The Monument to the Great Fire (of 1666)

April 27, 2009

A couple of weekends ago Paul and I climbed the 311 steps up to the top of the Monument (to the Great Fire of 1666). It didn’t seem that far – but we were climbing behind an old woman (who was going quite slowly) so I wasn’t puffing by the time I got to the top (that and my regular exercising at the gym also helped of course!).

Unfortunately the sun was right behind the monument when I tried to take photos of it so the photos from the ground are pretty dark but it was cool to look out over London from the top! I don’t actually think London has a very exciting skyline but it was still cool to be up there. We also got certificates when we came back down – which we thought was cool.
The Monument to the Great Fire of 1666, London
Above, the Monument, below, the entrance!
Inscriptions on the Monument to the Great Fire, London
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Good-bye good friend

April 27, 2009

On Friday evening Paul, Kara and I went out to Heathrow airport to say goodbye to Lucy R as she headed back to Australia. It was a couple of months earlier than she had originally planned and it was sad to see her go. It’s nice to know she will be in Brisbane when we move back (it’s nice to know we still have some friends there after being away so long!). Unfortunately her brother is sick so that’s why she’s gone early. Hopefully with modern medicine and all his family and friends around him he’ll be better in no time!
Seeing Lucy off at Heathrow airport (to go back to Australia) Read the rest of this entry »


Currently on high rotation…

April 25, 2009

I have been listening to death to Aussie hip-hop group the Herd’s song 2020 (and watching their great filmclip – see below) and also watching Susan Boyle’s fantastic audition for Britain’s Got Talent – what a voice. Yay for Youtube!


Easter weekend

April 18, 2009

Paul and I didn’t do a lot on the Easter weekend because the weather was so bad – it was cool and overcast for most of the weekend – we actually stayed home and watched movies on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On the Monday we went to the Wellcome Collection and saw a couple of very good exhibitions (Madness & Modernity: Mental illness and the visual arts in Vienna 1900 and Bobby Baker’s Diary Drawings: Mental illness and me, 1997-2008) as well as some of their permanent exhibits, (Napoleon Bonaparte’s toothbrush, Charles Darwin’s walking stick in) Medicine Man.

On Monday evening I saw the great documentary Afghan Star about the Afghan TV show of the same name. It was really uplifting – unlike other Afghan films I’ve seen.

In the last week I saw the photography exhibition Dreams at the Viewfinder Photography Gallery in Greenwich and I hung out with Lucy N’s partner Jamie. We went to The Bloomberg Commission: Goshka Macuga: The Nature of the Beast at the Whitechapel Gallery. There are a few other exhibitions on there that I’d like to go back and see. I also had dinner at Helen’s house and last night Paul and I went to the launch of Lady Sovereign’s new album Zigzag.


Bad news and random musings

April 9, 2009

Yesterday I went to Pitzhanger Manor which was John Soane‘s country home that he would come to on the weekends (from central London) back when Ealing was a separate town. It was quite nice. I imagined living there, having breakfast in the breakfast room and reading in the reading room.

Then I borrowed the Outsider by Albert Camus from the library. I finished it this morning. I pretty much had Killing an Arab by the Cure in my head the whole time I was reading it!

When I weighed myself at the gym yesterday the scales said I was 5 kilos less than the scales at home which was a shock but kind of a relief – I couldn’t work out why I wasn’t losing any weight when I was exercising so much (well, I’m exercising a lot for me). I’ve asked Paul to weigh himself at home and at the gym near his work to see if there is a 5 kilo difference!

Today I went and had a look at the Whiteleys shopping centre in Queensway. It is a nice building and was probably once a really nice shopping centre but now it has lots of empty shops.

I had a look at the website for the X-Men Origins: Wolverine film and it looks like all the characters mentioned are men (Wolverine, Sabretooth, Gambit, Agent Zero, Stryker, Blob, Wraith). What a disappointment. I know it’s a superhero film and all but I really expect better of X-Men – they have so many characters, how hard is it to feature some women as well as the men? There’s a woman on the poster but now I suspect that she is Wolverine’s long dead love-interest and not an integral character/mutant. I’m not as excited about the film now. Damn Hollywood!

I had some bad news yesterday. A friend from Brisbane (who was living here in London) has gone back home because her younger brother has bowel cancer (she is only 23). They operated but it had spread and they couldn’t get it all so now he is to undergo chemotherapy. I hope the treatment goes well for him and they get it all.


Abney Park Cemetery

April 8, 2009

Yesterday Paul and I went to Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington, North London and took lots of photos. Looking at a map of the cemetery, I realise I have only explored half of the park. The last time we were there was with my brother Steve and his girlfriend Sophie and they moved back to Australia two years ago! Some of the photos are below. Go to my Flickr set if you want to see more.
Entrance gates to Abney Park Cemetery, London
Abney Park Cemetery, London
Abney Park Cemetery, London
Abney Park Cemetery, London
Abney Park Cemetery, London
Abney Park Cemetery, London
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Swedish vampires

April 7, 2009

Another cool film I want to see is the Swedish teen vampire film Let the Right One In. I hear it is soooo much better than Twilight.

I am going to see Afghan Star next Monday but I’ve just seen that it’s on TV tonight!


Films I'm looking forward to…

April 7, 2009

April
In the next week or two I’m going to watch the documentary Afghan Star, at the ICA. Set in Afghanistan, it follows their version of Pop Idol.

Coraline, based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name, is a stop-animation film that should be lots of fun. It’s also coming out in 3D which I’m excited about. The film has a cool website.

May
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
I love the X-Men films and this one should be good too. Hugh Jackman is a great Wolverine. I’ve even started reading the comics which is fun.

July
Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince. The sixth film in the franchise, quite a lot of back story should be covered here. Plus there’ll be lots of silly teenage goings on (crushes and kissing) if it sticks to the book. And I’m sure we’ll all be crying at the end (boy did I cry at the end of this book). I don’t know why they’re making the seventh book into two films (I don’t think it deserves it) – but considering the wait we’re having for this film, we’ll be waiting a while to get to those films.


Lots of art and hummous

April 5, 2009

On Saturday afternoon Paul and I went to the Mythologies exhibition at Haunch of Venison (that I had been to during the week). Paul liked lots of the stuff there too. I liked the rude silhouettes by Tim Noble and Sue Webster. There were skeletons of Tweety and Sylvester in full flight by Hyungkoo Lee (which we’re sure we’ve seen before). Carlos Amorales had some cool films – one had floating black objects of varying shapes and sizes and it wasn’t until I recognised mainland Australia and then Alaska that I figured out what was going on. I realised that there are a lot of countries/islands that I don’t know or recognise! Every now and then, the black shapes would all come together and become a map of the world. When all the countries and islands are separated it is hard to tell them apart (but I did recognise Italy, the US, Greenland, mainland Australia, Spain and Iceland). The exhibition space was pretty cool too. I think I read that the private gallery (Haunch of Venison) have leased the space from the Royal Academy for three years.
Art by Heather and Ivan Morison at Mythologies at Haunch of Venison
Art at Mythologies
After that we headed East to Liminal: A Question of Position at Iniva in Shoreditch which was small but had some cool interactive new media art. As we were close by we went and checked out the White Cube Hoxton Square and saw Ashley Bickerton: Recent Wurg which was ok. By this point we couldn’t be bothered going up to the Victoria Miro Gallery to check out the dancing in the gallery (even though it wasn’t that far up the road).

On our way to Iniva we got a bus that didn’t quite go where I was expecting but it did take us right next to Bunhill Fields Cemetery which I was very excited about. William Blake, Daniel Defoe and other nonconformists are buried there!
The gravestone of William Blake at Bunhill Fields
A memorial to Daniel Defoe near his grave in Bunhill Fields
A grave in Bunhill Fields
Gravestones at Bunhill Fields
I really want to go to Abney Park Cemetery again and take photos – it is really big and overgrown and is packed with graves.

Saturday night we had dinner with Matt and Neena at Hummous Brothers in Soho. It was really yummy and we hadn’t seen them in ages (since last year some time).

On Saturday morning Paul had a microsoft exam and he got 100%! Well done him. Only three more exams to go.
Paul and I reflected


Spring is awesome and other positive affirmations…

April 3, 2009

Ducks in a carpark, London
Recently I’ve seen ducks out of my kitchen window (hanging out on a wall of the carpark next door), late last night I heard birds chirping and now I’ve just heard lots of seagulls! And the days are so long now. I never really noticed the changing of the seasons in Queensland but I really notice it here.

Trafalgar Square
A couple of days ago I went to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square and I remembered that Paul had told me that Nelson (on top of Nelson’s Column) looks down Whitehall to the Houses of Parliament so I had a look and took the photo above. It’s a bit small here but you can see Big Ben in the background.

I found out this morning that I didn’t get the job I interviewed for yesterday! Bummer! They said that it came down to me and one other person but that doesn’t make me feel any better.

I might go to the gym and try to work off some of my frustration on the treadmill.