Archive for February, 2008

Earthquake!

Growing up in a city on the Ring of Fire, I spent school earthquake drills under my desk, clutching my hands behind my neck to protect my spinal cord, wondering if I could heed the advice to leave my schoolmates pinned under a bookshelf while I run to safety.

The threatened city-crusher didn’t come (and hasn’t, yet) but I still get a shiver when I hear about earthquakes. Luckily our recent one didn’t kill anyone, and injuries were very few. And the headlines were almost charming: “Quake damages buildings and startles people awake,” says The Guardian.

But if you do want to revel in a bit of our own Nature’s fury, check out the ancient fault lines that criss-cross crust beneath Britain.

A Trip to the World’s First Organic Pub in Islington

I recently attended a mate’s birthday party at the Duke of Cambridge in Islington, a short walk from Angel tube station. I really enjoy organic beer so it was a most welcomed visit after an intense week. When ever someone says ‘organic’ they often think of expense, fortunately I think this is becoming a past time. This pub has a nice selection of Pitfield ales, all around 3 quid. I especially recommend their IPA, a nice hoppy brew that goes down easy, but has just enough bitterness to awaken your palate. After trying them all, I became quite jovial throughout the evening, so did my mate who took in glass after glass of organic chardonnay. They also serve organic spirits as well.
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Kaki King plays at Roundhouse

So one of the most amazing guitar players in the world is performing at Roundhouse in Camden Friday and Saturday night. I actually got my arse out of bed at 5 AM just to tell you this. Roundhouse of course being an incredible venue in London to see a gig. Listen to Kaki and both your brain and heart will melt together. She played a gig with the Foo Fighters in November, one that was sorely missed by yours truly. Be sure not to miss this one, really. Cancel your date with grandmother, mother, father, television, girl/boyfriend or whatever, or better yet bring them with you (not your TV). This will most likely sell out soon, so you’ve been warned. I think the Friday night gig is already proper sold out.
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No Spring Chicken

I’m not sure how I feel about all this segregation anymore. I’m
white…
female…
Live in London…
old.

Now, being female, I can apply for all of these arts schemes and festivals that are open to my kind. Being white, I can apply for any non-minority scheme, which are really in the minority. Being from London, I can compete with the other 37,000 “Independent Filmmakers” and 100,000 Filmmakers of the other sort to get the London schemes.

But, being old…I can’t really apply for anything.

Take, for example, this John Braybourne award. Here’s the first paragraph of the application procedure (emphasis is mine):

“Who should apply?
The awards are open to young talent focused on working in the UK film and TV industry. It is a scheme that looks to reward young people who have demonstrated determination and motivation in targeting their chosen career. The scheme also looks to help those whose careers have suffered set-backs due to unforeseen circumstances.”

Now, all of this sounds like me…especially my career suffering set-backs due to unforeseen circumstances…like getting a divorce and fleeing the country to “find myself” and ending up in London spending all of my settlement going to film school and then waking up the reality that “you’re too old, baby.” But, I feel young, and I do have stories to tell.

Are we chopping up society too much…putting every person into a little box that says (in my case) “white female passed her sell-by date”? Or is this division necessary to maintain diversity? And, if so, where does my voice belong?

Discuss…

If you’re wondering what this has to do with London:

1) The Braybourn Application is mailed to a London address,
2) London is the multi-melting pot of the world
3) I live in London

P.S. The photo is of JB himself, who, by the looks of it, is no spring chicken either.

ctbf_jba_jbpic.jpg

Fire in Camden

Saddened to hear news of fire that broke out in Camden Town on Saturday. Especially since Saturday was sunny, warm and lovely (although it was a record breaking temp of 16.6 C, human induced climate change anyone?). I have not heard any word as to cause of the blaze, just recall seeing it on BBC after getting home that night. The news reporter kept saying how everything was getting back to normal and I’m like fuck! Camden Town’s on fire and you say everything is back to ‘normal’ again? Bloody hell. The fire severely damaged one of the most well-known, historic parts of London, not to mention peoples’ homes and livelihood. And what exactly is ‘normal’ for Camden or anything else in this world anyway? Camden is still one of the great urban settings of the world where ‘the weird turn pro.’ I wish it the best in repairing itself, but taking into account its tenacity these are cuts and bruises that will heal over time.

http://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/content/council-and-democracy/news/2008/feb/fire—3-chalk-farm-road—stables-market.en;jsessionid=49F1EE41F12BBC3F1BA7A34D317C00E6.node2

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7237119.stm

Battersea Beer Festival

Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) will have their first beer festival for London in 2008. Beer festivals aren’t just an excuse to get pissed, bur rather an adventure of the senses; in order to really enjoy an ale it’s best to exercise all five. Beer actually has one up on wine in that there are so many more varieties and the craftsmanship in brewing ale is well beyond fermenting grapes. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good wine and I’m sure many ale drinkers do as well, which is probably why there will be a decent selection of wines at the festival as well. For those of you who insist that you ‘don’t like’ beer, it’s probably cause you’ve never really tasted a good ale.
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Driving

I can’t be the only one that has noticed that roadworks seem to have sprung up everywhere in Central London. Just the other day it took me over an hour to get from Camden to Soho, a distance of not even 3 miles. Yesterday I ran into roadworks around Seymour Place, then Victoria, Edgeware Road. I am serious considering taking public transport, something that I have managed to avoid for almost 20 years. Add to this the fact that it cost £51 the last time I filled up my car and the congestion charge is £8 a day and I think Ken Livingstone may just have converted me to buy an Oyster card.

On the other hand I may convert to the new G-Whiz, congestion, tax and parking free electric cars.

Crafty

50th%20logo%20small.jpgMy mate Saskia over at the London Film School is doing another “Craft of the Director” two-day workshop. I took it the last time they ran it, and it’s a great intro to directing. Good for people with no formal training who are interested in directing. Veterans also got a lot out of it saying that it was useful to be reminded of why we make the choices we do as directors.

The course is on the 16th and 17th of February. You can get more info under the workshop section of the LFS website.

Fancy an Alternative London Club Atmosphere?

There are many clubs in London, but few tend to engage individuality. If you fancy escaping from the herd mentality of mainstream London night life you might want to enter the dark gates of the Slimelight. Mind you it’s not for everyone, that would miss the point entirely. And while some people tell me it’s ‘not what it used to be,’ few things are. When enduring the unholy realm of the Slimelight, prose fired in all directions. My nervous system was erupting like a volcano within a dark oceanic abyss. Here’s a little taste.
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A bit of serenity in Holland Park

I’m a fairly recent migrant to this crazy city. I’d been living in Oxford for a few years, up until last October, and I think I’ve figured out the fairly simple difference that really bugs me between the two.

Oxford could be (well, can be, I suppose) a fairly busy place, what with the billions of students and trillions of tourists, but the great thing about it is that you were never more than a turn round the corner and a wander down an alley from a moment of serenity. A 14th century street, a college quad – there are even two entire meadows within a fairly short amble of the city centre.

London, though, isn’t usually quite as peaceful.
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