Sunday, May 27, 2007

A night out

What does a normal night out in London involve? A pint of alcoholic milk at the Fat Badger. Trying to pass yourself off as a 5th year architecture student to get into Trellick Tower (built by a Hungarian called Erno Goldfinger - no joke) - one of the most notorious and architecturally disturbing council estates in London. And here I quote:

"Women raped in elevators, children attacked by heroin addicts in the basement, and homeless squatters setting fire to flats were among the more lurid. So bad was the Tower's reputation that one urban myth told how the architect (ie Goldfinger), wracked with guilt at creating this monstrosity, threw himself from the roof."

Finishing at a "members only" (yeah, right) club that was an odd mix between a high school disco and sophisticated inner-city bar (complete with a DJ who sounded like he was just pressing the skip button to move between tracks on an "'80s remixed" CD. Fun.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Excuse me, dear sir

Today I went to Lords, the home of cricket, which conveniently enough is located only 20 minutes walk away from the home of me. My ticket came courtesy of Walshie and his boss Rex - thanks guys and shout outs to the crew at Eversheds. Walshie, Warwick and I agonised in the morning about what constituted suitable attire for Lords - there's nothing more embarrassing than being turned back by the bouncers at a cricket ground because you're wearing the wrong sort of shoes. On the one hand, there was the traditional Aussie dress of board shorts, singlet and thongs. On the other hand, there was the safe choice of neat jeans and a blazer. Luckily, we went with the safe choice. The crowd at Lords must have been the most refined, quiet, well-dressed and polite that I've ever seen. Where else does the crowd reward a fine shot from the opposition team with a round of applause? Where else do people say "My dear sir, would you please excuse us" when they're trying to get past you to take up their seats? Where else do they serve alcohol in glass glasses at a sporting event? All round, the Lords experience feels very strange and unnatural. It also felt strange and unnatural to watch cricket being played by two countries which were both not Australia. I mean, I've got plenty of time for the West Indies and watching England play is always entertaining because they've got no skills and they've got Monty Panesar in their team. But it's not the same as watching Haydos flex his muscles at the crease or Ricky Ponting flourish his bat like he's opening an umbrella every time he wants to let the ball go. And there's something special about the sustained abuse that Glenn McGrath can hurl at the opposing batsman that other cricketing nations just can't replicate. So after sitting through a couple of sessions, we'd had enough and decided to wander off to the pub to watch the FA Cup Final, which deserves a posting of its own, but will have to wait until another time.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Elephants anyone?

As some of you may know, in some of my more far-fetched fantasies, I fancy myself as a bit of an artist. A few of you may have seen some of the works from my "early period" back in Melbourne (such as the masterful "minimalist penguin" aerated concrete sculpture in my parent's backyard and the "White Lines on a Blue Background" masterpiece that used to grace the living room of 6/217 Dandeong Rd). Well, after a few false starts, I think I've really found my niche as an artist - elephants. That's right, what started off as a playful experiment a few months ago has turned into a full-blown obsession. I'm pretty happy with my latest effort, which I did to fill up some of the wallspace in my bedroom. I just got a matt put on it today and here's a photo of it over the mantelpiece in my room. Whaddaya reckon?

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Sting, Sir Paul, Me and a Few Friends

Nothing to do on a Thursday night in London. Why not dull the boredom pains by donning the black tie and heading off the (Classical) Brit Music Awards. That's exactly what I did last week along with Huy, Jenny and Joyce (friends of mine from Melbourne). At this stage, I need to give a shout out to Huy for scavenging the tickets from his work. Nice work, Huy. And what tickets they were. We had a three-course meal and box seats located within spitting distance of royalty (Camilla Parker-Bowles aka the Duchess of Cornwall was in attendance). From our vantage point, we had a magnificent overview of proceedings, while the likes of Sting and Paul McCartney had to strain their necks and contend with the unwashed masses as they attempted to follow proceedings from ground level.

The Awards part of the evening, while obviously important, took up little time and served as a minimal distraction from the real highlight - the musical performances. Now, I'm no classical music aficianado, but I've got to say the performances were all stunning. There was real quality in the line up, from the Fron Choir giving a truly moving rendition of Land of My Fathers to the prodigy Lang Lang blowing the audience away with his mastery of the piano during a performance of Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No 2. While I restricted myself to restrained applause at the end of each round of amazing musical feats, I really wanted to jump up and cheer wildly. It was really that good. Do yourself a favour, if Lang Lang drops into your end of town, do anything you can to get tickets. It's worth it. Here are a couple of photos of the night, courtesy of Joyce.