Friday 14 October 2011

15 minutes...or 58?

We managed to miss my starring role on BBC1 last night. I was delighted, but The Cat's Mother was disappointed. She is insisting we watch it on iPlayer later...I checked this morning and she won't have to watch more than 10 minutes of Watchdog to see the important bit. A couple of friends called to say they'd seen's amazing who watches these programmes.

When The Boy and I lived in Hoxton Square, we were in fact living in the trendiest area in London, and as London was at the time the trendiest place in the world, we were de facto living in the trendiest place in the world. Round the back of us was a circus training school, in front of us on the green there was regularly an old traditional circus too, there were some fantastic bars (which, admittedly, were not of much interest to an eight year old boy), some great places to eat...and it probably stimulated my early interest in street art. Our neighbours included the likes of Kylie, and any number of new wave artists. On the Square was the White Cube gallery which showed works by these people - Gilbert and George, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst and so on. Every night seemed to be opening night, and there was always a glass of champagne to be swiped as I sauntered home. It seems idyllic, which is just how memories should be.

By interesting coincidence, they have now opened another White Cube gallery opposite the office. It was a nasty 1970's storage warehouse which they have remarkably managed to transform into the UK's largest private art gallery. Obviously my invitation to the opening night must have got lost in the post, and I was busy anyway trying to sleep through Playboy of the western world. Yesterday, The Cat's Mother and I decided to go and have a nose around. What I will say is that it's a lovely space, and it has a great art bookshop. Apart from that and reflecting on the contents of the galleries The Cat's Mother was spot on when she said something about The Emperors New Clothes. Still I feel it may be a place to go when I'm stressed and in need of a quiet, empty place to go and calm down.

It's a long way for me to cycle into work, so it's a good job I love the exercise. But more particularly I love cycling down the canalside...I think I've mentioned this before. So one of the challenges of the winter months (ignoring the issue of getting cold) is that it gets too dark to go that simply can't see where you're going, and by reputation you're likely to get mugged. Last week I came home that way as it was light when I left the office....unfortunately pitch black by the time I was halfway along the canal. So I've had to reconcile myself that a canal ride home is off the agenda for several months, but for a few more weeks I will still be able to go along there in the morning. Yesterday, I tried the new winter route to familiarise myself with it. It's all roads, and busy ones at that. The upside is that it's a little shorter. One of the things that has motivated me all the time I have done the cycling has been keeping a track of how quickly I can do the journey. My ambition has been to manage it in under an hour. And yesterday I achieved that...58 minutes. Not bad for the 23 km journey...quicker than the car, quicker than the tube. It'll keep me going until there's snow and ice on the roads.

Wednesday 12 October 2011


She's quite a babe. And she kept looking at me. Yes, every time I swiveled my head round 120 degrees, she was looking at me. I bet she wanted my autograph...probably recognised me from my blog. She probably fancied me. Of course she fancied me. I guess she just was too shy to ask for my number. I expect I'm on her list of five.

As for the bloke she was with, well what can I say? A shock of white hair. He just sat shoulders hunched staring forwards. Pretending to focus; pretending to concentrate. He didn't look over once. He did look quite self-satisfied. Smug even. Just as if he was successful. But not in the same league as me. Harumph.

I had no idea that Samantha Bond and Sir Derek Jacobi were friends.

They sat behind us whilst we were at The Old Vic watching Playboy of the Western World. I'd been more or less dragged there by The Cat's Mother who has taken quite a delight in getting me to see all the plays that I studied for 'O' and 'A' Level. I hadn't really been able to remember best I was fuzzy on the story. But it was as the curtains went up that my memories came flooding back. My heart sank. The performance last night was a good one. The production was a fine one. But as a play JM Synge's piece leaves me cold. All I could think of were the ridiculous questions asked about characterisation, plot, motivation and dynamics. When it was first written it may well have been a classic, savagely funny and shocking. But it's not aged well. It was pretty dull as I sat at the back of Mr Giles' English class 35 years ago, and unlike a good red wine has not aged well.

So thank heavens Samantha was practically drooling over me.

Tuesday 11 October 2011


After yesterday's tilting traffic lights, I was concerned to learn that Big Ben (OK The Clock Tower) is also tilting, just like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Evidently, if you stand underneath for the next 5000 years, there is a danger you may die from being crushed by the tower as it topples over. No wonder I'm quite sprightly when I'm in the environs.

This is clearly not my week, so I'm think of crawling back under the duvet and staying there until Sunday.

I was doing some blog tidying up...and have managed to end up following myself. Which is helpful as I like to know what I'm writing about.

I failed to read the small print of my insurance policy, which means that I have an excess of £650 on it. I've never heard of a policy with a £650 excess. When I rang up to question this - it's more than the value of the scooter which is on the same policy as the motorbike - their only response was that I should have read the policy when it was issued and there was a fourteen day cooling off period to do that when it was issued. Stupid me, obviously I should have done that. Anyway, I can't really complain, it is my fault. That doesn't make me any less unhappy though and will ensure they don't get any more of my money. I hope MCE enjoy the couple of hundred quid they got for selling me this.

I hear that the government is going to put a stop to 'Best before' 'Consume before' 'Display until' dates on food and drinks products. I'm glad. The Government feels they are confusing. They are that. Mostly they're used by shops to help with stock control/rotation.

On Sunday The Cat came down for breakfast, and the first thing she said was 'What's the date?' I asked why, and she replied that she needed to know because on '9th October the bread goes off' And why wouldn't she say that? It said so on the packet. Of course those of us brought up when the TV was still broadcast in black and white would know that on day one, the bread is fresh and can be eaten with nothing on it, a few days later it is a bit drier, so needs plenty of butter and jam, a few days later it's dry enough that you need to toast it, and then a few days after that you may well find little patches of blue mould on it....if you cut those off it's still edible...but a day or so later and you probably should be ripping it up and throwing it in the garden for the birds. Milk you can smell when it's off, and cheese is fine until it's covered in mould. Fish - eat fresh or frozen and be wary if it's been in the fridge for more than a few days. Etc, etc, etc. But how could The Cat know this? These sell by dates are on everything, and if you have faith in the label that tells you what the ingredients are and how much it weighs, why wouldn't you believe in the sell/display/use by date. These dates are just one of the many, many things in the modern world that actually end up hindering rather than helping.

Back in the Houses of Parliament it's good to see Liam Fox making an arse of himself. He's the one that started making soldiers and sailors redundant whilst still on active duty...yes please put yourselves up for being shot at, but don't expect us to look after you. Anyway, it seems it's all a bit ridiculous, and we can only hope that someone with such poor judgement gets turfed out of Government...especially someone as instantly dislikeable as this man.

Monday 10 October 2011


I'm not sure where the communication broke down, and this picture may not reveal everything it should, so I will explain.

Here are some traffic lights. They're just by a new block of flats. There's two things of importance. One they're right by someone's bedroom, so all night their room will be illuminated, red & amber, green, amber, red red & amber, green...and so on. And the second thing is, the traffic lights are crooked. Yes, someone has had to push them over to an angle more befitting Pisa than Bermondsey. For the last several months I've been watching and waiting for the council to come and move them. I'm betting the builders have too. Or may be not. Perhaps the building dimensions are wrong. Perhaps there's been a mis-calculation. But someone has had to push the lights over slightly just so they could build the building. It's finished now, and the flats are ready to be sold. I want to see the estate agent's details.

I hope you understand there is a delicious sense of irony that today was crime awareness day in Islington, and whilst half a dozen PCs handed out leaflets about how to keep your property safe, someone was trying to steal my motorbike, less than one hundred yards away. In the middle of Islington High Street (confusingly known as Upper Street) during the middle of the lunch hour. That screw in the ignition system will cost me a thousand pounds. So I'm a loser. The would-be thief is a loser as he didn't get the bike. The Police are losers as this will go down as an unsolved crime. So it's lose, lose all round.

I've never paid for sex, but this feels like a £1000 screw, and I can tell you it doesn't feel good.

At the same time I was being interviewed for TV, and if you want you can see me on Thursday evening. I don't know which channel, and I'm not sure what time, and I've never watched the programme, so if you can work it out, let me know. It was a consumer programme about Bank accounts. It wasn't Oscar winning stuff I do know that.

Sunday 9 October 2011

Sunday snaps

It's been a while, as I wasn't so happy with the pictures I've been taking, but I thought I'd see what I've been snapping in the last month:

The Olympics are not so far away in Paddington

Our local pub...picture postcard-like

Spiral staircase...I tried to capture the movement of people going down

In the Louvre...made me think of Escher

Letters - street art

The Shard...lost in the clouds

Birling gap beach

Limestone pebble on Birling Gap beach

Some would say this is over-exposed, but I was pleased with this...showing people moving under the pyramid at the Louvre

I love the way these mirros show the cars below at the new Westfield Shopping centre...gateway to the Olympics

Tower of evil. Canary Wharf.

View of St Paul's Cathedral, with the logo of Jamie Oliver's restaurant Barbecoa reflected in the window

Back at Birling Gap...a beach owned by the national Trust