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" sometimes i feel so unutterably superior to the people surrounding me that i marvel at my ability to live among them."
-from the kenneth williams diaries [via hostess elisabeth]
the alarm of a nearby (empty) warehouse has been going off constantly literally for months. luckily it's just far enough away from the flat that we don't hear it at night but we're always treated to a rendition on the way to devon's road. it took hostess elisabeth to point out that the sound of the alarm is a great deal like the sound attributed to the giant ants in classic b-movie them! -which has of course lead to several conversations about how we might fare should these imaginary creatures break free. turns out we'd be fucked.
for my birthday outing this year we all shuffled off to volupte. sadly no burlesque was scheduled for the night, so instead we settled for cocktails, dinner and the phenomena that is 'the fabulous corliss randall'. she started the evening with her carmen miranda impersonation, which in truth looked a little more like pete burns after he'd been beaten to death with a tin of fruit salad. the garish frock, the grocery-laden headgear etc. and quite a spectacle she was too. she did however distribute various instruments among the bemused diners, one of which was a musical banana which our table got. it took me sometime to persuade the venerable gude that it was to be shaken and not inserted. after a short break we were treated to her mae west, the vocal stylings of which saw her simply making a kind of strange constipated sound in between jokes, something akin to an adenoidal crow: "aw, aw, aw". at one point she wandered among the tables cracking jokes, after which the drummer, following her, would hit the cymbal he was carrying. per-chow. it was at this point that hostess elisabeth announced out loud that she should get a man to follow her around with a cymbal... all the time. such were the strength of the cocktails. a great night out was had by all, the denouement being when mr. roast fell spectacularly over in a puddle as we were walking to the tube station. o how we laughed...
we recently watched, on dvd, a film called the manitou, (1978), a film which deals with an aging tony curtis chasing a 400 year old native american medicine man midget around a hospital. part exorcist cash-in, part extended twilight zone episode, part star trek, part trippy 2001 style finale. hilariously poor. a must see.
and talking of grammatical errors, i don't mean to be a pedant (i just am so it comes across that way) but when i found a mistake on the 'standard coursework coversheet', the form that is used by everyone to hand in essays etc. across the e n t i r e university, i was a little surprised. the error is on the bottom section of the form which serves as a receipt, in block capitals it reads "you should not leave handling in of work until the last minute". handling? hello? ladies and gentlemen a seat of learning.
squatters have moved in en masse to one of the large empty factory buildings that backs on to the canal, just across from the giant ants. they have a double decker bus and a narrowboat. it's all very... something. can't really bring myself to be either outraged or excited. so maybe i'm not that middle aged... just yet.
so. both myself and hostess elisabeth were leaving together at around 8:00 and though we always do, for some reason we didn't make sure the building's main door was closed after us. hostess elisabeth glanced back just in time to see someone who'd been hiding around the corner slip in before the door shut. we looked at each other for a moment. what to do? of course we couldn't leave someone wandering unchecked around the place so back i go, open the door and follow the mysterious intruder... i found him outside number 7, holding a large envelope. in maybe his mid 20s, he was wearing a hooded anorak, under the hood of which he wore a wooly hat, with tassels hanging either side of his heavily bearded face like pigtails. i asked him if was making a delivery. after a pause he nodded a yes. by this time i had recognised the envelope he was holding as a piece of junkmail that had been laying on the floor in the foyer for weeks. "no you're not" i said "you've just picked that up". he stared at me blankly and knocked on the door, a pathetic attempt to keep up the pretense. he then tried to push the envelope under the door. i asked him what he was doing there before realising that the question was pointless. i decided on a firmer tack, "look you don't live here, you should leave. now." he just stood there for a moment before walking back past me into the small foyer. hostess elisabeth, stood in the doorway, got out of his way to let him leave. at this point he decided not to. he started going through other pieces of post that had been left on top of the post boxes. it was at this point that i realised that this wasn't going to be resolved easily, and that i was going to be late for my lecture. i snatched the letters out of his hand, told them that they didn't fucking belong to him and that he should "get the fuck out now". he looked at me, an aggressive edge to his previous blankness. he snatched at the letters. i told hostess elisabeth to call the police from her mobile, which she did. i kept telling him to get the fuck out but he refused. i began to think he was either off his nut on something, or mad as a toaster. he started to tell me to get out, then he asked to see my "papers". "who the fuck are you, the stasi?" i asked. he sounded russian to me, his english broken. at this point he grabbed my nose (cue hilarity -i'll just pause to let you enjoy that). what a strange thing to do, adding weight to the mentalist theory. i slapped his hand away. at this point i realised that the situation could well land me in accident and emergency. great, i thought, fan-tastic. my best course of action seemed to be to convince him that should he want a fight, then that was dandy with me. he reached for the remote control of my mini-disc player (clipped to my coat) i grabbed his wrist as tightly as i could, he told me to let go. after he'd let go of the remote control i did so. i tried one last bout of rationality "the police are on their way, do you really want to see the police?" he either didn't understand or didn't care. he paced about, checked the post again, there was a feigned punch, then he pushed me, i pushed him back harder and readied myself to punch him if i needed to, fixing him with my best paddington bear style 'hard stare'; thankfully this seemed to make him think better of a fight. lucky for me probably. at one point he went and directed his 'scary' stare performance at hostess elisabeth and i asked him if perhaps he thought that intimidating a woman was easier. he left her alone after that and returned to the post. soon the police arrived and soon after that he found himself handcuffed up against the building's outside wall. he told the police he was italian, that his name was david. a bad tattoo on his calf read 'danny'. later, when the police gave him some italian to read, he couldn't. he tried to complain to them that i pushed him but they weren't having any of it:"that's called reasonable force" one of them told him "it's in the magna carta", and he was quickly carted off in a police van. and then hostess elisabeth was dropped off at devon's road and i was driven to a police station to give a statement. once i'd done this, or, once the policeman had written out what i told him in handwriting which could give a GP's a challenge for most illegible and i'd signed it, i was then driven to university. on the way there (a half an hour drive?) i heard over their radio about 2 stabbings, 1 murderer caught, a case of domestic abuse, and all before nine. "this day's getting better and better" said one of the policemen. i think he meant it too.
sadly, tiger lil's has now closed down for good. shame.
walking home one night, hostess elisabeth and myself spot a man climbing in the first floor window of a block of flats on violet road. just as we're wondering whether this is a burglary in progress, we see him climb in, descend the stairs inside, open the front door, collect his crutches which he'd left outside and then go back in. biz-arre.
having had enough of knitting baby clothes for her ungrateful sister's no doubt ugly unborn child, hostess elisabeth is to start knitting jumpers for penguins. no, no, really. is it me or is that the best thing you've heard a l l y e a r ?
walking to university along holloway road i cross a side road to find a police car blocking the path of another car. every door of the police car stood open. a man, cuffed, lay in the road face down. standing over him were three armed policemen, two with handguns, one with a submachine gun, all pointed at the man on the ground. how dangerous can a cuffed man be? not what you expect to see on your way to school.
a butcher's on chrisp street market sells something called 'chopped goat'.
for hostess elisabeth's birthday we planned a day of high culture and confectionery. first a trip to see the rodin exhibition at the royal academy, and then to the st. james hotel for afternoon tea in their 'rose lounge'. all very civilised. on our way to the royal academy we passed the now famous branch of itsu in which alexander litvenenko was poisoned. the whole shop facade has been boarded up and has a police guard. also, a notice posted on the hoarding by the company reads:
international espionage incident has transformed this itsu into a world-famous
example of engrish-style
writing i think you'll agree, which, while not exactly grammatically
incorrect, is arguably inappropriate to an alarming degree. around this
announcement is printed a large silver swirl, clearly recognisable
as the 'gun barreling' shown at the beginning of every james bond film
that has ever been made:
i ask you, not is this in bad taste,
but just how in bad taste is it?!
the frankly horrific brats that live opposite have been let loose in the hallway to play, screaming up and down outside our door and generally edging me incrementally towards infanticide. i mean, the hallway is not their fucking playground, it is a communal area for the sole purpose of getting you to your front door. n o t h i n g m o r e . no one owns it and no one can legitimately monopolise it. and if that wasn't bad enough they've dumped toys in the stairwell, initially i thought this might be to take them out to the rubbish, in order to make room for more toys at christmas, but then they seem to have been set out to play with; stairwell as fucking playgroup. incredible scum-sucking pikey no-goods. i hear you and concur kenneth williams, i hear and heartily con-fucking-cur.
so, there we were, hostess elisabeth and myself, up at 6 to go to the hospital to have injections into her spine to try and (belatedly) fix her constant 8 month long back pain. we get there, we queue up, with check in. hostess elisabeth dons the sartorial rape that is the hospital gown. her blood pressure and pulse are taken. the anesthetist comes and has a chat with her to insure she has no allergies to the procedure. by half nine we're raring to go, if only to get it over with. then a tarty looking administrator in a cheap suit and ugly boots turns up and tells everyone that the days procedures have been canceled due to an emergency at another hospital and could we all kindly fuck off home. but of course how could we have expected actual treatment? what were we thinking? f u c k i n g c u n t s . ladies and gentlemen, the nhs in the twenty first century. i can't remember the last time i'd been moved to rage within such a short space of time, ten seconds at the most. as we were leaving i wanted tony blair to be visiting the hospital on a baby hugging p.r. expedition so i could stab the cunt in the face. unbe-and yet all too be-lievable.
recommended: (audio) 'flat of angles' by the fall / (comestible) afternoon tea / (visual) 'the gates of hell' by rodin / (sensorial) re-reading 'something wicked this way comes' by ray bradbury
reviled: (audio) razorlight / (comestible) fizzy yop / (visual) toyland in the stairwell / (sensorial) the crushing nhs let down