Thirty Thousand Streets

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A pied

Went for a walk on Sunday, to clear the cobwebs out of my head. Burnt some serious crepe sole pounding the streets from the South to the East. It was a sodden day.. the heavens opened halfway up the Walworth road, and would have drenched me utterly had I not been under the aegis of a tatty USMC gore-tex.

From Elephant I walked up to London Bridge, and thence crossed to Monument, where I went up the, um, monument, built to comemmorate the great fire. The inside consists of a very narrow spiral staircase. There are 311 steps, and it narrows towards the top, and peering over the railing into the central space, I was gripped by vertigo. I was wearing Clarks Wallabees, which after having been worn for a while, I've found to be utterly treacherous in the rain. On the wet stairs, they provided all the traction of cartoon banana skins, and my descent was much slower as I gripped the bannister like a zimmerframe. The view from the top is good, but like a forest of buildings.

From here I wandered up to Liverpool Street, and then Brick Lane to check out the markets. I think my favourite bit of the market is the assorted chancers who congregate round the Shoreditch end, trying to sell whatever miscellaneous tat they can off blankets. I don't think they've got licences or anything, and I got some distrusful looks as I snapped away with my camera, especially off a girls selling fake DVDs off a blanket. Also passed the 24 hour bagel shops which have proven the answer to post club munchies on quite a few ocassions

From here I walked up to Shoreditch, and up Old street, heading up past the tube to Farringdon, and then Soho, where I wound up at Oxford circus and caught a 12 back to Camberwell.

A round walk of around 20K I think.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Peppertree

I headed down to Clapham last night after work, where I met up with Liam and Kerryn, Dave, Ian and Sam – just back from his honeymoon.

We went to The Peppertree for a bite to eat.. a little place facing the common which does Thai food.

It was very busy, with people queing most of the time, but the turnaround was brisk. Its ethos seems to be decent food quite fast.. which it does well. The menu is pared down and while not compendious, almost makes a virtue of simplicity of choice.

Having become the gastronomic cliche that it is, it's sometimes easy to forget how nice Thai food can be, and this was a refreshing affirmation. My Thai green prawn curry with coconut rice was zingy and subtly hot, and I polished it off with a bottle of crisp Thai Singha beer.

The portions were exactly right too.. just enough and no more, though accurately priced to reflect this. At the end of the meal I left feeling neither light in the wallet or heavy in the stomach. I'd go there again, and if that is not enough of a recommendation there was a certain Guardian columnist chowing down there that evening, so it must be good.

After that we headed a few doors up to the Alex for a pint. The Alex is stuffed to the gills with assorted reclamation yard tat such as old tin shop signs, yet is actually not a bad boozer for that part of Clapham.

After that I jumped on the bus back home to Camberwell. Jess was sat up with her friend Lucy, having returned from quarantine at her mum and dads after contracting chicken pox. She'd brought some pebbles back from the beach, which were so smooth they felt soft to the touch. They were from the shore at Dunwich, site of a village which was swallowed by the sea over the course of several hundred years (and is not to be confused with the fictional Dunwich in Massachusetts in HP Lovecraft's 'The Dunwich Horror'. I read a bit before bed then eventually fell asleep.

Wednesday today. Quiet at work, cloudy outside. I'm munching on chilli crackers from the market in Soho, and thinking of things I can cross of the weeks 'to do' list today. It's nearly lunchtime, so I might go out and look for a linen basket.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I met my dad yesterday for lunch, and on the advice of Simon and Tommy, we went and got sandwiches from Malletti, which we sat and ate on a bench in Soho Square, whilst swiping at the encroaching pigeons with our feet.

We both got focaccia sandwiches, which I must say, were really good, if not quite on a par with those of the sadly departed Il Panino. If Il Panino's closure represented the spiritual demise of the Italian Soho sandwich shop to me, Malletti symbolises a resurrection of sorts. Where has Malletti been all my life? Ok Noel Street, same as it always has.

Today I bought another of their focaccias, which I took back to my desk and wolfed down – and you do almost need the assumed powers of some totem beast (a la Bravestarr or The Phantom) – to actually consume one, so densely packed are they with ingredients.

This one was stuffed with mozarella, and eating it my cheeks and chin were soon lashed to the sandwich with tentacles of melted cheese. It felt a bit like a vegetarian version of the infamous 'squid scene' from Oldboy. It was pretty difficult to eat tidily, though I tried to look as inconspicuos as possible to the studio manager sitting directly opposite me, as sundry fillings from my meal made a desperate bid for freedom across the laminate desktop. When she later mentioned that they wouldn't need me the next day however, I couldn't quite quell the nagging suspicion that it was related to my choice of lunch.

No matter, I've found somewhere new to visit for lunch in Soho, and I haven't even got started on the pizzas yet, of which they have an exciting selection. I'll be returning soon.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I've been meddling..

..with dark forces I barely understand (HTML) in the cause of ringing in some cosmetic changes.

Hopefully, all links will be up and running in the next couple of days, along with a new profile thing, if you're bothered.

In the meanwhile, here's a weird bit of claymation I dug up on youtube.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Extra brain, Barnet Fair, Whitstable, Wedding.

Well this has been one of the nicest weekends since records began, which in the case of this blog, has been going on for two years now. It was the weekend of my friends Sam and Kays' wedding, but more on that later.

My booking wound up on Thursday, which was fine. It was in Victoria, which I can never get too excited about, though I did get to work on some design, which was good.

On Friday I went to the Graphics Centre on Camberwell New Road, which in keeping with the trend currently sweeping independent retailers in London, is shutting down. Shame really, as they had a really good range of art supplies in general. They were pretty cheap anyway, but on this ocassion were flogging everything around half price in an attempt just to shift it.

I bought a stapler, which pretty much sums up the direction my life is going really. I think it'll be handy for keeping receipts together, or just generally feeling good about having a stapler.

I also bought some ink, a couple of hard backed pads, and a few mini Pentel sign pens, with lanyards attached. I've 'formed them like Voltron' to create a kind of portable brain for me to store information. Granted my own brain is fairly portable, but my memory for numbers and addresses somewhat hazy. Besides, I, like anyone who's ever made a mixtape, secretly delight in lists.

I also got my hair cut at Fish in Soho, which I was pleased with. More expensive than the guy who usually cuts it Manchester but smart nonetheless.. just what I wanted. I don't think I've had my hair washed by anyone else since I was about three however, so that was quite a strange experience. The guy who was cutting my hair suggested I should get a Christian Dior suit to match the haircut, which would be good if I could afford such things. I did however spend some time in Liberties covetously fingering an APC jacket, which was, in the end, just a little too small. I left it.

After that I hooked up with Al and Dunc at the John Snow for a couple of beers. Dunc was just arrived back from Barcelona where he's been variously teaching English and trying not to get arrested, with some success in both. After that, we rolled back to Camberwell, where we got a bite to eat at Tadims on Camberwell Church street, which is as cheap as the chips they copiously garland your plate with. Tadim's are not – by default – advocates of any low carb diet. Still. it's not bad. Decent enough.

After that, wandered over to the Hermits Cave, which is mentioned in a book by Paul Ewen, called London Pub Reviews, which is actually a quite surreal series of vignettes involving boozers, rather than a more prosaic set of opinions. We sat there quite late, before rolling back to mine and sitting up even later.

Saturday was the day of the wedding, so we were up with the lark to catch the train, though the lark had a distinct advantage in the gift of flight, which negated having to catch the sweaty 436 bus to Victoria. As we did. There we met up with Peed outside Marks and Spencers, who'd left his shoes at Liams, so would have to wear his suit with trainers.

We got to Whitstable and checked into our accomodation.. one of those utterly unremarkable Travelodge numbers, which are completely interchangeable with one another. Indeed, it's quite fitting that there is hardly any stand out between the main rival brands (Travelodge and Premier Travel Inn) so mundane is the format overall. After that we had a bit of a wait for our taxi, which was booked for three, but annoyingly, arrived over quarter of an hour late.

This had the knock on effect of making us late for the ceremony, and rolling up like chumps after the vows had been exchanged. Still. We got the gist I suppose.

After that, we headed to the reception. which was held at the The Sportsman Inn in Faversham. The setting by the sea was amazing and it was a gorgeous day for it.. with a clear blue sky and the sun beaming overhead. Sam and Kay looked crisp in informal wedding attire, the bridesmaids looked lovely and in general everyone had turned out in their freshly ironed best clobber. The food was great too – a buffet with a seafood bias along with other bits. I baulked at an oyster, but that was mostly because I was still feeling slightly wobbly from the night before. We went down to the beach nearby and skimmed stones and drank beer, and I sang the refrain from 'Sea King' by Hawkwind until Will intimated I stop.

I love weddings, and wedding receptions. Where else do you ever find yourself dancing to the O'Jays next to someone thirty years your senior whilst wearing brogues? Actually, that'd be the modern soul room at a northern soul night wouldn't it. Anyway, after an impressive speech by Sam and the best man, the big dawg, Dan, his brother, the tables were cleared and music supplied by by him and Sam's colleague and DJ partner Leo. They turned the party out until around half eleven, when the sound system chose to pack up for half an hour. After that, people jumped in taxis and headed home, mostly somewhat unsteadily.

This morning we headed to Whitstable for breakfast. I chose now to give an oyster a try. Not bad. Salty. Whitstable seems quite a nice place, quite olde worlde without being overbearingly cheesy. There seemed to be quite a few charity shops, and we even found a gallery selling lots hip prints by people like Keith Haring, Paul Insect and the ubiquitous Banksy.

I've heard that when you drown, it is as though your life flashes before your life, and it is fitting that Whitstable is by the sea as our walk around it felt much like the night before being replayed, as we bumped into people from London who'd been at the reception.

We ate at a place called Tea and Times, which was OK. The food was nice but the service a bit wonky, and after that, caught a lift back home with Ade and Rachael, after bidding a fond farewell to Dunc and Peed, off to Barcelona and Stockport respectively.

Home is quiet and I was the only one in. Rustled up a simple pasta dish from a George Locatelli recipe. I've just finished watching American History X, and I might go to bed now, and read a little of The Knight by Gene Wolfe, which is about an American kid being transported to a fantastic land where he becomes a Conan-esque hero. It's quite opaque and mysterious like much of Wolfe's stuff, but from I can work out, I think he's actually in a coma, and his visions are inspired by Second Life style online gaming. Quite odd.

No work tomorrow (as yet) but lots to be getting on with.