Life in London

Life in London for a not-quite-middle-aged gay Australian guy. Oh, the glamour of it all!

Friday, September 29, 2006

It's Political Correctness Gone Mad

After complaints from some of my older readers (you know who you are!), and in order to comply with the UK's new age-discrimination legislation effective October 1st, I have made my blog font larger. Put your bi-focals away now.

Labels: ,

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Getting down with the kids (and up with the sparrows)

Sunday saw us getting up early and meeting Julie, Nicola and Jonathan at the ungodly hour of 10:30am in Covent Garden. Not even the nuns were up then. N + J were keen to come to London to spend their hard-earned birthday money on crack, and buy some clothes with the change.

After the shops had opened (most stores don't open until 12:00 on a Sunday in the UK, not sure why, it's not as if Anglicans are forced to go to church like Catholics are), we had a fun day. The kids are good value and even though for a while there it looked like they weren't finding what they wanted, soon the cash was flying out of their wallets.

Next stop were some surf shops which produced a couple of hits for Nic, but nothing for Jon, and we changed tack and hit shoe shops where N + J were lucky to find a buy one pair, get the other half price offer.

All this shopping was making us hungry, so pizza (and doughballs) were consumed at Pizza Express in Soho. Whilst there, Jonathan became embroiled in a sock crisis, as his (short) socks weren't short enough for his new shoes. Cue 10 minutes of sock folding to get them just right and then we were able to go on our way to everyone's favourite London Shopping Street, Oxford Street. It wasn't too crowded, there were probably only tens of thousands of people out shopping. Topshop and H + M were our destinations there, and they didn't disappoint.

Fashion news from repated viewings on Sunday:

1. Hoodies are still popular on the high street.
2. Skinny jeans are very popular - very punk rock (but no way would I wear them, once was enough!)
3. Vans are popular too.
4. Multiple body piercings and dreadlocks are no bar to a pleasant personality.

By complete coincidence, we called into Rupert Street for a beer on after Julie, Nic and Jonathan had jumped in a taxi to Liverpool St, and Augusto, Derrecks and Lee were there drinking. Augusto tried on my sunglasses. We ended staying for more than one beer because beer is my friend. It was nice.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, September 25, 2006

It's all about the water.

Friday night Adam cooked for us, as well as Sim and PO'T. (Which reminds me - someone was writing down my surname on Friday - and asked if it required an apostrophe! I am getting less and less tolerant of stupidity.) We were supposed to be going to Fiction, but as Paul was poorly, we decided it would be in the best interests of his health to stay in.

After work, Ad, PO'T and I headed over to Majestic to meet Paul and grab a dozen bottles of wine (mostly red now the weather's turning cooler. Is there anything better than a nice bottle of red on an autumnal night?) Walking back through St John's Wood, we detoured to The Clifton (formerly the house of Lily Langtry, mistress to royalty) for a swift pint or two.
Ad's cooked us marinated lamb with minted yoghurt and we followed that with two excellent cheeses. One was a Stilton, which I wasn't crazy about, but everyone else loved, and the other was a fantastically runny, gooey, smelly soft-rinded brie-like English cheese.
After the cheese Paul retired to bed, but I felt the need to play host, so very unwisely stayed up until 4:30am drinking amaro (Averna), Apple liqueur, Limoncello and then absinthe. What stupidity.

The next day, after two very hungover boys had returned to South London from our place, Paul and I headed over to Camden. Camden is an assault on the senses at the best of times, but with a large hangover it was a thousand times worse. As a result we didn't spend long there and were quick to beat a retreat. We walked the long way home along Regent's Canal. The walk along the canal was lovely - it's one of my favourite parts of London, it’s so quiet and peaceful. (The peace was broken by one one piece of very obvious stupidity where a woman near us said 'I love those trees - the ones over there like a weeping willow'. Oh, those would be weeping willows then.) Some of the houses along the canal have big gardens that run down to the water - nice. I find a walk in London past houses that are unattainable quite relaxing and soothing.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, September 22, 2006

It Has No Ballroom.

for my father.....

Labels: ,

Let him entertain you

Well blogs are supposed to have their fingers on the pulse, and what better way to demonstrate that than have me post on a concert that occurred over a week ago? As I mentioned previously, I wasn't too sure what to expect, but I really enjoyed the concert.

Here's a few things that stood out for me:
  • Basement Jaxx were excellent - never had so much fun with a support act.
  • Robbie needs a therapist - 10 years and he's still bitching about 'Take That'? (and there was a point-by-point disection of newspaper criticism of his career) Let go Robbie, let go.
  • Millions of pounds might get you a helicopter, but it mightn't make you happy.
  • Robbie's older material is better than his new - so was it Robbie or Guy Chambers that made it special?
  • He must be bloody sick of 'Angels'.
  • Not a single black or Asian person was spotted by us.
  • Stephen 'Tin-Tin' Duffy was in Robbie's band, for you die-hard 80's children.

So, it was all very good, but I don't think I'd go again - once was definitely enough for me.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I'm with Germaine

I don't understand this. I absolutely agree with this though.
Steve Irwin - colourful character, yes - national icon and a shining example to all Australians? Please!!!!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Things to be excited about

Holding a Almodovar retrospective in your lounge-room

Indian Summers

Fast Laptops

Madrid - clubs, food and facial hair trends (October)

Culture in London in Autumn (ongoing)

Drinking in refined locations

10th Anniversary Dinners (soon)

The stunning beauty of Rome (December)

Good friends coming to visit (November)

Portuguese Egg Tarts (November)

Rediscovering stuff with someone you love

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, September 15, 2006

Once an Infidel....

  • I was on the bus at lunchtime, on the way to gym and it was full of young muslims off to pray at the London mosque. I was not only playing decadent western music, but music about a dancefloor - looks like I'm not going to paradise......

  • I was actually listening to Bananarama's newish (oldish?) track on the bus. I only downloaded it today and in scenes reminiscent of my teenage years, I have alrady managed to play it 8 times. I have no shame. Now I want to go out dancing. I love that song. Not as much as I loved "Robert De Niro's Waiting", but 8 times in a couple of hours is bordering on obsessive, I suppose.

  • Reason why I love Paul #2395 - I played him the track in the gym - "Isn't it fantastic!", I gushed. "Yes, they're very talented" he replied in a deadpan voice. I still don't know if he was serious or not.

  • In othe shameful music-related news, we're off to see Robbie Williams tonight at Milton Keynes' National Bowl. I don't know whether to be excited or not. I'm not Robbie's hugest fan, but he's supposed to be excellent live, so we'll just have to wait and see.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ghosts Don't Cry

Finally last night we got to see Volver, although for a period it seemed we wouldn't. It was sold out at the first cinema we tried to see it at, so there was a mad dash through the pouring rain (and last night the rain in globally-warmed London was almost tropical) to the Curzon in Soho.

The film itself I thoroughly enjoyed - perhaps I'd agree that it's not Almodovar's greatest movie, but I thought it was typical Almodovar, irreverent and comical, and the women's roles were great. He seems to love having strong women in central roles in his films.

The colours and cinematography were enticing and alluring and I found the film itself quite seductive. Penelope Cruz acted fantastically, stealing the movie, and acting far better in her native Spanish than she does in English. She seemed to occupy the entire screen in her scenes - and the film somehow managed to emphasise her beauty (at times she reminded me of Sophia Loren), despite the fact the lives portrayed were quite ordinary and not at all glamourous.

The whole experience was quite captivating and I'm keen to view Volver again - I suspect it is a film where subtle nuances are picked up through repeated viewings. I could easily have sat through another two hours of it. I suppose I have to give it a mark out of 10, so I'll give it 8.8/10.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Save all your kisses for me

As someone who once inadvertantly sent an email to my boss with kisses in it,
here's good news for me.

Chris. xx

Labels: ,

Monday, September 11, 2006

BERNADETTE? Well I'll be darned. The whole circus is in town.

  • Even the wait for the check-in to open couldn't spoil our mood - we’d had a great week, as Paul’s attack of conjunctivitis and the fact we had 12 hours sleep Saturday night attested. We went to get two coffees and much needed carbohydrate in the form of two pastries. And got change from 6 Euro. That’s less than £4 – try the same trick at Heathrow (or Gatwick or Stanstead or “London’s Luton International”). It’s enough to make you move to Spain, as if Paul doesn’t need more encouragement.

  • Next thing we know we’re in the Iberia Lounge and our old upstairs neighbour (Marcel? maybe?) from Rose St in Melbourne is there. He’d been in Barcelona for a couple of days, was now on his way to Ibiza for a wedding. He’d been out the night before, dancing until way too late, slept in, missed his plane and was now waiting for his next flight. Cue comments about small worlds, expressions of sympathy for our mutual plights and goodbyes.

  • Earlier in the week we’d said goodbye to Bernadette, who returned to Melbourne via London. I think she had a good time in Sitges, as faghag #1. She certainly seemed to enjoy the Piano Bar, running around with a tiara on her head and dancing to what seemed to be all the music from my ipod. It was enough to make us think she’d been secretly taking faghag lessons in order to impress us.

  • Impressive as well were Martin and Steve’s efforts, exercising most days. Some people I know would probably call me an exercise addict (I know who you are and I didn’t even go to gym this Sunday, so I’m not, right?) , but even I generally draw the line at exercising on holiday (except Devon – that was different, ok?). I normally pack running gear and then don’t feel guilty even though I fail to make any use of it on holiday.

  • Bernadette was kind enough to leave a trendy hessian bag suitable for lugging groceries back home in when she left our apartment, somehow she couldn't fit that into her 30kgs of excess baggage. I used it on Saturday to get the groceries. Somehow I found it strangely comforting after the excesses of last week to have hessian rubbing against my bare skin. I'm sure some souls went from purgatory into heaven as a result.

  • We tried to eat in at the villa a few more times this year (and some nights didn't even eat, but that’s gay men and their body dismorphia for you), so we had more money to spend on booze and beauty products. Clayton and Jari cooked some fantastic fish stuffed with peppers garlic, onion and olives, except for the blue one, of course, that fish was straight from the ‘Not Quite Right’ fish counter. Paul and I hosted a Mojito night on our terrace, then everybody was supposed to go out for dinner, but our nibbles were enough (and maybe the drink was too) to sate our housemates appetites.

  • Apparently I have a nice accent, but it’s difficult to understand. I will try harder. (lo siento, Angel). Angel introduced the house to Damm Lemon, Beer with lemon and lime in it. I love beer. And I like lemon and lime. Me gusta mucho Damm Lemon.

  • Lucy was fag-hag #2, and she stepped up to the plate when Bernie left to be fag-hag #1 (even if it was only for a few hours). She wore the black top above one evening, which of course the house loved because it was Kylie-esque - it was a close call as to whether it would be the cause of a wardrobe malfunction or not.

  • Mike, the tall ‘strawberry-blonde’ Irishman took delight in me saying ‘Bernadette’. As Bernie was in the house, naturally this was quite a regular occurrence. It made him laugh because apparently I sounded like a character from Priscilla. Obviously one of the butch ones, though. Mike was also kind enough to introduce us to raspberry vodka and lime, which was enough to make me forgive him for anything. Even stalking my boyfriend.

  • Stuie was his inimitable self – it’s his holiday too, you know. And only Stuie could end up chatting to people who lived a block from Paul and I, or invite people no-one knows to dinner, but that’s why we love him.

  • Mark, as usual, was there in background with his acerbic wit, avoiding the sun to protect his kidmanesque skin, taking people on his Barcelona tour, and sneaking another drink when Angel wasn’t looking. His job now is to research the role of the Vichy government in WWII.

Labels: , , , , ,

Sitges September 2006.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Back to Reality

It was great while it lasted.


Friday, September 01, 2006

All Change

  • Our office has moved and it went swimmingly. That is if you count no email, no access to systems from home (bit of a problem when you're oncall) and a 1:20hr commute each way as measures of success. Boo!

  • I got to go to Providores (also known as Palladoritos), even though it is on Paul's banned list. Bernie and I threw budgetry caution to the wind and went there for dinner the other night. It was excellent - the food in particular was great (truffled dim sum prawns, anyone?) and the wine list had some really good stuff on it too. I'm giving it 8.8/10. No wonder it's packed every night. I can still taste that pinot (and that's a good thing). Hurray!!

  • Bernie leaves on Tuesday for Australia. Boo!!

  • But she's going to be Fag Hag #1 in Sitges - Hurray!!

  • We can't go see Volver tonight, so will have to wait until after Sitges. I am desperate to see it - Almodovar makes great movies. Boo!

  • We're almost on holiday - tomorrow afternoon this will be two blocks from our villa! And the forecast is good too - Hurray!!

    Labels: , , , , ,