Thirty Thousand Streets

Monday, March 24, 2008


This Easter just gone has been sort of strange. Mainly just quiet though. Time was, I used to spend pretty much all of it from Thursday evening through to Monday evening, drunk or otherwise out of it. This time? I drank a bit but mainly chilled out and ate. I was also at something of a loose end for stretches of it as many of the people I know had left London to go and see family, though, for this very reason I had the flat to myself for a lot of it. Which was ace.

The weather was freaky too.. Easter usually seems to fall just beyond that unspecified tipping point of Spring when the sun first starts putting his hat on. This, in mid-march, was bitterly cold and largely grey, punctuated by bouts of intense hail ('hail texts') and surreally isolated sunny spells.

On Friday I went to meet Will up in Mayfair, to see The Orphanage at the Mayfair Curzon, which in screen one at least, had quite a fetching seventies-looking Auditorium. It's a good film. Very atmospheric and chilling, though, as with much horror, there are some things which don't quite add up (suspension of disbelief is critical). I couldn't help thinking about events in Jersey at the minute though.

After that we mooched round in quest of a post film pint. Mayfair is wierd. Walking round it on Friday evening is disconcertingly quiet, and many of the side streets are pretty much empty of life save for the odd liveried doorman. Will speculated that for all it's bland wealth, any of those grand facades might be playing host to all manner of Brett Easton Ellis style depravity, and ironically of course, just last week, a European flapper was done for by an untouchable arab prince, who has since absconded in daddy's jet.. 2008 so far really does seem mainly to be about people murdering other people.

We eventually found a boozer, where we seemed to be the only non-tourists in there, and ordered a pint each and a packet of nuts. After a bit, the landlord – an African chap – picked a microphone up at the bar, and proceeded to welcome everyone to England, wish them a happy holiday, and apologise for the slowness of the kitchen; which pretty much confirmed our unique status amongst the clientelle. After that we both caught tht tube to West Hampstead, where Will headed home, and I trotted off to a party at the bitter end of the Kilburn High Road.

Saturday was cold. Bitterly so. I awoke late and tired after a night on beer and mojitos, and vague memories of seranading a room in Peckham with an out of tune banjo and improvisational singing. I headed off into town and met Will, again, at the Courthauld gallery on the Strand, which I'd never experienced before, but is something of a gem.

There was an exhibition of Renoir paintings, themed around La Loge (or Theatre Box) which is where people went in nineteenth century Paris to wear their best clobber and gawp at what everyone else was wearing. An interesting snapshot into another age, placed in some sort of context alongside random ephemera such as sophisticated fashion magazine illustrations, and gently satirical cartoons.

The main collection was pretty excellent too, with some pretty jaw-droppingly famous works on display.. such as Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, and that self portrait Van Gogh did after he got all Alan Davies on his own ear.

After that we wandered up Fleet Street to see if Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese was open, and thankfully, it was.

I love the Old Cheshire Cheese. It's kinda touristy, kinda London, Olde Worlde as fucke, yet while other boozers sharing these traits make me cross myself then cross the road, the Cheshire Cheese makes me want to curl up, dormouse like in a cosy corner and get slowly blitzed with friends over tall glasses of ale. It's got a fire, it's got a chop room, it's moderately labyrinthian, and it's cheap – though it is a Samuel Smiths pub, and hence not that great the morning after. Someone was saying there's a bit of ancient tree in there, though I've yet to stumble across that.

After that, we parted ways, again, and I went home to sit on my couch, for most of the rest of the weekend actually.. watching crap films aand reading the papers.

I'm now back for a third week at a design group in Soho, wrassling with a print job that has been refusing to give up the ghost, but might just go away tomorrow if I hit it hard enough. A short week, which is good, for in spite of me being a workshy freelancer, this Easter did what all good bank holidays does: made me forget to some extent what work is like (though I do often enjoy it). Cheerio.

No comments: