Lost in London

A look at London and life in general through the eyes of someone who sometimes can't bear to watch.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fade to grey

There’s always something a little bit depressing about September, which looms ahead. You’re finally saying goodbye to summer and therefore the prospect of getting any browner or more cheerful by natural means, all the children look depressed because it’s nearly time to go back to school and there’s the great big monster called Christmas lurking, with 1 September almost guaranteeing to bring you a sprig of tinsel somewhere. There is no escape.

And then there's the other side of the coin. Children actually claiming that they can’t wait to go back to school (novelty wears off after two days) and the impending excitement of Hallowe’en, Bonfire Night and, of course, Christmas, which quite a lot of people enjoy, or so I have read.

I would always have brand-new uniform to put on in September, along with sparkling stationery and a too-short, unfashionable haircut save for my first ever September at school where my blond locks were allowed to flow freely). Mornings spent in bed half-heartedly watching repeats of Home and Away and Silas were to be no more, replaced instead by getting up early and queuing for the school special in the drizzle, while girls in puffa jackets wearing too much hairspray would nervously clutch the packets of cigarettes in their pockets, just waiting for the time when they could get on the top deck of the bus and smoke their lungs off.

Now, as a grown-up, September passes me by almost unnoticed, like most other months. A leaf might fall from a tree to remind me that autumn is limbering up for its annual occupation, but aside from a cooler temperature, there’s little to remind me that we’re shifting from one season to another. The sky has been almost permanently grey over London throughout June, July and August anyway, so three more months’ worth of non-weather won’t make much difference, I’m sure.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Writer's block

I don’t usually like memes, but I am doing this one as I can’t think of anything to write, but I feel like I should be writing, so write I must.

1 My uncle once: was so drunk he didn’t recognise me and thought I was a burglar.

2 Never in my life: will I eat a black olive again unless at gunpoint.

3 When I was five: I was more pessimistic than I am now

4 High school was: something I read about in magazines. I went to grammar school..

5 I will never forget: how to tie a shoelace. Hopefully.

6 Once I met: Amy Winehouse. She had weird leggings on and wasn’t as fucked as she is now. It was a long time ago.

7 There’s this girl I knew: who became a journalist solely because of Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City. Suffice to say, she can’t write for shit. We do not speak.

8 Once, at a bar: I don’t have anything for this one. Nothing happens to me in bars.

9 By noon, I’m usually: at work, whereas Sue Ellen Ewing would usually be drunk, so I feel I'm doing OK.

10 Last night: I went to a friend’s for dinner. I drank a little too much wine.

11 If only I had: realised when I was younger that good things really do come to those who wait.

12 Next time I go to church: will be a wedding. No idea whose yet.

13 What worries me most: is having nothing to worry about.

14 When I turn my head left I see: the kitchen.

15 When I turn my head right I see: the wall and some windows. Christ, I’ve remembered why I don’t do these very often.

16 You know I’m lying when: I do not lie. It is pointless. And exhausting.

17 What I miss most about the eighties is: absolutely zero. The time is now. Well, maybe TV or something. Child’s Play with Michael Aspel!

18 If I were a character in Shakespeare I’d be: Enobarbus

19 By this time next year: I’ll be a millionaire.

20 A better name for me would be: anything but my actual name.

21 I have a hard time understanding: financial services, to my eternal annoyance.

22 If I ever go back to school, I’ll: blow it up.

23 You know I like you if: I talk to you. If I don’t, I won’t.

24 If I ever won an award, the first person I would thank would be: my mother.

25 Take my advice, never: smoke. It’s shit and expensive and giving up is one of the best things I ever did.

26 My ideal breakfast is: sausages, which I never eat now. Or an egg. Boiled. More people should take pleasure in being just a little bit pedestrian, I feel.

27 A song I love but do not have is: I think I have all the songs I like.

28 If you visit my hometown, I suggest you: make a note of all the ways to leave; you’ll need them ten minutes after arrival.

29 Why won’t people: do my bidding? It’s much easier that way, for all of us.

30 If you spend a night at my house: feel free to wash up.

31 I’d stop my wedding for: the hell of it? I don’t understand this one.

32 The world could do without: dandelion and burdock.

33 I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: wear trousers that were too short. Why do people do this? Somebody should tell them.

34 My favourite blonde(s) is/are: my mum.

35 Paper clips are more useful than: you’d think they are. Should I say Gordon Brown or something? Paper clips aren't really that useful, are they?

36 If I do anything well it’s: always a bonus.

37 I can’t help but: wish I didn’t live on the ground floor.

38 I usually cry: when there is simply no other option. I hardly ever cry; it seems like such a waste of time.

39 My advice to my child/nephew/niece: is to wait and see.

40 And by the way: I’m glad I finally got to the end.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Take the high road

10 things I did in Scotland last week

1. Edinburgh: Listened intently while a woman with an impossibly slow speaking speed told me in great detail about a very unfunny-sounding play based on the experience of a comedian who found he’d fathered a lovechild when the child’s mother sent him a MySpace message.

2. Carnoustie: Went for a run along the beach every morning.

3. Some woods in Dumfries: Drank a mini bottle of Baileys and contemplated smoking a rolled-up cigarette.

4. Edinburgh: Wished I hadn’t spent £10 on the worst piece of theatre ever. It masqueraded as a comedy but was actually a dramatic monologue featuring the most googly-eyed and uptight female I’ve ever encountered.

5. Carnoustie: Ate an amazing steak pie in the kind of pub you only get in Scotland and would certainly avoid if it were anywhere else but Scotland.

6. Some woods near Dumfries: Vowed never again to stray more than 3 miles from a built-up area without wellingtons.

7. Edinburgh: Spotted a hatchet-faced Big Brother ‘celebrity’ having his picture taken by awestruck bar staff in a really horrid, yet shiny, pub. I haven’t watched it this year but fellow onlookers told me it was Dennis, who was ejected for spitting is someone’s face. He was three feet tall, orange and carried a handbag. He had many hangers-on who looked like the kind of people you see, well, auditioning for Big Brother, I suppose.

8. Edinburgh: In the same bar, watched in horror as a man and a woman stripped off in order to win a bottle of champagne. The male disrobed down to his somewhat grubby underwear, while the woman actually went topless. The judge was an acidic gay who kept screaming that he didn’t like anyone with ‘attitude’. The male won. He was in a bit of a ‘state’.

9. Arbroath: Ate the most amazing fish and chips I’ve tasted in a decade and stared out at a grey, Scottish sea.

10. All locations: Was plagued by wasps who seemed to find my cologne irresistible. Wasps, it seems, can’t get enough of Chanel.

Can’t wait to do it all again next year.