Saturday, May 06, 2006

2005-08-31 018Last night

'... I was flat on my back in Soho, possibly saw Tracey Emin's nipple, slept in Jane Fonda's bed'

Ok, so the last one's not me, but from the Guardian's feature this is homaging.

The Soho thing because I was tired, dispirited and hungry. And I happened to be near Soho Square, have an apple in my bag and nowhere to eat it. So I found myself lolling on concrete ledge, uncertain of the dampness of the grass, and to acutely observed to sit anywhere more prominent. One problem with Soho; everyone's looking, judging, dismissing. It's a land of endless slights, and not really the best place to be if one's confidence has taken a battering.

Which is why I laid back and thought of England. Well, the English habit of getting excited about weather. It's summer, quick, where's my cropped trousers? We can put our barbeque on this bin. Gosh, isn't it so hot? which only too soon [with a small interlude of thunderstorm-watching] becomes It's snowing!. We are a rush-to-the-windows nation.

I quite like lying in the sun, eyes closed, head propped on bag (everyone needs a liberated loo roll for a pillow; we'd run out and my flatmates don't tend to do anything about it, and I didn't feel like going shopping), basking in the strangely green glow.

Ok, so it would have been better if I could properly sunbathe, but if you think I'm taking of my shirt in the midst of so many gay men, you obviously haven't seen the disgusted looks I get for having antisocially thing forearms.

Better still would have been the guitar playing guy sticking to the instrumental versions, as he twiddles melodically away peacefully soothing, until the crap, erratically shouted lyrics kicked in. Some people don't have the voice for shouting.

Even better would have been being able to drift through the cascading perfume flowing from a lilac without having the acrid emissions of some haggard man's cigarette scattering the viscous scent like Fairy into fat. The little twigs of doom so painfully vile I wondered what he was actually smoking. Hawthorn, I think. Either that or rolled sections of a chemistry lab extract filter.

So once el mariachi hit what I take to be his version of the schizophrenic Fairytale of New York, only with both parts sung in a pale, Home Counties voice, with added excitement around the swearwords because they were naughty, I decided I'd better leave, especially as the tree at the far end had grown covetously taller, dappling heat.

So then south, or east, or whichever direction it is to Covent Garden. But that's an averaged course, as I did my traditional tacks as I discover Monmouth's the wrong one, so back down Neal Street. While useful for evading u-boats - I've just finished reading The Boat, also known as Das Boot, which is good, if uncannily similar to The Cruel Sea or Montserrat's non-fiction stuff - it's not the most direct route, but I wasn't in much of a hurry, idling simply for the sake of otherness.

In the square - piazza, Arthur, piazza - I passed up the opportunity to watch a man fail to set a borrowed child on fire, ignored for health reasons the solo artist (meaning he had no audience) who was stretching Sweet Child of Mine to a more savage degree than the average French lesson tape, and then found myself lingering by a man with a rope. And some knives. And a penchant for heckling the audience, although he hadn't got it quite right, possibly because the audience was speaking Greek most of the time, and possibly because he was mostly interested in making good looking females flirt. But I hung around for a while, well actually until he finished, just because boredom couldn't invent anything better to do, and then shamefully didn't out any money into his hat because he repeatedly said what was a suitable donation, which was way above anything I'd consider (or had on me).

Possibly the most entertaining section was when an American near me asked his friend if the building labelled "St Paul's Church" was the famous one.

Not quite.

Then south, or west, walking through the city, with low sun making the buildings sing. Past the depressingly empty Metropole Building, which on a different street is labelled the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (ok, separate, yet neighbouring, building equally as abandoned).

The New Metropole BuildingI've just discovered that the Minagfi and Metropole are both being assessed for redevelopment (obviously very thorough assessment given how long it's taking), with the Metropole dismissed as unimportant, and to be replaced with the thing on the right. Which they've clearly put a lot of thought into designing. They must have done, because the website says:
The development has been shaped by the desire to create a stunning building which will be an exemplar of good design.
Ok, I'm being unfair, as the rendering isn't particularly accurate, but it does seem to have been selected for its least-offensive-while-still-claiming-to-be-iconic status. Perhaps the current building isn't quite the architectural gem it might have been, but why replace it with something duller?

And this isn't written with quite the vitriol it might have had, as I've been distracted by discovering what else the Crown Estates own.

Anyway, back to last night, after the dyslexic nunnery (there must be something about religious females, as I used to have a dentist called Eria as the nuns forgot the c), and sun doused stone, I wander along the southbank, pausing for long enough to have the impression of the concrete marring my arms, before getting to the Tate, where Rachel Whitebread's [I know, but it's become habitual] fantasia on sugarcubes was being ground up in the back of a lorry. Hollow plastic boxes slung into the flaying arms mobile plastic shredders make quite a lot of noise, and the hall works with hums, rumbles and thuds booming cavernously. I wanted to ask if I could take one home, but I thought they it might be a bit big to carry, not terribly useful, and the guy on security already looked annoyed, so if I ever do need to show of my Rachel Whitbread, I'll have to have some advance warning so I can freeze a box of water.

Then deciding I could be arsed with actually looking at art, instead wondering how I've never noticed the lorry-sized door which leads onto the balcony crossing the hall, I went into the shop to find a birthday card. A few minutes of indecision later, Tracey Emin walked in. She was there to do a DVD-signing (DVD-only, no just autographs), although she thought she was there to do a q-and-a (like C-and-A only less defunct).

And if you see any pictures of the event, with a guy absent-mindedly fanning himself with a Moholy-Nagy in the background, I'm probably him.

But instead of waiting for the questions (what's the atomic mass of Bohrium?), or joining the loiterers in their insights (she's small, but has good legs, if silly shoes, and she's not as ugly as photographs make her look, but the pink rock star sunglasses aren't working), I buy a card and postcard, discover the coal-towers picture is no longer on display (I remember really loving it when I first discovered it), laugh at a Miffy at the Gallery book, wander out, up the slope, past the gaggle peering through the window, turn and look back, and realise the gaggle have view right down Miss Emin's cleavage, and then she moved and I saw darkness that had too much colour to be a shadow. And then, being me, I got embarrassed, looked, then walked away.

It could just have been some quirk of the lighting.

And then home, to food and Green Wing, and teaching SG swearwords. Most of which she miraculously hadn't heard at 4.45 that morning, when one resident of the surrounding estate decided to make sure every single other one knew that a guy one flat was a "fucking ginger cunt" or occasionally a "ginger fucking cunt" just to novelty's sake. I think it was the usual thing, for round here, of there being too much fucking of cunt generally, hence the girl plaintively trying to restrain boyfriend number one, who was trying to trash a car at the time.

And it was then that I realised I think she was one half of the couple who were having a row about STDs outside my window a while ago. Of course, it might not have been her, as from up here they all blend into one, which is possibly why the local males seem to get so frequently confused. I imagine they're doing the sexual version of driving down a street of identical houses holding down the garage-door opener until one of them opens. It's just that the automated doors all seem to operate on the same frequency.

Oh, I meant to go and see the elephant tonight. I might go for the end of it. Bye,


I share your sentiments regarding going shirtless in Soho. I have decent arms, it's the body fat percentage that leaves me writhing in shame as I wolf down a Big Mac meal while kweens all around me nibble delicately on organic salads with fat-burning dressing.

But we should get a drink together and sit about being teribly antisocial in each other's company.
It's the way their flesh is so compartmentalised that I end up wondering if they've got string binding them together like a deboned chunk of pork.

Er, yeah, so after that unnecessary exploration of part of my psyche, you want to meet for a drink? Ok then. When? How bears the ankle? After it recovers?

Oh, while I remember, thanks for the link (I got far too excited when I noticed, which I'm blaming on sleep deprivation, stress, and the most interesting part of my live recently being exploring doping techniques (doping as in coating glass with metals). But that makes it sound like you are not interesting, yet you are. Sorry, I think my brain's a bit doped out. Anyway, thank you. Why I am still inside brackets?), I'll shunt you up as soon as I redo the template (and thereby have to strip out half the links).

Oh, and email about meeting, or carry on here, or...

I think I need something to eat.
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