Paul and I saw Neil Gaiman speak on Piracy Vs Obscurity at a fundraiser for the Open Rights Group at Clerkenwell in London on Friday night.
Neil Gaiman has been on tour promoting his new book: The Graveyard Book, which Paul bought me for my birthday! You can see videos of Neil reading chapters from the book from his tour.
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Paul and I have been watching Season 3 of Heroes recently and I found I was struggling to remember who was who and what had happened so I decided I needed to re-watch Seasons 1 and 2. I borrowed Season 1 from Blockbuster on Sunday and had been watching about three episodes per night! What a productive way to spend my nights, hey? Anyway, as I had a terrible head cold this week, I stayed home from work on Wednesday and Thursday and finished off Season 1. Spending two days in bed (or on couch, actually) seems to have done the trick because I feel sooo much better today (Friday). Which is great because tonight Paul and I are going to hear Neil Gaiman talk at an Open Rights Group fundraiser. The talk is called Piracy Vs Obscurity. It should be cool. There will be a Q&A session and I’m tempted to ask him about his increasingly awful female characters (they were so good in the Sandman comics, but in Stardust they weren’t so good and in Beowolf they were terrible – he wrote the screenplay).
Well my new job is stressing me out – I sit in a room with seven French people who talk to each other all day in French. There are a couple of middle-aged, English engineers in the room but they don’t talk much and I don’t have much in common with them so I’m really missing the social aspect I had at my last job – I really didn’t like the management there but I worked with lots of people my age who were friendly and talked a lot (in English). I also have a head cold again (I only had one two weeks ago!). I’m using my brain a bit more in my new job than the last job I had, but the social aspect totally sucks. I am having doubts I can stick it out for the three months but I am only two weeks in – I’ll see how I go.
On Friday night I had dinner by myself at Wagamama’s in Leicester Square (while I was waiting for Paul to get into town) and I think the three Australians sitting near me might have been from Brisbane – one of them told the others ‘Did you know there’s a Wagamama’s in New Farm’. Have I mentioned how homesick I’ve been lately? I mean, really homesick. After dinner, I met up with Paul and people from his work for some drinks and I’ve really not been spending much time in busy, loud pubs recently because I hated being surrounded by loud drunk people.
On Saturday I wanted to buy winter clothes (it’s really getting cold again) so I headed to the great Japanese shop Uniqlo for some thermals similar to the ones I bought last year! They’re great. Paul and I were sorely tempted by their colourful, 50 pound, puffy, down jackets! After shopping, we wandered in London and for the first time since I’ve been here, I tried to climb onto the Lions at Trafalgar Square – I was unsuccessful they’re much bigger than they look from a distance.
After shopping, we went to Tate Britain and saw people running through the gallery (an art piece), the shortlist for this year’s Turner Prize, and an amazing Francis Bacon exhibition. I really liked Bacon’s paintings – even though a lot of them are really ugly and grotesque and scary – actually that might be the reason I liked them.
On Sunday we went to the Hadrian exhibition at the British Museum with Matt and Neena and then to Uniqlo again for more winter clothes – we tried on the puffy jackets but decided against them.
On Friday night we’re going to see Neil Gaiman talk which I’m quite excited about.
And I am going out to dinner for my birthday on Saturday night. Wow, it’s been a year since my sister came to visit!
So what’s happened in the week and a half since I got back from Istanbul?
I started my new job with French engineers (who talk to each other all day long in French so I don’t understand what they’re saying – lucky I’m not a paranoid person). Windows has been installed in French on my laptop too and you can’t just switch it back. I’m going to have to ask for a laptop in English I think.
On Thursday night I had drinks with Helen, Lucie, Jess and Jamie (Helen worked with Jamie at a dodgy pub in Holloway) at the Glass Bar which is a women-only bar close to where I work.
I have been doing a lot of wandering through London on my lunchbreaks and after work (I am working near Bloomsbury again and one lunchtime last week I wandered past Woolf Court and Virginia Mews and then one day after work I actually walked past a house that Virginia Woolf lived in – when she was still Virginia Stephen). Yesterday, Saturday, Paul and I did some wandering from Holborn up to Farringdon and then Angel and back down again. I am getting back into the London Walks that Paul’s sister, Emma gave us for Christmas (nearly two years ago?) – I can’t believe we haven’t done them all yet.
On Friday night I had a night in by myself watching the French film Paris, Je T’aime while Paul was out with people from his work.
Today, Sunday, we watched The Bothersome Man. I should probably get to bed as it’s 10.30. It is my birthday in two weeks and I will probably try to organise dinner and maybe a trip to a nightclub – wild!
I recently read Psychogeography by Merlin Coverley. Even though I think Psychogeography is a bit pretentious, I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction, especially the many referenced books about and set in London. I am planning to read many of them – I took a lot of notes. I also bought a DVD of the two Patrick Keiller films mentioned (London and Robinson in Space). Paul and I watched London yesterday and I just loved its ambling story – from a never-seen narator – of wandering through 1992 London accompanied by the stories and thoughts of his – also-never-seen – companion, Robinson. London was such a gem. I can’t wait to watch Robinson in Space – where they leave London and wander around Britain.
I am interested in reading Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and A History of the Plague Year, as well as work by Iain Sinclair, Robert Louis Stevenson, Will Self, Arthur Machen, Edgar Allen Poe, Peter Ackroyd and probably others.
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This is for anyone who ever studied at UQ (the University of Queensland) in Brisbane and was totally freaked out by the scary ibises and ducks by the lakes:
Below is Paul’s photosynth of photos he took at the Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul. Its pretty amazing. To view the photosynth you need to download a plugin but it’s totally worth it!
Below is the photosynth from the library at the Topkapi Palace which is where the Ottoman Sultans lived. I wouldn’t mind a library like this: big and airy and cool, lots of lounges and nice bookcases. You can see the back part of my head from side-on in one photo and Paul’s dad is the guy with a red jumper and a backpack.