Saturday, October 28, 2006


After paying £50 on my weekly shopping (mind you that is only two meals worth) and then forking out £20 for a ticket to Les Miserables, a two course dinner and drinks, I started to think about the how doing anything in London is expensive, including simply buying broccoli, except for entertainment. You may starve to death here, but you’ll do it watching a show! You're hungry, but oh so FAB-U-LOUS!

But we’re not here to fuck spiders so I’ll get back to the point. Let’s have some reviews.

The Racountuers – Brixton Academy

A cold Brixton night saw me heading to the Brixton Academy with a few mates to watch the Racounteurs (Jack White’s – of the White Stripes – new band). A little bit of Nandos first and then in we went.

Sidebar: My flatmate Jill is the daughter of the founder of Nandos (not real daughter, but has known the family since she was born and he calls her his adopted daughter). I love Nandos, so now I love Gill. European wife count: 3!

A couple of beers in us, and the show rolled on. All in all it was a good concert with a lot of chunky guitar, a doped up Jack White bouncing around the stage and a bizarre rendition of Nancy Sinatra’s Bang Bang.

Although the concert was good, my personal favourite was the over zealous security guard trying to get people to sit down in the stalls – all 5,000 of them. He only really got as far as us.

Les Miserables
A little bit of culture in the west end was called for on Thursday night so off we went to venture in to the hell that is…dum, dum ddaahhh – Piccadilly Circus.

Now many of you might think Piccadilly must be lovely, and it is, if you’re a tourist. Now I’m not one to pull that whole ‘I live here so I can bag tourists’ crap – I was bagging them when I first got here. When you get off a tube, with approximately 5,000 people coming up behind you, what’s the smart thing to do? Did anyone say stop to read a map on the stairs? Yes – get out of my classroom.

These heads down, maps up, long socks with sandals wearing, talking about how it’s not this cold where they’re from shouting, stop in front of a bus and cause a near traffic jam to get a shot of a fountain, stains on the landscape, fuck off. Seriously.

When you leave a country - and this is a question for you all - do you really leave your brain behind? No, you don’t. So when your're home, you don’t stop in the middle of the road, you don’t spin around like a ballerina clearing seven hectares of people out of the way with your back pack, and you DON’T laugh at the announcement ‘mind the gap’. It’s a simple safety instruction. So why do it here????

Anyway, fired up I went to watch Les Miserables. In my current state it wasn’t wise to see a bunch of French whinging about the food, weather, life and work, try to stand up and fight and lose. Life reflects art really. But all up it was a good show. Bit slow at the start, bit slow at the end, the middle was good and Ebony was hot. And then I went home to my bitch on the couch - here she is.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Soccer is called football - what a crazy place!

Ah the English have come up with some fantastic sports. They invented cricket for the Aussies, rugby for the Kiwis and soccer for the Brazilians. Generous souls.

Now after a large weekend the week before - Simon was the only one in the right frame of mind to actually remember what happened ( - I decided that Friday was going to be spent at home: catching up on admin stuff, resting, gym, little bit of work and some healthy eating. It was swayed a little bit with a few beers on Friday night, but I stuck to my plan and left after only a few pints.

Now waking up on Saturday morning with a clear head I was contemplating the gym when I recieved a phone call from Jimmy:
"Hey, want to come and watch Chelsea vs Portsmouth today?"
"Yes. Yes I do."

Now you people not in England will probably think what's so big about that. Let me explain. Tickets to top clubs' games are rare, very rare. In fact, you can't even get in the gate to many of them unless you're a season ticket holder, and Chelsea is currently top of these clubs. Imagine if Toorak or Mosman had a team and that's Chelsea. Getting a ticket is the equivalent of an AFL grand final ticket, only a bit rarer.

Season ticket

Now I want to get one thing straight, I'm not a Chelsea supporter, but when you are surrounded by the fans you have no choice but to support them, not because of the atmosphere but sheer terror that you'll get your head smacked in.

When I got here I wanted to find a team to follow. I was considering Fulham as it was close by, but after watching the FA Cup, Liverpool were my team! All it took was Steve Gerard's (the captain) rocket with one minute left to equalise the game and I was in love.

Not only did he score that, but scored an equaliser earlier in the game and set up the first goal - he's my hero. So's his WAG (term giving to Wives And Girlfriend) - she throws punchs at any girls leering at Steve - classy girl.

Well she's actually not that classy. Rumours are abound that she is shagging the local coke dealer when Stevey heads off to vice captain the English team (and a paternity test on the second child has been ordered). In fact, Liverpool boys really seem to have a hard time with the ladies when they go off to represent England. Liverpool and English striker Peter 'The Coathanger' Crouch - who looks like Macaulay Culkin if you put him on a rack and stretched him to 6'7" - has had the same luck. His WAG was caught by The Sun shovelling through the nose candy and having it off with her ex- while dear Peter was battling the Portugese in Germany. He ceremoniusly dumped her two days later:,,4-2006360529,,00.html.
As you can see who really gives a toss about who Christy Malthouse is shagging or which Sydney Rooster pissed on a bar maid when you have the real Footballers' Wives everyday.

Now, before I go on about the game, let me explain the competitions.

You have the Premier League - which is the best English teams - the first division if you will.
Then there's the First Divison, or it's called Coca Cola Cup or Championship league or something - which is really the second division.
The Second division - which is the thirds, and so on.

Love the players so much they turn the sprinklers on them!!!

Each year all the teams in the land play for the FA Cup. Any team can qualify. That means you can, if the cards fall right, have Wapshore Bumblebees playing against Liverpool in any given year.

Then you have the European tournaments: Champions, UEFA, European Cup, blah, blah, it really gets quite complicated and ridicuous. I tried to figure it out with Stephen Hawkins but we both ended up too bored and went for a ride down a big a slope on his bitching new wheelchair!

Anyway, back to the Chelsea game.

After writing all the stuff above, I really can't be bothered talking about the game. Except to say the seats were gold, the singing was loud, the drinking was good and the day was fun.

Oh, and this is a chav...but more on that later.

Monday, October 09, 2006

A few of my favourite things...

I came to England to understand the mother tongue, to understand the mother culture and to simply to see more of the world. Several things grabbed my fancy and several things needed explaining; now let's see what they are:

Get pissed, have a curry!

Okay, I don't know about you, but after a night on the turps, the last thing I want is a Rogan Josh upsetting the fine balance between respectability and decorating the pavement. I couldn't understand the desire. Now I don't know if it is the English way of life or something in the water, but I still can't understand why people want a curry after boozing; however, all I know is that I want one!

While out with some work colleagues on Friday night, the suggestion to go and get a curry was floated about 11.30, and you know what? I wanted one. My whole thoughts about curries while boozing have, without me knowing it, changed. In fact after getting home (minus the curry) I did the cheeky Mc Donalds run at midnight, but it just didn't feel right. I wanted that curry.


Sandwiches. They are everywhere. Pre-packaged sandwiches cut in half are everywhere. National delicacy. You'll find them in supermarkets, service stations, corner stores, railways stations, anywhere. There are even shops dedicated to the humble pre-packaged sandwich. And once again, I love them. So many to choose. Your humble ham and salad or your alluring ploughman's. Or maybe the shrimp, avocado and mayonnaise is more your style, which brings me to my next point.

Tomato sauce and mayonnaise

"You know what they put on French fries in France?"
"No. What?"

Well people it ain't just the French. Pubs, bars, cafes, whatever, you order chips, you get two serving bowls. One has tomato sauce while another has mayonnaise.
In fast food stores the mayonnaise sits proud next to the tomato sauce. But it works. Give it a try. Well actually don't. UK mayo tastes different. Touch creamier than its Aussie counterpart and not as tangy, so it's more of a bernaise if you will.

I still think the English are just trying to be French. I don't understand why eat mayonnaise to pretend to be French, just don't shower.

British queues

Yes you heard me, queues. What are you on about Bart I hear. It's not so much the queue, or that really is a past time here, it's the order in the waiting. Please come with me on this journey.

I arrive at the train station one day to find that only two out of nine ticket windows are open. For the benefit of foreign readers I must explain that only two ticket windows are open all the time, except during very busy times...then only one is open.
Now in many countries, two things would happen. Either there would be a massive push and shove to get in front for the next spot (Eastern Europe) or two queues will form (Aus).
Now the problem with two queues is queue envy. One may move faster than your's, you get jealous and jump in to that one, and then the one you were in previously goes faster, uurrrggghhhh!
Here in Britain; however, the waiting customers spontaneously come up with a much more sensible answer. One single form line a few feet back from both windows, along the side so as not to interupt foot traffic, no pushing in and no complaining. And it just happens, with no discernable leader. And it's everywhere - banks, tube, brothel - I mean church, etc. Truly amazing.

Aussies know how to swim from the age of 3 weeks, English know how to queue.

These are a few of my favourite things...

Yep, just those four things.

Also, on Saturday I decided to do some shopping. It was boring. So then Glasso and I decided to play tourists, it was much better.

Crazy Mexicans asking us to take photos was the highlight of my week!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

City of compromise

As I look outside at the rain - which is not really rain but a heavy mist - in the cold - but not quite cold just chilly - London day, one word comes to mind: compromise.

London is a city of oxymorons and compromises. Now don't think this is going to be a rant about the weather, as for those that know me, know I love the cold. I enjoy the rain and the wind doesn't bother me. Basically, if you think it's shit, I'd probably like it.

But I digress. I've been here for just on five months now and in that time I've had three of the worst colds of my life. But never mind, there's a chemist on every corner; they're more common than 7-11s. Compromise.

London is an expensive city. I got up on Sunday morning, went downstairs, filled my water bottle and went back up to bed. When I got there I had spent 47 pounds, written six IOUs and had an invoice for a walking tax.
But yet the amount of free shit that is handed out on street corners is ludicrous. Tea bags is a biggy, and oh my god how the locals love that stuff - more precious than oil. I've nearly been bowled over on London Bridge when I got between a man and his free tea bags. No compromise there.

"Don't worry, we have enough tea for you all!"

Juices, deodarant, tissues, the list goes on. Not only do you get a free morning newspaper (Metro), but have two (LondonLite & The London Paper) in the afternoon. So militant are they at giving these things away that if the people who hand them out don't give enough away they get sacked. Compromise.

Now I don't mind work, in fact, I enjoy going to work. After I've woken up some random weekday and sorted out how I got home, where my wallet is and why I've got free moustache rides scrawled across my face in red marker, I'm okay to go to work. It's just the journey on the train that no one looks forward to. So everyone trudges in to Clapham Junction station in a sour mood, but as you wander through, above you are large flat screens playing happy music to pep you up, and it actually does a little. Compromise.

But London is built on public transport. You don't need a car (and if you did you're slogged with more taxes than Ron Jeremy has STDs) so you rely on buses and trains. London's buses are always arrive on time - it's just that it's not exactly the schudeled one. Now I know this happens all around the world, but I have been to a few places in my few years and the convoy of buses that appear at the same time here is truly fascinating. Last week while waiting for a bus none off the five appeared when they should have, but they all showed up at once, some 15 minutes after the first one was due. "We may be late getting there, but jeez, when we show up, we show up in force (kind of like the Americans and World Wars)". Compromise.

Now trains. I have just gone from the Tube to the National Rail, or overland, as it is known. Now the tube tends to be okay on the time factor, but is boiling hot, smelly and dirty, while the overland has new, airconditioned cleaner trains, but the time table is up the wazoo. Compromise.

The overland is, well, overland (not underground) and there are multiple tracks, this causes some confusion. Such as my experience on Tuesday. After a collective moan was let off from Platform 4 when we were told the 8.04 to Waterloo had been cancelled, you can imagine the surprise when the 8.04 to Waterloo showed up... on Platform 3. Compromise.

Or the conductor telling everyone on Platform A at Waterloo East that their train had been cancelled and the next one would be on Platform C so make their way there. What he didn't tell them was that the train on Platform C has just pulled in so that they had 15 second to sprint up and down two flights of stairs and a distance of 60 metres. Funny stuff. What was funnier was that the train on Platform A wasn't cancelled, just late, so they had to sprint back. Bet the smart arse announcer was wetting himself in his booth. Annoyed the hell out of me, but made me laugh. Compromise.

It's pissing down rain, wet and cold, and I'm told it will only get worse. But when the rain clears there's always a rainbow. Compromise.
Struth I'm a poetic bugger ain't I?