Thirty Thousand Streets

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Troy Bar

Headed up East yesterday, to Shoreditch, to meet Al.

Everywhere was abuzz with people spending their paychecks on overpriced alcohol, spilling out onto pavements in the torpid evening air. Pretty much most of Shoreditch seemed to have convened at The Foundry, including a pleased-looking contingent of fixed gear bike-riders, who had aggregated against the nearby railings like trendy flotsam.

From there we proceeded to The Legion, where some DJ was playing good tunes in a fairly incomprehensible order, by agency of maniacly scratching them in – with nary a blend in sight. Just to confirm: Apache by The Incredible Bongo Band into Fix Up Look Sharp by Dizee Rascal doth not go (and that was one of the more compelling mixes). Spotted 'Mickey' from Eastenders in the bogs, who was chuckling at the ubiquitous human pez dispenser as he yelled at people trying the out of order cubicle at the end.

Troy bar next for some jaaazzzz. Al stepped up to tinkle the ivories, along with a bassplayer called Rick James, and an African saxophonist in a dapper brown corduroy suit who apparently toured with Fela Kuti in the 70s. Then I went home.

Flat looks a tip today because the rota's not been done, though I'm the only one in which is nice. Popped out to get some bacon from Somerfield and en route spotted my favourite supermodel waiting for a bus at the top of Camberwell Church Street, looking swish in a tan belted mac.

I'm now off to trawl charity shops on the Walworth Road, in my futile quest for anything worth owning.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Books I've lost

I've just got in after a semi-boozy post work session in the Blue Posts in Belgravia (opposite the new Banksy 'One Nation Under CCTV mural, you know the one) to discover I've lost the book I was reading.

It was 'Less Than Zero' by Brett Easton Ellis, and I was frick'n enjoying it! Anticathartic.

Other books I've lost recently were something by Ian M Banks (not so bothered really as it was a bit of a Space Opera snoozefest) and The Shipping News by Annie Proulx, which I left on a plane en route to Paxos, via Corfu, in 2006 actually, so not that recently at all.

I'm pretty good at not losing most things, but Books I'm pretty good at losing, along with security passes for places I'm freelancing in – especially if I've just a really bad photo taken for them. I found one at the back of my wardrobe recently from a couple of years ago when I had long hair, and I look both vaguely Jesus-like, and uncomfortable at the prospect of having my image captured digitally.

Never mind. I've got a copy of 'Disco Biscuits' (tagline: new fiction from the chemical generation) which I bought in a Charity Shop to lull me to sleep.

UPDATE: I found it! So the free world can once again sleep at ease.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Handbag Chihuahua

My friend Vicki was telling me the other day about the last time she worked for her mate Joel, at a sample sale near Brick Lane Market.

One day a Japanese woman came in with a cavernous Miu Miu bag (or somesuch) inside of which was perched a small Chihuahua. She proceeded to delight all and sundry by getting the dog to perform a couple of tricks, firstly: holding up her palm so her pet would give her a mini doggy hi-five, and also (this is great) putting two fingers to its head, and making a shooting sound, whereupon it would flop over as though dead, to reappear like a large eared canine Lazarus seconds later at the mouth of the bag.

Normally I dislike small dogs, but this tale has forced me to reevaluate my stance. And I know it isn't my anecdote strictly speaking, but hell this is a tale that needed telling (and Vicki doesn't have a blog).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Reclaim the Beach

So last night I went to meet Ed at Foyles, and wandered down to the South Bank, where we sat on a patch of grass and drank cans of beer. After that we moved up to the 'Reclaim the Beach' party under festival pier. It's still called Reclaim the Beach, presumably because no-one's had the heart to point out it's actually rather a silty riverbank, strewn about with bricks and bits of rock people have dumped into the Thames over the years. It's dirty and smells a bit (much like London). I guess 'Reclaim the Bank' didn't sound as good though, hey.

I came to one of these events years ago and managed to drop a can of Stella into the filthy sand, top-first. I wiped it clean on my sleeve, but was still slightly paranoid about catching dysentry after drinking it. I did drink it though; it was my last beer.

This time the crowd were a strange emulsion of krazy hipster types and pit-bullish lads glaring about like the eye of Sauron. There was some kind of art installation in progress where a couple of guys in waistcoats were sculpting an obese man on a sofa out of the grey sand, that looked like it would take it forever. It was nearly undone when a group of lads pursuing someone (presumably to dish out a beating) piled through us (spashing my shirt with beer, I might add) and looked set to smash into it – only narrowly missing it as they stampeded up the stairs.

For a party there was a distinct lack of music to start with, bar a sort of Mariachi band that wandered down the steps after about half an hour, though later on I think someone stuck some tunes on. We headed off around midnight anyway, to go and get a pint in the Hermits, feeling perhaps slightly underwhelmed, but glad to have gone nontheless.

Gorgeous weather today. I went and sat in the park and drew.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The sun

"Sunshine, everybody loves the sunshine" lilted the certifiably adequately titled Roy Ayer's track Sunshine.

I certainly love the sunshine. Can't get enough of that sunny stuff. For when the sun's out, beaming over Soho, it imparts an almost narcotic thrill: free, non pharmaceutical ecstasy, which adults, children, policeman, pigeons (and pehaps even secretly, goths) alike can indulge in, unambiguously.

In this instance, I perhaps, slightly wish climactic conditions had permitted the gorgeous weather had intruded more over the preceeding Bank Holiday weekend, but fuck it, stepping out of work for lunch and putting on sunglasses is a truly wonderous thing, even if you're just going to purchase a sandwich from Pret.

I think half of it is the fact that England labours under some pretty grim weather a lot of the time. Often interesting, often cold, often windy, but mostly wet (and dark). Which has its plus points of course – the pasty faced brits have little recourse during the long winter months than to top up their screen tans writing Flash code and electronic music that cannot help being the envy of the world.

But when the sun has got his hat on... well hats off to the sun. Taking photos is easier in the sun, people smile more in the sun, supermarkets sell more Stella and disposable barbeques in the sun. Fuck, London feels more like New York in the Seventies to me in the sun – which is one of the things – everything has a kind of shimmering halcyon glow to it. You remember popping bubbles of tarmac on the road as a kid, the smell of cigarettes abroad (hell, I even remember watching TV while the sun was shining, probably Cities of Gold or summat).

But mostly, everyone smiles a bit more, and is a bit less god-damn introspective, which in this metropolis, on this rain lashed outcropping of rock, on this bauble of matter orbiting the sun itself, cannot be underappreciated. Sun, you primary source of Earth's energy, I salute thee.*

*Cue some kind of Ballard-esque 70s sci-fi sun-based disaster scenario (which is probably, actually happening somewhere).

Monday, May 05, 2008

Bank holiday monday

A lovely warm bank holiday here. Tramped up to Ruskin Park, and read some of Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, before moving to Brunswick Park, en route to which, I bought the first Magnum of the year (white chocolate, since you ask).

When I got back to the flat, the living room window was open, and a pigeon had flown in and was bringing all kinds of ruckus, making that weird, humming, slippa-slap sound pigeons' wings make as it crashed repeatedly into the blinds, and dislodged small objects from the window sill.

Pigeons are often called flying rats, though to be fair, rats are quite intelligent and pigeons are as thick as a short plank (singular, between them). This one was no exception. It panicked as soon as I walked in the room, proving almost impressive in its ability to completely avoid the open window it had gained entrance by, in its blindly terrified attempts to avoid me ("homing sense on the blink, huh buddy?"). It then managed to get lodged behind my ex-housemate Cecilia's slowly dying catcus on the window sill, and it took some not inconsiderable effort on my part to usher the feathered fool out into the welcoming arms of Camberwell Church Street, made more tricky by the fact I didn't actually want to touch the greasy thing in case I caught the Rage Virus or something.

Right. Now I'm going to do some work.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Love, Labour's lost.

Text received today from 'Boris Johnson' which... well read it yourselves. Weird. Kudos to whoever did it though.

Yesterday moms and pops dropped by, en route to a soiree in Battersea, dropping off some pots and pans from years ago, as well as some photos of me looking drunk in Bristol in 1998. My high estimation of my mother was further confirmed when she identified the typeface on my 1972 Otl Aicher Munich Olympics poster as Univers. Mum, you're my kind of mum.

Last night was spent in the Hermits Cave, slurping Heineken and drunkenly toasting Ken Livingstone. I don't suppose you even need the benefit of hindsight to see that Labour were going to perform badly. Increasingly, as politics seems to be about personality, Livingstone seemed perhaps a little tired, and Gordon Brown comes across as something of an inarticulate ditherer, increasingly on the back foot. The country has spoken.

A slightly torpid bank holiday Saturday, today. When I awoke it seemed sunny-ish, with a faint miasma of vapor shrouding the sky that prevented it from feeling properly summery. Went and bought bacon and some sunblush tomatoes for a breakfast butty. Popped into Rat records and bought The Black Dog's Book of Dogma which I'm listening to now. Fucking incredible, timeless, beautiful, melancholy, joyous music, and for me, perhaps the most elegant evocation of techno since the Detroit pioneers. I think the French(?) guy who works there thought I was a bit of a prick for wearing sunglasses inside, which is fair enough, but they were quite expensive and I didn't have anywhere to put them other than hanging them off the collar of my t-shirt (no).

Got my first commission through my website, which, while it isn't going to bankroll yachts in the Hamptons, is encouraging. Next I basically need to promote that sucker hard. Watch this space etc.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Local Election day

Election day today, and I'm shortly off to register my vote(s). I'm probably going to vote for Ken first and Brian Paddick second. I just can't really see myself voting for Boris Johnson, as I don't think I can take anyone who affects such an 'endearing buffoon schtick' seriously (I'm not entirely certain he doesn't have some kind of consultant on hand to artfully ruffle his hair, just so, before he leaves the house).

Looking at all his policies too, a lot of them seem to be quite reactionary, and not very well thought through. With regard to crime he proposes installing metal detectors at major transport hubs to detect knives and guns, and more police on public transport to prevent antisocial behaviour, neither of which I'd particularly want to see, as they both seem like classic examples of treating the symptoms rather than the cause, and indicative of the increasingly paranoid society we live in, where we're scared of ourselves and our kids.

On transport, well, I have to say, it still seems quite expensive and disorganised, but then I don't know what it was like before Ken came to power really, so don't have much to compare it to. Looking at his website, he does seem to have some positive statistics to back his policies up, and again, Boris's '21st century Routemaster' all sounds a bit fuzzy to me.

Mostly though, I'm hoping Boris loses so that the London Evening Standard will SHUT THE FUCK UP in its increasingly irritating front page campaign of alternately smearing Ken, and intimating that Boris's victory is almost a foregone conclusion. I hate that rag anyway, with its dreary celeb goss and regular, hysterical predictions of 'Travel Chaos' or 'Chaos Fears', every time it snows or there's a public holiday (worse if the two are combined).

I can sort of understand voter apathy though, or indeed why people might feel that it is 'time for a change'.

After that I'm off to get some cord for a poster I got framed, for the gallery who did it (who shall remain nameless) neglected to do it themselves... which is pretty crap really.