millionreasons: (london)
Thursday was Dave's first birthday of the year. We cycled through Barnsbury to Micycle, a café that fixes your bike while u wait. David wanted to sign up for membership, but they couldn't do that in the shop, but they let us use the bike washing equipment and also made us a coffee, which we get on the house "because I'm not very good at making coffee. I don't usually do it". It's good coffee, which we drank in the shady garden. It's a far cry from Halfords.

Set off through Islington and Clerkenwell to the Barbican for the Digital Revolution exhibition. At first, I was fairly bored by this, old computer games*, old computers that reminded me of being at work in the 90s, analogue printing devices, but as we moved through time and got to the present day, I became more interested, particularly in "Songbirds", whereby you rang a mobile (dressed as a bird) from what they referred to an antique (i.e. similar to the one you would have had as a kid) phone, and then the birds would trill. Further on into the future, I whispered a wish into a microphone that turned the thought into a pretend butterfly, played radio stations on a synth, attempted to draw something to be 3D printed (mine wasn't picked), took photos of myself with snake eyes and pixels:

2014-08-07 14.07.22_v1

2014-08-07 14.09.14_v1

turned into a bird and was then eaten by birds, changed the design on a miniskirt, moved lazers with my hands, moved lazers with my mind, and then went outside and played actual ping pong instead of pong.

* It was amusing to play an old Spectrum game, because my** Spectrum never loaded the games properly, but as in days of yore, boredom and frustration kicked in when I got killed. I do not have the concentration or determination to master even level 1 of video games. "Go read, a book, it's so much more worthwhile" as Mr Booth said.
**It was actually a joint present for me, my sister and my dad because Spectrums were about £250 in today's money, more than my parents could afford for an Xmas present.

Afterwards, we went onto Exchange Square behind Liverpool street where people who didn't have to be at work were riding bikes around what they called a velodrome, but was really half a track. I was more interested in watching the cricket on the big screen, watching Broad deliver Dave a nice bday pressie of six wickets. We sat with men in shirt sleeves who drinking lager or Pimms. So much for hard working bankers.
millionreasons: (billie)
On Wednesday, I went for a pre-birthday curry with [ profile] richardbajor, who I have known since I was 18. We struck up a correspondence after he sent me some Vote Labour stickers before the ill-fated 1992 election. Noble failures, that's us.

On Thursday, I was 40 and yet, surprisingly, the world didn't end. We went to London Zoo because I've never been there before. There were macaws that looked like dowager duchesses, cheeky macaques, ponderous gorillas, lazy lions, Dalston monkeys with moustaches, lolloping giraffes, beautiful coral bits, playful penguins, a very pretty serval, a shimmery peacock. I preferred the areas where the animals weren't behind glass, where you could walk amongst them: the aviary, the butterfly tunnel, the Rainforest section, the yellow monkey enclosure. There was also a nocturnal area where, due to the disco lighting, I thought badgers and cats'd be dancing together, but it was more goth (bats 'n' rats). I also realised that all animals whose name begins with an 'a' are really ugly: aardvarks, ant-eaters, alpacas, armadillos. The tapirs aren't much to look at either. At the meerkat enclosure, there was a tunnel that you could crawl through and have some facetime with Aleksandr and his gang but they weren’t playing. However, Dave crawled further on and came face to bum with an aardvark. They reminded me of the weirdly evolved motos in Will Self's The Book Of Dave.

I also liked the historical bits - the original Victorian tropical aviary, with hand operated machinery, the first penguin pool (that I think inspired all those penguin games), the original gorilla house, now housing a smaller animal. Whereas there were a lot of animals there that are not endangered (camels, llamas, pigs), the zoo did at least admit its 19th and early 20th century mistakes and I'm glad that there were no unsuitable animals (elephants, polar bears) housed there.

Unusually for my birthday, it was warm and sunny - until we started to walk back to Camden, when it promptly started to hail. We caught the bus to N1C, i.e. the bit behind King's Cross, and had a meal in Caravan. Pretend cheese-monger Alex James said that he celebrated his 20th birthday with drink, his 30th with drugs and his 40th with food. Well, I did LSD in Crewe on my 20th, two bottles of wine in Spitalfields on my 30th and goat's curd with roast beetroot and pea shoots in King's Cross on my 40th.

On Friday, I had my birthday treat, which was two hours of karaoke at Lucky Voice. Many songs were sung and I discovered that I much prefer duetting and group singing to solo balladeering, although I did have a good go at Dream A Little Dream Of Me, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, The Lady Is A Tramp and I Have A Dream. Dave and I did Jackson by Nancy and Lee, Dave and Dom did a pretty good PJ and Duncan and Claire made an exellent Axl Rose, whilst Heike played inflatable guitar on Sweet Child O'Mine. We finished with a rousing chorus of Livin' On A Prayer, which went acapella as the karaoke machine cut out because the two hours were up, and so we went to the pub to eat Dave's kitsch kirsch cake and drink wine and hear stories. Kicked out at closing time, some folk were up for a night-cap, but I wanted to go home because I'm now old and can go to bed early whenever I want with impunity.
millionreasons: (wine)
Saturday, to Charleston (which, as it turns out, is not [ profile] charleston's country house, but the old mating stomping ground of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant). Dave cycles from Hawywards Heath and I spend an hour in Lewes. Last time I was here, it was for the bonfires of Guy Fawkes' Night with parading fiery crosses, religious persecution, kids throwing bangers: pagan anarchisty Wicker Man style bacchanalia. Today it's a middle class county town. Polite pubs, farmers market, book shops. You can do a Tom Paine tour after the tea shoppes.

We carry on to Glynde, me bitching about cycling up the hills (a sad strop in a sheep shit covered field in Firle) until the house which is by guided tour only; we're taken around by a floaty scarved Vanessa Redgravey lady who finds that Charleston is very "freeing". Fortunately, she doesn't try to sell us an of the watercolours that I reckon she does on Sundays. A woman in the cafe is outraged that Vanessa failed to tell her daughter, Angelica, that she was Duncan Grant's, and not Clive Bell's, child until she was 18. "That poor girl...." I know much of the Bloomsbury Group's lasting attraction is their funny personal lives rather than their art (come on, who has read Eminent Victorians? Be honest now), but this seems to be taking it a little far. No-one mentions that Duncan Grant's boyfriend lived with them at Charleston or that Angelica later married him or that the Bloomsbury Group, when it was the Cambridge Group, was basically a group of gay male intellectuals. Would ruin the chintz and heritage ambience.

The garden is nice though.

We cycle back along gravel lanes and more hills and more crying tantrums from me. I am not an all terrains, all weather cyclist. I hate muddy lanes and hills and cowpats. Back on the Kingland road, despite the buses cutting me up and cars trying to kill me, I feel at one with my bicycle once more. In Sussex, I was sorely tempted to throw it into a hedge and walk the seven miles back to Lewes.

Sunday, Dave's birthday in The Snooty Fox. Dan buys him a penguin's head which is duly modelled by everyone. 8 hours passes rather quickly in which I manage a pathetic two pints. Outside, there's rain and riots, but we're sealed in a hermetic Canonbury shell where the only problems are lack of vegetarian food on the menu (veggie lasagne? Really? Is it 1988?).
millionreasons: (cake)
My birthday weekend starts a little early on Thursday when I meet up with [ profile] richardbajor in Kingston for a swim and a curry and a present drop. 'Twixt chlorine and kormai, I take a walk 'round the Bentalls centre whilst he does the Golden Triangle of Lidl, Wilkos and the Poundshop, and I bump into Ms Chilly, or rather she bumps into me; my facial recognition skills are poor especially if said person has a knitted wine cover as their social media profile pic.

Saturday, we go into town to do two things off of the Londoner map, first Westminster Cathedral and then Pollock's Toy Museum. They must be both be mentioned in the Rough Guide as there are only tourists here, no Londonists. Catholic churches always seem more religious than CofE ones with their nuns and praying people and incense; I guess that, unlike the Anglican church, you do actually have to be a believer in order to get past all the virgin birth and pervy priests stuff. We take the lift to the top of the bell tower and look out at London. It's not as impressive as the view from the wheel or even the Monument; my favourite viewpoint looks South to Battersea power station and the rest of the cathedral, the north vista is rather ruined by 60s brutalism and 90s glassism.

Onto the Toy Museum in Fitzrovia, a traditional quirky museum with grumpy staff and onlyfour other visitors; I suppose most people go to the free Museum of Childhood in E2. It's a strange old place, set in a creaky, dusty Georgian house, games and toys attached to walls somewhat haphazardly too high and too low to look at properly. We discover that ludo and snakes & ladders are Indian games (indeed there is a snakes and ladders board with writing in English and Hindi), that wax dolls are rather creepy, marbles are good, and that poor disabled soldiers from WW1 were given jobs making toy tanks for children. Salt. Wound. There is also a 4000 year old wooden mouse, lots of paper theatres from the original Pollock's in Hoxton and Russian nesting dolls from the Victorian and rather more modern age.

In the evening, we eat a rather nice meal at Yum Yums only mired by the fact that a) we've chosen an early booking so as not to miss Eurovision which also seems to be the parent and children sitting and b) the waitress asking if my fat belly contains a boy or girl foetus.

Sunday is spent in the company of my chums in the beer garden of the White Hart. I drink several glasses of wine, but don't cry into the ashtrays about being almost 40, in fact I think I remember talking about the difficulty of school selection at one point.

Monday, we go to Vita and Harold's old gaff:

My birthday cake as made, iced and decorated by [ profile] davidnottingham. It's so nice that I now feel bad for trying to steal his soul while he sleeps. Did I say soul? I mean duvet. Yes, duvet. Definitely duvet.

millionreasons: (wine)

My birthday dawns cold, windy and rainy. This is hardly a surprise; I'm more or less used to 1st-15th and then 17th-31st May being warm and sunny with the bit in between being freezing.

We go out for an East End walk, down to Cable St to have a gander at the mural, then up to Princelet Street to have a look at the old synagogue. It was meant to become a Museum of Immigration but it looks like the money ran out - there's a notice on both the front door and their website saying that they've had to cancel their open days. A pity, as I'd love to poke around in there. One Huguenot residence still open is the oil lamp-lit Dennis Severs house, the ex-home of an eccentric American who did up the dilapidated Georgian house and then charged people to have a look. It's quite fascinating as it's done as if the family and servants have just popped out, with broken tea-cups, un-made beds and half-eaten boiled eggs (actual eggs, not plastic or ceramic) lying around. Instead of telling you not to touch, the guides stand out around telling you not to speak above a whisper. As well as looking, you're supposed to smell and listen to the museum as well. It reminds me of the weird art nouveau house we visited in Brussels, although David thinks it's more like the Jorvik Museum. We also pop into the Up Market, which was the natural successor to Spitalfields market when that was redeveloped, but now it just annoys me. Seeing 80s clothes sold as 'vintage' to people who are aiming to look like Kevin Rowland or Alannah out of the Thompson Twins, and looking at the rows of plaid shirts with pre-rolled sleeves is pretty depressing when you're 37. The tannoy plays Tears for Fears. I don't mind getting old so much, I just object to young people.

Victuals are provided by the Rootmaster and Nude Espresso, and later we go out to meet the gang (well, a gang) at Tay Do for summer rolls and crispy noodles, followed by beer in the Royal Oak.

My best present: a year's supply of chocolate. My worst present (from myself): gym membership.
millionreasons: (Default)

What do you do when you’re 33? Go to Geneva for the weekend? Get fucked on drugs and stay up til sunrise? Dinner at the Ivy?

No, you go to a museum celebrating the life of Marc Brunel and his tunnel and then walk through the delightful ecological park to Surrey Docks Farm to watch a squeal of pigs in a suckling frenzy and then get home before it starts to rain. Oh, and your charming partner boyfriend treats you to lunch at Carluccios, sweedie.

Later, we go out to perennial fave the Faltering Fullback for copious drinks, strawberries, Thai noodles, candy cigarettes, ‘psycho bitch from hell’ badges, Spiderman tattoos, red eye photos, talk of trips to Nottingham, Blackpool and Café Kick and my dear chums Alice, Allan, Andy, Aug, Dave#1, DJJohn, Gareth, Heike, Jo, Mark, Richard, Steve, Tanya and Tom. I’m happy.

millionreasons: (london)
We braved (or cowarded in my case) the weather to go out for Jo’s 2nd birthday of the week, not before Steve and Alice had come round with a roll of lino for my Camberwell kitchen, and a digital camera to take a picture of Dave and I in front of my lightbox for a poster Steve is designing. We may yet be the stars of a Hepatitis C seminar. Caught the 19 up to Finsbury Park and sat eating pasta ‘n’ pizza ‘n’ profiteroles in la Porchetta under the aircon which was blowing out delicious heat. A bottle of wine later and I forgot to feel the cold on the way back down Stroud Green Road. Maybe Sweden would be more appropriate for me than Spain.

January 2017

89 1011121314


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 21st, 2017 07:03 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios