Sunday, October 31, 2010

East End Graffiti

"For alchemists the swan is the symbol for mercury.  Quicksilver imaginings.  Transmutations.  A notion laboured over with considerable energy, and buckets of paint, by the guerrilla muralist known as Sweet Toof (or the Dentist) and his associate, Cyclops.  These men track development along the inland waterways and into the Olympic Park: wherever a pseudo-wharf is laid out, a salmon-curing shed demolished, Sweet Toof will spray a graphic tribute in the form of a giant pink mouth loaded with monster molars.  His serpent forms, Mayan in ferocity, devour glitz and offer blight the kiss of life."

-Iain Sinclair, Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Flat 40

Blaming James?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I feel for you, Pip.

"Yet in the London streets, so crowded with people and so brilliantly lighted in the dusk of evening, there were depressing hints of reproaches for that I had put the old kitchen at home so far away..."

-Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Thursday, October 21, 2010

my birthday abroad

So, most of my 21st birthday was spent in Scotland and traveling back from Scotland...but my flatmates threw me a belated "surprise" birthday party.  They got me a cake and candles and all signed a card.  They tried to be secretive about it, they really did.  However, I happened to run into them at Sainsbury's the grocery store down the road...and then I went into Lucy's room and she had my card sitting there...and then I went into Anthony's room and he had the cake sitting there...but it was lots of fun and I felt loved.  We went to Draper's, the bar on campus, also.  Free drinks for the birthday girl!

Jersey made me wear a Birthday Girl cupcake pin all night :)

Today I had my Contemporary Writing class, which is held in a cinema down the road for some reason.  We'd read Eating Air by Pauline Melville for this week's lecture--and the author herself came to our lecture today!  I got my copy of the book signed. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Friday October 15, 2010
I get out of bed at 5:00 a.m. and meet Robbie outside at 6:00.  We make our way to Mile End Station, then to Bromley-by-Bow bus stop.  It's cold outside, and gray, and I haven't had breakfast--or coffee--yet.  We wait for the bus, but it doesn't come.  Eventually, we realize that if we don't call a cab, we will miss our flight.  We call a cab.  In my anxious state, I almost climb into random man's car: the taxi company did say their car would be blue, and would pull up right next to the was I to know that this guy in a blue car was not a taxi driver, but a businessman getting out to grab a free copy of the Evening Standard

Our cab does show up, eventually, and the driver responds to our panic at possibly missing our flight.  He steps on the gas.  I almost fall asleep in the back seat, despite the desperateness of our situation.  We run into the airport, only to find that our plane has not left, and there is, in fact, a line of waiting passengers.  We queue up and wait.  I even have time to visit the restroom.  Once on the plane, feelings of relief wash over us, making us loopy and slightly hysterical.  Robbie pulls out his ipod and we listen to "Looks Like We Made It," by Barry Manilow.  While listening, we imagine ourselves at the dark bus stop, in the taxi, running through the airport, then sitting on the plane, and we laugh and laugh.

Once in Scotland, we take a train to Caroline's school, the University of Strathclyde.  Robbie gets his book out, but I am looking out the window the entire ride, content with my grande Starbucks coffee and the views of green bordering on fall colors which flash by.  Churches and sheep and wooden fences.  The woman's voice says, "Now approaching Paisley Gilmour Street."  Paisley Gilmour--sounds like a character from a book.

Caroline meets us at the train station.  Back at her flat, she cooks us haggis and potatoes.  I am pleasantly surprised at the edibility of the meal: I always imagined haggis would be slimy, but it is the consistency of ground beef.  Caroline goes to class; Robbie and I go outside to explore Glasgow.

The air is so clean!  The streets are hilly!  The trees!  They're changing colors!  I breathe it in while I walk.  What a contrast to flat dirty (wonderful) London.  We seek out buildings seen from a distance--some are awe-inspiring close up, some are better seen from a distance.  I spot a wedding party: women in dresses, men in kilts.  We go to Kelvingrove Park, and I fall in love with the place.  Green spaces in cities are the best idea ever, and this park is phenomenal.  Fountains, concrete skate park, football, bridges, playgrounds, winding paths, squirrels, students, couples, children, chalk, crunchy leaves, view of the Harry Potter-esque University of Glasgow and the Kelvingrove museum of art.  We play Pooh Sticks, dropping sticks over the bridge, and running to the other side to see whose stick we can spy first--Robbie wins.  We go to the University of Glasgow and absorb the view and the solemn, academic atmosphere.  We walk the city: one second we're in a shopping mecca, then a financial district.  Glasgow is so small, yet so full

That night: ceilidh.  Scottish party with dancing and food, taking place in the 8-story student union.  Free cans of Irn Bru--everyone drinks it in Scotland--a soda drink, tastes to me like bubble gum.  Pinpoints of multicolored lights dance around the room, which is crowded and loud.  We are treated to a bagpipe concert, then a band consisting of accordian, drums, and electric guitar takes the stage and starts playing loud reckless music and instructing everyone on the intricacies of Scottish dance steps.  People are tipsy, people are sweaty, people are hopping and skipping and swinging from each others arms and using all this momentum and energy and everyone is participating and looking ridiculous and having fun.

I decline going out afterwards--I'm running on about 3 hours of sleep.  I walk back to Caroline's flat and let myself in with her keys and fall asleep on her floor.

Saturday October 16, 2010
We hit up the museums: the Kelvingrove Art Museum, and the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art.  A woman strikes up a conversatioen with me at the modern art museum in the exhibit focusing on the concept of Tomorrow.  Where will I be tomorrow?  What do I want to do in the future?  It's a thought-provoking conversation, and I appreciate it. 

We stop at an outdoor market for lunch, and I buy a kangaroo burger.  This is the trip of New Foods.  I feel only a little bit bad about eating a kangaroo: it's tasty! 

Tired of walking and absorbing culture, we sit in a pub and absorb some more culture in the form of Tennent's, a Scottish beer.  We sit there for who knows how long, enjoying the atmosphere and the company.  Our plan of smuggling out our Tennant's glasses for souveneirs is foiled when the waitress clears our glasses away, so we get some more, then forget about the plan altogether. 

Caroline's flatmates are funny: they could start their own comedy show.  I can't even tell what they are saying half the time due to their Highlander accents, but the other half makes me laugh.

Sunday October 17, 2010
We check out the cathedral and its museum, do some souveneir shopping (I need stamps for all my postcards!) and go to a local kebab place for dinner.  The trip home goes smoothly: train, then plane, then bus, then a walk back to campus.  We get back at around 2 a.m.
Cooking le Haggis

Kelvingrove park

University of Glasgow

View from the University

A street in Glasgow

At the street fair: chocolate-dipped cake n marshmallows on a stick!

Kelvingrove Museum: Caroline learns to shoot!

Robbie at the pub
Caroline and I

Museum of Modern Art

Kangaroo Burger

Kangaroo at the museum.

Inside the cathedral

Outside the cathedral museum w/coffee

Cathedral and cemetary


Monday, October 11, 2010

These past couple days in London have been flooded with sunshine--a welcome change from gray misty rain.  On Sunday, I went on a fantastic run in Victoria Park: I'm sure I looked a bit crazy, because I couldn't stop smiling...the sun felt so good.  Today was pretty windy, but I won't complain--the sun was still shining.  I wandered around in search of a good reading spot (currently reading Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire by Iain Sinclair for my contemporary writing class) and found myself at the Tower Hamlets Cemetary Park, right by Mile End tube station.  The cemetery opened in 1841, and became a nature reserve/park in 2001.

Graves were everywhere, popping out of the ground like crooked teeth.  Most were so old, the writing had worn away.  Although it felt slightly morbid to be reading in that environment, it was peaceful and quiet--I got lots of reading done, anyway!

On a different note, here are some of my lovely flatmates!

Erling (Norway), Michael (California), Me (Utah), Anthony (Leicester), and Lucy (Norwich)
  The above picture was taken in our kitchen, before we left to a flat party in another building.  We were supposed to dress up as "different countries," which is why Lucy looks so French!  I tried to follow the theme by wearing an Asian-looking shirt but the guys didn't even put any effort.  Missing from this picture: Jeanette from L.A., James from...somewhere in England, Catty from Sheffield, and Beth from Devon.  I'll get a good picture of everyone soon, hopefully.


Monday, October 4, 2010


As you may be aware, "football" in England is not the same as "football" in America.  If you want to talk about American football here, you have to refer to it as "American football."  Also, don't even think about saying "soccer," because you'll just sound like an idiot.

All that aside, I went to a pub yesterday to watch the Arsenal/Chelsea football match with some of my flatmates!  James and Anthony support Arsenal, so I have become an Arsenal supporter by association.  The pub was packed--most of us had to stand during the game ("most of us" meaning "not me"...).  Apparently Arsenal has not beaten Chelsea in what may as well be forever, so hopes were not high in the hearts of the Arsenal fans.  The atmosphere was fun: people shouting (everyone), cheering (Chelsea fans), and groaning in dismay (Arsenal fans).  We lost, 2-0.

Today has been relaxing; no classes for me on Mondays.  I went on a run, did my laundry (it costs two pounds fifty to do one load...I miss Randolph College and their free laundry...) and practiced my flute!  It felt good to play--haven't done that in too long.  The first orchestra rehearsal is tomorrow, actually.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rainy day at the Tate Modern

Checking out some Duchamp
Matisse--it's a snail!
Pictures of propaganda posters


Don't know this man....he happened to be standing in front of the Jackson Pollock painting!
I like ruining Jersey's pictures of pictures.

Andy Warhol

Most of these photos I stole from Jersey's facebook album.  Thanks, buddy!