16 January 2008

They’re hanging tough in a soho bar...Playing guitars in the underground...Gone down to london tryin’ to chase that sound...

So here I am back in Old Blighty and wondering where the time went. Hard to believe I was away in Oz for a whole month and even harder to believe that the weather back here could have gotten any worse than when I left.

My time away was awesome and I had such a relaxing and fun holiday. Special thanks to Pauly and the McGraths for putting me up (and putting up with me). It was so great to just hang out and not have to worry about doing anything or being anywhere and it really made me realise how much I miss all of youse...absence makes the heart Jane Fonda, and all that.

There've been quite a few interesting developments since I've been away...

They've closed the Tube station just near my house to make the East London line part of the Overground network and it won't reopen until 2010! That means I have to walk and extra 10 minutes in the rain each day to get to Canada Water station. The only saving grace (and it's a small one) is that Canada Water station, along with 3 or 4 others, has been remodelled as part of an urban art project along the lines of the subterranian world of the Morlocks from Jules Verne's 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth'. It's very industrial with lots of grey metal and bare concrete and exposed pipes and beams and chains and gratings and steel floor plates and big spotlights stuff. It's all rather cool and adventurous and makes a real change from the usual banality and blandness of corporate or community art that gets excreted about the place.

There's all sorts of juicy brewings at home. The two girls who were chummy and were making life awful for the rest of us have had a HUGE falling out. It started out with just not talking and the odd bitchy remark but last night it exploded into an almighty catfight on the stairs. There was shouting and yelling and swearing and fast-talking and everything. It was awesome! Apparently the catalyst was one of the girls ate some of the other girls food and didn't replace it or offer to pay for it. They started having this low-level barney about that but it developed into a massive slag off where they were bringing up stuff from 5 years ago and threatening to tell each other's families all the secrets they'd been keeping from them. I'm not sure what's going to happen but I think it's going to be pretty frosty from now on until one, or both, of them moves out. They've both recently lost their jobs so I can't imagine it'll be too long before they can't pay rent. Who needs TV!

Typically balanced weekend weather-wise: sunny and cold one day, rainy and freezing the next. On Saturday I headed back to Greenwich and walked through the Greenwich tunnel. It's foot tunnel which goes under the Thames from the Cutty Sark to the Isle of Dogs, right in the heart of the zombie exclusion zone. Frankly I was a little underwhelmed. I had visions of an ardurous trek through a dank lightless cavern, stumbling over rubble and the bodies of fat american tourists curled in the fetal position gibbering and waiting to die. I mercy kill a few of them but there's just so damn many and I'm a lazy lazy man. But in reality it was a 5-minute walk through a well-lit, white-tiled passage way and the only trace of ardure was the spiral staircase at each end and the hordes of screaming kids running up and down. Admitedly, the place is in a state of disrepair with large sections of tiling fallen away from the roof exposing the rusted support beams; a trenchant reminder of the incredibly massive weight of water sitting just metres over my head, and I imagined I could hear a slight creaking and groaning as the corroded metal strained against the inevitable clamity to come. I looked at the smiling faces of the children and laughed quietly to myself as I imagined them crushed and drowned beneath the torrents of filthy Thames that were soon to cascade upon us. But, predictably, that didn't happen so I went and got some hot chips instead.

Work-wise it's been hard getting back into the swing of things. The D-Net project winds up soon and I've got a couple of options for my next one, but the one I'm most excited about is with Microsoft in Seattle. I'm not confident of my chances as us UK folk are more expensive than our US counterparts, but they're having trouble getting people so you never know. It would be a great chance to test the waters, as it were, and give me a chance to work in the States without having to move there permanently.

I went off to the moofies on Monday night after blagging free tickets to the opening night of the Coen Brother's new film, No Country for Old men. It's about the consequences that follow on from a dude who stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and steals $2 million bucks and is then pursued by a horribly creepy assassin with a bad haircut who is in turn pursued by a tired but wise old sherrif. As you would imagine it's a very intelligent and poetic movie, with scenes of almost aching subtlety and calm punctuated by moments of intense and hideous violence. There's themes of fate and chance and some excellent performances, particularly by the spanish guy who plays the assassin. The critics have hailed it as supposedly their best work, and don't get me wrong it was a great film, but I still think Lebowski and Fargo are still their best films. But hey, it was free, right, and it was my first time in the cinema just down the road at the local Surrey Quays shopping centre, or "Suckeys" as I like to call it. My ticket was a two-fer so I tried to convince the fat homeless guy who hangs out the front of Tescos and makes farty noises with his humungous lips to join me but he had a better offer.

Anyhoo, happy new year to y'all. Check out the new photos at http://picasaweb.google.com/blind.phineas, and here's to many more adventures for all of us in '08.

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