Monday, June 25, 2007


Enjoying London

I don't think I'll surprise anyone when I say that I've not had the most amazing time in London this year. Work is all right, but not captivating, and the city is too big, too dirty, too impersonal for me to really enjoy it. In short, life in London this year has, to a large extent, been about dreaming up ways to get out.

Ironically, now that that prospect looms considerably larger, the odd enjoyable evening pops up to remind you of quite how much fun this city can be. One of the best nights out that I've had in London happened a few weeks ago, when I popped out for an evening with an old uni friend. We were supposed to be going to see something, but I had been ridiculously lazy and hadn't managed to book tickets, so when we met in Leicester Square we didn't actually have any firm plans.

Leicester Square is one of the parts of town that really comes alive in the evening. In the heart of the West End, you can strike out from there to do just about anything, with many of the theatres and some nice-but-affordable restaurants within striking distance. I've seen some excellent things around there this year - Jessica Lange in The Glass Menagerie, Richard Schiff in Underneath the Lintel, Patrick Stewart in Anthony and Cleopatra. But on this evening, the best thing about it was that we could just show up there without the faintest idea what we would be doing, and then make our plans for the evening right there on the spot. Such spontanaeity! What fun we could have.

Admittedly, we didn't end up doing anything all that adventurous - the third Pirates of the Caribbean was on at the big Odeon, on its opening night, and neither of us had ever been in that famous big screen, so we coughed up the outrageous price for a seat on the front row of the balcony and set about enjoying a bonafide blockbuster experience - but still, it was tremendously entertaining to be young, free, moderately wealthy, and eager to be entertained in one of the entertainment centres of the world. The remainder of the evening was spent eating nachos and drinking tequila sunrises on the balcony of a mexican restaurant overlooking the square, contemplating the world going past and swapping outrageously geeky shared appreciations of science fiction. In many ways it was the perfect night out.

I do wonder sometimes if this year could have been different - if a different location or a different attitude could have made my London stay into more of a positive one. I'm not really convinced. But sometimes, when a London experience is really good, I might quietly countenance the concept as not being entirely removed from reality.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Unilever to the Rescue!

Well, last week I found myself taking a break from my day job working on a project at Unilever, eating my lunch over a copy of the Economist, and there was a typically excellent article in the Europe section about the Turkish military build-up on the Iraqi frontier. Attached was a picture. And what was it that I saw, in the top right-hand corner of that picture, facing off against a Turkish tank?
That's right - it was a Wall's Ice Cream Truck! Or, since this is Turkey (a senior Unilever source solemnly informed me), an Algida ice cream truck.

It may be a warzone, but at least the people of Southeastern Turkey will still get their ice cream! Go Unilever!

Friday, June 08, 2007


Facebook Quotes (2)

My Facebook quotes list is full up again, so another batch make their way over here for long-term storage.

"[William Styron's] writer's block did provide some fortunate failures. In 1985 Styron decided to take his own life. To his immense annoyance, he found that eloquent parting words failed him. Unable to compose a suicide note, he abandoned the idea." - The Economist

"By means of an ingenious system of concealed plumbing, all the lavatories of London empty their physical refuse into the Thames. In the same way every day the capital of the world spews out all its social refuse through a system of goose quills, and it pours out into a great central paper sewer - the Daily Telegraph." - Karl Marx

"SAP is like masturbation; you have to focus on one fantasy at a time to relieve the frustration." - Tamar

"I never knew that masturbation could be so much like hard work." - Tori

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is the station staff speaking. We're... er... sorry to inform you that we don't know where the driver is for this service. We are doing our best to find him." - South West Trains

"Are you my conscience?" - Dory, Finding Nemo

"I have dissolved the Senate." - worst pun ever, uttered by 'Shinzon' and lurking in the deleted scenes in Star Trek Nemesis no less

"Everything about her spelled trouble, but it was dark, and I thought it spelled 'truffles'." - The New Yorker

Nat: "How come you've miss-spelled your name in your e-mail signature?" Hanna: "I've been forced into putting an 'h' at the end. Business reasons."

"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it enables one to find or make a Reason for everything one has a mind to do." - Benjamin Franklin, bemused at the vegetarianism debate

"I don't like the sea. I'm definitely a pool girl. But sometimes when I'm swimming in a pool, I start to imagine what would happen if a trap door opened and a shark came out." - Marie

Chris: "Jessica Lange? Was she the girl in 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'?" Nat: "No. That was Jessica Rabbit."

"I just don't like people who're the same sex as me." - Kat

"[Thomas Bernhard] might also have taken some delight in watching his readers squirm. He told of leaving one of his own plays early and getting his coat from the checkroom attendant, who said sympathetically, 'You don't like it, either, do you?'" - Ruth Franklin in The New Yorker

"I'm sorry to have to say it, but you look like you're sad/Your smile is gone, I noticed it bad/The cure is if you let in just a little more love/I promise you this, a little's enough"- Angels & Airwaves.

"Well it's not just a daydream if you decide to make it your life." - Train

"Don't take money; don't take fame. Don't need no credit card to ride this train..." - the Back to the Future theme song

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