Sunday, October 14, 2007

Keeping it real

What a weekend. I am feeling exhausted even though I got a solid 7.5 hours sleep last night. My tiredness is possibly due to the game of squash I've just played. Or possibly it could be traced back to the six bags of groceries I've just hauled up the 4 flights of stairs up to my apartment. But I think it's more likely to be the effects of a long week at work (put in perspective by having dinner with two people from Clifford Chance and hearing how hard they work) followed up with a fairly packed weekend schedule.

On Friday night I snuck out of my temporary office in Borehamwood early and took the 4.54pm commuter special from Elstree&Borehamwood into West Hampstead station. Not used to the novelty of getting home so early and with dinner reservations at 9pm, I was at a bit of a loss for things to do, so I went for a jog, had a shower, rearranged my socks into colour groups and then headed out the door in the direction of Geales in Notting Hill. Supposedly one of the best fish n chip restaurants in London, which would make it one of the best in the world, I have to admit I was underwhelmed by Geales. My softshell crab starter was delicious, but my square shaped parcel of crisp fried haddock was fairly ordinary, which basically means it wasn't anything better than what you'd get from your local chip store. So I won't be hurrying back. But, hey, it was a fun night with friends and Friday fish suppers are part of the London experience.

I got up early on Saturday to run errands, which I had to finish by midday so I could shoot off to Marylebone in time to meet the chartered train to Wembley. I managed to sneak a ticket to Bird&Bird's corporate box to watch the England v Estonia game. I have to say, I was amazed by Wembley stadium. It may make you feel like you're inside a Heathrow airport terminal, but it is massive and comfortable and like no other stadium I have ever been in. Except for Arsenal's Emirates stadium, which is almost as good. MCG, take note, you have some serious competition out there. The corporate box was pretty sweet too - all plush leather, polished wood, full fridges and magnificent views, the box is a prime example why it is worthwhile having money. The clients and workmates I was with were a stellar group of people and we had a real ball. The game wasn't too bad either, though half our party missed significant chunks of the second half because of the rule that you can't drink alcohol in view of the pitch and the rest of the stadium - solution? you have to drink in your box with the blinds closed - bizarre. And to top it off, I won 20 squid by picking the correct final score (3-nil England). Nice.

While the others headed out to Paddington to watch the England v France rugby match (something that no longer interests me given that the Wallabies have lost and, as a reasonably rational person, the game of rugby confuses and frustrates me - practically anything you do on the pitch results in a penalty of some sort) I raced back home for a pitstop before shooting out East in the direction of Farringdon to meet up with my b boy and b girl buddies, Dan and Vanessa. The knock-out rounds of the UK b boy championship were being held on Saturday night and Dan, Vanessa and I wanted to represent the old Collins St crew. At first, the event was a bit underwhelming, as it basically seemed to involve a crowd of teenagers fighting over the free Snoop Dogg CDs and t-shirts that the MCs were throwing from the stage. But after the formalities were over and the dancing started, everything took off. As the fat MC said, this shit was real - no bullshit. The first competition was a doubles event and I have to say, I never realised break dancing could be so camp. From the French couple dressed like Marcel Marceau and doing their best to combine breaking and miming to the Japanese boys dressed in fluoro orange headbands and crop tops, there was a fair amount of preening and posing going on in between the popping and locking. But the action was fast and furious. When the one on one b boy battles started, though things went to a whole new level and started to get personal. There was a whole lot of attitude being thrown around the room that night and not all of it was coming from Vanessa - there was a fair bit of it up on the stage as well. Overall, a great night. To top it off, I managed to resist buying a sausage at Oxford Circus on the way home, so when I woke up on Sunday morning I didn't have a stomach ache. Brilliant.

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