Friday, 31 August 2012

Modernism 2

When Goya was painting the Duchess of Alba, she apparently asked if he could paint her naked from memory. He apparently replied he would paint her with his spunk (presumably affectionately mixed into the paint). She then offered that if he did, they could have a nice weekend away together in the country.
When you are standing at the bus stop for the 388 watching the city girls go by when you are clearing off from Clearing on one mid balmy August Friday afternoon in 2012 this is a funny exchange to have in your head. It reminds you that love is brutal, mean and all consuming, and it brings back all kinds of memory, most of it along the lines of that is exactly how I felt too, quite a long time ago.
Sex and Modernism (I include Goya in the modernist sentiment) seems a far more elemental affair pre universal pornography- pre present technology. Goya's Maja looks strangely imagined, like a doll, like an image a man has of a woman as he longs for those thighs. Of course, she was teasing him. That is the brutality of love.
When I got home I opened a package that's just been republished after many years; Le Corbusier's 'Poem de L'Angle Doit'. It is full of fabulous sexy drawings. And when I turned the pages in awe I saw that it was also full of OUR FABULOUS SEXY DRAWING! Bad Corbu is no longer bad corbu at all, but clearly central to Corbu studies as a study in prep for line C4 (FLESH) and it's on our wall!
I can forgive Corbu scribbling over the rather nervy Eileen Grey sanctuary with his murals. It was a beastly thing to do, but modernism, if it did anything, certainly embraced the beastly. Even when Mondrian was abstaining on a diet of carrots ( on being offered a brothel, he remarked that every emission was a lost masterpiece!) he was being beastly. There's just no half measures for those crazy modernists.

Thursday, 30 August 2012


Modernism excuses many things, many terrible things, and even engenders them. In our own times I'm impressed if a student can understand their shopping trip to Westfield. My perspective is, if they are not busy changing the world, it's at least best that they attempt to understand it, and if they can't do that, then they're lost.
It is clear that the generation born of the nineties faces almost insurmountable problems in their encounters with modernism. Le Corbusier's Unite d'Habitation indeed 'looks just like a council block', Mies' IIT 'looks awful', his Berlin New National Gallery 'may as well be an Audi showroom' and so on. I heard Zizek say on YouTube that when it came to music, he was a profound conservative, and for him, all popular music of value existed only between the years 1965-75. I smiled with him, since as I struggled to watch Kasabian I realised I was watching the appropriation of effects, rather like using a Mies day-bed in a porn movie.
Before terms starts Julie is taking me back to La Tourette. Three night's should be enough to remind you of the power to change the world rather than consume it, as long as it's preceded by two in the Quality Inn in metropolitan Lyon.
Photo by me.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Kasabian (tonight)

By the look and sound of it, Kasabian play like a band who've just had a row beforehand and don't want to show it, that or they are just rather proud of themselves. Oh well, you bought the records, you stand there thinking it's great. It isn't. Also I have a problem with that 'influenced by Leicester' thing, I can't make that out at all.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Where Eagles Dare (1968)

The thing about adventure stories, and I'm talking here of especially stories by Alistair McLean, or Desmond Bagley- the stuff I cut my teeth on back in the seventies (be it via books or films) is they turn facts in to fable, or even make up some facts, and spin a fable, and in the way they do it, they become important to you. Julie could say the same of Ann of Green Gables.
To tell a story, you have to dress things up a little. Books often want to stay close to recording the fact, I'm sure Paul Brickhill really wanted to tell the true story of the The Great Escape, Dambusters and so on, but of course they are to a large extent fictions, and films are likely to be further fictions than that, simply because as a media films are rides, and real life is not really a ride- at least it's a real time ride, and one to some extent full of complexities films can never show. That is the art of scriptwriting- creating the short ride.
For instance, what makes Steven Speilberg a rather poor film maker to me is that he has to turn everything in to a sentimental journey, a fable, whether it be the Holocaust or the D-Day landings.
Undoubtedly some of my favourite films about WW2 are those which attempt the opposite; they illustrate logistics, and logistics are really boring.
War is like chess maybe, you can't win with too few pieces. Wars are also not fought for the purposes of pleasing the lives of those at No52 Lexington Avenue (they can be turned in to that by propaganda) they are by definition impersonal. You cop it in the name of the nation, or the cause, or you don't. There is nothing personal about it, it is ideological to want to join in killing vast numbers of other people.
Therefore the least entertaining Battle of the Midway and Tora Tora Tora, both of which for long periods of time have nothing happening at all, but concentrate on positioning in fog, become more fascinating than The Guns of Navarone. Sink the Bismarck is another fog war movie and at a push we could include the (awful) Battle of the Bulge which has Christmas snow.
What is perhaps more significant is that the authors of the most exotic of fables, fables I love and have watched about a million times like Where Eagles Dare, get really depressed. Alistair McLean was a mean minded wife beating drunk (if you read between the lines) terminally depressed with his own success, ashamed of the rubbish he became successful for. Tony Scott, director of Top Gun just threw himself off a bridge. We can see the same in writers of an equal and opposite persuasion, say Georgette Heyer, who despised her own romantic twaddle and was terminally ashamed to have inspired Barbara Cartland, or of course in Ian Fleming, pretty much a cunt by all accounts.
This would explain why soviet period heroic dramas are so long. It also explains why the Iliad remains so interesting (a war memorial over a play of 24hours) and assures us of the imperative of unravelling, decoding, fictions, even those you love, like Where Eagles Dare. To know that Richard Burton was himself so disgusted with the money and the fame and the fakery that he sought solace in half a dozen or more double vodkas with McLean halfway through some cliff climbing scene in Pinewood, is enough.

What is Research?

If you ask this question seriously, you might happily piss yourself laughing. In general the words 'reflect' and 'practice' often constitute components that (eventually) constitute research, but this is by no means clear cut. Practising architectural academics have been moaning for years that every back extension was their research, and that can't be right (can it?) except when they reflect on the process, then it can, right? Anyway research implies a lack of certainly in the constant pondering of doubt. Unfortunately nobody likes this condition anymore, it makes you out to be unfortunately indecisive, and that was probably last popular in the C16th. Michel de Montaign comes to mind, he was always wondering what the hell he was doing, and when doing it, he still makes for an excellent read. Montaign did very good research.
But we live in an era of the eager and the cocksure, even if what is spouted is nonsense, and unfortunately this would include lots of books routinely published by Routledge (or whoever) as a kind of cookie cutter product, and any final projects completed at the Architectural Association (shucks!) They certainly may not know what they are doing, but god help them if they display any doubt about doing it. I blame computers, TV, twitter and Tescos.
Above all, politicians have to be easily believable, they are expected to know their stuff, to have done their research all the time. However, we actually get the likes of Boris Johnson, who is easily believable, until you ponder further the hoytey toytey, the totty and the bluff and the fluff that makes up his whole being. Mind you, having Boris is highly preferable to any right wing American politician. Any pondering of them leads you to think they are a bunch of crack pot billionaire Ayn Rand fanatics. The more weird the world gets, the more absurdly single and simple minded they need to sound, and that isn't any good at all, since Ayn Rand was mad in the first place.
Me, I may not know what research is, but I know when I'm doing it, largely when I'm horizontal. However when I lie in bed reading the Desmon Bagley novels I first read when I was thirteen and I realise that girls are not as they appear in these novels and neither is adventure in any form, and say to Julie that by doing so 'I'm reflecting on my practice' Julie pisses herself laughing.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Crown Jewels in Vegas

I'm so pleased that the monarchy has got naked over strip billiards (billiards!!) with some lovely girls in a Las Vegas hotel room (must be a big one- Palms?) just like we would all like to (especially seeing as we pay him to do it).
                                                     I just hope he paid excellent money.

Fiscal Hangover

Not love hangover. NEWS!...Britain going broke. NHS being told by some bright spark it should franchise itself across the world. 'Free at the Point of Delivery'???!! er.... NO. Very point of NHS conveniently lost (Oops!) - replace with Danny Boyle spectacular! Universities selling off their cafes to Starbucks. Millions expecting a nice bump from the Olympics staring at empty rooms: bars, restaurants, hotels...WHITE HORSE! Hopeless. Sell those medals at Cash Converters! Broke, even I'm broke.....SCOTT!!! There's Clearing to do, thousands of academics sitting in their headsets....just imagine nobody calls. Hamsters stay on at school, promise to get it right next time....really promise!! Awww.... fuck!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Policy Exchange

Clearly, these people are total wankers.

Direct Line

So Direct Line win on the most irritating insurance advert, but why are they all doing it? In particular Sauvignon girl and lawnmower man ruin my quiet contemplating of Moon Machines or Battlefield Detectives on an infuriatingly regular basis, but then again, those Meercats seem designed to drive me mad, and Go Compare have even been driven to having celebrities blow up their incredibly annoying tenor.
This is like advertising as a mode of cruel teasing. They hope we won't click. They know we hate buying insurance, they know it probably won't cover you for world apocalypse, but they also know we need it, so they distract us by making it very annoying indeed. You don't like it but you don't forget it either, you just hate Alexander Armstrong even more while you shell out. It's the sort of thing that drives you mad at Christmas when people insist on playing Slade, Roy Wood or sadly even The Darkness and insist on you getting in to the spirit of things. However now everybody has girded their loins sufficiently to think that Great Britain is just about the finest place place on earth, you'd have thought such images of the British as total morons who can't say sauvignon and buy lawnmowers without having lawns might upset the ministry for propaganda, except of course, I've forgot, their front of house is Mr Bean.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Mondrian Carrots (c1932)

Mondrian ate little but carrots. Those neoplasticists were crazy. However it turns out they were matched in craziness by their English counterparts, all of whom could be played by Hugh Grant or Helena Bonham Carter or some other English twits with fumbling bed-hopping ease as they appeared capable of little but plotting aesthetic revolution from antique kitchen table of a cottage in Fawley Bottom, Bucks. Read Charles Dewent's very funny book Mondrian in London: How British Art Nearly Became Modern for details.
Class war raged, when one left one's ancestral country seat;
'The maids took down (the Mondrian) off the wall...then they stood an ink pot on it - they then upset the inkpot- a very large mark all over the yellow square (!)' Consulting Mondrian on what can be done: 'He's really sad about the ink...went all pale and said it was the evil spirits fighting against the new spirit'. Well fuck me.
Mondrian was installed in a room in Belsize Park. 'Too many Trees!!' he said. Mondrian hated green, and was clearly mad as sticks.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

SteelyDan, Rose Darling, 1975

I could play Rose Darling to my mum, to kind of explain what I liked. My mate Barney Wetton - now someplace in Denmark I think- would be in the same kitchen eating the same peanut butter sandwiches and loving the Gang Of Four. We were equally difficult guests at the table. Mum always wanted to turn us to christianity. This one I could play to my mother over that table, on that tiny ITT cassette payer, at least Rose Darlin', and she'd say, 'yes that sounds good'. My mum loves music, and could even do amazing dance routines to Brittany Spears only a few years ago at eighty, it's just there is a bit of a problem with God. For a late adolescent, Throw out Your Gold Teeth is both mystifying and joyous, Chain Lightening even more enticing, Any World.... just sets you on your way. This was the taste of things to come.  Of course Steely Dan became, most wonderously, the drug of choice, allowing a certain appreciation of LA at it's most decadent with Aja and Gaucho, surely the most subversive nice sounding music of all time. Most of this album, opening with Black Friday, is a building on things built before (My Old School and so on) but anticipates things to come, not unlike Van Halen II really. I like emergence records.

Depeche Mode I Feel You 1993

Well he did make it, wherever he's going, I assume, but he doesn't look too well. The tag to this is: Depeche Mode 1993 Hollywood Awards. I Feel You was the record, rather cassette, that Andrew Lane and I sped down the M4 to in his souped up Ford, on a ridiculously conceived plan to get second years from Oxford Poly, maybe Brookes by then, to design rugby clubs in Mythyr. In his XR2i. It's a record by a fucked up bunch of Essex guys who, and you wouldn't really have believed it, become more important for more members of the old Soviet Union than anybody else. This record is also sonically more profound than anything U2 have ever managed. It's also of course a tale of desperate fucked up drug addled madness from Essex to LA, but that is rock n' roll.
Crucially one of the students on that mission suffered a mishap in her Golf outside the pub Andrew and I were enjoying once we got to actual fucking Wales. Kirsty, the driver, I loved afterwards for quite a long long while, till she dumped me on her birthday in fucking Stamford.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Southend Again

We were back in Southend for Julie's birthday. Whilst this is actually a range finding shot for another  shoot which may or may not involve Lambretta owners and burlesque dancers when it's raining, for me this looks a lot more like the cover of the first Little Feat album. It's probably the dungarees, roll over Lowell George.
Apart from the Olympics turning a scene from ET into an Olympic sport with the BMX which was very funny indeed, I did like the mountain biking. That happened just outside Southend. The Austrian team turned up to stay in our guest house. They were most impressive, looking about fifteen years of age, and living on energy bars and muesli. They had a washing machine installed in their transit van, and I thought, how enterprising, I suppose it's a dirty business, until I wondered how they got it to work. Not sure anybody was rigged up for that level of plugging-in in Southend. Anyway one came in seventh, and Julie and I even cheered him on from our arm chairs. Such was the summit of our Olympic fever: 'Cum on you Austrians!!' Never let it be said we didn't watch all the rest of course.
Photo Julie Cook.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Mies and Frank

Isn't that just bloody marvelous. The Gericke house (1932) was on two levels like the Tugendhart House, so I think you came down to the main level via the spiral stair. The Robie House entrance is also to the rear, but more conventionally on to the ground floor. Other than that, the relation of these pictures tells a thousand words. By spotting the grand piano bottom left, you appreciate the huge scale and glass walled nature of the Gericke living space, while Wright is still punching holes in walls.
Corbusier understood architecture in terms of boxes, very good boxes, very handy boxes, but both Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies understand it rather more inconveniently as planes, in FLW's case, plains. The Gericke house was to be stuck on the banks of the Wannsee outside Berlin, and we should note that all the inconvenient stuff of living, that occupied by servants and children, gets put in to boxes, leaving your haute bourgeois to roam around inside to out unencumbered by walls. Note they share the same plinth on the long axis. I shall recline for the rest of the day.

Bo Diddley 1965

Usually realizations, such as there are, come in the form of 'Shit I haven't got any money' or "Shit I won't have any money'. However, this morning, thanks to Wayne Martin, I had this one. Here you go, the root of all rock.

Than I had another one (see following post) regarding the similarity of the plans of FLW's Robie House and Mies' unbuilt Gericke House. Errr...they're the same. Amazing what a morning can bring.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Status Quo...Whenever You Like

Really it's the Glastonbury 2008 edition on YouTube I should post here but the single has the penguin in suspenders. Status Quo represent, absolutely, the status quo. It's quite brilliant that they do that, have done that, still do it, to hardly a critical murmur at all. Nobody gives a damn for Status Quo records. Bring on  Zizek then? It's not difficult, the penguin's in suspenders and even on a red carpet. No the critics are not there.  In all the bombast of the Olympics, I keep thinking of Mrs Parfit and Rossi, doing exactly what they do best, what they have perfected over many many years, and have got down to about forty seconds at the beginning of this record. The intro here is really quite sublime, the point of it, the rest is just dogma. Weaving? Well it's more like synchronicity, those two guitars just doing the same thing, those heads dipping, that's rock right? And they realise that the real point is, how you start it; one waits, there is a little melodic overture as the other starts,  the other still waits, pointedly, then he shifts to join in, they are together, and then, eventually, anonymously, the drums and the bass, and there you have it, eventual total communality, and the audience is there completely, they have anticipated the whole thing to every second and are doing the same thing and everything and they can't fucking help it! And when you start it, once it's started it just runs till you've had enough of it, we are not talking Mozart here. Any girl can understand that and everybody does, but nobody notices because it's Status Quo. ACDC have the same downright skill at it, and they can't get away from being Australian, but somehow The Quo are Britain to the core.
Whatever You Want is unmistakable rock, it is quintessential and if you wanted to be a cultural critic on it (Thatchers Britain and so on, the awfulness of 'In the Army Now', Live Aid!!) you could have a field day.
Look out for the girl in the Glastonbury crowd up on somebodies shoulders holding a home made placard in the air saying 'Whatever you Want' with arrows down to her! Just too good.
But actually no, my single sounds shit, but of course it doesn't matter because what we have here is an idea. We really should think some more about the meaning of Status Quo.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Yo Mama 1979

You need a shed or a garage or something to listen to Sheik YerBouti in peace, but lacking such facilities I just wait for Julie to have a night out. To start, I Have Been in You is the worlds most droll sex song. Modernism should always draw you to the obvious. The second, Flakes, is an equally droll exposition on our crappiness. Later there is Dancin' Fool and Jewish Princess ('I'd like a brazen little jewish princess, with titanic tits and sand blasted zits....she can even be poor!!..) It's kinda Randy Newman with power chords. Its so good its beyond listening. BUT, right at the end, comes Yo Mama.
Most of Sheik is recorded live (+ overdubs lots) in London, and Yo Mama is a kind of fuck the neighbours and everybody else sort of blowout of excruciating loveliness. 'Architecture is not a martini' Mies said, 'Art serves understanding, not entertainment!' said his painter friend Max Beckmann. Both would have loved Zappa if they were of another generation or two.
Back at Simon Smith and Michael Brooke Architects in Clapham c1990  we used to play this in the afternoons, Nazar and I drawing extensions for locals with nice bay windows and ambitions to Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady.
I listen to this as loud as I possibly can, the Olympics silent on screen. I can't stand the Olympics, just like I couldn't stand those clients, but Simon and Michael were remarkable gods to free spirit. I mean, what other architectural office might start the day to Caravan's Land of Grey and Pink?

Black and Blue 1976

Probably the laziest album ever made demands probably, in the fullness of  time, the laziest of reviews. That's a challenge. Clearly the drugs do work, they mean you get everybody else to do the work. The only Stones who seem to exist on Black and Blue are those not in the band, Carl Perkins, Ron Wood, and Billy Preston, and they are all hopeful of graduation to another line or two. Such bare arsed coke snorting delusion is sometimes refreshing to hear. It starts with unredeamingly awful disco (Hot Stuff), bad, unlistenable reggae (Cherry Oh Baby) and moves to Memory Motel, which is good C&W, if you can cope with Keef's worst vocal line of all time 'She gotta mind of her own.....and she wears it well....urrrgh...she's a one of a kind....bla bla mighty fine rubbish'. Fucking dreadful Keef (and I don't say that often) lets thank your son Marlon for driving you all the way to the studio with his head barely peering above the steering wheel across international borders for that. It doesn't get any better; Ronnie does 'Hey Nagrita' which has limited balls, Billy Preston does Melody that left them in the bathroom. If you are not coked out of your mind by this stage you will simply find it amusing, otherwise you will think it's ground breaking the Stones can be so experimental and see the potential for Some Girls. Flash will be sincere with Fool to Cry, and then they will all rock together with Crazy Mama which is at best unmentionable shit.
Of course I have left out 'Hand of Fate' the great harbinger of things to come, the big cloud on the horizon, and a girl called Emma, I think she was a girl called Emma, we were on a camping holiday in Benodet, she lent against the jukebox of the clubhouse, it played 'Hand of Fate'. She was something else. I said I'd walk to Scotland to see her. I've loved that song ever since, and that's also why I think David Lee Roth's lyrics to 'Jump' are so marvelous, it's just she was up against the record machine, not me.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Wishing Well 1972

Lots of problems with this record, but at least you can hear them loud and clear, I mean, this is not a post modern record, those I can hear on any visit to the White Horse, and one thing you don't hear on post modern records is problems, that is almost by definition.
I'll hear this track fucked over, sampled, whatever, many times, but it will never be as evocative and painful as the original. The problem here is a band problem, Paul Rogers writes a thinly disguised song about his mate, his guitarist, Paul Kossoff. He will do it again when Paul Kossoff dies, with 'Shooting Star'. Both are a bad idea. Clearly 'Koss' has many problems with the world, and worse, he wants to drench you in them via the sound of his guitar. He does it very well here, to consistent lyrics rather berating him for having his feet in the wishing well like some hippie, but him answering with a consistent squeal and wail of discomfort. This is highly original in a rock record, something that Kurt Colbain would perfect. After this album Kossoff will of course leave the band and take solace, rather inappropriately you might say, with John Martyn in Hastings, who attempted to keep him 'clean' (but then again who else, one dangerous romantic clings to another) and he'd die mid Atlantic. Afterwards his father, as a famous actor (what a surprise) and most inappropriately but typically in my view, will demonstrate most of Koss's problems in the first place by going on the BBC on Sunday evening for the god spot to say what a terrible world we live in, weirdly not sensing that he was part of it. This is something I well remember.
To hear Martyn talk of Koss on the live album he never put him on (Live at Leeds), but now of course re-issued in deluxe to include the Koss material, is very sweet. You can hear the paternal instinct within a shitty little rock and roll world.
I personally don't think Koss was great, but I remember hearing this record around Donald Wilson's house when I was fifteen or so. Donald was a cool architect who'd been on TV with the first eco house in Macclesfield (1975) and in his converted cottage hung seats, they hung like bulbs from the exposed rafters, and there were bean bags, and later I discovered the speakers were made by him in his workshop where his son and I  tried to resuscitate a dead C50, and he'd also made his own kitchen. All you did there as a fifteen year old was was put this record on surreptitiously and imagine the drug fuelled parties Donald's daughters apparently entertained with our PE teacher.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Start Me Up 1981

It seemed obvious to me that you'd start the Olympics with this. Of course the big story took over, the propaganda, but if you could have just got the Stones to play flash, street fighting man, brown sugar, honky tonk and this, you would have the quintet of greatest late twentieth century rock tunes in open tuning (whatever that is) and you would have 'the set' always good to have the set like in maths (OK you might include 'All Down The Line' but that would be just for air guitar aficionados) and you would have the thing perfectly done and dusted.
I have a 7" of this little baby and it is the most perfect thing I play. Partly I love the fact it's a single and it has bags of room in the sound and there is no rumble at all, the band sound like they are in the room, and there is terrific thing going on inside the band, something I hear very rarely indeed, Keef calls it weaving I believe. For those who haven't a clue what that might mean, another example is found very briefly during the latter stages of Aerosmith's Love in an Elevator, but only just. It something to do with everybody doing different things but sounding absolutely together. I'm no musician, but it sounds bloody marvellous (and very difficult) to me. This record is just something else, and I don't have to worry about the rest of the crap on Tattoo You with just the single to hand, and I just love the sleeve. Bought it for a couple of quid on e-bay only a month ago.
It took at least six years to record, starting out as reggae track around Black and Blue '74/5, but finally saw the final cut on the same day/night/whatever as Miss You, and then was saved for Tattoo You. Good things take a while, clearly, but I cannot imagine a day that puts down both Miss You and Start Me Up. Must have just about the finest day/night/whatever any band could have. It is still talked about with the same reverence as flash and so on in the great chronologies. The last great attempt to follow it is probably 'Between a Rock and a Hard Place' (1999).

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Takin' it to the Streets 1976

Seeing as it's so quiet I think I shall begin a short series of short meditations on some great records. They must not be confused with just great records, they are my great records. It will give me something to do in the afternoons. This is strictly drift off on the day-bed material with memories of this and that.
So if I say whilst this is a record I bought on tape when I was sixteen and has long since disintegrated, but actually it wasn't until Seattle twenty years later that it paid off knowing it, that sets the tone. Hells Angels are very fond of the Doobies, and if you want a ride on the back of a Harley, make sure an angel is riding it, and riding it out of some bar in the middle of nowhere late in the balmy evening near where they filmed Twin Peaks.
This may also have been a very early encouragement to wear Ray Ban aviators, but of course, I realize now those are not Ray Ban aviators.
The Captain and Me and Stampede are the commonly favourite Doobie Brothers albums. Takin' it is mine, made when the Doobies appeared to leave their cowbay hats and lassos behind and mosey down to Miami and dip their noses in some funky bass lines and a much cooler sound, not that I'm sure they actually did that, more metaphorically speaking, perhaps LA was tiring of cowboy chic. The guitars get  not a lot more than a gentle strum and artful pick, maybe somebody was listening to Steely Dan (Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter was playing with both) or Hall and Oates and all the time Michael McDonald swims lusciously over the top. Lie back for side two, tracks 2&3 'For Someone Special' and the sublimely catchy 'It Keeps You Running' and think of palm trees, ocean breezes and the girl who did corporate plants twenty years after you'd first thought this sounded pretty good.

A Bit Quiet

To be honest London seems rather deserted, perhaps Londoners are just doing what they always do, and ignoring BB, Blistering Boris, and running away on holiday. We slunk out to Somerset House yesterday, and were delighted to find it mostly empty, despite being (a very congenial I imagine) home to all things Brazilian for the duration. You can sit in the courtyard and think you are on holiday, a rarity here. Meanwhile there is a very well produced and free show of photographs of the Rolling Stones there, mostly culled from the tabloids, but very well hung. Funny what a bunch of herberts they really look like in the original. If I was worth $100m and was the subject of a show like that, I'd be up till five in the morning celebrating for sure, you'd feel it was kind of miraculous. Considering I last saw the Stones thirty years ago and they were old then, it probably is.
Today I popped my nose in to The White Horse in expectation of hoards of Olympic bunkers off. Not at all, quiet as a mouse in there. On the tv there was Roger Federer looking just about as disinterested as he could get, then getting rained off, so there were shots of nice old couples tucking in to packets of Werthers Originals under umbrellas and of young girls scratching their arses. You can't blame those legions of cameramen really.
Fears of avalanches of human traffic down the Roman Rd (predicted by the council) have not materialized. What a surprise. I'm glad the fish stall didn't invest in extra tables and chairs.