Monday, July 31, 2006

In The Beginning...

It started with a shared kiss after sunset on Southwark Bridge...

The lights of the city behind us. St Paul's illuminated in front of us, to the right.

I remember the sound of a Latin beat wafting across the river from a building further down the river.

Time stood still.

We walked hand-in-hand across the river and strolled along the South Bank. We sat in front of The Globe, the spirit of Shakespeare around as we swapped life stories as tourists ambled past us.

Our parting kiss for the night at Holborn. Both running for the last train. Our first kiss hurried, she started to walk away then turned and came back. The second kiss better.

She went East and I went West.

And yes, we will meet again...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Big Dance

Learning to do the jigOr, why I Love London #131

A young spectator
Not quite in sync, just yet!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Happy 1st Birthday Blog!

Yep, most blogs die out within 3 months but somehow I've managed to keep this going longer than any diary that I've ever managed to keep. I've been inspired by a few other bloggers (you know who you are) and I'm a geek when it comes to technology and am now falling in love with photography (though def. still a beginner), so I just guess the parts of the jigsaw just slotted into place and I 've kept going.

I've also somehow managed to post, on average, every 2.75 days. Now if only I could save some money every 2.75 days, I'd be rich by now!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Shake Your Tail Feathers

Well, there I was sitting in the park (Regent's) chomping on my lunch (Ploughman's), though not in my usual place (too hot.)

In front of me was a fence. Two pigeons wandered back and forth in front of me, one on either side of the fence, in some strange courting ritual. They seemed to be eyeing each other up, which, for pigeons, is one dimensional as their eyes are on the sides of their heads. Then all of a sudden one of them would rush forward to the other bobbing it's head rapidly. Then the other would ruffle its tail feathers out as if it thought that it could compete with a Peacock's and the too and fro movement would resume.

Eventually, I imagine, the female would have been so impressed that they'd get it on, have babies and live happily ever after, for however long pigeons live or stay together?

Now, you may be wondering why I'm writing about this, eh? After all, aren't pigeons fascinating?
Well, no. Not exactly but I couldn't help thinking that why couldn't it be just as easy for us humans. You see....Now I'm getting to the point. I met a girl last week....In a bar, we got on really well (though I have yet to talk to her sober, so I'm not entirely sure just yet) and exchanged e-mails (how very now) and phone numbers (just in case the internet went down but phones stayed going!)

I didn't ask her out that night, 'cause I'm crap and shy like that and because of circumstances out of my control, she ended up meeting up with others and wandering off without saying goodbye.

Which, you'd think, would be like her sending me a huge "Sorry, I made a mistake" but then she e-mailed to apologise and asked me out! And she rang me up at lunch time the same day and seemed to giggle a lot...Okay.....I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. She was nervous. If she rings me three times tomorrow, I'll know that something is, perhaps not right but otherwise we plan on meeting up next week.

She works until really late though without getting paid overtime, which is a bit unfair. Hopefully it's not another excuse. My last girlfriend was a workaholic and I start to think that I have that effect on women, and then she moved to America! *sigh*

So I'm a bit wary and perhaps just a little bit pessimistic but with just a glimmer of hope hiding around the corner afraid to reveal itself, just-in-case.

Perhaps I should just bob my head up and down and ruffle my tail feathers and all will turn out fine?

Nah, maybe I won't try that.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Solar Powered

I'm a man of few words this week. It's just too DAMN hot to type too much. The tempertaure in my flat is pushing 30 degrees tonight and I'm getting sod all sleep. *sob*

This is a shot of a solar powered boat crossing the Serpentine lake in front of the Serpentine gallery pavilion (the white globe thing.)

It'll start ferrying passengers across the lake from this Saturday. Just seemed to be media types today.

A better view

Sunday, July 16, 2006


British Tank DestroyerAmazing what you see going down Piccadilly on a Sunday afternoon.
BMW Isetta 300

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Make love...not war

I got an e-mail today to tell me that my planned holiday in August to the Middle East has been cancelled on account of the airport and all the roads I was to take having been bombed. Nothing like over-reaction to prove a pointless point!

The alternative is to do a safari type holiday in Namibia in September but it might be hard to get cheap flights at what is now (believe it or not) short notice and the holiday might cost a third more than my planned one. Ouch! Well, I'll have to wait and see. Nothing is decided as yet...

My company treated its staff to a free lunch at a local hotel, "The Landmark" in front of Marylebone station to celebrate various things. The hotel's Victorian architecture inside was truly amazing.

The main worry about company dos for most people is that we have allocated seating, so you never know who you are going to sit next to until you arrive and it's all a bit pot luck really as to whether or not you'll get someone interesting.

I struck lucky on Friday and we were having such a good time that my table was the last to be vacated at the end of the meal.

Then we all popped down to another bar in the basement where a board director had started up a tab. I'd honestly expected things to be crap and to be back in the office by three but then here I was at five pm heading down for more free drinks!

I was having a fabulous time, chatting away when something happened with someone who I had never had any contact with before that soured the entire evening for me.

Basically, a secretary of someone high up in the company asked me to get one of my colleagues to leave as she seemed to think that they were refusing to serve us further drinks if he didn't leave. I looked at the bar, a bit confused, as I could see people getting served and my colleague, though more drunk than I had seen him before, was the kind of person that stays friendly when drunk and was talking to someone at the time.

She didn't like the fact that I didn't see what was wrong and said that if I wasn't going to do anything then she was going to call security to have him removed!

I asked her why she would consider getting a colleague removed in such a manner. She started asking what my name was and when I asked her why, she walked off in a huff. Read into that what you will. I was quite happily chatting away to someone when all this happened and now I felt distracted by what had happened.

So I went back over, we made up, said it was all to do with the drink and my colleague in the mean time was persuaded to leave.

We all decide en masse to head off to another venue anyway, so I make a quick stop in the gents, come back out and overhear this secretary (PA, whatever) talking to the two most senior people in the company present about what had happened.

Her making up had not been heartfelt and now she wanted to escalate the situation further! All because she hadn't got her way! *sigh*

It wasn't worth it. I walked out and went home, strolling through Hyde Park as the sun set. It was well dark by the time I had got home and I had hoped to walk off the incident but I still felt as if a brilliant day had turned to shit.

Went to Kensal Green cemetery where my parents are buried. It was a lovely day. Blue skies and sunshine. I walked all the way there from home. It takes about an hour.

The cemetery was so peaceful. My mum and dad's graves are located in different parts of the cemetery as he died in 1991 and was buried with his first wife whilst my mum just four years ago was buried on the other side of the cemetery.

I stayed for an hour cleaning up the graves and roasting away in the sun (at my dad's grave anyway, as my mum's in under the shadow of a large tree whilst dad's is out in the open.)

Then got a train into London but found myself too lethargic to really do anything. Strolled around Leicester Square. The queue for Superman Returns at the Odeon West End was huge, so I had to rule that out as a place to go to chill out.

I decided to head home, recharge my batteries and then go to my local cinema, in Ealing, to see the film instead. It was awesome! Glad I made the effort.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Fool For Love...Any Offers?

Apparently living alone doubles the chance of getting severe heart disease according to a Danish study. So I figure that so long as I stay away from Denmark I'll be fine...Right? Anyhow I AM a fool for love (sometimes) so...


Went to see an excellent play staring Juliette Lewis. It's was an intense study of the relationship between two people in a motel room on the edge of the Mojave desert, with a few surprises along the way. It always amazes me how something with just a few actors can grip you so effectively. I'd been wanting to see this for a while and when I got an e-mail from one of my random mailing lists advertising half price tickets, I jumped at the chance.

As it was I was sat in a centre aisle seat with nobody else in my row, even though the rest of the theatre was full! I've never been to the Apollo before. It's quite intimate nestled as it is between two larger theatres on Shaftesbury Avenue and small plays like this work so well in surroundings just like these.

And bonus points for being air conditioned too! The number of times I've sat in an old theatre roasting away because the building is protected and they can't do anything to cool it.... The play was an hour and a quarter long with no interval but I'd still felt as if I'd got my money's worth as the length was just right for the well written story to be told.


Went to see the excellent (I'm using that word a lot, I see) Corinne Bailey Rae at Somerset House.

Tried to use my new Canon compact camera (I've given up on the old, rubbish compact BenQ now) to take a few shots but as you can see I still need to get the night time settings right. Oh well, it was a brilliant night with even the problems on the Piccadilly Line (fire alert at Kings Cross) not denting my enthusiasm. Plus the fact that both scenicaly and acoustically, Somerset House is a great venue.

Corinne is so cool too. She always seemed to look into the camera and smile when I was trying to take my shots. I wish that at least one of them had come out in focus *sigh* :(

Oh yeah, and she's taken....*bigger sigh*

No wonder the shopkeeper is hiding!

Seriously though, this links through to an interesting site which in itself has links to lots of similarly interesting sites.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Weekend

Acton Town - Leicester Square
Meet a friend.

Pizza Hut Buffet. Lots of grease. Yum!
Walked off the grease
Trafalgar Square - Embankment - South Bank

Docklands Light Railway
Tower Gateway - Westferry - Cutty Sark
Watched track being laid at Fenchurch Street
Stroll around Greenwich

Back on the DLR
Cutty Sark - Canary Wharf

Then the Jubilee Line
Canary Wharf - Green Park

And the Piccadilly Line
Green Park - Acton Town

The (not so) lovely Silverlink service
Acton Central - Richmond - Acton Central
Evening out. Drink a few pints but it's too cold to sit by the river.

Acton Town - Picadilly Circus - Acton Town

See a cool French action movie "District 13" (Nobody sits in front of me. Phew!)

Check out Forbidden Planet. Buy a graphic novel (bed time reading)

Friday, July 07, 2006

One Year On...

Today I went along to the 7/7 remembrance service in Regent's Park. My office overlooks the park and I also popped along at lunchtime to place a flower into the mosaic of remembrance too.

The mosaic pictured is a work in progress. After all the petals have been filled, the centre of the giant flower was completed by relatives, friends and those injured in the bombings during the main service in the evening.

It had been a dull, overcast afternoon but just after the last flower was placed the sun shone out from behind the clouds and lifted my spirit.

The simple service was quite moving. One of the readers read a poem about her mum and broke down at the end starting off various people around me in the crowd.

The head of the Catholic church in England and Protestant church in London were present in the crowd behind me. This was a time for quiet contemplation and a show of national unity.

Needless to say, looking around me in the crowd, every ethnicity was represented but then that's London for you. I wouldn't expect any less...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

But...What is it??

I'd spotted this from across the lake in Hyde Park yesterday but didn't have time to investigate, or a functioning camera, so I walked past today to get a closer look...

Quote from the Serpentine Gallery's web site:

"The Serpentine Pavilion 2006 is co-designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rem Koolhaas and innovative structural designer Cecil Balmond.

The centrepiece of the design is a spectacular ovoid-shaped inflatable canopy that floats above the Gallery's lawn. Made from translucent material, the structure will be illuminated from within at night. The canopy will be raised into the air or lowered to cover the amphitheatre below according to the weather."

So now you know!
(Aren't you feeling more clever already?)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Who Are You?

Hey, so Sunday was just as amazing as Saturday music-wise in Hyde Park. I didn't fancy turning up too early as it's just too flipping hot to be out-and-about at the moment so made it to the park at around half-five in just about enough time to find a decent spot before the excellent Zutons started.

I've been meaning to see them live for ages but haven't made it to one of their proper gigs yet, so it was an added bonus that I got to see them here today. The crowd lapped it all up. We all loved the Zutons!

They were followed by Razorlight, a band that I have to admit have never really taken my fancy. They have a few good songs but I just feel that there isn't really anything that stand out-ish about them. It showed in the crowd too. The applause was muted (though not at the front, where their fans obviously were) and most people only knew about three of their songs. I couldn't quite figure how they'd manage to get second billing today when the Zutons where so much better and much more popular.

Then fashionably late, the star attraction of the night...The Who! (Or Who2 as the pair of them like to call themselves.) Ironically I'd seen them twice last year, at the Royal Albert Hall and then Live8, and once again they were fricking AWESOME!

Here we have two guys aged 61 and 62 (Roger Waters is also 62, I think) and they were really showing the kids how it should be done!

It was a pretty mixed audience age-wise by now but everyone seemed to know all the songs. Needless to say I loved every minute, or as one old geezer next to me kept on reminding me "They're the dog's bollocks, the fucking dog's bollocks!"

Travelling home was the same routine as the previous night. A brisk walk down to Green Park tube and an absolutely packed Piccadilly line train back to home. I got on the train (which was packed before we'd even got on it, so not by people from the concert) and noticed that there was an old lady stood in the aisle with a young chap (well tanned, foreign student looking, in his late twenties) sat behind her in the seat reserved for elderly or infirm passengers. It annoyed me a bit, so I nudged his knee with my knee to get his attention. He looked up and I pointed at the old lady. (She was unaware of all this as her back was to him.) He looked at me like I was mad and shook his head and carried on reading what I notice was a copy of Zoo magazine (a lad's mag, for those who don't know.)

Ooops, sorry, I shouldn't have said reading. I did of course mean, looking at the pictures.

Well, there was nothing I could do. Everyone else sat down was old and he was the youngest and didn't want to give up his seat. *sigh* We had to go all the way to Hammersmith (about 15 minutes) before he got up and she got to sit down.

The annoying thing was that he didn't give a damn. What kind of people, or more to the point what kind of upbringing did he have where you don't give up your seat to someone who so obviously deserves it more than you???

I waffling on a bit now, so I'll wrap up (reading back afterwards, I realise that I carry on waffling for a bit yet) by saying that I walked through Leicester Square today in time to see Orlando Bloom, Johnny Depp and wait for it....Chuck Norris(!) for the Pirates II European premier. And guess what?! My stupid compact camera has seized up now! There was Chuck right in front of me and my camera just blinked it's red light at me, made a noise like a strangled duck and ceased to be. All I'm left with at home now is my bulkier SLR, which I really like but won't carry around with me everywhere the way I can with my cheapo compact *sob* I've only had it for less than a year too :(

Time to dig out the guarantee, methinks!

Oh and finally on the bus on the way home I heard a girl speaking on her mobile by me about the terrifying experience that she had had that today on the Victoria line when the power went out and they sat in darkness for a few minutes whilst people screamed and banged on the windows around her and a stranger by her just hugged her and cried.

Turns out someone had decided to end it all the messy way....

Perhaps it had been the foreign looking chap overcome by the guilt of never having given up with seat for the needy, who knows?

We can only hope he'll be re-incarnated as a nicer person, or a dung beatle.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Comfortably Numb

Well, the footie is all over for England in the Quarter Finals again, on penalties, AGAIN :(

I ended up watching the game in the Hard Rock Cafe that has been temporarily erected in Hyde Park for people going to the festival...And boy was it hot! The air con seemed to consist of large fans in either corner of the tent (which was huge) and so had absolutely no effect on me in the middle.

The journey there was a bit of a nightmare temperature-wise. I squeezed onto an already hot and humid Piccadilly line train, consoling myself with the knowledge that I would only have to endure the conditions for less than twenty minutes down to Hyde Park Corner.

But the train didn't go anywhere. It just sat in the platform for a couple of minutes with no update from the driver over what was going on, whilst we all sizzled. I could feel a trickle of sweat forming in the small of my back.

Then a half full train pulled in on the adjacent platform. I hopped off to get onto that only for the driver to tell everyone that the train was terminating!

So back to the first train, and as before it just sat in the platform for another few minutes before the driver came on the tannoy to tell us that the signals for the two trains had been switched and the other train would be going first! *sigh*

Weirdly enough this does seem to happen to me every few weeks or so but the heat made it just that little bit more annoying. I got of the train a stop early at Knightsbridge, relieved by the relatively cool temperatures in the station. *phew*

I directed some tourists to Hyde Park, bought myself a Coke and headed off to the park.

As it was, whilst in the Hard Rock Cafe, I heard Starsailor and then half of Texas' set before the game was over and I made my way to a surprisingly good spot in front of the main stage to watch the rest of Texas' performance. I'd seen them live recently, so missing half of their set wasn't such a big loss.

The lead singer Sharleen Spiteri signed off her last song by singling out and swearing at a member of the crowd who had thrown a shoe at her during her last song!

Then it was the star attraction, Roger Waters. The music was brilliant. He had a quad speaker setup so it was like being in a surround sound arena. He did a few mixed songs, mostly from "The Wall", and premiered what I think was a new song inspired by a night he had been put up by strangers in Beirut. It was emphatically anti-war, anti-Bush and Blair and the crowd loved it.

Then after a short intermission Nick Mason came on to support and they performed "Dark Side Of The Moon", which was very cool. It was a bit strange though that it was still quite light as it's not getting dark in London until after 10pm and his set finished at 22:15.

After that he did "Another Brick In The Wall" and "Comfortably Numb" (quite appropriate after the footie) to finish. An awesome gig , even if I did miss most of the music due to hope springing eternal for England in the football. Oh well. Better luck next time.

Tomorrow is The Zutons, Razorlight and The Who!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

It's hot in the city tonight!

This week flew by as I was busy at work and most of my weekend will be spent in Hyde Park for the Hyde Park Calling festival.

The uncomfortably hot nights aren't helping my sleep patterns too much though and I've still have the remnants of my temperature from a few weeks ago. When will it ever go away?! :(

But this weekend I'm looking forward to a few bands though the football will clash with Suzanne Vega, today, who I really like. I've seen her three times before, over the years, so I guess I can give her a miss this time. (Sorry Suzi!)

Oh, and for all of you that hate the football, here's something that might change your mind....
The government is considering declaring a national holiday if England win the World Cup! It's probably just a rumour but a nice one nonetheless.

I planned on taking my old Nikon digital compact along (as they don't allow professional-looking cameras) but for some reason the digital sensor on it has stopped working!

I recharged the batteries last night and tried it out today with no luck! Just blank pictures every time. And yes, I have taken the lens cap off! I can't help thinking that I've overlooked something really obvious but I have truly tried everything obvious to get the fucker to work but to no avail. *sigh*

That leaves me with a cheapo compact that has no decent zoom on it. Oh well, I'm there mainly for the music, so that'll have to do.

It'll be truly scorchio! today with sun, blue skies and temperatures around about 30C predicted so lots of high factor sun block and keeping my head well covered, as it only takes 15 minutes for it to start turning the colour of a whore's lips!

And on that pleasant(!) note, adios...