London


Listening to: Night of the Wolverine – Dave Graney & the Coral Snakes (ah, definitely one of the twenty sexiest songs of the ’90s)

This book intrigues/excites me – Flow : the cultural story of menstruation. Not only the subject matter, but I’ve heard/read universally good things about it so far (unlike, say, Cunt, which could also have been cool but which no one in the world – including me – actually liked).

Today it was too rainy to go walking…but I went, anyway. My poor sneakers are never going to dry. The lure of the closed bridge was too great:

<img src="Closed to traffic but not feet.” alt=”” />

I think I’ve given up on being London’s foremost super-explorer, though, and am settling into using my week for crafty/reacreational-academic endeavours. I’ve been studying today – I decided the best way to teach myself Dutch (that again – I know) was to throw myself in at the deep end, so I’ve started translating (from Dutch to English) a Henning Mankell book I got when we were in Bali a million years ago. It’s quite fun and I expect the funness to increase as my vocabulary improves (I had to look up 27 out of 77 words in the first paragraph, although some of that was just to get confirmation). I have no real use for the ability to speak Dutch, but there is something satisfying about softening all your consonants (or whatever the linguistic term is) and I don’t think it gets enough credit for how pretty a language it is.

I have been trading off Battlestar Galactica episodes with Freaks & Geeks (rewatching), which is a nice balance.

Remind me, remind me that I need to go to the Women’s Library at some point – their Women’s Liberation exhibition has been on since October and I still haven’t seen it.

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Listening to: The Rest – The Pines

Oh, the downside for all of you is that I have nothing better to do than blog about my days during half-term.

I’m quite into this whole walking thing, and after faffing around for most of the day I took myself off to Sheen this afternoon (I did not see Daniel Craig or Rob Brydon – I did see someone who looked a lot like Richard Ashcroft from the Verve in my street the other day, though), which is another one of my neighbouring suburbs by the river. It has the best op shops! They’re cheap but stocked with the spoils of the quite wealthy, which is a rare thing in London charity shops. (The Octavia Foundation one in Barnes is full of boring designer rubbish and will charge you twenty pounds* for a pilly jacket.) I scored a long blue A-line corduroy skirt (with pockets!) for four pounds, which was pleasing (one of those pristine, perfectly pressed vintage finds), and will be back to think about a bunch of Japanese stoneware plates.

I also discovered Mortlake Cemetery, which almost made me get lost because it spans both sides of the street and I was halfway to Kew before I realised that was not where I meant to be. I was going to say it was a bit dull (or a bit too new, anyway), but maybe I was in the wrong spot – apparently, Charles Dickens’s son is buried there, along with a bunch of other “notable” people.

It snowed for a minute, which is still thrilling. (Oh, but I wish it would settle! I haven’t yet built a snowperson.)

This evening I will be watching episode 4 of Battlestar Galactica (“Act of Contrition”). It’s kind of growing on me.

*I changed my keyboard settings back to Australian (otherwise the ” would be above the 2 and the hash key would be where the \ is…madness, I tell you) and it’s a bugger doing the whole £ thing.

Listening to: Fucken Awesome – Spiderbait

Ha! I just tried googling where to find dried persimmons in London (never going to happen in a town that doesn’t really even do proper bubble tea, but you have to try, don’t you?) and came up with a bunch of scientific journal articles on their viscoelastic behaviour instead.

I went for my walk, through the western bit of Barnes to what I think is Mortlake and up to Chiswick Bridge (the site of those photos from my walk home a few months ago) – god, the Thames is picturesque. It’s filthy, but not like the Torrens or the Derwent are filthy – it’s tree-lined and boaty and pretty. I leaned against the railing/wall and wrote in my diary as I looked across to the next bridge but then I started to worry that I looked like a potential jumper, so I gave up and walked the long way home instead. There’s a particular curtainless house along the river where you can see into the study as you walk past – it’s my dream home. Wall to wall bookcases, an enormous desk (in the middle of the room!), a bankers’ lamp (?), general cosiness… Barnes is an excellent place for casual voyeurism (not in a creepy way! But it’s a good place for evening strolls and one can’t help what one sees if people will not shade their windows. Lots of bohemian red living rooms and stainless steel kitchenware).

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwzWajyWzsw]

Listening to: Couldn’t Do It – Regurgitator (Christ! Am I homesick?)

So it’s been a crappy week, really, but the enormous bag of fortune cookies is still going strong and apparently “[I] WILL BE IN A LAUGHING MOOD TOMORROW”. So that’s something. Tell you what, I am sick of the sight of the library – I was almost grumpy with a student this evening!

It should be okay, though – I forgot about half-term, so I actually have a week off (unpaid, alarmingly, because I’m still in my trial period – I’m supposed to move into Fi’s room in a few weeks, once she finds somewhere else to live, which means a rent hike and a bond top-up). Time to explore London again! Maybe it’ll be like those first six weeks – maybe I’ll start walking to Kilburn again. And if it snows, I have the sewing machine out of hibernation already.

Listening to: Safe European Home – The Clash

* This is my favourite blog post of all time:

[Courtney Love] says things like, “I’m a catalog artist: I compete with Bob Dylan,” and you nod and go “Okay, yeah,” and then you remember that Courtney Love has only ever recorded four studio albums….Some people get really riled up over that shit…but I think it’s grander than grand. I love exaggeration and hyperbole; I love blowing stuff way the hell out of proportion. Despite being a stick-in-the-mud Capricorn, I’m also a hopeless romantic, and I will always embrace every last one of romantic’s lovely synonyms (i.e., extravagant, exaggerated, wild, imaginative, fantastic, improbable, unreal, fanciful, impractical). Those are all beautiful things to be. Imagine if you always had to experience and process life exactly as life really is? That would just be the pits!

(nogoodforme.com)

* I had no idea Muse were so popular, but observe the listening habits of London vs. Adelaide (or pretty much any other Australian city). Are they still around? Who knew? Have they been prolific? (via web-goddess)

* Apparently, if you’re in Adelaide now and you start digging, you will eventually end up halfway between Morocco and Canada (wear bathers). (via diamond geezer)

* Helena Bonham Carter is so cool.

* Heather, I haven’t done this in nearly a year and it just took me a shocking amount of time to remember which one was Uzbekistan. I can’t believe I wasted so much time at the old job playing Bubble Shooter instead.

* BBC album reviews. Hours of fun.

* I rewatched Saving Face and a lot of Degrassi Junior High this weekend. I have almost perfected my Canadian accent (well, as long as the only things I say are “aboot”, “I like ‘im” and “Kathleen!”).

* I also cycled to Clapham Junction and finally started to wish that the weather was a bit warmer. Sort of. It’s a pretty good route for cycle lanes, though, so that’s a plus – once this week’s travel card runs out, it’s time to start riding to work again!

And please keep your fingers crossed that I score a ticket to That Mitchell and Webb Look at the end of the month! I haven’t done BBC things in ages!

(Today’s fortune cookie says “YOU NEED NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR FUTURE”. Okay then.)

Listening to: Love Her Madly – The Doors

Firstly, when did this happen? Suddenly it’s autumn! Awesome.

Autumn in Ealing!

Secondly, this is our oven:

It's the crumbs stuck to the grease on the door that get me.

It’s hard to photograph grease.

Thirdly, I found a new way to walk home today. Google was directing me kind of the long way round (and I’ve been lazy since the move and usually catch the bus from Acton to Hammersmith, halving my walk), but I knew there had to be a way through Chiswick so I printed a couple of zoomed out Google Maps to keep me in the right general direction and set off to explore. It was fun not knowing quite where I was going to end up next! And eventually I made it to the Thames Path (my old nemesis), which was probably not the wisest move because it got quite dark by that point (winter is really coming! Yea!) but it worked out okay. I took quite a main roady route to be on the safe side, so there’s still more to explore in the back streets tomorrow!

Does anyone read these rollover comments?

Ah, Thames Path, we meet again...

Finally, Heather has been emailing me some completely awesome Mills & Boon titles. I am ashamed to say how long it’s been since I even set foot inside a library (not only ashamed but completely distraught, really – what am I doing?) – I’ve missed these and I need to start looking for some of my own again, too! Here’s a selection (seriously, these are some of the best ever):

  • Captive of the desert king
    The Spaniard’s defiant virgin
    The Sheikh’s defiant bride
    One night with the rebel billionaire
    The ruthless Italian’s inexperienced wife
    The Greek tycoon’s unwilling wife
    The Greek tycoon’s convenient wife
    The desert king’s pregnant bride
    The Sheikh’s rebellious mistress
    Up close and dangerously sexy
    The secretary and the millionaire
  • Listening to: That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore – The Smiths

    Oh my god, oh my god, this is the greatest thing ever: Christina Aguilera and Le Tigre to collaborate. How genius is that? I knew Christina Aguilera was cool. I’m so excited!

    Also, this is not exactly the greatest thing ever, but some of that laughter you hear might be mine – my housemate B and I were at this taping last week!:

    [YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8omquSys2y4]

    [YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkdlEn_hSyc]

    [YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELvHykU9BBM]

    It was so much fun to go to! I hate Johnny Vegas – cannot stand him – but they seem to have cut most of his stuff out anyway, because it was utter incoherent nonsense. Jimmy Carr seemed to find him as irritating as I did and did lots of quiet huffing and pointed ignoring. (I’ve been listening to Jimmy Carr’s Writers’ Room podcast lately, and I have a new appreciation for him. He’s quite funny and surprisingly interesting.) The team captains didn’t have as much to say as the edit makes it seem – Sean Lock pretty much stared into space for much of the last hour or so of taping (everyone was a bit tired, and he apparently has a new baby at home). But there was a lot of really funny stuff, and it was interesting to watch it all happen. Also, the BBC employs some very attractive camera crew people.

    P.S. Also from The Guardian new Lemonheads album!

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