Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ocean- where??

Rather than the usual let's just go to a pub, for Pete's going away we decided to go to Brighton for a pub crawl. My only knowledge of Brighton is that it's an hour south, on the coast and is apparently a great night out. I'm not one to disagrre - when a bar has to specify what substance is actually going in to your drink, me thinks me likes!
So after spending most of the day mucking about we finally made it down to Brighton to hit our first pub. The one thing that grabs me about the UK are the classic names. Even with in the city limits you have Cockfosters, Elephant and Castle, and Tooting Broadway - they get greater when you leave London. Out there you have Farliegh Wallop, or my new favourite:
Brighton has a charm of its own. We didn't get there until 3pm, which meant it was nearly dark! But that didn't matter. Waltzing down the streets and in and out of pubs they were very quaint little fun places to drinks and chat to the locals...well it would have been if my mates didn't look they did and I had a hair cut (but the wall paper in the pub in the background at least gives an idea of the pub). Another great feature of Brighton are the night markets. In these night markets, which take up whole streets are some of the god damn best op shops you will ever find. I would show you the jackets we bought, but they are simply too bright, too blue and too shiny to be revealed to an unsuspecting public. Or though...
Unfortunetly we didn't get enough time to really let loose, but Brighton will be getting another visit very soon.

Bye bye baby

Well my hat that everyone loved so much has gone to a new home. I'm sure he'll be happy there and it he'll look better than on my head. But aahh the memories...

The good times...

...the bad times

and the copycats!

But now we have a new bad boy among the mix, let me introduce Manfred (or so the name written on the inside of the tag tells me).

Monday, November 27, 2006

Ay ye bonny lad!

Strap on ye kilt and slung de bugpipes under ye arrrrm, it’s ooof to Scotlind we goo.

By now you’re probably wondering if I headed off to Scotland or have just had stroke. Well those who picked the former, you’re a winner.

The fast train to Edinburgh takes four hours, which is about double the amount of time it was delayed for when Willo and I finally boarded at King’s Cross. With a group of 20 odd heading up to watch the Wallabies vs Scotland, it was going to be an interesting weekend when the bar carriage had been drunk dry only 2 hours out of London. For those of you who don't know Willo, this is him. He looks like what would happen if a China man and a bear had sex (sorry Willo - it's the eyes).
Edinburgh is a lovely city. Along with the picturesque castle on the hill, it is flanked on one side by the ocean (well an inlet), two other sides by hills, which leave the valley as the only way in and out – but also a natural wind tunnel. This means the wind kicks off the highlands through the valley and blows with an intensity that would put Monica Lewinsky to shame.
The large part of Edinburgh is still quite old. Buildings aren’t pulled down to make way for new fancy ones, people just move in to the 200-year old brick ones. All this makes the city seem un-touched. That is until some moronic Aussies come in and start laughing at store signs.
After an amusing Friday night, Saturday came around and it was time to play!

Australia vs Scotland

The game was never out of Australia’s hands, a fact not lost on the Scottish. Particulary the ones sitting near us.

The Scots are a great bunch to party with. My personal favourite was the man in Mircat Bar who was walking around with the full kilt and outfit, along with Braveheart face paint, and when we jokingly asked him who he was possibly going for, he responded with:

“Whatcha talking aboot, I’m just going shopping. Is thar a game on?”

Picked up some skank in a bar Sunday morning we were up early doors to see what the town offered. With a hearty breakfast, which included those damn beans, but also some haggis, Willo and I were traipsing around the entire town. We damn well went everywhere, even climbed a mountain overlooking city. From 8.30 – 12.00 we walked everywhere; I think we actually saw every tourist site you can name. Then I went to the pub.
A boozy train trip home that involved a large groups of Wallabies supporters (about 50) being rather rowdy, nearly getting in a fight with an overzealous stalker because I was talking to his intended prey for much of the journey, and all finished off by trying to watch Spoon string a sentence together at Pete’s house that evening, and it was a grand old weekend indeed.

Oh yea, and we won (44 -15).

Friday, November 24, 2006

Review - Muse

About an half an hour out of the city is Wembley. Wembley is home to Wembley Stadium, that famous one that never seems to get finished, but also Wembley Arena. So a brisk Wednesday night saw me heading out to Wembley with a few people to watch Muse play.
A capacity crowd of 10,000 filled the place and by the size of the lighting rig it was going to be a bit of a show. And they didn’t let the crowd down. A huge lighting show, perfect sound (it was like listening to a CD) and all the paraphernalia, which included the good old guitar through the speakers, and the night was what a good concert should be.
There was no droning to the crowd about ‘we wrote this song when his cat died’ crap, just good, well organised, loud, bright playing.

Have a geez:

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Let's start all over again

Well it’s been seven months now and boy hasn’t time flown by. It seems like just yesterday I landed in Picadilly Circus, no house, no job, no friends and no money.

Now seven months on - I’ve got the house issue covered!!

So what’s next. The past seven months have been a blast, if not a little too fun. I’m kind of waiting for the roller coaster to start it’s descent, but there’s no end on sight. And when speaking to some of my mates who have been here for many years, it doesn’t look like it will.

It’s only now that I’m starting to discover all the areas of London that you only really find when you live here as opposed to travelling through or staying for a few months. A great thing about London, and the greater Europe, is you don’t know what is around the corner. But with that, you also don't know who's leaving and who's staying. In the course of a month, two-thirds of our friendship group are on their way back home never to return (apart from Spoon - he can't stay away). That only leave me with Glasso, who, I think you can pick why I'm worried:
But with the transient life style that you live over here, you need to expect these things and not look at it in a bad way. I just can't wait to see what happens next year!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Beans means Heinz!

Beans, beans are good for the heart,
The more you eat the more you…
Well that’s how the kids’ song goes, and by looking at a typical London day, I agree:

Now we’ve been through some things I like, some things I don’t and others I simply can’t understand, and this infatuation with the humble bean fits in to the later two categories.

Now I’ve had my share of baked beans. We’ve all bean (pardon the pun) poor students who have eaten beans on toast every day for six months so you simply had $30 in which to go out and get hammered (how did we ever have a night out on $30 I don’t know). But now that my disposable income allows me to go out with at least $32 for a night out, I'm away from the humble bean, but many aren't.

This conversation came about in the usual theatre of debate and wise discussion – the pub. With the wind howling, the rain pouring and the heaters cranking, a conversation about comfort food transpired. Now those that know me, know I do enjoy a cold winter’s day, and those that have lived with me know my love of warm winter food. Many a people have been subjected to my beef stroganoff (Naomi for four days in a row when I was on a week’s break). So when faced with my beef stew/stroganoff/bourguignon with mash/bread or pasta as the ultimate comfort food, you can imagine my surprise when the answers around the table consisted of beans on toast with a fried egg! Beans on a jacket potato. BEANS, BEAN, BEANS!!!!

On a Friday I treat myself to a fry-up from the work cafe. Some bacon, egg, hash brown on toast (although you can’t get simply toast down there; you need to get it with melted cheese. A fully equipped kitchen and café and you can’t get toast – go figure). Sounds all nice and dandy. However, I am looked at in a funny way when I don’t get that ‘little-bundle-of-end-of-the-week-celebratory-goodness’ and cover it in Heinz number one selling stocking stuffer: Baked Beans. I think it all started with the humble English breakfast. While our version of the Brit fry up is usually bacon, eggs, tomotoes, toast and if you're feeling hungry, mushrooms, the true feast is a lot larger. Bacon, eggs, tomotoes, black pudding (animal blood cooked with blood and bits of fat that solidifies when it hardens and has a vary 'attractive' black colour), mushrooms, chips are thrown in sometimes, sausage and toast, and wait...BEANS! I have actually seen several people at work order a pizza from the shop downstairs, and then go to another counter and get them to put beans on it. I've seen chunky chips covered in beans and I've seen steak with baked beans. I'm not sure of the horrors at Mai Lai, but I think they have met their match.Many of you would have heard of the Big Mac index. The Big Mac index is an informal way of measuring the purchasing power parity (PPP) between two currencies and provides a test of the extent to which market exchange rates result in goods costing the same in different countries. It seeks to make exchange-rate theory more digestible (haha - get it).

I think there is also a KFC index. That is, the food that is served as a side, represents the tasting habits of a country. Australia has mash and gravy (potatoes obviously coming from our Irish heritage). Spain has corn. France has wine and cigarettes, while the US has an entire deep fried bovine covered in chocolate and an optional animal fat dipping sauce.

One guess what the UK has:
Can't beat them, join them!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Australia vs Ghana

Hoping off the tube in Shepard’s Bush I was confronted with a chilly autumn evening of 7 degrees – at 6.30pm. Brrrr I shivered and made my way across the park to the SheyBu Walkie (Shepard’s Bush Walkabout). Now this is the true birthplace of Australiana in the UK and I’m proud to say this was the first time I’ve been.

A few warm up bevies with some mates and it was off to Loftus Road to watch two-up-and-coming teams in the global sport of football – Australia vs Ghana.
While you wouldn’t really expect a show of sheer power and skill in this game, you’d expect a good laugh from the crowd, and that’s what we got. While the game was lack lustre, the off field antics is what we came for. Be it the Australian section of the ground being drunk dry of all beer, scotch and wine or the constant African drumming coming from the other side of the ground from the Ghanese (I think that’s what they’re called) it was good fun; they never stop laughing those fellas.

A goal in the first half from Brechiano induced jumping, hugging and kissing from all around, it was soon back down to the business at hand – abusing the referee and opposition.

Calls were varied:

BBUUULLLLSSSHHHIIIITTTTT!!!!!! (To the referee at every chance)
Nice leotards (Second string Ghana goalie after the first one kept falling over every time some one was near him)
Save it for your Flashdance audition fuckwit (that was mine! Got a few laughs – Ghana player took a dive).

And my personal favourite, when Ghana scored, nearly every African in the UK flooded the field to hug the players – was very funny. They were every where. Being tackled by security, but laughing all the time. As soon as one guy was taken down, it meant 10 more saw their opportunity to get on the pitch.
When Australia scored, no one clapped the Aussies. No one jumped about that much. We just started abusing the Ghana goalkeeper: “You are a wanker, you are a wanker.”

Game finished up 1-1 draw, not that it mattered, we were all just wasting time before we could get out of the cold and back to the pub.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

You 'avin a laugh my son!!!

Chavs. The english word for bogan. However, the only thing that bogans would do to harm you is insult your eyes with a whopping great mullet. Quoting Simon, chavs are more the let’s-go-and-slash-somebody’s-face-and–film-it-on-our-mobile-phones sort of people.

When you think of the typical lobster red on a Spanish holiday, lager drinking in the streets with a shaved head and a nike swish earing, you're thinking of a chav. The dress usually consists of:

1 pair Nike white trainers
1 pair Nike tube socks
1 Nike t-shirt (sleeveless)
1 pair Nike 3/4 tracksuit pants
1 Nike symbol earing
1 shaved head
Flick knife optional (men)
Baby optional (women)

1 pair Nike white trainers
1 pair Nike tube socks
1 Nike t-shirt
1 Nike tracksuit
1 Nike symbol earing
1 Nike beanie
Flick knife (men)
Baby - necessary (women)

Chavs wear a lot of tarcksuits, polo shirts and baseball caps. All their clothes appear to be designer, but are rip-offs. Popular Chav brands include: Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Kappa, Ellesse, Von Dutch, and Burberry. In fact, fake Burberry is so popular that the Burberry brand is actually being severly damaged.
Chavs like the bling - and pretending to have lots of money. They wear massive gold chains, bad replica watches and MASSIVE hoop earrings, all normally purchased from Argos. The bigger and more ridiculous the jewellry, the bigger the Chav.
Male Chavs favour Rap, while females prefer R&B, but both sexes like dance music, but it must be mindless and repetitive, such as House, Trance, Drum & Bass or something similar. The faster and louder the better, all the better to cook their tiny minds with.
Chavs MUST purchase a car as soon as they are old enough (driving license and insurance optional). This means it will be old and shit as they have very little money. They solve this by modding their cars, first come alloys, then a terrible bodykit, the more deformed the car, the better. Then a bigger exhaust - beer keg cut in half is normally too small. Finally a large sound system, so that the bass can shatter nearby windows while playing their favourite Trance track at full volume.
Chavs can't speak, they can't write either. They say things like 'innit', 'know what I mean' or try and impersonate a black accent. Mind you I will put a disclaimer in here that some of my favourite people say 'innit'. In fact, the typical greeting is: 'hiya, you alright', and it is growing on me a bit. As is 'innit'. I have dropped it once or twice.

There are famous chavs
Chav couples

And piss-take chavsThere is only one way to keep the chav population down, and I'm off to trademark it now!