One more exam today, now we are home free till Scandinavia. Got my grade back from yesterday’s, its reaffirms my knowledge (of Margaret Thatcher and her influence on the film and TV industry) as being satisfactory.
Go back to the flat, and pack like a rat; till my stuff is tight, in my duff le all right.
Now its time for the school-sponsored trip to Apollonia. This rowdy Greek restaurant gives you a lovely meal and plenty of plates to break and chances to scream “oppa!” I’m not too sure about that transliteration, but it does sound like “grandpa” in Dutch. The translation is somewhat different, though… I think it means something between “party!” and “hey!” or “yay!” Anyhow, we yelled that a lot and Hap did a belly dance for us and we broke a whole lot of plates. Fun times.
I called my folks and Mysha after the oppa party, and croaked some. I guess I forgot to use my diaphragm while yelling at the restaurant.
Today I got up early to get some last minute studying in for the exam. We have four in this trip: British Film and TV History, British Contemporary Film and TV, and Scandinavian Contemporary and History.
After class I went to meet Dorothy B and Jon T at Granta in Islington, and we went to the Afghan Kitchen for lunch. This place is super chic and trendy-looking… not that I expected it to look like a bombed-out cave or anything, but it was about the opposite. I got pumpkin and yogurt, which was darn tasty. Jon observed that I always seem to pick the best thing. I was thinking about what they got before I realized that that was a kindova funny thing to say. I don’t feel like I always choose the best thing, but I guess that it might seem that way to an outsider. My life is perfect, is that my fault? J/k.
Said my see-you-soons to Dorothy and fare-thee-wells to Jon and slowly made my way through The Borough of Islington in the direction of Regents Park, which I heard was very nice. I recommend it… look for the white pigeon. The weather is beautiful, but ominous clouds move in as soon as I make it into the park. I shared a bench with an elderly lady, and we talked about the white pigeon, but then she had to go, so we said goodbye. That little conversation gave me another tiny seed of hope for the city.
Rain and sun again today. We got to sleep in an hour, then I had a nice breakfast of leftover spinach curry ramen.
After class we went to see Bend it Like Beckham at the local Odeon as part of the study abroad program. Though it was panned by most of the guys as a “chick flick” I still recommend it for the culture lesson. The movie made me wrap myself up in the story, so I forgot that it is kind of chick flicky. My only problem with it was that it seemed way to happy; maybe that is what makes it a chick flick.
So, go see it when it comes out over there.
Lesbian?!? I thought she was a Pisces.
I had a date of sorts, and the clear day had turned into a freeeeeezing night when I walked back home. I guess the clouds insulate the night most of the time, cause comparitively it was really bitter.
It doesn’t get dark here, just dusky for awhile between sundown and sunup. Apparently there is even more day where we are headed (six hours north of Oslo). Can’t wait.
The sun came out! Incredible. After class I headed straight for the square with my banjo, and got comfortable with the people ignoring me (just as before). I fought my nerves, and even sang a little bit… I don’t reeeeally know the words, but I know some of them, make up the rest. It felt good.
Then something happened… somebody stopped and watched me. He showed interest in me for me, and even gave me a smile and a giggle. He stood there for a couple minutes, but then his dad made him get back in the stroller. And all the hopes for humanity in the city now lie with a child, a toddler not old enough to know what feeling pissed and bored is all about.
Well a trip to London isn’t complete without going to “a show,” and the Summer School included one today. Blood Brothers has been running for twelve years; it’s a tragedy (melodrama) about twins separated at birth.
At the pub after the show Hap and I talked about Douglas Sirk’s woman-targeted melodramatic films of the fifties. Hap argued that they have different levels, that people looking to be entertained can enjoy it for the visceral pleasure, and that film critics can dissect it and turn it inside out and on its head and just have all kinds of fun with it. Then Hap said that Blood Brothers only had the visceral story, and no other level.
On the way home I remembered my personal declaration that everything can be acadaemized, and went to work on Blood Brothers in my mind. See, it’s a story of two men from the same womb. Their quality of life is nothing near the same, though, because they are raised in disparate social situations. So, the argument is that how one turns out has nothing to do with predeterminal genetics, and everything to do with environment. That’s academic, right? Social psychologists would love to see this in real life.
Not that musicals are not real to life… my echo machine is ready to go whenever I need to say anything at all dramatic. And the synth-drum is in the wings too… pow!
Two speakers today during class, one that works with the bbc, the other with the bfi. We learned about how modern documentaries are deceitful in the name of creating a mystery where there might have not been one before. Also learned that there is racism here (in addition to the more dominant classism), and learned even more how filmmakers dealt with Margaret Thatcher. The film reaction is a bit subtler than the cricket bat, but definitely as interesting.
Head out on my first run here in the capitol. My target is Hyde Park, but I have to wheeze through gross city streets to get there. Dorothy says that breathing in the city is the equivalent to smoking a pack and a half a day. I sure won’t need a patch or gum to quit tho, so it’s not that equivalent… just a ticket to Norway. That is coming up Saturday, and I am very psyched to be there. London is fun, but way too… too city, ya know?
Anyways, I was running in what I was pretty sure was the right direction, and suddenly was engulfed by thousands of people coming the opposite direction through the streets. I hear music, and figure that it must be the concert that was on “The Box” (like MTV) when I left the flat. It was almost over, and the whole place was a freakin flood of humanity exodising themselves from the premise.
I fought my way through the humanity, got verbally assaulted by some middle aged teeny boppers (ew) and eventually popped out in a less crowded area of the park. I was running along the water, and came upon a crowd of skaters. There were people of all shapes, sizes, and colors dancing and playing on both inlines and quads. Across the path were some breakdancers. I decided to rest for a bit in the grass and soak in the spectacle, taking notes on both the skating moonwalk and the headstand slide. It was awesome to see everybody learning from each other and… playing.
Walked miles, without any particular destination. Ended up in the middle of Hyde Park, but didn’t know it until walking around for a bit. Hyde park is huge, and the air quality measurably better (I would bet) than anywhere else within walking distance.
I made my way up to Marleybone (sp?) and Bell Street to get potlucky with that crowd. Jon T just got into town this morning, and is passed out behind the couch. He valiantly stays asleep through much rustling about and supper planning. He doesn’t even twitch, maybe we should check his pulse? Ah, he is breathing, that’s a good sign.
We go to the grocery & abc stores, and plan supper in the aisles. Everybody else pushing around us seems to be rushed and pissed off and bored, so I feel like we are an island of good karma in the midst of the grime.
After supper we went to the salmon bar, and danced some, but it was too crowded. To get there we took a typical red double-decker bus, my first time. It felt like we were going to run over everything because of the perspective, but I talked myself into just letting it go, because everything was surely in control.
At the bus stop:
We are in LONDON! Yeah! – Jon T
Who would have known? – Dorothy B
(Grin) – Forresto
Slept in till one… aaaaah yum.
No class today, as it is the program’s first official long weekend. Most of the folks on the trip have traipsed off in various directions in the UK and continent, but some of us have decided to stick around London. I’m staying because the flat is paid for, and with class and all I don’t feel like I have enough time during the day to explore.
The weather is almost decent (it usually mostly rainy with a (n extreeeemly thin) chance of seeing the sun’s glorious light), so I head to the square. London is set up with tons of small public parks where the air is actually breathable, thanks to the gardens, trees, and shrubbery. Mine is Russell Square, and has a central fountain in which pigeons and children enjoy splashing about when the water pressure is right. OK, so it’s not mine all mine, but it’s just a couple of blocks from the flat, so I consider it a personal refuge.
I brought my banjo, and justified its transatlantic schleppage in the park by playing around on it for a little. I chose a bench away from others in order to not bother other folks. People passing seemed to take pains to ignore me. This didn’t bother me in the least, but I sometimes wish strangers were a tad warmer here. I don’t know what that sentiment in me is, but it stems in part from the perceived refusal to make eye contact in the streets… maybe its just a city thing. The people seem warmer than the US once approached, however (like when I was first trying to find my flat). Its all so foreign to me, I guess it would take getting used to. Ha! Imagine that; it seems foreign to me. I’ll be darned.
I went to the grocery store, and a monsoon blew in out of nowhere. There I am with bags of food and no umbrella, so I decide to splurge for one. “Do you carry umbrellas?” the timid traveller asks the shop owner’s wife. “Ha haa,” she heartily chortles, “they are over there.” “Ah, good,” he thinks, and buys one.
Too bad it LEAKS. Jeeeeeeeeeeeze. I guess it might work in the daily drizzle, but it seems to filter the monsoon rain into light rain on my head.