Tag Archives: London

Bus Trip To Camden

Here’s a short video what I done when we were in London in February. Features:

  • a little commentary
  • very shaky camerawork
  • a kaleidoscopically scratched bus window
  • the song Grapefruit by Warm Digits, now available as a remix by a certain Justin Robertson – er, hello!

Trip II The UK (2010 Mix)

This is an updated draft itinerary for Cassie’s and my trip to the UK in 2010.

  • Fly Sunday 27th June – DONE
  • Arrive Monday 28th June – DONE
  • Stay with James & Siobhan at first – DONE, LOVELY
  • Stay in London couple of days – DONE
  • Train to Bedford on Thursday 1st July / picked up by brother – DONE
  • Stay in Bedford Thursday night – DONE
  • Friday 2nd July – do Bedford things, show Cassie my home town, school etc – DONE
  • Friday afternoon – Travel to Reading to see sister – DONE
  • Stay in Reading Friday night – DONE
  • Saturday 3rd July – Matthew travel to London, Cassie travel to Bristol – DONE
  • Stay in a hotel Monday 5th – Thursday 8th
  • Fly back to San Francisco on Thursday July 8th

At some point I need to sort out Tooting flat.

Foods From Distant Lands And Also The UK

I came home today to find a parcel from the UK with some happily familiar handwriting on it. It turned out to be a food parcel from my good pal Fleshisgrass, whom I miss terribliy and look forward to seeing in the next couploe of months.

The Teva shoe box contained some pretty exotic stuff, and I will need to consult the sender to ask what I can do with it. My first question will be, “Can an omelet be improved with the addition of Asafoetida Powder?” I see her game – a sneaky way to get me to get in touch.

In addition to said powder, the box contains:

  • Charmagaz
  • Chili/Lemon Cassava Chips
  • Kala Nimak
  • Kalonji
  • Salted Tamarind
  • Anardina (Pomegranate) Seeds
  • Sesame Almonds
  • Brown Rice Vermicelli
  • Black Till Seeds

Not stuff I’m used to, by any means, despite having lived in South West London for ten years. The chips and anardina seeds will just be snacks at work. But I’m going to make an effort to put them all to good use. Anyone have any recipes?

Flesh, thank you. I miss you pal, and I’ll see you soon.

Nautical Coincidence

I was helping Cassie clear out some stuff, including loads of old papers, and we found the paperwork for when she had her belongings shipped from London to Las Vegas via New York. I don’t know how much unlikely this is, or whether it is a perfectly reasonable coincidence, but her stuff was shipped London-New York in June 2005 on the exact same ship that carried mine London-Los Angeles in June 2008.

If it was the same route I would be less intrigued; they probably just go back and forth constantly. But in 2005 it just went across the Atlantic, whereas in 2008 it crossed the Pond and then nipped through the Panama Canal. What are the chances? Just an intriguing coincidence, or (anecdotal) evidence of a higher power with his/her/its hand at the controls?

The Lyrics To Alexei Sayle’s Hit Single, ‘Ullo John! Got A New Motor?

Couldn’t find these anywhere, and you all know what a bloody minefield searching for lyrics is, so here you go, I transcribed them for you. They’re written in normal English, you can translate into Cockney on the fly in your heads. Cheers.

Incidentally, I tried to do this transcription once in 1982, from a cassette I’d made off the Top 40 on Radio 1 on Sunday evening (on my brother’s Rotel, if memory serves). The recording was fine, and it had the usual snippet of the DJ after the song ended, “straight in at-” *clunk*, but I was unfamiliar with many of concepts discussed, such as “light and bitter”, Bermondsey, and “special hospitals. This lack of knowledge on my part meant a combination of those three in 1992 caused questions to be asked in Parliament. How was I to know?

Alexei Sayle – Ullo John! Gotta New Motor?

Ullo John! Gotta new motor?
Ullo John! Gotta new motor?
Your goat's made a mess of the carpet (x2)
He lost his bottle in Barnsley (x2)
He's an Avon Representative (x2)

Ullo John! Gotta new motor? (x4)
Hahahahahahahaha motor, motor, motor, motor...

Ullo John! Gotta new motor?
Ullo John! Gotta new motor?
They put me in a special hospital (x2)
Is there life on Mars? (x2)
Is there life in Peckham? (x2)
What's that switch over there for? (x2)
Ah ah ah ah ow...ah ah ah ah ow

Ullo John! Gotta new motor?
Ullo John! Gotta new motor?
He can't half play the bongos (x2)
He's got a record by Billy Joel (x2)
Them locks are easy (x2)
Here's my calling card WALLOP (x2)
That's a piece of balsa (x2)
You can make a model out of that (x2)
He stuck his head in a dustbin (x2)
And then ran through the launderette (x2)

Ullo John! Gotta new motor?
Ullo John! Gotta new motor?
'Ere John do you like the suit here, eh eh it's a lovely suit innit?
'Ere wanna brown ale? (x2)
Ullo John! Gotta new motor?
Ullo John! Gotta new motor?
Mine's a light and bitter (x2)

Ullo John! Gotta new mot-AH ... AH ... AH
He works on the Thames Barrier (x2)
I keep tropical fish (x2)
In me underpants (x2)

Ullo John! Gotta new motor?
Ullo John! Gotta new motor?
He walks around with a hat on (x2)

(Spoken) Oh yeah our Rodney yeah, he's the intelligent one
He's in the police force
Very bright he is
Been to Miami? Lovely...Miami
Package tour in Miami
You can't get a light and bitter
You can't get a light and bitter in Miami though
You can get one in Bermondsey though!
That's a nice sound as well, Bermondsey
You can get a light and bitter, and it sounds nice
Light and bitter, that sounds nice, I'd like a light and bitter
Oh cheers thanks a lot
Oh nice one yeah
Alright what you having? What you having eh?
Pina Colada?
Lovely, here you must be sophisticated

Ullo-Ullo-Ullo-Ullo John! Gotta new motor?
Ullo John! Gotta new motor?
Your goat's made a mess of the carpet (x2)
Ullo John! Gotta new motor? (x5)

(Spoken) Here that's a nice three piece suite
I like your music centre
Here got any Demis Roussos?
Oo I like him, Barry Manilow,
I think he's triffic
Oh I love him, I love Barry Manilow,
I go all weak, when I hear Barry Manilow I go all weak

I Want My Money Back

Got up this morning, and before I could do anything else I had to put the heat on for the first time in my apartment. What the hell? I’ve been joking recently to friends back in the UK that it’s been so cold here that I had to roll my sleeves down. Now that Xmas is a couple of weeks away, it’s finally getting properly cold, albeit still not as cold as London.

Looking from my 14th floor office window, I’m greeted by a view pretty much like the one I had from my London office in Victoria, except for the 4 US flags I can see from my chair, whipping in the wind. It’s grey, dingy, and rain is spattering against the glass. If this keeps up, I won’t be walking the three blocks to the gym after work. And so the decline begins. I think I’ll just drive home.

The problem with rain in California is that because it is so rare, the roads don’t get rinsed off so often like they do in the UK. This means that when it does rain, the first thing that happens is the roads are coated with a thin film of water, dust and oil. This makes the commute interesting, and you hear the radio reports of crashes and delays, in the same way that snow in the UK makes the commute “interesting”.

If Cassie and I are planning to move to San Francisco next year, which is indeed the plan, I had better get used to weather like this. But it won’t stop me from moaning for the moment. I still have the scarf my Mum knitted for me as a child – best dig it out.

Status Of Missing

So, how is the great experiment doing? Am I missing the country of my birth? A little. I miss my ex-dog quite a lot. My Google Reader feed of all Flickr photos tagged “westie” is either helping or not helping. I miss my good friends. I didn’t have such a huge circle. My brother and sister are up to their necks with family, so we’re separated by years, miles, and lifestyle. I miss them, but it’s cool. I guess things are still not settled here. I like my condo, but it is clearly a temporary thing, and I guess I want to have a home.

I’m trying to build up a circle of friends in SD, but that’s a slow process when I’m away most weekends. We’re having a work happy hour this evening, so I’ll try not to alienate too many people there.

I knew it was going to be hard, but the whole philosophy of it was that sample at the beginning of Sweat Loaf:

“… it’s better to regret something you have done, than to regret something you haven’t done…”

…and I certainly don’t regret it.

Cassie is coming down at the weekend, and though it’s a little cooler here now (I’m wearing a suit jacket to work!) we’ll walk on the Coronado dog beach and have some fun. We’ll watching Gordon run in huge circles growling as he streaks past us, then stopping to frantically dig a hole in the sand and stick his schnozz into it. This will require a visit to the dog wash, which he needs anyway.

Before this though is another Friday off, which I’m filling with taking my PC to the repair place, my eyes to the optometrist, my wallet to various places, and my lazy fat arse to the gym (perhaps).

Agents Of Frustration

Rant time, generalisations ahoy.

Why is it that anyone with the word “agent” in their job title ends up being more of an obstacle than an enabler? The word “agent” is defined (amongst other things) as “a representative who acts on behalf of other persons or organizations“. They act on your behalf. They enable, they are the go-to, the go-between.

So why is it that once again my dealings with an agent leave me feeling like I am doing all the work, all the chasing, taking all the time? For the fourth month in a four-month career, my letting agent has not paid me the rent on my old London flat. In the meantime, my mortgage payment has gone out of my account, leaving me with a hair’s width of overdraft limit left.

I hate saying this but I pay them to do their job, to allow me to sit back and relax and not have to worry. Instead, I can’t relax, I have to worry every month and send emails around the world and worry about being charged fees by my bank.

When I was getting ready to move to the US, I spoke to some friends who were letting out a property in London, and they recommended avoiding letting agents and doing the work themselves. What they said made perfect sense, except I can’t be doing all that from California. That’s what agents are for. Yes, it costs more, but you pay so that you don’t have to do it yourself (I’ve taken to having my work shirts laundered for the same reason – ironing would otherwise take an entire evening, and I hate ironing).

And so we come to the current situation, where I pay an agent to do something, but they don’t and I end up having to chase and remind them every time. It really f**king pisses me off.

There you go. A nice, simple rant about a specific thing. Estate agents are the same in my experience.

Julia Boggio Photography – Advertisement Feature

This is a bit of an advert for a friend, Julia Boggio, who has set up a photography business.

Julia has been a keen amateur for a long time, despite some major setbacks while travelling, but now she’s taken the plunge and quit the day job, strapped a Lowepro to her back, grabbed her [insert expensive camera here] and is now accepting commissions.

Her website has portfolio galleries of examples, including a gallery of Portraits, divided into Little People, Big People and Furry People. The latter is currently a bit empty – which is where I come in. Julia has offered to do a shoot of Shuggie gratis, so she can put them up on her site. Fame!

This is cool. Julia gets some great pictures for her portfolio, and we get some great pictures to put in frames and show to people. We need to figure out a date, but it’ll be soon. I’ll keep you posted.

[edit: never happened]

Feeling Left Out

London Mayor “Red” Ken Livingstone said that the ‘7/7 Attacks’ were not aimed at a particular group, but rather at,

“…Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew…”

Hey, Ken, what about me? I have Sundays off – don’t I count? It was only when some Muslim Council spokesman said that Londoners must come together, both “those with and without faith“, that I started to feel included. I don’t know what the percentages are, but I like to think there are large number of people in London who don’t live their lives trying to impress invisible superheroes who live in outer space.

Actually, that “without faith” shit is beginning to annoy me. Sounds a bit negative, you know? A bit disparaging. Let’s be controversial! Let’s just divide everyone up into THEISTS and ATHEISTS.

I can’t tell the difference between all them Theists anyway.