Thirty Thousand Streets

Monday, February 27, 2006

Long day

Today was long. It mostly involved me working on some stuff for the AA – a prompt card and a 12 page booklet thingy that list the stuff you can get if you're part of the AA. As a consequence the days official colourways were yellow and black, and I feel a bit like I've been staring at wasps for the last 12 hours.

None of the Macs were working properly for the first two hours, and initially I was perched on the edge of a small drawer unit in lieu of an actual seat. Wizard!

Glad I got out with my sanity, but possibly more bothersome was leaving my phone at my friend Wills house, which gave me a nervous tic which is only just subsiding now. Indeed the fun was just beginning when I left work as I had to enact an obscure dog-leg to Camberwell via Angel in order to get the decrepit thing.

Inevitably, perhaps, there were various missed calls from people chasing time-sheets and offering me work, which I've no doubt missed the boat on. There was also a folorn sounding message from me twelve hours previously, which I recorded because it kept going straight to answering machine - I put this down to it running out of batteries or some fagin type character disenabling it, but actually, Will just switched it off 'cause my incessant ringing was getting on his tits.

Anyway Gridrunner goes Snowboarding on Saturday, so that's one less person for me to bother in the Evenings.. The next two weeks might involve me heading North of the river more as a consequence, but perhaps that's being a little hasty.

Phone loss

Ahhh fucccck.

Sunday was so nice, all really nice food and friends, and now I've got in and can't find my phone.

I don't know whether it's been swallowed by Will's armchair, or is languishing somewhere on the Underground, or has been cast into some shrubbery by a disgusted pickpocket (unlikely in London I know. The shrubbery that is).

All I know is, it's going straight to its answering machine when I ring it, where a telegraphic female voice intonates at me in a really irritating fashion. As we all know, this is never a good sign.

I can't even ring Will as his number's in my phone.

Please let it still be mine, somewhere. I feel like someone's hacked off a secret ear I took too much for granted.

Friday, February 24, 2006


I'm working at an ad agency in Covent Garden. Quite enjoying it. Might be more tomorrow and next week, but it's all contingent on them finding a spare Mac, as my laptop doesn't have Quark 6 on it.

Ah well, wait and see. Could really use the cash, that's all.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Normal Service Resumed

Anyone tuning in this morning might have discovered that this blog had reverted to its original and extremely green guise (That's green as in colour as opposed to environmentally friendly BTW) All three of the people who actually read it may have actually noticed, before returning to work and other more profitable distractions. Anyone unduly traumatised might want to call Claims Direct or something.

All in all it's been a f**king wasteful day. Woke up nice and early, saw the state of my blog, and set about trying to sort it out, whilst simultaneously preparing for the day ahead - which involved work; at least, I thought so.

For no sooner had I arrived at the location of my booking (an ad agency at the top of Dean street) when my contact there informed me "Erm, I'm sorry, I wanted you next week mate"

"Well at least I'm keen eh?" I ad-libbed furiously.

It was the agency's fault anyway.. the girl hadn't read her email properly and consequently I wasted most of a day traipsing in and out of London on a dismal rainy Thursday for nothing. Apart from a copy of Design Week and Batman Year 100.

Fuck I could've used that work.

Anyway. Applied to another agency in the meanwhile and fixed my blog. Ish. Last FM charts still haven't updated.

Other breaking news.

I remembered how to get italics in HTML, and have been enjoying them and bold tags. I suspect I might be getting carried away.

I saw someone getting 'busted' for drinking alcohol on the streets of Camberwell yesterday, in accordance with the new movement to get Camberwell looking less like Gin Lane and more like Pigeon Street. Nice and multicultural in a 'let's not shoot each other too much kind of way'.

The bust was executed by two of those Street Wardens, dressed in those terrible scarlet uniforms which alone seem to rob their role of any gravitas whatsoever. Suprisingly, the dude seemed to be cooperating (if looking a bit peeved) rather than swatting them out of the way and continuing his swaggering drinking gait up Camberwell Church Street.

A poster outside a newsagents also caused me to do a double-take. I initially saw:


Cilla? Cilla Black? Aged 35? nooo!? I thought, until I looked closer and realised 'CILLA' was actually 'CLLR', and hence an abbreviation of 'councillor'. Hmm.

Anyway. I fancy a pint now as I've been good this week, and, it transpires, for jack all. Strange things are afoot in my flat, with new, oestrogen fuelled tensions bubbling below the surface. Sigh.

I bought some joss sticks from the chinese superstore on Denmark hill, which I mentioned in my second post I think. They were really cheap (about two quid for two hundred or something) and I can see why as the one I've just lit has given me a headache. Til next time.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Or Myspazz, whatever you want to call it, now currently occupies the block of my time who's last previous tenant was Faceparty (evicted mid 2005). It's something I return to with a faint feeling of distaste - for a variety of reasons but principally because it's one big popularity contest, and I was always the kid at school trying too hard to avoid getting spat on to worry about such things (that or drawing pictures of elves; laughably I didn't see the two as interlinked).

Who do I want to be friends with on Myspace? Well Deven Miles was an easy touch, and The Rub have graciously added me, but I've yet to hear back from Kwite Def of New York's 'Monster Island Czars'. Instead I'm Inevitably being propositioned by all sorts of other chancers.. the best one yet has to be Miki, who might be the campest thing ever, but also wins genius points for having himself in his own top eight, twice.. despite having 300 'friends'. I might simply approve him as judging by his makeup he's invented some kind of time machine and I always wondered what it was like to go out in Stockport in the 80s. Plus he also seems to have red electrical tape wound round his left upper arm, which I can't quite as yet grasp the semiotics of but I'm sure is tremendously important. Anyway. I can't pretend I haven't added people like this previously, but I got laughed at in the pub for it the other day, so might not bother anymore.

But there are other reasons too why Myspace is gash. First off, the dark emperor of Myspace (who also happens to share my 'real' name) Tom. I'll sometimes get all excited when my Gmail account informs me I've a new Myspace message, only for me to rock up and discover his stupid goon face leering out at me accompanied by a message supplying some ragged bit of HTML he wants me to use to patch up whatever errors him and his hired Myspace chimps made programming the site in the first place. Piss off. I wouldn't mind but I suspect he's probably richer off the back of this than I'll ever be, and he could at least do his job without delegating to users.

And the design.. well lets not even go there. 'Counterintuitive' sounds like a vague compliment when actually confronted by the plurality of buttons, tabs and other doohickeys that assault your senses upon opening a Myspace page. It's like someone sneezed Alphabetti-Spaghetti onto the screen: where the fuck is everything? What does this do? Actually sod that, I don't care.

A far better 'thing' I've discovered recently is Last FM, though for some reason it's not updated my chart this week on the right. I feel like my online self is out of sync with the flesh and blood me who has to do boring stuff like eat and clean the bathroom. Any ideas why? Answers to the usual address.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The patty spot

I don't pretend to know a great deal about West Indian food, but I am partial to the odd patty. Now, as far as these were concerned my destination of choice for said fluorescent orange snacks has hithertoo been Patty Island on Camberwell Church Street; and with a name like that, it makes sense. One of the dudes who works there also gave me and DJ Phaze some Irish Moss on the house one time, and for the unititiated, it's very sweet, has the consistency of Tixylix (remember that) and looks like the slime you used to get with 'The Real Ghostbusters' action figures. Tastes ok though.

But anyway. As of last weekend, I'm heading over to Peckham to score my patties, specifically from Gabbys, on Camberwell Church Street. They're chunkier (the saltfish ones actually had nodes of identifiable fish in them) tasty as hell, and they only cost a quid, wheras Patty Island have bumped their prices up to £1.20, or £1.50 for the lobster and shrimp flavour.!

Just beware of getting too enthusiastic with the pepper sauce.. it's toasty.


The weekend was ok. Worked at Ogilvy in Canary Wharf on Friday, which was alright. Once again it was in the depths of the studio, which wasn't as dungeon-like as some I've been interred in, and actually had a pretty amazing view of London from its position on the 10th floor.

The work was easy enough, but for some reason I felt slightly on the back foot most of the day. The experience of walking into any international ad agency, usually with bling decor, then getting to grips with the local knowledge of servers, printers, pdfs, time sheets etc, can be slightly disconcerting, and the end of the day I was feeling quietly hopped having imbibed countless cups of grey flavourless coffee from the dispenser, and was looking forward to getting out of there between twitches.

That evening met up with Dunc for a beer in the Joiner's arms, as he was off to Honduras for three weeks, then went to Fabric, where my friend Sam was DJing.

Saturday was pretty miserable weather-wise, but my friend Marvyn was down for the night, as he's going to move in at the end of March. Yay! Cue beer consumption. This evening in the Hermits Cave and Castle.

So, at the minute I've not got a drinking buddy round here.. which is good. I might try and use it as an excuse to get out of Camberwell more, and/or drink less. Perhaps try and get some more things sorted. I went for an interview with a company on Regent Street today who specialise in helping people set up limited companies. I'm working on a logo as well, so might potentially go the full nine yards and get a business card and letterhead printed.

We'll see.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day

You can tell I'm not at work when I'm ressurecting old illustrations for Valentine's day e-cards. I actually received a parcel today which is waiting for me at the post office, but I think that's just something I ordered off ebay, rather than anything Valentine's Day oriented.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Corporate Hell/Weekend rundown

Well, I got some work, which is good. It's working in the graphics department of a huge multinational human resources consultancy, and basically involves adapting print documents for web pdfs, re-flowing text in newsletters and.. well, you get the picture. Slightly better rate than my normal though, which is good.

It is the textbook definition of corporate though, and I had to dress up smart for it. They had a dress down Friday but nobody mentioned this to me so I rocked up wearing button down shirt, and the pair of crap black trousers my housemate gave me that only see the light of day on ventures such as this. I took my unique 'smart' status with good humour, though.

My brother was actually in town on thursday, but I missed him because I was working.

Friday evening went to see Lady Vengeance with Will, at the Curzon. It's directed by the guy who did 'Oldboy', and it's a fucking well wierd beast, to say the least.

The oddest thing about it is the juxtaposition of some very disturbing themes with very black humour, though I must concede that a man who can inject comedy into a scene where parents are watching videotapes of their children being murdered is also a man of vision - just not necessarily one which most middle-englanders would subscribe to. Expect a Sun 'Ban This Evil Film' headline any day now.

Saturday I went for a big walk.. up to Borough market for a tantalising look at the wares on show, before heading up to Tower Bridge, then back down the Old Kent road. I'd intended to cut through to Camberwell, but instead found myself wandering through a large estate in Peckham. I quickened my pace somewhat, and eventually emerged behind the library.

And the evening was to feature Peckham again, as me and some friends met up at Bar Story, an urbane little oasis by Peckham Rye station. Nice food, beer etc. and all round, a nice lttle find (and it did take some finding, believe me).

Today I walked up to the Imperial War Museum and had a look round. The main hall is a bit like Superman's Fortress of Solitude - stuffed full of engines of destruction that stand as grim testement to both mankind's folly, and enthusiasm for developing exciting new ways of blowing other people to bits. I also checked out the holocaust exhibition, which was depressingly harrowing.

And tonight Matthew... its pizzas at BRB (burb) whic has to have one of the crappest names for a venue ever as it stands, apparently, for 'Bar Room Bar'. Lame. Must've been cooked up by the same guys responsible for that Southwark Cleaning 'Cleaning Southwark' tagline.

Oh and its nearly Valentine's day, which I always find bothersome as getting out my front door is hampered by the drifts of cards and letters I receive, har har etc. I've got a decent bottle of wine waiting for me at the Sun & Doves, just no-one to drink it with (sniff), so I'll probably spend the evening meeping round my flat and playing in webberspace.

Jay Dee

RIP. One of my favourite producers, the enigmatic Jay Dee, the guy who produced 'that' Slum Village album, and with credits lacing beats for A Tribe Called Quest and Kanye West among others, has died.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Today involved more recruitment interviews, this time north of Oxford street or, in 'Noho' if you're a sloganeering hipster ('Noho' being an acronym that I'm sure has 'Nohope' of being widely adopted)

It was, well, alright. The girl who interviewed me said she was sure she'd get me work soon. Then again, she would. It also involved a two hour mac test. Two hours. Jesus, what is happening to me? fair enough the interviewer did apologise, conceding: "we probably need to shorten it". No shit. Either that or pioneer life prolonging medical techniques by way of apology for wasting precious minutes of my life.

Just been to post a letter up Church Street, as the post box on Denmark Hill is 'out of order'. Quite how I'm not sure.

I've got this big metal tin box in my room, where I keep lots of random ephemera which I suspect it too important to chuck. This evening I delved into it for purposes of a general organise and spring clean. It was full of assorted tat from the intervening years when my mum bought it me one Christmas. Do you want to know what I found?

You do?

Well hush children, here is a sample of what I unearthed.

1. Numerous bank statements from the HSBC bank back when it was called The Midland.
2. Lots of Student loan correspondance.
3. Lots of yawnsome university literature with titles such as 'University Modular Scheme Assesment Regulations 1998' (I told you I only suspected it was important)
4. Notes for a university essay with quotes from trendy french theorists ("Dada and surrealism paradoxically revived objects to show them as irrationally split from modern, functionalist culture" etc.)
5. A typed out sheet of a web interview with DJ Q-bert of the Invisibl Skratch Picklz, where he talks about ducks a lot.
6. A poem I bought from a homeless man at the top of Christmas Steps in Bristol entitled 'SATAN WORKS AT MAC DONALDS' (sic)
7. About a dozen flyers for 'The Roots' at Bristol's Blue Mountain Club, 1997.
8. An invoice from Oasis Sound & Lighting Centre, 46 North Street, Bedminster for a PMX7 vestax mixer. As I recall, they did a crappy job of fixing said mixer when it broke later that year, glueing, rather than replacing a part. Cowboys.
9. A Technics 1200 manual dated 1989.
10. A photocopy of a bill from 1805, proclaiming victory over France and Spain and the death of Nelson, sent by my uncle along with a obtuse press clipping saying "Alcohol and prosac do not mix well". Er..
11. Various letters from a range of people, including: a letter sent by friend Will from India on grainy thin paper, a letter from my friend Dan Sarabji when he lived in Leeds (with roleplaying stats scribbled in corners), and some old letters from my long time ex-girlfriend Rekha.
12. Some Loctite superglue - which is about the most useful thing there.

I'm going to keep the letters and some other bits. The rest I might burn or something. Its annoying me. Unless anyone else wants it (serious bidders only please).

Then I'll have a nice new empty box, ready to fill again with yet more miscellany.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Blog Meet

The week came, and the week went.

I seem to spend a lot of the daylight, and indeed quite a lot of the twilight hours, hunched over my Mac, doing furtive webby things. Have been getting a lot more into my illustration recently too, though whether that's actually going to pay off is another matter; I'd really like to get paid to do this, and, more illustration-based design, but I find it hard to tell whether this is a pipe dream, or what. If my life is a parable, what will I be in the future when this tale has run its course? ant or grasshopper? industrious communal creature suffused with work ethic, or shiftless dreaming wretch, moving vectors round on a laptop screen?* Answers on a postcard please etc. etc.

Saturday was 'It's Bigger Than' again. This time they had Tom Middleton of Jedi Knights fame guesting, and he was very good - indeed as Gridrunner noted, "on brief" with his selection of electro house funkiness, and erm, Dead Prez. I resisted the urge to bite someone on this occasion, though Deven Miles did say I looked (and I quote) "like a mad crazy tramp". Charming. Also bumped into two of the guys I worked with at M&C Saatchi last year, so had a chinwag with them. Leaving the club, I lost DJ Phase on Brick Lane whilst stocking up on salt beef bagels. It was just as well I did too, as I ended up walking back to Elephant due to bus absence.

Sunday was the day of the Camberwell blogger meet up, and I must admit I was initially slightly apprehensive. Would we actually have anything to say to each other, or would it be more a long sequence of uncomfortable silences? Do any of us actually exist? Yes and no and yes were the answers to those questions, and it was really good fun - here we be. Personally I think we should all be in a 19th century drawing room having just signed something.

Anyway. More recruitment interviews this week, and the people today seemed really.. nice, which seems a flat contradiction. Most recruitment types posesses all the human warmth of single celled protazoa, but there must have been some rapid evolution going on in Clerkenwell as everone seemed to be vertebrate and warm blooded.

*Though actually, I think in the story the ants end up looking after the grasshopper come winter, like mugs.