on Oxford street whether you wnt them to or not.
The photos for this are here: http://s866.photobucket.com/user/shaved-ape/library/365%20Project/365%20London%20Project?sort=3&page=1 Current Mood: grumpy
|Monday, December 9th, 2013|
I've just returned from my latest visit to Wales for my fathers funeral. Everything went smoothly. My sisters (who have spent decades disliking each other and who constantly rub each other up the wrong way) managed to remain civilised throughout the proceedings despite the funeral arrangements amping up the hostile feelings between them.
Most of the tension we were all feeling quickly began to fade as soon as the funeral and wake had finished. We all get to grieve in our own ways now. It was fifteen days between my father dying and the funeral which in retrospect is probably far to long but the general impression is that that is not at all unusual for a modern funeral.
Im going to be working more or less as normal this week and part of me really doesn't want to be there but another part welcomes the return to normality. Ive actually got some leave booked for the following week (which I've had booked for months) and I am looking forward to that as it will give me a chance for a genuine break before I have to get stuck into the whole Christmas thing.
This week I have been mostly re-reading: The Lion & The Unicorn by George Orwell Current Mood: tired
|Thursday, December 5th, 2013|
|Homage To Catalonia
This week I have been mostly re-reading: Homage To Catalonia by George Orwell.
This may well be my favourite book ever - certainly its in the top three. Its an amazing book. It offers an insightful look at an important part of not just Spanish history but European (possibly global) history when it stood on the crossroads and anything was still possible. The themes are massive. Revolution, Fascism vs Democracy, Stalinism Vs Socialism and all told from a deeply human perspective and wonderful, unrelenting eloquence.
I had started to read through my George Orwell collection again but this was the book I started to read again after I received the news of my father's death - not because of any connection to him (my father was never a reader and hated anything political) but because reading a favourite book is a massively comforting thing to do and this is very much one of mine. Current Mood: awake
|Monday, December 2nd, 2013|
|Inside The Final Thirty (365L)
Creeping towards a conclusion with the 365 London Project
.336/337: Watch The Ice Skaters.
Every winter in London ice-skating rings pop up in various places around town. Somerset House
and The Natural History Museum provide two of the more attractive locations for this. Traditional Frost Fairs can no longer happen as the Thames no longer freezes over so this is the closest modern day Londoners can get to those by-gone festivals and thousands take to the ice every year. I could easily have made this selection 'go' ice-skating rather than 'watch' ice-skating but some things are better enjoyed as a spectator than as a participant and repeatedly falling on your arse in public is one of them. 337/365: Visit The London Motorcycle Museum
. In the fringes of suburban Greenford in West London is a motorcycle museum. I only discovered its existence this Summer and then entirely by chance during a random journey between Putney and Harrow. Its not the highest profile museum I have ever visited. Its only open three days per week and when I went there was nobody staffing the ticket office/gift shop and nobody challenged me while I had a look around and took a few photos. To be honest, its not that great as museums go. There are hundreds of bikes in a large shed/work shop, some of them are quite old. Unless you are a serious bike enthusiast that is pretty much all there is to it - but if you are the bike equivalent of a train-spotter (and they do exist) then this may be more like nirvana that I have made it sound.338/365: Visit The Motor Museum.
Also on the outer suburban fringes of West London, the Motor Museum does for cars what the Motorcycle museum does for bikes - only much, much better. The cars here are beautifully restored and nicely displayed. Efforts have been made to theme many of the displays and by adding displays such as 'Cars That Have Been In Movies' it is made more accessible to people who aren't total petrol-heads. If you are only going to visit one vehicle museum in outer-West London, I would pick this one. Current Mood: blah
|Kew At Night
As part of my Kew Gardens Photo project for 2013 I made my last visit for the year and also managed another activity for my 365 London project.
335/365: See Kew Gardens At Night. Its not normal to see Kew Gardens at night at any point during the year as the Gardens usually close to the public before sunset. (Special film screenings and concerts are the exceptions to this). For the Christmas season this year the gardens are actually closed during the day but at night an especially illuminated section of the park is open for visitors, revealing a side of the park that has seldom been seen by the public. A selection of trees and plants have been dramatically lit, the lake is illuminated by lanterns, a 'fire garden' has been planted in one section and the tropical greenhouse is lit from inside by an animated display of changing lights and music. Its pretty spectacular.
This visit concludes my Kew photo project for 2013. The results are here: http://s866.photobucket.com/user/shaved-ape/library/Kew%20Tropical%20Flowers%202010?sort=3&page=1 Current Mood: awake
|Sunday, December 1st, 2013|
I made a big effort today to finish the month on schedule with my 365 London Project
. Next month (hopefully the final month is going to be pretty busy so I want to get as much done as I can while I still have some free time.329/365: Drink At The Crow Bar. The Crow Bar
is a pub dedicated to Rock music, not that you could tell by looking at most of its Saturday night customers who look like they may be on their way home from a One Direction gig. The decor and soundtrack are all pretty rock and roll. There is even a great early picture of Led Zeppelin who are mostly wearing jeans that are so tight its hard to tell whether they are designed to be indecent or merely surgical. Scratch just beneath the surface and this is just another pub but with Covent Garden on one side and Soho on the other there isnt really anything else like it in the area.330/365: Eat At Rules Restaurant. Rules
in Covent Garden lays claim to being the oldest restaurant in London
(established in 1798
). The food is 'traditional English' so there is plenty of rabbit, venison and hare on the menu. Its not so big on the vegetarian options (which is traditionally English) but it is nice to have that as an option in a city where almost any world cuisine is more or less readily available.331/365:
Drink AT The Maple Leaf. The Australians and the Irish both have a reputation for partying and drinking hard and themed pubs for these nations abound. The Welsh and Scottish have similar reputations but for some reason neither Welsh nor Scottish pubs have caught on. In London even the Canadians have got their own bar. The Maple Leaf in Covent Garden is a home away from home for Canadian drinkers of those who wish to sample Canadian culture. (Ice Hockey for instance or Celine Dion). 332/365: Browse For Books AT Foyles. Foyles book shop
on Charing Cross Road is London's largest independent bookshop. Operating on multiple floors and with a rather nice cafe in store its a great place to meet friends or merely terrorise your bank balance. It also stays open later than most high street book shops so you have even more time available to do either of those two things.333/365: Watch Cabaret In A Toilet.
A sub-street level public toilet in Aldwych has been converted into a small cabaret bar. Entry is free if you arrive early enough but drinks are pretty pricey. The entertainment is pretty varied (obviously) but if you can sip your drink its a reasonable night out and the venue feels surprisingly spacious when it isn't too crowded.334/365: Eat At The India Club.
On The Second Floor of the Strand Continental building is an Indian Restaurant that prides itself on its authenticity. The Indian Embassy is just over the road so you might expect the food to be of a certain standard. As it is located on the second floor of this building its very easy to miss this place as you pass by but its well worth seeking out.
This week I have been mostly re-reading: The Anti-pope by Robert Rankin Current Mood: awake
|Saturday, November 30th, 2013|
|Fullers Brewery (365L)
Taking things a bit easy with my 365 London project
.328/365: Take A Tour Of A Brewery
. Fullers Brewery in Chiswick (home of the London branded beer, 'London Pride') offer a guided tour of their brewery at regular intervals during the day. You get to learn everything you ever wanted to know about the process of brewing beer and there is a tasting session at the end. My advice is to llok at brewing techniques online or in a book, take the money you would have saved by not doing the tour and go and spend it in the pub. Current Mood: blah
|Wednesday, November 27th, 2013|
I took a gentle stroll in the park today. Kennington is lovely in the late Autumn - and in the last hour or so of November daylight becomes beautifully moody. Here are the latest entries for my 365 London Project:325/365: Enjoy An English Garden In The Park.
A section of Kennington Park has been designated as an English Garden and has been landscaped and planted along that theme. Im sure that in the Spring and Summer months it is a place of joy and colour but in the Autumn (like most parks and gardens) it possesses a differnt sort of beauty. By late November the flowers have mostly gone and the leaves have mostly fallen but the withering remains provide stark and wonderful shapes and textures. Its possile to enjoy this feature all year round, if you have a mind to do so.326/365: See The Prince Consort's Lodge.
On the edge of Kennington Park sits the Prince Consort's Lodge. The building was originally part of the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park and was designed to show what decent accommodation for the working class might look like if the horrific slums were ever to be replaced. The exhibit, commissioned by Prince Albert has been used as a model for social housing across Britain and internationally.327/365: Take Tea In The Park
. Many of London's parks have some small cafe facilities. The one in Kennington park is a listed building and has been offering refreshment from its pretty location for well over a century. When the weather permits there is plenty of outside seating available.
Photos of the project so far are here: http://s866.photobucket.com/user/shaved-ape/library/365%20Project/365%20London%20Project?sort=3&page=1 Current Mood: blah
|Alabama 3 & Direct Marketing
I received a nice surprise in the post today. Because I had previously bought the band's last album "Shoplifting For Jesus" through their website (for some reason I cannot remember, that was the easiest way at the time) the band's record company has mailed me an advance copy of their new album, "The Men From W.O.M.B.L.E." They have asked that I give them feedback about the album (and this new exercise in marketing) and make a donation to the band based on what I think the cd (and how I have received it) is worth.
I could of course, pay nothing for the cd, pocket a free album and worry no more about it, but that is hardly the reward the band deserve for their efforts. (I haven't listened to the cd yet but Im sure that is true). Radiohead did something similar a while ago where they allowed fans to download their new album for free and people could just pay what they liked based on how much they value the album. I deeply applaud the sentiment but the difference between these two situations is one of choice. There was a choice of whether you downloaded the Radiohead album or not, this Alabama 3 cd arrived without me having any choice at all. I think that bands attempting to get paid this way is quite a brave way of dealing with music piracy but Im not sure that I enjoy becomming obligated against my will. I may not have wanted to buy this album the choice has been made for me. I don't want to be a tightwad and I think the bands approach should be rewarded but not so much the obligation it comes with.
I will have a listen to the cd a couple of times and then decide.
This week I have been mostly reading: Female Tars by Suzanne J. Stark Current Mood: annoyed
|Tuesday, November 26th, 2013|
|Wales & The Family Meeting
So Im back from Wales now. My brothers, sisters and I have been taking it in turns to look out for my mum. She was married to my dad for well over 50 years, has barely ever spent a night in the house alone and has been his main carer in recent years despite her own terrible health problems. She is being pretty brave at the moment but we all know that she is going to struggle once the funeral is over and people start to return to something like their usual routines. Luckily, between five kids, ten grand-kids and a growing number of great-grand-kids there are plenty of us around to help out even if its just company. (we will see how that works out).
There are no definite plans for the funeral yet. We know that my father wanted to be buried near his home village (a few miles out of my home town) near his own parents and family but that was his only known request regarding his final arrangements. On Saturday the five of us siblings met with my mum (and one brother in law and two nephews of mine) to discuss what people wanted to do next and who is taking responsibility for what. I live away from home now so there is little I can do that is of practical use except try to keep the peace between my two older sisters who see eye-to-eye over almost nothing. Once we have met with the undertaker this week most of the details will fall into place, hopefully in line with the choices we agreed in that meeting. My next trip to Wales, probably next week will be for the funeral. Current Mood: melancholy
|Thursday, November 21st, 2013|
My father died this morning after a long struggle with his health. He was admitted in hospital on Sunday with Pneumonia (on top of his other conditions) and he passed away in his sleep just before midday today with my sister present at his bedside. I will be visiting with my family this weekend and then making at least two more trips home - for the funeral and for Christmas. As expected as it was its still a shock. Current Mood: numb
|Wednesday, November 20th, 2013|
This week I have been mostly reading: Riddle Of The Titanic by Robin Gardiner & Dan Van Der Vat.
I picked up this book at the maritime bookshop in Greenwich as part of my 365 London challenge and its been a great read. The authors hold up to close inspection some of the conspiracy theories around the Titanic (I wasn't aware of any to be honest but in retrospect there was bound to be) and they pretty much pull them to pieces. While doing that they also manage to build quite a convincing case for (at best) willful negligence on the part of the ships owners and operators and severe complacency on the part of the British government which in the name of profit created the disaster - a fairly obvious conclusion when you look at the evidence but one which was not drawn at either the American or British enquiries.
A tiny foot note from he book has so far stayed with me and will probably live long in my mind for what it says about those involved: From 2am on the night of the disaster the pay for all of the Titanic's crew was stopped by the White Star Line who operated the Titanic. The surviving crew who at that point were still in the few precious lifeboats in the freezing North Atlantic - who were largely responsible for all the other survivors had their wages stopped because technically, they were no longer working! For some reason that makes me almost as angry as the knowing under provision of lifeboats on the vessel. What a bunch of bastards! Current Mood: angry
|Peter Capaldi & Who
I've been increasingly excited by the prospect of the Dr Who 50th Anniversary special on TV this weekend - and nowadays I don't get that excited about much of anything on the telly. I've been mulling over how near-perfect the Doctor character is as a sci-fi character. Science fiction is often a vehicle for stories with deeper meanings (metaphor being a powerful tool) and in the Doctor you have a character that can travel to any place in the universe at any time - so you can write whatever background you like; historical, futuristic or fantastical and let your stories play out against them. The fact that the Doctor also comes in various incarnations - each with subtle differences is also a fantastic tool for writers. I've always enjoyed Dr Who and especially so since the relaunch with Christopher Ecclestone.
The anniversary itself is also quite exciting. One of the previous anniversaries (25th or 30th?) I remember as being one of the big tv events of my youth with a special episode with 'The Five Doctors' (though the inclusion of Tom Baker was a bit of a cheat as old unseen footage from an unbroadcast episode was cut in as I remember).
Im also looking forward to the introduction of Peter Capaldi later in the year as the new Doctor. I recently remembered that I saw him live in a stage production of The Ladykillers where he was playing the part of The Professor (THe Alec Guiness role in the original film) - a character who wears an impractically long scarf.... funny how these things come around. Here's hoping! Current Mood: awake
|Monday, November 18th, 2013|
|The Joy Of Locks
When I got home last night I found that the lock on my front door was no longer working and I could not get into my flat. I called a local locksmith (the first time that Wi-Fi internet has been genuinely useful to me) who arrived at my place just over 30 minutes later. He declared that my lock was well and truly broken and he would basically have to destroy it for me to gain access to my flat. Something less than 90 seconds worth of drilling continued, my door was open and I was presented with a bill for £120 (which I know from recent experiences at work is fairly normal).
Two things struck me. Firstly that £120 is a hell of a lot of money for 90 seconds work, even on a Sunday night. Secondly, there was no point in the proceedings where I was asked to provide I.D. or any document to suggest that I lived there. Apparently, all you have to do to gain access to some-ones house is wait for them to be out and then call a lock smith. Sure it costs £120 but it should be easy enough to make that back if you chose the right house!
This week I have been mostly reading: Tossers And Arseblowers - An Alternative Romp Through Europe by J.R. Daeschner Current Mood: tired
|Electric Cinema (365L)
One more click on my 365 London Project
.324/365: Catch A Movie At The Electric Cinema. The Electric Cinema
in Ladbrook Grove is a joy to behold and one of the best cinematic experiences in London. Built in 1911 the small cinema still retains many of its original features but its unique seating plan is the real draw. The main seating is comprised of individual red leather armchairs (each complimented with their own foot stools and side tables. At the rear of the cinema the armchairs are replaced with two seater leather sofas and at the front of the cinema with double beds (blankets supplied). Seriously! Luckily the beds are at the front rather than the rear so that couples shouldn't be too tempted to get carried away, I hope. My only regret is that I didn't visit the cinema earlier in the year when they were showing 'The Great Gatsby' as this cinema would have been the perfect place to see it. Current Mood: tired
|Saturday, November 16th, 2013|
I've often struggled to enjoy Christmas songs (or even Christmas itself). I have no religion and I'm not a fan of rampant consumerism. Its also a difficult time of year for most people - including myself sometimes. I often struggle to take pleasure from even the best Christmas songs and there are a lot which are pretty awful whatever your state of mind.
Toward the end of last year I was surprised to find myself buying up cheap and abundant Xmas CD compilations. My aim was to sort out the decent songs from the piles of dross and maybe put together some kind of bearable compilation myself (and maybe share it with friends or use it at work, when Christmas music is required).
By the time I formulated this into anything like a plan I had pretty much run out of time so I shelved the idea for the year. Once we started staggering our way through November I realised it was time to get to work on my little musical project. Over a couple of weeks I worked my way through my music collection, listing likely tracks from the Xmas tracks I had bought last year - but also identifying suitable tracks from my existing collection. I now have hundreds of songs!
The next step was to sift out the good stuff (entirely subjectively) group them into loose themes, rip the music to my lap top and create relevant play lists and burn them to cds. To my own selection I have added the Phil Spector Christmas Album, a compilation called 'Blue Christmas' and for the sheer ironic joy of it all The Beach Boys Christmas Album. I think the secret to enjoying this sort of thing is to keep a healthy balance between nostalgia and humour (some irony also sometimes helps).
I've also discovered that there are a few Christmas songs that I deeply appreciate and relate to. Most people wont be surprised to learn that my favourite Xmas song for years was 'Fairy Tale Of New York' by The Pogues & Kirtsy MacColl. This is still a great song but my new favourite (which tackles many of my issues with the baggage that comes with Xmas) is a song by Tim Minchin called, 'White Wine In The Sun.' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCNvZqpa-7Q
I'm a little reluctant to call this musical exploration a 'project' as such but whatever it is I've finished it in time to spread the joy this year, for whatever that will be worth. Current Mood: awake