Monday, 16 November 2015


"You're everywhere", he said.
"I need you to certify my existence", she said over my head to the man smiling broadly, pink face, a couple of pews ahead.
"I can certainly do that", he said. I laughed - it seemed a powerful position to be in. My laugh caught his attention. "I'm a justice of the peace", he explained.
"Oh", I said, "I thought you were just being helpful."
"He's god", the lady boomed over my head again. It made me laugh again.
"Do you need anything certifying?" He asked.
"I'm sure I do but you don't know me to certify anything", I retorted.
"I could certify that you seem nice", he said in triumph.
"That would be nice", said I.

Saturday, 7 November 2015


Darkened space, white body stood with blacked out eyes and blacked out genitals, breathing, music thumping blood. Muscle tight against ribs, ripped. Arms. Rib cage expanding and closing. The body walks on all fours across the space, deliberately, hands and feet placed as a big cat, the only sound of the touch against the floor. Alien. Creature. Spit hanging from its mouth. Front leg and back leg in unison. Fingers bent like claws. Reach the wall, turn face to the audience. Breathing. Like a spider moving towards us. Francis Bacon-risqué. Human as animal. Watching. Then up on two legs. Out of the primordial soup we dragged ourselves upright. Carrying a tray of tea things precariously balancing on tip toes. Naked. Placing it back down carefully and returning upright to attempt to whistle. Trying and trying and almost but not quite managing. Gone. 

Then returned. Dressed in white lace. Proper. Balancing on buttocks legs and upper body extended without touching the floor, effort, strength, muscles tested, limbs quivering. Moving across the floor to pick up a mobile phone whilst balancing o n the shoulders - body up like an s shape. Light from the phone highlighting the neck, retching, throaty, primeval calling, pre language. Return to animal. And light. And light cast out putting the performer in solid darkness. Finally the exuberance of jumping up and down a strong shadow reflecting against the back wall. Big menacing robot on the wall. Small white body jumping up and down in front of it. 

It made me want to run out and help. To look in the same depth as I would look during a life class. Body as object. Alive machine. It made me want to draw. To make studies of the human body again. In its raw form. Stripped down. Stark. 


Thursday, 5 November 2015


I'm fascinated by this grown man colouring in his "Calming art therapy colouring book" on the overground this evening. I might need to do that - it might make the journeys more bearable. Everyone all around him is watching as he felt tips between the lines. It's a queen (like on a deck of cards). 

Monday, 2 November 2015

Happy Halloween

So we had a party to attend on Halloween night and decided we should dress. After the Panther's niece's 5th birthday party we couldn't quite bring ourselves to go home so were on our way to a joint we thought might be a bit happening when we bumped into a lot of similarly dressed ghouls on their way to a party, so we tagged along. It was an old school house party with quiet music and lots of talking. I'm guessing the costumes meant people were less hung up than usual. Best place in the house as usual - swinging between the kitchen (which included a queue for the lavatory) and the roof terrace for smokers (one has to frequent the terrace even if one isn't a smoker - just for the company). We left about 4am without realising it had become so late. The mist had come down and we walked to the bus stop feeling very suitable to the weather, two sheets to the wind, and glad of the back seats of the warm bus once it came. The Panther kept looking at me saying he was trying to see me inside the face. And was greatly looking forward to me washing my face at home. Tres effective make up I think. 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Two things

Big fad currently seeping into London - the mini-Segway hover board. First time I saw them two men were on their way out in Shorditch (one assumed from where they were) gliding down the road in hats holding umbrellas against the rain. Then next there was a group of seven youths all riding them down the street in Peckham in a range of colours. Yesterday a woman using one along my street at home. These are electric powered boards to assist walking. It isn't as fast as a bike. And it costs nearly £300. The 'riders' stand bolt upright and still (it appears). It's not about tricks (like a skateboard). And it isn't going to transport you for long distances. So I'm guessing in the future when we all need them we will increase our obesity through lack of needing to walk. 

And then, one hopes, that soon we will get a surgence of 'old style' cafes where it is deemed inappropriate to be using a computer or linked into a screen all the time. The cafe opposite work today was filled with single computer users drinking cups of tea (cheapest item on the menu) at each table. A request to share a table was met with a shrug and when my colleague arrived to drink coffee with me the table 'owner' huffed off elsewhere. Perhaps small cafe owners will tire of providing free electricity and wifi and try to get back to encouraging socialising... 

Thursday, 22 October 2015


The halls are full of commuters slowed by the few who can't tear themselves from the news popping into their tiny screens long enough to put one foot solidly in front of the other and join the pace of the road. Trip hazards. It used to be wheelie suitcases. Things have changed. 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Oddities of Brixton

A man and a kid carry a stack of chairs across the street accompanied by the wife who has two chairs and is walking in bare feet. It's raining. 

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

When is a skirt not a skirt?

Taking the concept of "skirt" to its extremes - she walked through the commuting crowd standing guard at Liverpool street station eyes tied to the departure boards like a hypnotised audience - brown felt floppy hat (hippy variety that seems to be in vogue just now), white crochet cardigan, brown miniskirt that wasn't skimming her bottom, rather more blatantly showing her ass cheeks hanging out as they would in a pair of hot pants a la 1970 beachwear. No visible sign of any undergarments either. And certainly no tights. The voice of a thousand mothers echoed in my head, "you can't go out like that". And then she was gone. The departure board platform numbers rolled over to reveal 3 and the hypnotised moved as one towards the appropriate barriers. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Man With Two Umbrellas

The majority of people do not attempt to board the train. I have a connection to make. I squeeze in between a man lisping to his friend - reasoning as to why people wait for every third empty train - and a black woman in a blond wig playing candicrush. 

It's wet. It was wet yesterday. Not when I left home by bike but by the time I was coming home with dirty water spraying up my backside from the wheel. And it's starting out the same today. 

A man sitting. Brown beret. Long thin greying dredlocks. Reading the paper. His jacket is hanging open. He has propped his long umbrella in the crook of his knee and it leads against the glass beside his seat. Then I notice he has a folding umbrella poking out from his inside jacket pocket. The man with two umbrellas. I can't think of an explanation. With a large umbrella you can sheild a companion and yourself comfortably. Why would you need a second one? 

Friday, 4 September 2015


So I'm sitting on a northern line train from London Bridge to Euston (damn lucky to get a seat, think I) and on the right there's a man sleeping who's eyes keep rolling back in his head and an umbrella in his backpack who's handle keeps hitting me on the arm. And on the left is a woman playing candicrush with an umbrella in her bag who's handle is poking me in the other arm. Feel like I'm in the middle of a joust. 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015


I wrote a lot more than normal in August. Its because I was miserable. I have always written more when miserable. For a month I have been struggling with the sudden departure of the panther. Sudden and all-encompassing. I've talked a lot. Spent time considering why. Figured out how I actually felt. 

And then there was the slow return. At first difficult, unhappy, angry. The juxtaposition of the passion felt. In fact a passion still, just one from suddenly unrequited love rather than mutual love. I had a hole, and filled the void with old friends who listened (thank you all) and understood also. I felt stronger, even though abjectly lonely. Men kept insisting on speaking to me, its something to do with the damsel in distress signal that I must have been putting out accidentally. So I then started feeling attractive despite the pain. I occupied myself, however I saw fit, on my own whim. Cycled, spent all day in the pub for Leo's birthday, went to Norfolk and swam with the seals, saw a band playing in Brick Lane, bought their CD, went to the Curve Garden in Dalston, went to a gig, ate out, threw myself on the mercy of friends and family in search of entertainment and cheering up. 

I decided not to jeopardise what I really really wanted by messing about with people from whom there was no spark. 

And the panther wanted to see me, weekly at first. Despite my pain I agreed. It seemed to help me deal with the never coming back thing by seeing him in his different state. It didn't quite appear that his chosen path was making him happy but that was his choice. We started talking in more depth than we ever had. 

At the end of his visits I was having to get ready to go out. We would ride the bus to Seven Sisters together. Parting would seem like the old days with a long look back. Once there was a long kiss watched by a newspaper distributer who sighed as I went down into the tube. There was sorrow. And regret. And lots and lots of talk.

Then there was realisation. Of love potentially lost. Of a happier time. Of deeper meaning. Of great desire. From both parties. 

And today, we are on the third day of his return. New harmony, or perhaps restored harmony. With greater understanding. Deeper. More meaningful. Having remembered what it was all about in the first place. So we embark once again on a reconciled path. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015


I've never seen that before, he said, tears well up like a pool in the basin of the inner eye before running over. He is smiling. It's beautiful, he said. And leaned down to kiss her. I'm sorry, she said. He stroked her hair and wiped away the trail of salty water. 

Saturday, 29 August 2015


There's a girl sitting next to me with an angry red spot on the side of her mouth. 

Kebab shop in Stoke newington with 8 Turks in white teeshirts and paper hats waiting for the early evening crowd. 

A woman with check trousers and a bare lower back where her tan jacket doesn't join walks along while trying to smooth her hair against the rain. 

Reminds me of the warm rain drops falling on my bare shoulders while I gardened this afternoon. 

Pink hair holding hands with her boyfriend wearing his hoodie like a kid being batman.

Everybody waiting to cross the road. Man in bike, red hood. Blue anorak. Shopping bags. Blond hair. Black boy. All looking right. 

Station attendant on a cigarette break having a long look at a large ass walking by dressed in tight black leggings. 

Bus stop - scene of the man running up after I'd gotten on the bus - shouting  - that woman! Turning to my companion that evening urgently saying - I've seen her before you have to give me her number - she's my ideal woman. My companion didn't. But was intrigued at such outpourings. 

Man handed back his mobile phone after the Chinese takeaway proprietor shouted after him - must have left it on the counter.

Tight striped pencil skirt and very straight hair walking accompanied by a man riding a bicycle very slowly along beside her. 

Canal - long expanse of murky green into the distance. Narrow boats.

Tall bush of red geraniums in a window of St Leonard's Hospital. 

Man in a navy blazer, driving a blue jaguar. My father's car is a jaguar. Kate and her elocution lesson rings in my ear.

One Good Deed Today the neon tells me.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Magic Wand

Just when I hit the depths of misery that was becoming unbearable to even myself, let alone all the people I had unleashed it upon, a jeweller I know came for a meeting and was carrying a piece of live edge plastic. Curious to the point of nosiness I asked her if she was taking it back to her studio and what she was going to do with it. She said that actually it was a magic wand and she was indeed returning it to the studio - it was her daughter's and she had now grown out of it. Incredulous I said, "what?! No way." Whereupon Vicky said it's fairly pointless material because when you chop it into smaller bits there isn't enough shaft to focus the light in this way as it does whole. "But it's lovely", I said. You can have it, she said. And my heart skipped with glee, I'm not sure why. A tiny drop of magic in a gloomy time. I carried it around all day, it's end gleeming in this weird unnatural way. Magic wand transferred from teen to ever so grateful 45 year old. 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Hoxton Beard - the end

Woke to a huge commotion - next doors dog scrabbling up against their garden fence and a massive thud on my mat. IKEA delivery of a new catalogue. Flicking through before relegating it to the recycling I noticed that the male catalogue models were sporting a lot of Hoxton beardage. Even the cover boy. If that is not a clear, CLEAR, indicator that the Hoxton beard has ceased being ironic and should forthwith be shaved off I don't know how we can let them know. 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Day 18

It's been 18 days since the panther left. I've seen him twice. I'm getting worse rather than better. I realised I've never really been left before. Not when I wasn't ready. There have been fizzling-outs. There have been mutually agreed endings. I have dumped people (and it was necessary at the time but boy I didn't realise how painful it might be for the other party). But left, no. 

It has raised up all sorts of weird connections with death - reminding me of the grief I felt/feel at the loss of my mother. 

I'm very conflicted - feel I should move on and yet can't (I know it's soon but the abject loneliness is extremely hard to bear) - it feels like waiting-in-case is the thing the body, head and heart wants to do. I remember when my mother died I was desperately upset that we cremated her body because it meant if she wanted to return we had gotten rid of her body so she couldn't (and I don't even believe in an afterlife - it was just some irrational fear). So doing something that may jepordise a return is not a current option. I can but hope that will not last for months. Moving on is a must. I can't live a life on hold.

And no amount of anyone telling me there are plenty more fish in the sea, or it's not you it's him, or any of the other platitudes people tell you that are supposed to ease your pain and make you realise that they are on your side, makes the blindest bit of difference to the void and pain that sits in the chest resting heavily there like a lead weight. 

Victoria Line

On a normal day at a normal time of year the platform may have a queue of people one deep spread along the whole length of seven sisters southbound platform. Some of these will only get in the approximately 1 in 4 trains that start there.

It's August and they are doing engineering work on the northern end of the line. All trains start at seven sisters. And all the people from Walthamstow Central, Blackhorse Road and Tottenham Hale are being bused over to seven sisters. The station is crowded. And those from the burbs seem to walk about more slowly. As a usual passenger from the station I'm finding myself falling over people at my usual pace. I was told on the weekend that perhaps I should think about the opposite - what a nightmare it must be for those from the burbs to have to share their journey into the station with all the angsty tottenhamites they never had to meet before!

The platform is two or three deep but all the trains come in empty and can accommodate everyone so once we all get on the train and set off its just like normal again. Although it does seem a little dress-down-August-y. 


We crowded on. Standing around the central pole. Next stop a very short woman got on. Face down to the floor. Stood by the pole but didn't get a grip. When the train lurched forward she staggered backwards and grabbed hold of my upper thigh to stop herself falling over. It made me feel both slightly inappropriately touched and like a pole - in an inanimate sort of way. A fellow passenger smiled at me once we had all recovered our composure. The little woman didn't look up once. 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Naked girl

So our building has just had its windows replaced with new sparklingly clean uPVC versions that are actually totally in keeping with the original rotten wooden ones from 1869. 

I have mentioned that across the street from my office is a young woman who seems to forget that our building overlooks hers. I've seen her fresh from the bath, combing her hair looking in a mirror propped up against the window without a stitch of clothing on and the cat rolling itself across her skin. I've seen her get up and throw on a teeshirt and deal with something on her roof terrace only to turn around and head back through her French doors flashing her naked behind. I've seen her rolling out of bed at 11.00am on a weekday and being a naked sleeper, she's nude. I've seen her in her altogether more times than I care to mention.

This week I was talking on the phone in the office standing up looking out of the window. I like to rest my eyes looking at the Shard. Movement in her window drew my attention from the perifory, I turned my eyes rather than my whole head to see a naked young man lay back across the bed and she put a knee down on either side of him and slide her naked self over him to rest chest to chest, her butt in the air. And then they looked out of the window and looked directly at me. They went from disbelieve to nervous laughter and then drew the curtains. So finally they discovered that people might be able to see them. Perhaps I should have sent them a note. I have been tempted to put letters in my window spelling out I CAN SEE YOU but I never did. Since this meeting of eyes they have been much more discrete! 

Street music

So in going about this week I was persuaded to buy two cheap CDs after listening to live music being performed. Just to remember the sound by.

On Sunday I was wheeling the bike down brick lane through the massive throng that it is - food stalls, trendy shops, craft beers. Came upon a band playing on a corner playing funky rock tunes. Three up front all with big Afros and a drummer. I listened. It's the kind of music that just gets into your skin and makes you want to dance around. And then there was the hugely sexy guitar player. The crowd moved about between songs and at the end I decided to get a CD. They were The Thirst. And i wish they had some gigs coming up before December because they may be one of those bands that just has to be seen live.

On Tuesday I swang by the Dalston Curve Garden after eating with my dad. It was having an acoustic music evening. It was drizzling. The queue for drinks (elderflower cider I ended up with - that wasn't bad) was long and the first band was a bit too miserable for my current state of mind. But the garden itself was a tranquil idyll and at 10ish some musicians started fiddling around on the stage and then broke into a most amazing sound - driven by a drummer without a mounted drum kit that included a cymbal on the floor that he still managed to make ring, and some roasting tins. The sound was like techno dance music - accompanied on some kind of vibraphone and a guitar. Really got the young hippy crowd dancing. Truely remarkable sound from live instruments. Street Kit Project - well worth catching if you can find them. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015


People that know me would be surprised to discover that I have taken to riding up and down the streets, towpaths and byways of London on two wheels powered by my own energy. But that is what I am doing. It's an activity that gives a sense of freedom, it's outdoors, wind in your hair. 

Yesterday I cycled to work - that's Tottenham to Peckham. 13.6 miles one way (if you don't get lost - which I did). Totally energised by the time I got to work. Strangely. 

At the top of Stamford Hill after the slight but persistent incline (not fit enough yet to make it all the way up sadly!) I suddenly discovered that I couldn't push my foot round the peddle because it was tied by the shoelace to the pedal - I did manage to freewheel onto the pavement and then because I am so right footed attempted to stop on the right (trapped) foot and therefore fell off in what I like to think was an elegant sprawl (oxymoron I know). Sitting on the ground with the bike between my legs I found I had to get my shoe off in order to release myself. I started laughing. And then found there was a van with a driver sat inside watching. He mouthed, "are you ok?", to which I answered yes. Embarrassing. But not injured, I carried on. 

By the time I got home I had done 26 miles - that's a marathon. I've never self-propelled myself that far in one day in my entire life. It was epic. 

Tuesday, 4 August 2015


Dad was trying to get her to eat slightly runny fried eggs on toast. She was easily distracted. 

I like your hair she said turning to me. Thank you I said.
I like your dress (it was purple with sequins - rather too Saturday night for Sunday morning breakfast). 
Why are your teeth brown? She asked, her father cringed, I laughed. My right front tooth is discoloured slightly - not brown by a long shot but more cream than the rest of them. 
It's not real I said and it's gotten discoloured.
Eat some more egg, here mouth open. Her father is desperate to distract her. She turns to my companion.
I like your hat. He says he likes hers also. She turns back to me.
Why have you got dots? She is looking at my freckly arms. I laugh. My companion laughs. For her father it's the last embarrassment straw he can handle
Let's go to the park... And off they go. Kids. Hilarious. 

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Mascara bar birthday bash

Is it always a blond who starts the dancing in an empty dance floor?

Is it more pleasant emptish but marginally cooler or more fun packed and sweating?

Boy (actually aged 26) celebrating his birthday bounding around having a most excellent time is chucked out for what seems like over-exuberance. 


Woke with a vengeance this morning to a reality I haven't felt in 10 months - of loneliness without a partner with whom I'd been sharing a life which I hadn't realised was a fairytale. Such promising beginnings ended, in my opinion prematurely, with me being unceremoniously left without a possibility of persuasion. 

Wednesday, 29 July 2015


New windows, removed scaffolding. Bright. Clear view. On the pavement outside the cafe opposite the foreman of our building works and the surveyor from the Council have a meeting while drinking infinitely superior coffee than they might get from our building and bask in the morning sunshine. Miss Tapas next door is having food delivered from an organic supplier. The woman with the roof terrace over the cafe comes out of her French doors potters around for a minute holding down the front of her peach coloured tee shirt. Steps back inside, revealing a naked white bottom, and props the door open for ventilation. Next to the chimney stacks and across from the tree line the Shard has a facia of sheer silver - a silver sliver - where the sun hits it on one plane only. 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Afternoon Blues

Across the street from my office the row of once Little Lagos inspired shops are being taken over by the arty gentrifying sprawl from Bellenden Road. We now overlook a suitably expensive cafe, a male grooming parlour which does hair and beards and a tapas restaurant. 

The tapas restaurant has started the formalisation of the outside areas with a raised outdoor seating area claded in decking. Great spot for catching the mid afternoon sun. 

A couple were seated drinking coffee and waiting for their nibbles. A normal couple in all ways - tee shirts (navy and marl), shorts and trainers, mousy crew cut slightly balding, blond ponytail. While waiting she breastfed the baby under a floral sack, and he smoked a cigarette while shading himself with a navy blue parasol. 

And then a car pulls up blaring out blues music sung in a deep baritone and a sensual loosely strung electric guitar. John Lee Hooker. A peep out the window reveals a black hard top MG. After three loose gangly tunes that really started getting me going the driver returned, got in, slammed the door with a solidly satisfying thud, turned the engine over (causing a pause in the music), and roared away. Leaving behind the street chatter and the disappointingly  tinkly notes from the barbers.

Friday, 10 July 2015


Extraordinarily controlling African dad - tall and imposing - barking orders at his extremely well behaved children - sit there, don't open that now, eat the melon, use the fork your hands are filthy, hurry up and finish it we are getting off next stop, son are you hearing my words?, close it now, put your fork in there, you are not wearing this headband tomorrow, carry it outside.... Not a moment of silence and not a flicker of a smile the whole way. 

When they got off their seats were taken by a girlcat wearing black furry ears with a gold bell inside and her boyfriend. 

Weapon collection

There's this red wheelie bin outside Tottenham police station that says "deposit weapons here". I understand they may be running an amnesty or something but what's to stop someone collecting rather than depositing? Or running off with the bin itself and collecting all of them? Seems slightly flawed system to me. 

Wednesday, 8 July 2015


Quietly sitting contemplating the trajectory of two flies caught in the skylight. Earlier sleeping in a chair dappled sunlight played across my eyelids. Now I have an itch to be on the move again. Too long in one place lets the brain get busy in a negative way. 

Overground travel

There's a baby on this mid-day overground train that is doing a fantastic impression of a Wookiee exerting a throaty rolling sound most like Chubaka. 

I'm off home before the tube strike kicks in. 

Tuesday, 30 June 2015


Now I know we are supposed to call tramps homeless people or street drinkers or other more politically correct but less evocative things, but there was this tramp. In Stockwell. Grey skin, thick with ashy dirt, long matted grey beard, long matted grey hair, grey track pants, dirty shirt not done up, huge belly. He came out of a telephone box (one of the new kinds with clear glass doors and an advertisement on one window) and poured a bottle of very yellow frothy liquid down the drain outside, leaving his filthy belongings on their trolley in the phone box. Living in the box I guessed. Life. But not as we know it. 


In the beginning of the relationship of Hurricane the Tempest (that's me) and the Panther (that's him), way back in October, I put a note in my calendar that said Panthers bday. He added a little bit into that entry that I saw at some point one day that said I hope we are still together then

This weekend we had a big party hosting everyone he knows for his birthday. BBQ on a hot afternoon with music provided by a couple of DJs. Bothered some of the neighbours a bit, council noise team came round. We said goodbye to the last guest at 3am. Jolly good time had by all. Including the Panther, which is pretty difficult as a host. 

Friday, 12 June 2015

People love a revolving door

From a small half hour study I have concluded that faced with a revolving door, a wide open door and and automatically opening door the vast majority of people will still opt to exit or enter through the revolving door even though it is one of those sorts that fits more than one person in each segment and stops if people get too near the edges. People must love the revolving door still! 

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Commuting woes

I find myself at Canada Water overground station in a state of total upset, unable to stop tears coming because of the stress of trying to get to work. It's completely ridiculous. I have been travelling for an hour and a half now. I have been in crowded buses and walked faster than it at the end. I have missed the more straightforward connection that would get me there on time and taken an alternative route through the abject chaos that is Londonbridge at the moment. At London Bridge at 8.56 there wasn't a train to Peckham until 9.16. There used to be a train every 10 minutes. The unhelpful guard disagreed but I have been using that service for 10 years. So I went back to the overground from London Bridge to Canada Water only to find the next train was over 10minutes away and not due until 9.23. 

Second day in a row. Several weeks in to a absolute hatred of our transportation system. I'm over an hour earlier today and the journey is worse than when I leave later. More crowded, no seats, more grumpy. I feel lack of control. Perhaps I should cycle (it's a damn long way is the main issue and I'm not that good at it at the moment). 

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Soho Stories

The Observer had an article this Sunday celebrating Soho as they knew it. Its an area that while I don't feel I 'lived' in I certainly had an affinity for. An art student in London has to frequent the areas that seem to be on the seedy, arty, trendy, hidden and naughty side of life. Reading the article I was reminded persistently of time spent there.

My Pops tells stories of meeting my mother, invited to make up a party of 6, at dinner while he was on a business trip from America. They were dining at a restraurant on Rupert Street with  Irma Kurtz (who is writing about her search for bohemia in the 1960s in soho). I'm not doing his story any justice but the crux of it is that they met in May at this dinner and four weeks later got married and she went to join him in Chicago. Without this meeting there would be no me, so I guess I am indebted.

My mother always went back there on and off but I didn't realise its significance until very recently (new man asking questions about the love at first sight thing elicited much information from my father - very interesting how we don't question our parents enough when we have the opportunity).  She used to take me to Maison Bertaux when we went shopping in Oxford Street. Very good french patisserie. Looks like it hasn't been renovated since the 1950s - still cream shiny satin paint on the walls, uplighters, glass shelves in the windows and marble tops to keep the cream cakes cool. We would have a coffee and a chocolate eclair (long been my favourite) and squeeze in somewhere upstairs ususally. My sister hated it - feeling it was too pretentious for its own good (bah humbug her). Michele Wade writing about her cafe in the observer is always there, and always was as I remember. Posh but not rich seeming, eccentric, hairdo from a bygone era. It's quiet, cramped and slightly uncomfortable but worth it for the eclair. When I was at college I used to go there with Georgia. Lately I haven't been.

Georgia and I used to spend an in ordinate amount of time in the Spice of Life pub (Cambridge Circus). Having recently met at Middlesex Poly's art foundation I bumped into her properly in the Spice of Life one Saturday (can't remember who brought me there). She was wearing tortoise shell glasses with no glass and was with a friend called Tracey. We hit it off from then. Drawn to its fantastic punk juke box downstairs. Liked the fact that it was in the Sex Pistol's film. We played Pretty Vacant, White Riot and I've got a silver machine (forgotten the name) and sang along at the tops of our lungs (always thought they were singing we're so pretty, oh so pretty, vain cunts until I realised one day it was pretty vacant). I only drank coke but seemed to be drunk on sugar. Georgia drank as much beer as she could get. There was a barman who served in the basement who gave me free drinks. He was a film student and gave me his number on the same day as I met my first boyfriend, sadly I never rang him.  We also used to go to the Dive Bar under the The King's Head on Gerrard Street until it shut down. And when they renovated the Spice of Life, sucking all its great old history out of it we moved on to the Intrepid Fox where we fitted in just fine because we had started dying our hair pink and orange and felt an affinity with the old punks that hung out there. Once Georgia went to Brighton to a degree and I stayed on at Middlesex Uni I brought my next great buddy Bails there and we continued hanging and revelling in the dark music.

Bails and I also came to Berrick Street a lot - I liked buying cloth - the Cloth House being one of the greatest for unusual and exciting fabric - a shop on Royal College Street in Camden (that my mother first took me to) and on Berrick Street. We would get a box of food at Beetroot - vegetarian, wholesome, cheap, stuffed! And then go do whatever it was Saturday held for us (watching arthouse dirty movies often - In the Realm of the Senses in a cinema near the Trocodero - sitting next to a businessman who couldn't quite get over the film all the way through, "she's not going to do that, oh my god she is", watching through his fingers). Eating supper at Garlic and Shot (roasted garlic - yum, breath - deadly).

There was the great Going Out Fridays of Lewisham College (staff reliving our youths) where more than once I ended up after a long night of alcohol and dancing in dodgy underground nightclubs drinking coffee outside all night cafes on Old Compton Street with Martin watching the gays and the drag queens waiting for the tube to open so we could go our separate ways. Wet Saturday mornings 6am.

More recently I do less of that but do like to go to the Algerian Coffee Company for ground beans in a mild roast, and buy violet tea. Sometimes join the drunk and disorderlies for a Sunday drink in Rupert Street, visit Fopp on the way to Seven Dials. Its an area like no other and a criminal shame to shape it into something like everywhere else, with chains and all the uniqueness kicked out of it.

Save Soho

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Happy birthday to me

And to Harvey Keitel, Stevie Wonder, Zoe Wannamaker, Yaya Toure, Dennis Rodman and Ravi Shanker. 

It's been lovely. 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015


Having constructed kites (with instruction from my dad's Brazilian lodgers - long tradition of fighting kites on the beaches of Brazil) out of bamboo, tissue paper, sellotape and plastic bags we flew them over Finsbury Park as we recovered from partying over the weekend. 

Part of the joy is that an object made from household materials can fly as high and for as long as they did (baring some snapping of line when one of them was so high you could barely see it - twice ending up across the canal down the hill and in the softball game in the old cricket field). 

These are simple joyous kites - none of the seriousness that my last kite-flying experience had - all professional store bought fancy flexifoils with double strings and too much fancy-pantsing around. These went up with a slight gust and went as high as the line would let it.