Thursday, 19 February 2009

The Other London

You all know one London already: the London of Big Ben and Hyde Park, of Fuckingham and Piccadilly, of the British and the Tate; the touristy, fashionable London of arts, entertainment and culture, of proper Britishness binding together an astounding multicoloured amalgam of ethnicities, languages and cultures. But there is another London, of which I have not yet spoken.

It's the London of foxes rummaging in trash bins, of rats scurrying away over the railway tracks. It's the London of drunken blokes meandering in the fog, while others sleep in a puddle of their own puke in a bus stop. It's the London of old people arguing with themselves while they drag their feet down the road, carrying their own boring tragedies.

It's the London of brown-bricked suburban slums, of chavs in patchy outfits and loud voices picking up fights, of broken homes and fractured families, of street gangs and overdose, of knives and guns, of black kids stabbed to death in front of an off-licence.

It's the London of urban tribes, of the destitute homeless with their feet sticking out of cardboard homes in the subways, and bruvva can you shpare some change. It's the London of sects and cults, of street preachers, of creationism in Christian schools and jihad in mosques.

It's the London of theft and murder, of beatings and rape, of deaths by stray bullets. It's The Other London, unseen to a passer-by, hidden to all but those who want to see it - it's London Below.

Over all of this and much more, Big Brother keeps watch with his composite bug eyes of a billion CCTV cameras. He doesn't give a flying fuck as long as the money keeps flowing.

Monday, 16 February 2009

The things we have

On the 21st day of January of 2009 I became another happy inmate of the Goldsmiths student halls. I now live in Batavia Mews, right next door to the hostel I spent over a month in, and just opposite Goldsmiths. I fall off bed into class. I share a 3-story, quite uphill "flat" with 6 other guys of exquisite awesomeness. We each have a room. This is mine:
my room in Ratavia Meowsmy room in Ratavia Meows
my room in Ratavia Meowsmy room in Ratavia Meows

I have the best views of the London skyline from my window. By day
the skyline of London as seen from my window
and night.
London skyline by night

We have a dodgy backalley. From there, it looks like a prison.
the Dodgy Backalley
I call it Ratavia Meows. We don't have many rats. We have mice. They're nice. We have a kitchen, which is almost always in a post-Katrina state. We also have a balcony with nice views, and a roof you can climb on. Sometimes we go out there for a laugh.

Goldsmiths from the kitchen by nightBalcony of Ratavia Mews by night

We have more broadband internet than we can give use to. We have 3 toilets, one bathtub and one shower, 2 ovens and 2 fridges, one microwave, a few fastidious kettles and 2 vacuum cleaners we seldom use. We have the cheapest rent and the most complaining cleaner ever. We have clanking metal stairs on the outside and a security fence to keep us in, we have springy mattresses and endless creaking stairs inside to keep us in shape. We have heaps of fun.

And we have many parties. The other day, I had my own.

We have all I could ask for, and then some. Isn't it good, Batavia Mews.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Winter Wonderland

I arrive in Madrid. It snows. They close Barajas airport, trains stop working, buses stop circulating, all traffic is jammed; shops, schools and universities close, everybody blames the government. And I think bloody hell, this would never happen in London. I go out and enjoy the snow:
my Venus of fertility and abundanceLa Vega nevadala campana de la pazmy 2 new friends, now I don't need anyone else

I arrive in London. It snows. They close Heathrow airport, trains stop working, buses stop circulating, all traffic is jammed; shops, schools and universities close, everybody blames the government. And I think bloody hell, this would never happen in Norway. But then I think again. I go out and enjoy the snow:
let it snowLoving the snowpurrrrr, said the snowGreen Park turned White

Hello again

Moving from my ex-flat to the hostel, birthday parties, non-birthday parties, spontaneous late-night beers, interesting new acquaintances, moving from the hostel into the student halls, the Asian Week, Obama's inauguration, a screening at BAFTA, a lecture at the Instituto Cervantes, comedy in Greenwich, the National Gallery, Hello Again the musical, snowball fights, gym evenings, beers, meeting new people to have beers with, meeting old people to have beers with, walks through Central, pub quizzes and 1-pound-pints, clubbing all I could bear and then some, parties in halls, pub encounters, plus of course lectures and seminars and creative writing workshops, translations to do, books to read (about), library times, essays to start thinking about, and all the eating, sleeping, shopping, showering and washing-up inherent to (a healthy) life.

These are some of the activities that have prevented me from posting anything here for such a long long time. And now for something completely different.