Friday, 29 February 2008

leap year


Today I can ask a man to marry me. "The first documentation of this practice dates back to 1288, when Scotland passed a law that allowed women to propose marriage to the man of their choice in that year. They also made it law that any man who declined a proposal in a leap year must pay a fine. The fine could range from a kiss to payment for a silk dress or a pair of gloves." How lovely!
Have been looking at houses in South London. The long hard trek to find a place to live. I won't even consider anywhere with uPVC windows, laminate flooring and the general publics' idea, picked up off 'Changing Rooms' and the like, of home decor, for which the pathetic vendor adds 100 grand to the asking price. Give me swirly orange and brown carpets and untouched architectural features anytime. Or plain white walls and floorboards even. No I dont want your fitted kitchen from Wickes. ugh.
And South London... well I do come from mixed parentage. Mum from Thornton Heath and dad from Holloway. But I've always been a North London girl. Despite recently discovering that Merton is located within the skirts of the goddess.
Wimbledon is posh and seems to contain never ending "quartiers", Wimbledon village, Wimbledon town, Wimbledon tennis, South Wimbledon, Downtown Wimbledon... It's a bit like Highgate but really far away. Do these people even consider themselves to be Londoners?

Thursday, 14 February 2008

valentines day

Another one of those occasions designed to make much of the population feel inferior. My teenager, however, got a dozen long stemmed dark red roses from a suitor at school, along with a hand made card featuring a cracked red heart, a hand with black painted pointed fingernails, and an intense poem. Ah, to be young...

Had a lovely time on Sunday discovering the Thames riverside, this time near Tower Bridge, Shad Thames. Took some pictures and did some sketching. London is pretty amazing especially when the sun is shining. I saw a scene which to me described the 'noughties' in london; a young man sitting by a tree writing on his laptop, while a woman in a muslim hijab walked by with her children, surrounded by the red, blue and white paintwork of Tower Bridge and the bright green of English grass.Friday night had dinner with an architect friend who is partly responsible for some of these new London landmarks as she worked for Norman Foster for some years. I saw pictures of his homes: the interiors are incredibly sterile, all white and grey, no children could live there. People who work for Foster joke about the limited palette they get to use for his house style: light grey, dark grey, silvery grey, bluey grey, metallic grey...
Obviously he has an army of staff to keep his homes impeccable, not available to us ordinary mortals. But I find his style so male, the antithesis of 'home', the female lair. (His style reminds me of David Lynch the film director who is said to have banned all cooking from his homes. He cannot abide the idea of food being prepared or heated at his houses.)
My friend said that Foster comes from a poor Mancunian background, brought up in a dark tiny terraced house. His architecture, which dwarfs humans, is a long running scream away from his roots. As his assistant, she got to be a passenger in his private plane, flown by him, while he jetted over Europe attending meetings. Foster is in his 70's but looks 60. My friend talked of his amazing energy and drive. The working rich are different.He's had a few wives, the second one I believe, the journalist India Knights' mother. I've always liked India Knights' writing and books, but she clearly is very well connected, which can't have hurt.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Orbs, gilding and Graham hates kylie

On Friday afternoon I went to a new class that I have joined, learning to cut mounts, make picture frames and gild frames. It's full of Italians and Spanish and lady artists. One guy there knows "people in tv" and gave me the lowdown. 'Ten years younger', the plastic surgery programme, crams all the surgery into 10 weeks and so the women don't have a chance to recover between operations. This can lead to psychological problems and, while they are supposed to have a shrink on set, in reality this doesn't always happen. Sometimes the women, say, mothers from a poor background who have never left their children before, return home, all spruced up, new face, new body, new wardrobe and lose all their friends... they don't fit in anymore.
Then this guy tells me a little gossip about Graham Norton, how the only people he has to be careful not to slag off are the royals and he's had a few slap wrists about that. Graham hates Kylie, which is why she's never on the programme. My 'source' didn't know why, but thought it was for diva-esque behaviour but I suggested it might be because she's so bland in interviews. For a camp icon, she's boringly unbitchy! He also said that Liza Minnelli, who I adore, was in a terrible state on the programme and had to be coaxed onto set by her then hubby, David Gest. Liza met Martine McCutcheon in the green room who was immediately invited to become a bridesmaid and of course Graham Norton was invited to the wedding too. Poor Liza, so talented, so messed up... the DNA exerting its fateful grip?
Then Saturday I joined a closed circle group in the Prince of Wales pub, Highgate. The Prince of Wales is a proper pub, full of local characters and lone men sipping bitter. It also hosts the toughest pub quiz in London on Tuesday nights. The closed circle, something I've not done before, seeks to contact spirits from the other side. Wendy, the organiser, told me that at the last meeting she took pictures, which later, on downloading them, revealed 'orbs', which are small balls of energy/light. One orb even had a little face in it. The person that the orbs were most attracted to, Paul, is a David Icke conspiracy theorist. Not sure if that helps. I was hoping to upload some of the pictures that I took complete with orbs but sadly there were none.(Cynical aside: This could also be because I take better pictures than Wendy without reflections and blur)
The others were very friendly, interesting and open. One couple came from Pluckley in Kent which is apparently the most haunted village in Britain. I'm definately going to visit there. I was also told about a pub "The Grenadier" in Knightsbridge which still has a soldier haunting the bar, particularly in September, when he was killed. Must check that out too...
This meeting was really a get to know each other session as obviously trust and a certain amount of bonding is essential to a successful psychic circle.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Words that I have learnt from the McCanns case:
Arguido
Coloboma
Rogatory
Low Copy DNA
Cadaver dogs
Commentariat
Cyber-sleuthing
Internet related words like:
Astro-turfing, Forum, Post, Thread, Troll, Sock-puppet, Internaut, OP (opinion poster) are very relevant.
I imagine this case has propelled many people who would otherwise have stuck with traditional media, onto the internet. As one forumite said: "This is the first interactive crime investigation in history".
Myself I have learned to upload things from photobucket and a little bit of html and other internet skills as a result of my interest in this case.
Any other suggestions welcome