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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reasons why London is cool: These guys

Reasons why London is cool: Freedom of Expression

Reasons why London is cool: Wit

Reasons why London is cool: Brick Lane

Reasons why London is cool: Street Art

Reasons why London is cool: The stalls in Brick Lane

You know you've been in England too long when... get out your bikini, on an overcast day, and sunbake on your roof. Although it looks like I was stalking, I had to do a double take when I looked out my bedroom window and saw a pair of white legs in amidst the chimney stacks. Click on the below image to enlarge.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ladies and Gents in uniform are sexy (and no, I don't care that you know it!)

Again the Duxford Air show. Check out these enthousiasts that came dressed in uniform. They certainly gave the day an air of authenticity. I felt like I was in an episode of Foyles' Way!

Spitfires: "Up in the Air, I fly..."

I was in Duxford this weekend, just outside Cambridge, escorting Bram to the Duxford Air Show, a display of old war birds, (English, American and German). I have to admit that the Spitfires remain the most breathtaking. Check them out as a group of them line up to come in and perform fly past. As they roar past, their Rolls Royce Merlin engines screaming and their elliptical wings silhouetted against the sky, you can't help but stop breathing for the briefest of seconds. I was also pretty impressed by the German Focke wulf, which thrashed its way around the sky as it were fresh off the factory line, (and not over sixty years old!)

The Sunlight in Calais falls mainly on the train (station)

Voila une photo que j'ai prise a 21h dimanche soir en rentrant à Paris de Cambridge. La lumière d'été est vraiment belle en France. Elle est à la fois douce et puissante et elle rends pictoresque même les endroits les plus banals.

Michael Leunig

A little bit of encouragement from Australian cartoonist and national treasure, Michael Leunig.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


There's something in the water in Britain that keeps them pumping out quality comedy- and it's not flouride.

The boys who brought us the frightenly sombre The League of Gentlemen are back with another creation - Psychoville - a half hour long dive into the morbid waters of the twisted human psyche.

Psychoville is inhabited by five characters: a disillusioned children's party clown; a mid-wife who believes her demonstration doll is a real baby; a mummy's boy who is obsessed with serial killers; a blind millionaire who collects stuffed toys; and a dwarf with telekenetic powers. These five characters have one thing in common. They are all being sent anonymous letters with chryptic threats, ie. "I know what you did..."

This show feels very fresh. The sets are laboriously detailled and the make-up is phenomenal. There's no laugh track and there are no helpful "laugh now" pointers. In fact, there's no real story at all. However, the characters are so carefully depicted, so intriguingly bizarre, that you find yourself just wanting to sit back and observe them. The lack of storyline only intensifies the focus on each of the characters. It's of no great matter that you're not observing them do anything in particular. All you know is that you don't want to look away in case you miss something.

We rarely take time to study weirdness. And by study, I don't mean just glancing at it- but sit down, match-sticks-in-the-eyes, let's-wallow-in-this surgical examination. That's what I love that about this show. It's unapologetic in depicting the inelegant, the repulsive and the repugnant. Each character is gruesomely laid out in front of the camera- festering pussy warts and all (figurative of course!). However, by the end of the half hour, having broken the shock and settled into a smooth gentle wallow, you find that there's something incredibly tender and warm about the darkness of Psychoville.

To give some of the characters some authenticity, the writers created youtube profiles for them. Check out David Sowerbutt's effort below. The off-camera interjections by his mum are classic.

Monday, July 06, 2009

A war has started...

BATTLE stations people. A WAR has started.

In a quiet corner of the 20th arondissement of Paris, a fight to rewrite the pages of history is raging. It's a battle between wrong and right, between good and evil, between rich and poor, woman and man, ying and yang, between space and time.

Ever since living in our apartment, we have been under the menacing glare of two evil eyes from the balcony of the apartment across the street. Those eyes be frightening eyes. Those eyes be haunting. Those eyes- belong to an inflatable horse.
Yes, indeed.

This rotund weapon of admittedly-drawn-out-but-nevertheless-quite-damaging-destruction is awkwardly perched on the railing of the balcony of the flat across the road from us. It stands there, waiting for us to break, waiting for us to crack and display our weakness, its weird fricken legs splayed outwards in defiance of physics, its head frighteningly-tilted to one side, its bulging eyes glaring at us, questioning our resolve. "Do you feel lucky, punk. Well? Do ya?"

You may think I'm being over the top, but I swear to you that every person who has stepped into our apartment has commented on the horse - no mean feat given that it is a good 70-80 metres away.

The horse has only ever moved once: the occupants of the flat had a party. Jerome and I watched on with glee as a bunch of drunken-revellers interfered with the beast, wrenching it from it's throne and waving it about like a pool floaty. It is safe to say that Jerome and I were exstatic. The war was over. The people would no longer have to ration their butter. But the next day, upon opening my bedroom door, there it was, IN THE EXACT SAME POSITION, head tilted, legs splayed. [If it were a film, there would have been three still shots zooming in on the horse, accompanied by the sound of Garth killing Mr. Donut man - "Ree! Ree! Ree!"] At some point during the night, it had freed itself from the drunken grasp of the now somniferous party-goers and had managed to resume its haunting watch over our lives.

Bravo inflatable horse I thought. First, you give us hope. And then, with rapidity belying your lethargic, bulbous chassis, you swiftly wrench it from us again. I take my hat off to you, sir. In you, I recognise a worthy opponent.

However, two can play at this game of psycological warfare. So meet Copers, our counter-horse specialist.
Jo bought him in the airport in Copenhagen. (Yes that's right! People are so affected by the inflatable horse that they see things in their own lives and think, "James could use that to fight the inflatable horse across the road from his apartment!" This is bigger than you and me people! Can't you hear Bob Dylan? He's writing his anti-war song as we speak!) He is actually meant to be a doorstop, but by chance, he is also awesome at buffering the inflatable horse's eternal psyche out. We salute you Copers - brave, brave little horse/doorstop.

Look at him go!

Summer nights à la maison

Jerome passed by for one last night before heading off to sprechen the deutsche in Berlin. A few calls were made and before I knew it, he had a group of mates coming over for salad and crepes. It was a beautiful night. A cool breeze blew through the basil plant on the window sill, spreading the sweet smell of basil throughout the apartment and starting a war with the cigarette smoke that was coming in the other direction.

A few games of backgammon, a couple of lazy beers, some good mates, some new music from Grizzly Bears and a special late night convo in the cool summer night air, overlooking the Boulevard de Belleville as Paris finally quietened down for the week. A perfect summer sunday night.

Voici quelques photos.

The National - ADA

One of my favourite bands. This recording is so organic.

Love the lyrics:

"Ada, put the sounds of your house in a song. Try to be speechless for minute. If you think you're going to faint go out in the hallway, let them all have your neck... Ada, I can hear the sound of your laugh through the wall."

Check it out.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Oh mino! It's Paul Newman

After 6 months living together, Jerome has decided to leave ye old flatmate-ship. His decision to move on is probably based on one of the following reasons.

a) Musical differences. 23 hours of reggae a day just wasn't enough.
b) An increasing feeling that insufficient amounts of time were being alloted for the worship of Olympic Marseille in the household.
c) He's finally given into the psyche-out of the inflatable horse across the street with its weird fricken out-turned feet that never stops staring at us. It's still staring at us as I write this... always watching...
d) He is Michael Jackson and is now dead.
e) He's moving to Berlin and New York to undertake various internships.
f) The bed bugs have kicked in...

Oh jeune! Tu me manqueras!