Monday, 28 February 2005


I have a fascination for stencil graffiti, been taking pictures of it on and off for over a year. Now in homage to Psychbloke I'm posting some of them (he posts them frequently and is much better informed about who did them than I am).

Friday, 25 February 2005


Waiting for the train this morning, looking up at the roof of London Bridge station, Victorian steel frame and glass, snow falling gently through the air, almost imperceptable but definitely there. On the bridge that crosses the platforms, standing on the top step, closer to the roof, watching the throng of commuters rushing along platform 13 to the exit, desperate to get to work so they can get the day over with and go home, they don't seem to notice the gently swirling snow snowing through the roof gaps. Snowing indoors. Felt sort of magical.

Thursday, 24 February 2005

Train Journey

Sitting by the lav on the train from Kings Cross this evening when suddenly a weird high pitched wailing began emanating from behind the locked door. The businessmen all around me exchanged raised eyebrows at each other and a man on the phone to his wife told her that there were people fucking in the toilet. The wailing continued. Sort of like a pig in distress.

And then the lav flushed and a tall broad older gentleman came out obviously oblivious to the fact that anything could be heard outside. Nobody else came out after him. As he disappeared down the train all the chaps tittered.

Tuesday, 22 February 2005


Its always funny how it seems to float and waft and swirl around in different directions even when its coming down quite fast.
Peckham Street Drinkers

"fuck off you cnuts", the highpitched yet strangely resonant slow drawl shouts. I look across, its a man with a beige sweatshirt tied around his head, brandishing a plastic bottle of cider, kicking out at the pigeons.

He sees me looking. "See they want to steal my food", he gestures at his laid out cloth with half a loaf and some bags. "Are they French? Where do you think they are from?" he asks. I half smile but he doesn't wait for my answer, "where do you think? Buckingham Palace?" he chuckles, "Trafalgar Square?"

He's not as out of it as he first appears maybe. As I round the corner he is joined by his mate, a man with his hair in 3 dreadlocks - one huge matted one on top and two huge matted ones on either side.

Saturday, 19 February 2005

No.38 Bench Seat

Early evening, saturday night on the way to see House of the Flying Daggers, we sat on the bench seats of the routemaster on the 38 bus.

Opposite was a middle-aged couple off to the theatre - dressed up as is the custom of this age group. He was a serene looking man in a good suit and the palest pink shirt. She was glamorous in maroon velvet and a scarf wtih silk tassles. She was totally fabulous apart from her cheap looking gold open toed sandals worn with flesh-toned tights with the toe seams showing.

Next to them was a man wearing trendy attire - jeans and trainers. He had a face that was full of sorrow and yet seemed friendly at the same time. Hang dog eyes and a mouth that turned down. But the faintest flicker of a smile made him seem appraochable and loveable in a sorrowful way. Bald on top but longish side and back hair. A clown. He had the face of a sorrowful clown. The type who wears a cross over his eyes and a big red mouth.

I wonder if the whole world is really here to entertain me or if my imagination is over-active.
Its Nice Outside

I woke up
I got outta bed
I listened to music the boyfiend bought me for valentines
I talked to my sister on the phone
I watered my plants
I turned all the cacti around so they grow the other direction (love and care)
I looked at the leaves unfurling on another plant
I washed my hair slowly for a change
Outside the sun is shining
I arranged to meet at Beetroot on Berwick Street for a box of hippy food.

Its nice outside.

Wednesday, 16 February 2005

Same Old Same Old

Not been feeling like blogging much - yesterday I got sent to Coventry and nobody talked to me all day (ok kidding, not really - I went there for a meeting so talked all day and then fell asleep on the train on the way home) and today I've been trying to sort out the cockroach infestation in my office (poisoned them all on Friday, really would have liked the cleaners to vaccuum but they don't seem to do that without you asking) and when talking to the people downstairs it appears its a building problem and not just in my office which in some ways makes me feel much better (I was worried it was because of something I had done) and in other ways makes my skin crawl.

Pops is in Brazil for the Mardi Gras - the carnival goes on in a football stadium and he was sitting too far away to tell if the women were naked or not. All terribly disappointing. He was on a health tourist trip - trying to get some cheaper teeth implants but I think he can't seem to find an appropriate dentist. He emailed me from an internet cafe where he said he had to ask a group of young americans to settle down (he can at times be a mite grumpy - my sister and I joke about him growing into his mother - much to his non-amusement) so its obviously not making him full of the joys of youth.

Maybe its a late bout of January blues. I normally suffer from them terribly but they didn't kick in until late perhaps.

Friday, 11 February 2005

The Tall Tale Telling Man

He was in customs and excise, importer of coke, his mate across the table was one of his customers and they'd been there since 11.00am and he'd chopped out a line that reached the whole length of the table, and his other mate always got the leftovers. Implausable.

So his mate was an artist and the other one was a probation officer and he did grafitti. And actually he was his probation officer because he'd just been inside for doing grafitti, and his artist friend was finding representation for him at a gallery. Funny but still implausable.

He had amalgamated lifts embroidered over his shirt pocket. Apparently Amalgamated Lifts was a company who provided a service to commuters on the underground, very popular on Mondays. Giving support to overtired commuters trying to shake off monday blues. Sponsored by Homepride he had to wear a hat like the Pilbury Doughboy. He was gonna show us, but then decided it would have to wait for later.

Not sure I've ever met someone before who couldn't utter a true word. He was funny but we had other places to be, so we left him and his two untalkative mates with their £100 bar bill and went off to pastures new.

Thursday, 10 February 2005

The Image

I hadn't been aware of them getting on but after a while of them sitting behind me on the bus I drifted into their conversation (in a silent overhearing kind of way). They were colleagues. He was her senior but in a different team, he had a resonant deep happy voice. It was the voice of a tall man who would wear a good quality suit, perhaps have glasses(designer ones) and a decent haircut. She was a middle class young woman, tweed skirt and blouse type, successful, confident. Ever so slightly pearl-necklacy.

She was getting married in the summer - they had decided at Christmas, so far they had managed to arrange the engagement party (next friday - everyone they had ever known was invited, the whole email address list, and everyone they had ever known was coming, so it was really quite exciting) and order the ring. Probably being very naive believing that they could organise such an event in this amount of time but they had agreed if it all got too much for them that they would elope to somewhere foreign.

He had been married, just the once, in Italy where the organisation had been a real pain, for the civil ceremony they had to register with both the British consulate and the Italian authorities, trying to get them both to understand the papers was quite difficult but then they also wanted to be married in church and trying to get the Catholic church to agree. Now that was something, letters from the parish priest in England to be sure that he had never been married in church before. But it was worth it, a wonderful ceremony...

They chatted about holidays, he had been in the states over christmas, Chicago, and wasn't due another holiday at the moment although he would be in Syria for Easter for work. She hadn't got a break planned what with the wedding preparations and everything.

And then he got up and went downstairs, the creak of a leather jacket passed me and his faded jeans, and his unshaved face, ruffled hair with a bald patch at the back, large grin, "maybe I'll bump into you again," he called back at the woman as he disappeared down the stairs. Two stops later she got off, trousers, younger than I imagined, long red hair, centre parted and hanging down both sides of her face.

Wrong on every count. I don't even think they knew one another.

Tuesday, 8 February 2005

Rediscovered Smells

For a number of reasons I haven't smelt this smell for a long time - mostly to do with the fact that I don't generally spin sheets on a vigorous 1200 setting so they hang slightly wet and all the creases fall out whilst they dry and they don't need ironing. However, this week, in a hurry I didn't change the settings on the washing machine and ironing became a necessity. The sheets were very creased. More creased than I could leave them despite the fact that you're only going to lye on them and wrinkle them up anyway. More creased than stretching them over the bed would straighten. So tonight I'm ironing them. And the smell is lovely - clean cotton sheets, ironed with steam. Reminds me of opening the parachute bag that mum would bring home full of clean pressed washing from the laundry at Hornsey Road Baths. Sheets ironed in huge roller ironing machines. Warm still despite the journey, but with their poppers crushed.
In a beaten up silver ford sierra 2 hasidic jews rock while listening to loud reggae music out of their open window before steaming away from the traffic lights.
Slow Fast Day

For a day that dragged and at 3.00pm seemed like it would never end I was suprised when I looked up and it was suddenly 5.35. That fear shot through me - the fear that is being locked in the building and not knowing how to get out (at least 2 people have told me this has happened to them). I gladly found that although I was the last there, I wasn't locked in and rushed out into the open air.

Now I find myself sitting on a 63 bus listening to Paulo Conte (singing dancin dancin, chips chips, you're wonderfuel you're wonderfuel good luck ma baby etc). There's a man behind me whose breath smells stale, whose clothes smell of mothballs and who persists in thumping my seat as we wing our way through Southwark, past the Dun Cow Surgery that must be a doctor's but looks like a pub and down onto the Old Kent Road to the Elephant.

The Elephant and Castle is a confusion of merging routes, underpasses, overpasses, market stalls, pink walls, housing towers. They still haven't taken down the christmas decorations.

Then the bus empties out as we turn north along the London Road round the strange roundabout with a war memorial and past the station I always forget exists (Southwark) then over the Blackfriars bridge to the northside.
Monday's Life Class

So today, drawing this model, trying to draw him in ink and feeling unable to get across what I wanted to, I decided to go back to charcoal. And I liked it. It was messy but it was good. Man with blue rope.

Candid Arts Trust: open access sessions and more formal taught courses in both life drawing and painting. Behind Angel tube, Islington - first left down City Road. Contact: The Candid Arts Trust, 3 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ, Tel: 020 7837 4237.

Monday, 7 February 2005

Spring is Coming

Its getting noticeably lighter in the evenings and the snow drops have appeared. So it feels like the bleak months are behind us.

Thursday, 3 February 2005


Just because I was having a gentle dig at those morning disasters yesterday doesn't mean I'm immune to them, which I then started thinking would only be fair to share.

Like walking around Padstow (in Cornwall) with my lovely long skirt tucked into the back of my knickers until some old dears kindly told me so.

Or the time I had just purchased some absolutely beautiful boots with buckles, patent leather faux snakeskin long pointy toes (it was the 80s, and I know it sounds like a bad teenage movie, but it really was the thing to be wearing, and I was a teenager). Riding the escalator down to the tube platform at Manor House and just as I got to the bottom, a trainload of decanting passengers arrived just in time to see me get one of the blasted toes stuck in the grill at the bottom and splat head first across the floor. It doesn't matter how long you lye there, face down and hope for the ground to swallow you up. It won't.

Or the time when I wasn't really slightly pissed and was wearing wedges (stoooopid stoooopid shoes) and slipped off the steps at Leicester Square tube and tumbled all the way down, bag contents flying all over the place. I was badly behaved and snapped at all offers of help. Much to the boyfiend's aghast embarrassment.

And then there's the time when I went to the loo at lunchtime after a really important meeting and discovered I had a big black smudge across my forehead, most likely from the dirty underside of the tube escalator handle earlier that morning.

Oh and being told by my boss to pull my shirt down because I'm flashing some waist skin. Only not being sure which is better, waist skin or too much cleavage (poor choice of top - not quite long enough either direction, and usually I would go with cleavage but it being work and everything..).

And everyone's got a piece-of-spinach story.

Wednesday, 2 February 2005

Morning Toilette

Boys, nay men, need to remember to wipe the toothpaste from the corners of their mouth, the crumbs from their beards and not to catch their shirts in their flies.

Tuesday, 1 February 2005

The Knitting Girl

Standing on the platform at Peckham Rye, waiting for the imminent arrival of the london bridge train, a girl is knitting. Knitting something narrow and straight in bottle green. Thin needles. Thin wool. The ball is in her bag, an enormous length looping from the bag to the needles hanging almost to the ground. Its the technique of an inexperienced knitter. The loops being knitted into are too far down the sticks - making it difficult to slip the new stitch over.

Its not the knitting of our grannies. That manic click clicking, chatter and speedily growing garments with odd patterns, knobbly wool, side opening necklines and thick itchy socks.

There's a man leaning against the door frame. He's carrying the head of another man under his arm. The head doesn't look particularly perturbed by this.

Or at least, thats what it looks like as he stands on the other side of a glass panel to me (with a seated passenger facing him and reflected in the glass in my sight line).