Archive for April, 2006

Polygamy in Central London

I like Marc Isaacs’ films because he’s a character driven director. He subtly enters the world of his documentary subjects and discovers through character a narrative that is authentic without being dogmatic. You can see two of his more recent efforts at the Curzon following by a Q & A with Marc.

Calais: The Last Border and Philip and his Seven Wives screen at the Curzon Soho on 23 April at high noon. More info at


I’m normally not a huge fan of celebrity nicknames, but ‘TomKat’, and therefore, ‘TomKitten‘, makes me laugh. A lot.

It’s a relief to know that Tom’s spawn was born according to the proper rules of the Scientologist creed (mom must be silent, miserable, downtrodden) and given the appropriately silly celebrity-child name (Suri) (Which, in all fairness, is a pretty name).

So, however wacky and annoying Tom Cruise and his rented progeny are, they’re still trumped by Chris and Gwen (Chrennyth?MarTrow?) and their baby ‘Moses‘. Painful.

Killer Bags IV

So, I’m in my 4th hour of trying to get rid of my killer bag, and it seems to have asexually reproduced. I now have 6 killer bags previously employed by Tesco to wrap food items such as my Tortillas. I got around to calling Westminster Council’s Phil Robeson, Head of Recycling, to ask if he could tell me how to get rid of this plethora of plastic.

News From Around the Metroblogging World

If you click here right now, you can catch streaming coverage of the 100th Anniversary of the Great Quake that leveled San Francisco 100 years ago. It’s a big event in the City By The Bay.

The quake, an estimated 7.9 on the Richter scale, lasted almost a minute and led to a fire that lasted for over 4 days. Thousands died and tens of thousands were homeless, living in tents and shelters in Golden Gate Park and in makeshift tent-cities around the Bay Area.


A Siren Ceremony is ongoing right now . . . (and I’m sure the footage will be available later today as well).

It’s odd to watch such a thing in my home city from so far away on a sunny afternoon in an earthquake-free country. But as I stare at the tiny, slightly-grainy window on my computer screen, listening to old air-raid sirens, church bells, and fire-engine sirens wail for the length of the earthquake’s time, I feel humbled. For many Americans – and people around the world who watched live – the persistent sounds of sirens are linked to the events of 9/11. Even if not, sirens are seldom a good sound: meaning death, injury, fire, and loss.

All the firehouse doors in San Francisco were opened moments ago – something they literally could not do 100 years ago, as the earthquake bent buildings and the earth, sealing in those who wanted to save the city.

Those sirens wailing now remind San Franciscans and those who live in areas prone to sudden fits of an angry Mother Nature how tenuous our hold on our homes is. Here in London, I don’t have to worry about earthquakes, but knowing what struck San Francisco 100 years ago and what could strike again at any moment still makes me appreciate the beauty of cities – of people coming together to build a community, in spite of all the things that could destroy it.

Britain’s Favorite Lyric

…isn’t even a complete sentence.

The line “One life, with each other, sisters, brothers” from the 1992 song “One” topped a poll conducted by music channel VH1.

Runner-up was the downbeat “So you go and you stand on your own, and you leave on your own, and you go home, and you cry, and you want to die” from The Smiths’ “How Soon is Now.”

A line from Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” — “I feel stupid and contagious, here we are now, entertain us” — came third. Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” and Coldplay’s “Yellow” took fourth and fifth places.

The top 10 was a mix of the affirmative and the acerbic, ranging from
Robbie Williams’ uplifting “Angels” — “And through it all she offers me protection, a lot of love and affection, whether I’m right or wrong” — to Radiohead’s sour “Creep.”

More than 13,000 people participated in the poll on the station’s Web site, choosing from a list of 100 lyrics selected by music industry figures.

The Service Industry

One of my pet peeves about London is the way that people treat waiters. Especially when you compare it to the over-empathetic courtesy that people show in the States. I’m sure it’s partially tied in to tipping culture – in the US, your average plate-spinner is making about $2/hour + tips, so they’re nicer, and hell, that makes people nicer to them. Whereas, in the UK, you’ve got a slightly more solid minimum wage, and very little tipping culture (granted, that doesn’t cover off the fact that half the wait staff here are working cash-in-hand, but hey…)

I also think there’s a lot to be said about the old-fashioned Protestant Work Ethic in the states – everyone, and I mean everyone – works food service at some point in their formative years. Except perhaps Paris Hilton, and odds are, she’s done that on a TV show at least once (probably nude).

Anyway, this recent article should be a bit of a warning to those that treat their service poorly – according to vastly powerful CEO’s, it’s reflective of your own character. And when are they ever wrong?

Easter Happenings

Just thought of bringing a quick Easter whats-on guide to all those lazy arses that cant be bothered looking for themselves (no.1 being my brother):

* Moroccan Market at South Bank – held at the Royal Festival Hall 14th – 18th April

* The Australian Bee Gees Show – London Palladium on Sunday 16th April

* They’ve even organised a horse show at Wembley Arena on 15-16 April

* And theres the Liquid Landscape text projection with its last day being tomorrow.

The weather should be half decent on Sunday (or so does the BBC mets predict). So get your strolling boots on (or a hammock if you’re lucky).

As for me, I’ll be working all weekend…….

3 Marathons in 3 Days?

We all know the Flora London Marathon is next weekend. And may God bless each and every one of those masochists that take part! The London Marathon is a great fundraiser for charity, a fantastic spectator sport and a unique opportunity to see people shamelessly pissing in the streets.

Actually, scratch that last point… we get that every Friday night in Leicester Square.

Anyway, in tribute to these self-punishing heroics, here’s some marathons that the lesser mortals can run in the comfort of their own homes:

Oh, what a beautiful morning….NOT

a little over 25 hours from Dan’s entry, the clouds are back. And so will the rain. BBC’s predicting 17C today albeit served with showers on the side. But yeah, when will the summer arrive????? :(

If its not raining in the evening, I’d suggest go and view the Liquid Landscape projections that Flora mentioned. I went to it last night. Came back with a few photos. A must-see!

Oh, and hello London Metroblog.

Killer Bags III


What started off as a celebration of minutiae has turned into a mission. I’m trying to get rid of my killer bags…you know…those nasty plastic bags that wrap just about everything from lettuce to bread in the supermarket. Today marks my 3rd hour of trying to get rid of a tortilla bag ethically. For every hour I spend on this mission, I will write an entry.


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