Category: London Page 2 of 12

I Could Hardly Believe My Rodent Pies

Spotted in a shop in Holborn, London.

The London version of ratatouille, I suppose.

Lying In the Gutter, But …

Spotted in the gutter yesterday, and I was slightly freaked out by it, I have to admit.

But then again, perhaps my career as a war photographer starts here.

November Projects – Dare Any Of You Combine Them?

So, it’s November and those of us who live near the Greenwich Meridian Line are all rejoicing in the benefits of an extra hour on our hands. So, if you’re struggling to find ways to fill your time, and are looking for something to do this month, the following November-based projects may be of interest…

National Novel Writing Month
Slightly misnamed, as it’s now very much an interNational thing, but the idea of ‘NaNoWriMo’, as we hipsters call it, remains the same: to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.

Obviously, that’s a fair amount of writing (over 1000 words a day), and it takes a bit of dedication, but hey, it’s getting cold outside, so staying in with a cup of tea and writing is far from the worst way you could spend your time… on second thought, I might well say that at any time of year, but on this occasion there’s a whole community of people (both online and in the real world) who’ll support you as you aim for 50,000 words. Go to the NaNoWriMo site and see what I mean.

I’ve had a go at this a couple of times, and whilst it’s to my considerable shame that I’ve never made it over the finishing line (and for the record, you don’t have to stop then, you can carry on writing until you feel the story’s finished), I liked the feeling that there were other people who were doing the same crazy thing.

The other suggestion I have is slightly more gender-specific, for it is…

Yes, that’s November with an M, for this challenge involves growing a mo…ustache.

Okay, so the name’s arguably a bit of a stretch (what were they gonna call it, Philtrum-foliage-February?), but the aim is simple, and the motivation good ‘n philanthropic: participants should try to grow a moustache over the course of the month – no sideburns or beard, just the ‘tache – and get friends to sponsor you, with the proceeds going to prostate cancer charities. Full details can be found here.

Actually, given that I’ve met some of you folks face-to-face, perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to suggest that it’s only the gents who could grow a moustache… oh dear, I’ve gone too far, haven’t I ? Don’t dwell on it, though, check out this link to the manliest moustaches of all time! Grrr, how macho are they? The pictures positively seethe with manly hormones.

In fact, I think – at long last – I can feel puberty coming on.

They’re Just Like You And Me Really

Spotted at a London Underground station this morning, one of the new posters for Habitat, featuring Helena Christiansen.

The version of the image here is, obviously, much smaller than the one I saw on the wall of the tube station, so you probably won’t be able to make out the detail, but on the huge version it was amusing to note that the penultimate book on the table next to her (the slim brown-spined one on top of the larger white tome) appears to be a graphic novel – or, as many of us would call them, ‘a comic with cardboard covers’.

Specifically, it seemed to be The Little Man by Chester Brown, a collection of his strips from 1980-1995.

Maybe it’s just me, but I find it oddly reassuring to think that, at the end of a day’s modelling, Helena likes to sit on a sofa and read about a man sitting round in his pants and listening to the radio and picking his nose.

In a way, it probably provides cosmic balance for all the men who sit round in their pants and look at pictures of models in magazines.

Whoever we are, it seems that we’re interested in the lives of others. As Sartre almost put it, “L’interest? C’est les autres”.

A Calendar I Spotted In A Shop In London This Morning

I almost admire their optimism in leaving it on the rack, but if it hasn’t sold yet, I don’t know if it ever will.

Don’t know if you can make out the grey effect at the top of it, but yes, that is dust.

This Admission May Connect In Some Way To Me Not Getting Married Until I Was 37 Years Old

As readers with long memories and brain cells to spare may recall, just over a year ago, I got married.

One of the many benefits of this was that I now have (and indeed always wear) a wedding ring – because, obviously, when this cat’s on the prowl, the ladies need to be warned that hey, easy, I’m a married man!. Yes, that’s definitely the reason. Anyway, bear my be-ringedness in mind while I scoot off at what will appear to be a tangent…

The building where I work in London (which is a very hush-hush-top-secret-oh-all-right-I-admit-it-not-that-big-a-deal-building) has a pass system, as many buildings do nowadays. You use your pass to get in, and on the way out, the method is a bit less hasslesome – on the basis that keeping people out is more important that keeping them in, I guess. So the usual way I leave the building is to press a large button set into a nearby wall, and then open the door.

However, these buttons are usually green (for go, I suppose), and as a pathetic comic reading geek who’s aware of the superhero Green Lantern, who recharges his power ring (stop giggling at the back) thus…

… you can probably imagine how I envision myself as I punch the green exit button at work with my left hand.

Several times a day. Smiling to myself every time I do it. Oh yes.

Hey, I’m just being honest with you. And anyway, they’re talking about a Green Lantern film starring Ryan Reynolds, so the character’ll probably be like Iron Man in a couple of years. Lunchboxes and pyjamas for the kids, you wait and see… and probably in adult sizes for people like me too, let’s face it. The emotionally and intellectually stunted male is a sizable market. In every sense.

From A Poster On London Transport Urging People To Be Pro, As Opposed To Anti, Social

I wasn’t too taken with his information films for the Inland Revenue, but I hadn’t realised that Adam Hart Davis was such a social miscreant.

Still, good to see he’s working on his issues.

In Which I Demonstrate, Once Again, My Pretentious Ways

Last night I went with my Dad to see a performance of some classical music at the Barbican here in London.

It was a good mixed bill – a bit of Strauss for me, a bit of Mahler for Dad, and some stuff by a chap called Martinu which neither of us were familiar with. And as you can see from the picture here, we got pretty good seats for our £8.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun – particularly the final bit of Strauss, which often sounds like the soundtrack to a cartoon – and lo and behold, the BBC have made it available to listen to via the iPlayer, and you can do so here.

Another very self-indulgent post from me, I fear, but on the other hand this’ll provide evidence to both my wife and my mother that Dad and I really were at the concert as promised, and not at a lap-dancing club.

Though Dad did joke about going on to one afterwards. At least, I think he was joking…

Virgin’s First Time

And welcome to all of you who’ve come here via a search engine; prepare for disappointment.

I know a lot of the regular audience for the blog are involved in writing, though I don’t know how many of you, like me, run; anyway, this is one of those occasional posts about running.

The London Marathon has, for a number of years, been officially known as the Flora London Marathon (though it was rarely spoken of as such), because of the sponsorship provided by a leading spreadable product. Prior to that, if memory serves, it was sponsored by Mars, the ever-popular chocolate bar. Nothing, it seems, symbolises health and a stern training regime so much as sponsorship from a foodstuff containing a proportion of fat.

That used to be the case, anyway. As you can see from the logo, and may have inferred from the Google-baiting title of this post, the 2010 London Marathon is being sponsored by Virgin – a firm whose interests are strangely scattered, from credit cards to cola. No, I don’t quite understand it either.

Anyway, if you’ve applied for a place in the ballot for the 2010 Marathon, the decisions are apparently in the post. However, since the UK postal service is currently being affected by strikes (many people have inevitably noted that it’s hard to tell the difference), the mailout of the YES and NO notifications has been a bit delayed. But Virgin will apparently be e-mailing people this afternoon to let them know.

If you don’t get a place in the ballot (which is the scheme whereby enter a lottery-style system to see if you get a place, and then pay for it), there’ll of course be a vast number of charity places available; those of you with unnervingly long memories may remember that I ran in the 2007 London Marathon for just such a charity.

For reasons which kind of escape me in the cold (well, currently more like grey) light of day, I’ve entered the ballot for the 2010 Marathon, and so I should be receiving an e-mail today to let me know if I’ve got a place. If I haven’t – and I think the odds are pretty slim – then I have, for the sake of my own sanity, vowed not to see about a charity place; in all honesty, the hassle of trying to make sure I reached the target for sponsorship was more of a burden than the physical act of training for, and running, the marathon. So I won’t be doing that again.

No, definitely not. Uh-uh, nosiree. Not doing that again.

Oh no, I’m “protesting too much”, aren’t I? Uh oh…

EDITED at 3.58pm to say: Just had the e-mail to say I didn’t get in through the ballot. And that, as I say, means I won’t be pursuing any other means of getting a place. That’s what I said, and as we all know, what I say goes. Granted, it usually ‘goes’ by the by within minutes, but let’s try for some kind of certainty for once…

The 24 Hour Book Challenge

Just wrapping up in sunny South London is the 24 Hour Book Challenge.

It started yesterday, and a group of writers have been working on a book based around a group of city centre allotments – having started the writing at 10am yesterday and finished it at 10am this morning, a group of volunteers is currently knocking it into printworthy shape and it’ll be on sale as of tomorrow. Follow the above link for more details of what sounds to me like a rather interesting challenge.

On the subject of novels written in a brief time – and unlike the above, you can get involved – it’s just under a month until the start of 2009’s National Novel Writing Month. I don’t think I’m eligible to take part as I’ve already started my book, but are any of you good people intending to have a go?

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