Sunday, September 16, 2007

My week

It's Sunday night, which is my usual blogging time and I'm short of inspiration. I'm searching for a stand-out event of the past 7 days to write about, but I'm drawing a blank. In fact, I was speaking to my parents earlier this morning and was struggling for topics of conversation as nothing much seemed to have happened this week. But really, looking back on it, there are a few things worth writing about.

On Wednesday, I went to the theatre with Yalin to see "In Celebration". I've never been a regular theatre-goer, but there's so much out there in London that it's hard to avoid. In fact, I'm really growing to like the theatre and I almost prefer it to the cinema these days - for one thing I seem to have less of a problem staying awake when the actors are standing live in front of you. Anyway, although my opinion of theatre generally is rising, this particular production was a total bomb. The play itself was really quite dull - it's essentially an extended family melodrama, set in Yorkshire in the 60s and revolved around 3 brothers coming home for their parents' 40 year wedding anniversay. There's obvious tension between the family members but you never learn what the underlying cause is and it is never resolved. Everyone gets a fairly extended opportunity to have a philosophical rant about life in general and to accuse each other of vague misdoings. And then the lights go out and the audience is expected to clap. A total anticlimax. The most frustrating thing about it was that it made no sense from a production point of view. I mean, it "starred" Orlando Bloom and you would have thought the director would try and capitalise on his Hollywood profile. But instead they dressed him in a daggy brown cardigan and fake moustache and then got him to spend most of the play crying in bed. Very odd.

For the rest of the working week I had my head down at work doing a due diligence exercise and attending extended negotiations. Having meetings all day really makes it hard to get things done. I hate the feeling of being away from your desk for 8 hours in the middle of the day and then returning at 6pm to actually start working on all the things you've been discussing. But that's life I guess.

Next week looks like it will be busy again, but at least this weekend has been a good one - for some reason London seems to have been holding back the sunny weather during summer so that it can spend it all during the autumn. Which is lucky for the organises of the Thames Festival, which was on Saturday, because they'd basically organised a big series of outdoor events that would have tanked if it had been raining. For one thing, the fake beach on Southwark bridge would have turned into a muddy mess and the dancers with the flamenco-cross-hawaiian guitar band may have been a little chilly. Anyway, the sun was out and it was all good. In the evening I went to Brick Lane to check out Huy's new flat and ended up sticking around to help him move a bit of furniture around and eat some Vietnamese food. I have to say, I really liked the area around Brick Lane. It's very cool in a very self-conscious way. I'm not sure if it's ironic or not, but either way it's amusing. I think I may need to make a move east sometime in the next year or so.

And today I woke up late and then spent the day sitting in Kensington Palace Gardens having a picnic with friends and talking about crap. The perfect way to spend a Sunday - there is no need for pointless exertion on the day before you have to head back to work. And that's basically the end of my week. Interesting, huh?

Monday, September 10, 2007


So this is my first post in a while. I think there must be something wrong with my diet as my appetite for blogging and even writing emails seems to be waning. I suspect it's all the pesto I've been eating. Pesto with pasta and canned tuna is my standard quick meal these days. It's bad on two fronts: (1) apparently people have been known to overdose on pesto and die (apprently pine nuts are toxic when taken in massive quantities). Urban myth? Possibly; and (2) basil and tuna are generally considered (at least by the respondents to a casual survey I took this afternoon) a vile taste combination. I must have seriously damaged taste buds, because I don't mind it myself.

Anyway, I took a break from the pesto this weekend while I was visiting my friends Bec and Frank in Dublin. Frank is a master chef and put together a magnificent slow-roasted lamb dinner for us on Saturday and I am still dreaming about it some 3 days later. Let's linger on the subject of lamb for a minute. Three weeks ago, I ate a sublime roast at my mate Nick's place. A couple of weeks later I made my own first ever lamb roast (a Jamie Oliver inspired, Italian-influenced number, which has anchovies as it's killer secret ingredient). And now Frank comes along with his own interpretation of the theme. I wonder who will make roast lamb for me this weekend ... any takers?

Back to Dublin. It's a great town and I managed to see a fair bit of it thanks to my two dedicated and charming hosts. From the historic (Kilmainham jail) to the cultured (literary pub crawl) to the tacky (Bono's house), we had it all covered. For those who haven't been before, Dublin is a nice town. It's got some nice buildings - Trinity College is beautiful. It's got it's own instantly recognisable land mark - the millenium spire - in Frank's words "epic", in my words "plain". And it's got a decent night life - think Irish pubs, Guiness and Irish whiskey. But the highlight for me was spending a weekend surrounded by a nation of people who love to talk but manage to do so in such a way that the rest of the world can't understand a bloody word of what they're saying. I had thought that the Welsh spoke the most impenetrable English in the world, but I now think they have strong rivals in the shape of the Irish. If you're thinking about going, I recommend bringing a pad and pen and asking people to write things down for you - it's so much quicker that way.

On a final note, I took my beautiful new camera to Dublin with me but only managed to take one picture - a half-hearted snap of the city centre taken just before I hopped on the bus back to the airport. I used to love taking photos but I seem to have lost the passion for it. Taking photos just seems like so much trouble these days. Which is strange, because pushing a button is hardly difficult. Maybe it's something to do with my diet ...