Posts Tagged ‘London’
Yesterday when I was stalking Dominic West on line (what´s a girl supposed to do until her Mim visits and brings her The Wire, Season 2?), I realised that he played the lead role in Tom Stoppard´s Rock ´n´ Roll, a production which I had the misfortune of seeing in London in January 2007.
I don´t precisely remember why I disliked the play so intensely, just that it was intensely tedious*. Now, if only I had thought to bring my opera glasses, I´m sure I would´ve had more fun watching Mr West at close range.
* It did make me want to catch a Plastic People of the Universe gig someday though. A good excuse to visit Prague, I guess.
I am hot. Properly hot. Also, I am sick and tired of status updates and tweets by Brits complaining of the “heat”. So, upon reading the following yesterday, it was reassuring to discover that not everyone living in the UK has become a mentalist:
Hats off to Carla who, quite sensibly, elects to keep her cardigan on. And well she might.
The following comparison between London and Dubai temperatures over the last month was sourced via Wolfram Alpha.
Current temperature: 24°C
Minimum: 9°C, June 8
Maximum: 28°C, June 28
Current temperature: 40°C
Minimum: 26°C, June 5
Maximum: 46°C, July 2
“Not fair!” I hear the overheated British masses cry. “It´s been much hotter than 28°C here.” I´m not disputing that the data might be slightly on the conservative side, but this goes for the Dubai temperatures too. I´ll match your 32°C and raise you a 49°C.
Furthermore, I´d like to point out that the average, I repeat, average, temperature in Dubai over the past month has been hotter than the maximum level reached in London.
Personally, I think there´s been far too much whinging about the alleged UK “heatwave”. Enough already. Relish the mild sunlight that is currently shining down on you, and leave bitching about the heat to people who know what 40°C plus feels like. If I hear any more griping, I´m going to instruct my strongmen to track you down and klap you one, before confining you to a sauna for 48 hours. That is all.
Port Alfred. London. Budapest. Johannesburg.
No, this isn´t a list of the branches of a fabulous new restaurant or suchlike (the inclusion of Port Alfred probably gave that one away!) but a list of the places I´ve spent the last four New Years. Was half expecting to be in Dubai for this one but now rather glad all the bureaucracy took a while, as celebrations were cancelled in Dubai last night, in a show of solidarity with the Palestians.
But as Mim pointed out: celebrations should´ve been cancelled in South Africa too, in a show of solidarity with the Zimbabweans. At least I went to see Tuku, so our comrades north of the Limpopo were in my heart.
On my day off last week, I went and had lunch with the lovely Dom at Hyde Park. She had to get back to work; I didn´t. I had a glass of wine; she didn´t. I mean, if you can´t drink wine at lunch on your day off, when can you? And I hadn´t had a shopping binge since I was in London last year…
This is what I bought:
A refill for the Dior J´Adore my friend Salt bought me for my birthday last year. And I received a free Dior Diorshow mascara. Also, some underwear (not really in the lingerie class, alas) by Sloggi.
At Oil & Vinegar:
White balsamic vinegar and truffle oil for Mim, because you can´t buy presents only for yourself. Granted, I´m the one who´s going to cook with these ingredients. But Mim and Pim will reap the culinary rewards. Actually, we had a gorgeous dish of chicken, grapes and almonds with white balsamic vinegar and truffle oil last night.
At Look & Listen:
Fight for your mind by Ben Harper. I know I should´ve bought it years ago, and I also know I have several friends who would´ve willingly burnt it for me. But I just wanted it now. Like, right now! In fact, I´m listening to it has I type. And I can´t help remembering the first time I listened to Jack Johnson in a friend´s car and I said: “Who is this?” and he said: “Jack Johnson – he´s like Ben Harper, but better.” Not to knock Jack Johnson, but my friend was wrong.
Pata Pata by Miriam Makeba. I was deeply troubled when I came home from work last Monday and realised I didn´t own a single recording by Mama Afrika. Now I do. Btw, Kim is editing a documentary about Miriam´s work with landmine victims in Mozambique. I´ll let you know when it´s showing.
The Bends by Radiohead. Kim used to own the album. I don´t know where her copy disappeared to. “Wish it was the sixties, wish I could be happy. ” Nuff said.
Joy Division 1977-1980 by, um, Joy Division. Been meaning to pick up some tunes ever since I watched an excellent documentary about the band at Encounters earlier in the year…
At Hilton Weiner:
A lovely pair of pumps. For the record, they were on sale.
“Well,” I thought to myself after this shopping spree, “I have shown admirable restraint by not entering the book store and my bank balance can be grateful that Hyde Park doesn´t boast The Space, Big Blue, or Sowearto.”
I thought too soon… Next thing I´d met up with ABJ and his mim and we were off to Sandton City. We happened to walk past Jo Borkett, and all resistance crumbled… I´ve always wanted to have a Jo Borkett dress and, while I´d had no fantasies about owing a bangle to match said dress, I discovered that I very much wanted one of those too. Perhaps I´ll post a pic sometime.
For my time in London, I stayed with my saucy HP cousins, and their kitty cat, Muffin Pants. They are definitely top contenders for the Consummate Host 2007 Awards. Here´s what they did right:
1. Gave me a room and their spare key.
2. Did not comment on my comings and goings in the early hours of the morning.
3. Went away on holiday for a large part of my stay.
4. Lived their own lives, and let me live mine.
It´s simple really. All too often, when you´re staying with friends or family, both parties end up bending over backwards to accommodate each other, and end up with a compromise that leaves everyone feeling disgruntled. HP just continued about their daily lives, and assumed I´d look after myself.
Perfect, and no feelings of catholic guilt to haunt me. Sure the evenings when we all managed to be home at the same time were few and far between, but this made them even more special. It´s a rare gift indeed to give you guests the space they need… Perhaps it´s because HP are cat people?
I rounded up my friends in London for another celebration. The very lovely Leti suggested Candid Cafe as a venue – reminiscent of ATOM sans copious alcohol consumption, sexy waiters, surly barman, and infamous bathroom shenanigans.
But hey, I´m not complaining – it was definitely the closest I´ve found to Obscurvitory in London. It was fabulous (dahling!) to catch up with friends from Cape Town and Grahamstown days in a setting that felt a just a little bit like home.
As we were all milling around in the foyer of the Bloomsbury Theatre, I spotted someone I knew – not a common phenomenon for me in London. By “knew”, I mean I thought this person might be the brother of an ex-housemate. I´d only met him once before, years ago – the brother, not the ex-housemate – but like, we are “friends” too, on the interweb. And the person across the room from me, did bear a striking resemblance to the profile pic of my “friend”, TX.
I was at a book reading by Douglas Coupland. Would TX go to a Douglas Coupland reading, I wondered idly? Based upon my limited knowledge of his personality, I reflected that he very well might. Would a Douglas Coupland reading be the kind of gathering where it was likely I would bump into someone I only knew vaguely through the interweb? For sure!
I ended up sitting a row in front of the person whom may or may not have been TX, and finally said hello and inquired as to his identity. It was indeed TX, and there was just enough time to check out some pictures of his cutie-pie progeny before Coupland took the stage.
He was reading from his latest novel, The Gum Thief. At first, I was disappointed. I mean, this guy looked older than my parents (for the record, he isn´t). And he read in a soothing monotone, with the emphasis on “monotone” rather than “soothing”. But gradually I began to realise this style suited the sterile and pre-packaged world his characters inhabit.
I read two-thirds of the book while I was sitting in the queue to have it signed (for the record, I read the rest in the tube on my way home). And what I do love about reading Coupland, is that almost every line is a fridge quote. But part of me can´t help feeling, at least in his latest offering, that´s all there is to it: an assortment of sentences and phrases that would make me laugh out loud each morning if I had bothered to copy them down and stick them on my fridge. But I didn´t, and now I can´t remember a single line, and I don´t really care.
Typically of Coupland, The Gum Thief contains characters who struggle to break free of their McJobs; sadly, this results in little more than fast-food literature. Don´t get me wrong – I loved reading the novel. But there weren´t any new flavours; only reprocessed ideas and characters that left me, if not exactly unsatisfied, then certainly unaffected. Perhaps this is the point?
Literary groupie that I am, it was still fun to have my book signed. And Douglas Coupland called me “glamorous”, even though I was only dressed in jeans and I had been unable to reapply my lipstick for fear of losing my place in the queue. But then he ruined any advantage gained through his flattery by drawing a sparkly heart in my book, which was a trifle disturbing.