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Random London conversations

Random London conversations

On the last Sunday night tube home, HyperHam manages to do the impossible and persuade a random stranger to talk to us by the simple expedient of pointing at a film poster on the tube platform opposite.

Through the conversation – which principally centres around the difference between horror films from the East versus torture porn from Hollywood, and how Eastern films have absolutely zero problem jumping from genre to genre in the blink of an eye – we also discover that:
– he and his girlfriend got so coked-up last night that she stormed out when he berated her for being unable to open a fridge door
– she’s attempted to make amends the day after by serving him ribs
– wearing a scruffy striped shirt and long coat is enough to make me look like a “City boy”. Which I wouldn’t mind so much if I hadn’t spent the last 20 minutes mildly discussing film, and I patently do not have the style or money to carry off the City boy look.

Honestly, if you want to provoke conversations with a stranger, carry an American around.

The trouble with being everywhere on the Internet…

The trouble with being everywhere on the Internet…

Miss H recently did a Google search for a local pizzeria near where I live and she works. My picture pops up – because I once wrote a favourable review of it.

Better yet, if you then do the same search but concentrating on images, there’s a Google Ad inviting you to travel with 1200 lesbians. Sounds like my average dating night out to me.

A random lunchtime in Cleveland…

A random lunchtime in Cleveland…

Asian doughnutsThese are apparently Asian doughnuts, as offered to us by the waitress at the Cleveland cafeteria I was at lunchtime. Despite their innate Asianness – I mean, they’re called Asian doughnuts for a reason, right? – I was unable to detect any Asianness in them. No barbecued pork, no wasabi, no egg tart. Nothing.

En route out, carrying our leftovers, we somehow attract the attention of a slightly old man who strikes up a conversation about our leftovers. Assuming he’s after some money, I give him $2. But instead of going away as his London equivalent would do, he carries on talking to us about his job working in the Florida nuclear regulatory commission, his daughter who designed one of the buildings along the street, and he even shows us his drivers licence. For some strange reason, none of it rings true. After all, why would random strangers strike up conversations with other random strangers?

Later on that afternoon, leaving campus, we spot a shedload of police cars and a fire truck surrounding one particular street. It later turns out that a “shameless” person had streaked across the area. As you do.

"Give me my pizza or I will f**k you up"

"Give me my pizza or I will f**k you up"

was the phrase that I heard shouted in the street below.

Being unable to resist the temptation to look, I twitched the curtain and saw two women – one elderly woman in her 50s wearing tracksuit bottoms and a young girl in an all-pink tracksuit – confronting a helmeted pizza delivery man. It would seem that they had been waiting for their pizza for over an hour and were extremely angry that the man would not give them their pizza.

So while shouting phrases like “Don’t you f**king touch my daughter” (who had the said pizza), they chased the pizza delivery man down the street, and pushed over his motorbike. At some point, presumably happy that they had the pizza, they allowed the pizza delivery man to motorbike away, and went back inside their house.

Two minutes later, he biked back and parked at the far end of the street. I have no idea why.

Just another random spring night in West London!

The Internet is getting smaller and smaller

The Internet is getting smaller and smaller

Evidenced by two recent random happenings where two very distinct areas of my personal Internet merge in bizarre ways:

  • When news of the new Pet Shop Boys single came out, I naturally emailed it to all my Pet Shop Boys-loving friends (all seven of us. We could have a convention in a very large telephone kiosk). One of them excitedly emailed me to ask how on earth I knew someone else on that list – I replied that I used to live with him back in the halcyon summer days of 1998. It then turns out that Geoff and Iain also lived together in the early 1990s, before I met him.
  • Through mutual friends, I ended up following Star’s blog, which was full of random pop culture links and funny words. She was a good blogger, but alas her life was very suddenly and rudely cut short. Today, I found that a professional blog colleague of mine used one of her pics in his latest blog post – something which may well have gladdened her. Or maybe not.

Maybe it’s time to find a new Internet or something.

25 random facts…

25 random facts…

Since I’ve been tagged by a few friends on Facebook and elsewhere, I thought I’d try to come up with 25 random facts about me:

  1. One of my first websites was lauded by Microsoft, Yahoo and the BBC. Of course, this was back in 1997.
  2. I’ve been in Stephen Fry‘s bedroom
  3. I love peas. Love them. If I had a big enough freezer, all my stir fries would come with peas included.
  4. I also love snow – the way it can make a city like London be frozen, cold and yet clean and crisp. Of course, I’ve never had to go to work in the middle of a blizzard.
  5. I also love the cold. It awakens the senses, keeps everything sharp. Then again, I’ve never had to walk to work during a very very cold snap.
  6. Ben Elton thinks I’m a wanker. Long story.
  7. In my younger days, the only time I cried at a film was during E.T.’s resurrection.
  8. Unfortunately, these days, any old thing can set my eyes moist. A moving montage, a soaring piece of music…
  9. This may be why I don’t really go to the cinema any more. In 2008, I managed four trips. and one of them was to the terrible Indiana Jones movie.
  10. My favourite film is Brazil, a tale of a man who battles bureaucracy by going insane.
  11. I’ve worked in the BBC, in four different places, over ten years – with a lot of time off for good behaviour.
  12. Emma Freud is the best Radio 1 DJ that ever existed, IMHO. and she gave me an online snog once.
  13. I am petrified of zombies. Terrified of them.
  14. and crabs. Crabs will take over the world. You mark my words.
  15. I hate unfriendly people.
  16. I love living in London, full of unfriendly people. Go, as they say, figure.
  17. When I’m sat on my sofa, I wish I was in the pub.
  18. When I’m in the pub, I wish I was sat on my sofa.
  19. Chef Ainsley Harriott gripped my thigh once.
  20. So did Pet Shop Boys lead singer Neil Tennant
  21. I once tried to bore a friend to sleep by summarising every single Doctor Who episode ever broadcast. It didn’t work. She’s still my friend.
  22. I wore a kilt once. Loved it.
  23. I can’t stand sour foods. Salt and vinegar crisps are the devil’s condiment of choice.
  24. I haven’t programmed a computer in years. Must learn again.
  25. I was once asked to take part in a local carnival as a Chinese person on the grounds that I didn’t need any make-up…
  26. I used to be terrible at cooking. I couldn’t even make a bowl of cornflakes properly.
  27. People seem to confide in me. I have no real idea why, but I like it.

So… go and write 25 random facts about you in *your* blog!

Random London moments via the 266

Random London moments via the 266




London bus

Originally uploaded by E01

Thanks to incredibly slow London traffic, I managed to spend three hours on the 266 bus route between Hammersmith and Brent Cross, and back. It wouldn’t be so bad but I got to Brent Cross *just* when all the shops were closing. I was starving at this point, and even though there was plenty of food out on display – because all the shops were closing up their tills, nobody would sell me any. Damn nit!

The plus side in my mini-trail across half of London is that I did spot a few random London moments, including:

– one chap who got on the bus, and spent the next 30 minutes loudly listening to, and nodding along to a rap music album. Stored on his phone which he was listening to by keeping it against his ear, and generously sharing it with the rest of us grumpy passengers. And he had bling-bling white trainers on. And he was white, just to defeat another stereotype.

– spotted a taxi parked on the side of the road, and next to the taxi was a man kneeling on a prayer mat, praying presumably towards Mecca

and your random London link is this series of images musing on what 2090 London would look like, once it’s been flooded.

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