[ 02:15 thursday 21 june – palissy street, shoreditch, london ]
i’m just back from the 333 bar where i spent a couple of hours in enjoyable gyratory motion. this place has more or less become my local. the reason remains a mystery though. the decor is hideous, getting a drink typically involves a ten minute wait and the management prefers to hire djs whose record collections have been harvested exclusively from provincial car-boot sales.
but compared to the uber-self-consciousness of most venues in the area the convincing mediocrity of the 333 is rather comforting. and in consequence it seems to attract a less dreadful crowd. tonight, though, something went awry and the music was actually rather good. initially i assumed it was just a momentary lapse and the usual horrors would resume shortly, but after a few songs i was forced to conclude that a decent dj had slipped through the aesthetic cordon.
the dregs of shoreditch (a category in which i happily count myself) was out in force, parading its arsenal of crazy hair and crazy moves. my tonsure is not at all up to scratch. but to put this in perspective the marx brothers would look low-key round here.
with delight and amazement i espied mr steve emery amidst the throng. we were fellow passengers on a flight from london to sydney in december 1998. it was quite an adventure. bits kept falling off the aircraft and as a result we enjoyed impromptu sojourns in bahrain and singapore. i met steve a couple of times in london after we returned but until tonight i hadn’t seen him for a couple of years. it was a most warm reunion.
earlier in the evening i was working on the sse glasgow film and scanning slides from ghana (i’m up to film 7 of 21). there are a few images in there with which i’m really excited. friends keep telling me i must do something with them and maybe the time’s come when i should try to sort something out. but i’m still not sure what. my friend mr james madelin, in a brief period of unemployment, organised an exhibition of his photographs which i thought very enterprising and admirable.
this afternoon i had my first computer tutorial with michael. i got him one of the new apple ibooks, which i think will suit him well. judging by today’s experience this is going to be far less of a struggle than i anticipated. after a couple of hours he was able to work his way round the operating system. i’d say he picked up the basic concepts a little faster than most children i’ve taught, which must be considered impressive for a man of 85.
shyly he disclosed his objective of visiting tesco’s site and signing up for their online grocery delivery service, which struck me as a charmingly quotidian goal for him of all people. we did not get online today but our next session is booked for friday and i daresay he shall have his groceries.
my earlier outpourings about voting provoked quite a response, mostly critical. i’m grateful to everyone who took the trouble to write and i’m reconsidering some of my more jaundiced attitudes. i thought about publishing a selection of the responses via this list but it struck me that there was probably a better way. maybe i should set up an “open-wanderer” email group where people can post such responses? many of those who read this are able writers with strong minds and diverse opinions. i dunno.
the weekend before last my beloved bicycle was stolen. it was a lovely blue gary fisher hybrid, purchased for me by mr adam allen-foord, my brotherinlaw, back in 1997. it served me faithfully in london and in the isles of scilly. it was chained to the bannisters of the staircase on which i live. i had already taken off all removable parts. but someone sawed through the chain and removed the rest of it. it is just an object but i was quite attached to it and i miss it. oh well, i hope it serves its new owner as well as it served me.
last wednesday the esmee fairbairn charitable trust decided whether they would give sse and circus foundation the funds to undertake our learning web project, which is what i came back to london for. but they haven’t told us yet. it’s a bit nerve-wracking.