Thursday, January 27, 2005

News: The games people play

Monopoly has a new version coming out which is a bit of a Reality check where the prices of properties are much more expensive, and London's airports replace the railway stations. London's major modern landmarks also heavily feature...

The games people play II

And this is the last posting from this site. After a little over a year Marc and I are calling it a day and will go our separate ways shortly. To answer the question:
Paul is in London, Marc joins him. What happens?
I will say this:
Stuff happens

Over and out officially from the joint blog, and in the meantime I will drag out of the mothballs paulinlondon.blogspot.com from tomorrow...

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

News: Its official Monday was depressing

Yesterday the papers were asking So how blue was it for you? after a researcher pinpointed that 24 January is the most depressing day of the year as bills mount, January's salary is still a long way off, and it is cold and the nights are long... Oh and those New Years resolutions have been discarded by now as well so there goes all those hopes and dreams of a better life (I am just trying to capture the general British mood here, I could also add that you usually get the flu at this time of year as well!)...

Plenty of people have been commenting on the best way to cope with the January malaise... I don't understand the problem really the weather's lovely and fresh, there is plenty to do and see, and it's easy to get spots at restaurants since there are not as many people out and about...

Having said that, post recent January events there will be few changes coming into play shortly, so stay tuned...

News: Our home is girt by sea...

Had it not been for the news that Trafalgar Square will have real sand and simulated surf "for those missing home" I would have forgotten that it was Australia Day. Live music, beach volleyball and a barbecue will be taking place as the temperature hovers between one and three degrees...

If I do manage to leave work at a sensible hour (not likely I suspect) I will drop by.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Cold Therapy at the Movies

To get over my cold/flu on Sunday I took myself off to see A Very Long Engagement. It was good chicken soup. Although can a dog fart really cheer one's heart??

News: A cutting finale

Christian Slater was saved by a minder when someone attacked him as he tried to leave the theatre after his final performance of "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest" on Saturday night. The minders fended off the attacker and Christian went off clubbing. He and his wife are on a trial separation so that's the way it goes... Christian does want to stay in London and do more acting. But West End crowds can be tough...

News: Taking a stand against crap

A law lecturer was fined £150 for damaging the nativity scene at Madamme Tussauds last year. The Becks waxwork vandal was discharged, but he said he was taking a stand against crap. While that's all very well and good, he probably should not have paid his entrance fee using a credit card...

News: Losing it

Londoners are forgetful people it turns out... Well those who ride in black cabs are, with the latest news that Cabs collect mountain of mobiles. They also collect iPODs, PDAs and Hampsters. I could do without a rodent (such as the one that is gnawing through the boards in the kitchen) but I could not do without my iPOD or my IPAQ...

Friday, January 21, 2005

All the news for the tube

If you get to work early enough (and usually that counts me out), you can pick up a free newspaper at the tube station on the way to work. It is a shit paper based on the Daily Mail but you can read it from cover to cover in 10 minutes and leave it on the tube for someone else to read it. Now there are plans to open the free paper monopoly to competition Now the only other thing is to fix those vending machines that dont give change...

At home for a few days...

Spent the last few days getting over a cold... or rather a flu so have watched lots of silly television. Daytime television is all about how to add value to your property (or add security to it which in turn will add value).

Tonight, while Marc has a work function to go to, I am watching Celebrity Big Brother evictions. It isn't as much fun now that Germaine Greer and Jackie Stallone are not in it, but Brigitte Nielsen is still good for a few laughs. A quick scan on the internet of Brigitte Nielsen draws up all those images from the 80s of her in various stages of undress... Twenty years later, harsh lights and live television and all those cigarettes have taken their toll... She is still in the show after tonight... Caprice got booted out

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Theatre: Heute Abend Lola Blau

Marc had a work function tonight so I took myself off to the local New End Theatre to see Tonight Lola Blau. Its a fictional story of a Viennese Jewish Diva and her times and trials fleeing Austria, working in the US and then eventually returning to Austria to perform again. The work is based on the composer's experiences - Georg Kreisler - although the marketing campaign has been fairly clever to give the perception that Lola really existed... Fortunately there was a Q&A session at the end of the show with the producer and performer (Morag McLaren) which led to a lot of "aaaaaaahhhs" in the audience. It was that sort of audience.

At best it covers the dislocation of migrating and wanting to belong and it told a great story from that point of view. During the songs details about the Austrian collaboration with the Nazis and statistics about their thoughts were projected on the screen. Thought provoking stuff for the audience - which seemed to be made up of American tourists and the local Hampstead Jewish Community.

It didn't surprise me to learn that Robyn Archer made a name for herself with the English language production as well (almost thirty years ago now). Morag was good but didn't bark as much as I would imagine Robyn would. I am not sure if this is a good thing. A bit of barking might have given the songs a bit more bite. The production has not received great reviews but I thought it was a nice diversion from a night in front of the television. I notice that BBC2 had another documentary on Auschwitz.

One thing that the Q&A session with the artists and the audience revealed was how much everyone hates Prince Harry. Ambivalence towards intolerance is at the heart of what this show is about (and the Nazis weren't the only guilty ones there) and so there was plenty of vitriol for the third in-line to the throne. That perception has stuck with the Royals and it will be one that will be hard to get rid of...

News: Flags and other structural changes

Rainbow flags in soho bars are to come down because the gay pubs that fly them didn't obtain planning permission for the "structural change to their building". The Mayor of London (who has no power over the issue except to issue press releases) said that it constitutes a ban and 'attacks identity'...

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Sunday at the V&A: While Marc worked, Paul went to visit the Victoria & Albert Museum at Kensington. The V&A has a new gallery on architecture, but it is famous for thousands of glass cabinets full of stuff in darkly lit rooms - this one had 19th Century vases. After a while your eyes adjust but I was worried about tripping over the Chippendale furniture on display (or anything else for that matter). The dark rooms are a throwback to the Victorian way of displaying exhibition items - making the museum a bit of a museum... Posted by Hello

Friday, January 14, 2005

Shopping in Carnaby Street for a bargain... Posted by Hello

Jewish Museum in Berlin: Went to the exhibition of Libeskind's works (he was the architecht of this museum) tonight at the Barbican. A fascinating display of building designs, art and sets (Libeskind was a musician before becoming a architect as well). There were shots of this staircase in the display - you enter the museum and walk up this staircase to the top and take the museum back down. A visit to this building is one to remember... Posted by Hello

Ice Skating at Broadgate Ice Rink... Not me of course... there is nobody on the ice in this shot... But I do intend to try skating before the month is out and hope to retain one's dignity... Posted by Hello

News: It's getting Nazi

Puns aside, the press here are reporting on what the Germans are saying about Harry's stunt... and it has been a chance for the Germans to complain that the English only ever go on about the war... Well it is a touchy subject that is now leading to all sorts of soul-searching...

Berlin sightseer: Jewish Museum

Reflecting on the Jewish Museum in Berlin I did walk away feeling uneasy. It wasn’t just the x-ray scanning and metal detection that you had to go through to enter, or the armed security guards on the outside of the building that caused the unease. Towards the end of the collection dealing with attitudes in post-war Germany there was documentation of the guilt, the trials of collaborators and the reparations to Israel, but also of the attitude that people felt obliged to “be nice” to a person if they were Jewish. It did make me wonder whether much has been learned in the last 60 years. Perhaps the argument is that it hasn’t.

The building itself is stunning and is worth taking in on its own. It is a deconstructed Star of David and has corners that lead nowhere and huge open spaces for collections and for what are described as “voids”. The architect wanted a building that symbolised the hope, despair and lost opportunities of the Jewish people in Europe.

The selection of materials spans 2000 years of Jewish settlement in the cities and places that now make up Germany. The collections and displays tell a story of the contribution Jewish people made to Germany - their gradual acceptance and integration into German life by the 19th Century - and then the descent into murder.

Beside each display highlighting contributions to culture and society, there are a series of draws that rolled out and highlighted the discrimination and persecution of Jewish people. They rolled out and they sprang back. One that showed a photo various Christian leaders meeting Hitler was such a shock that that I let go of the draw and it snapped back with a bang. The role Christians played in persecuting Jewish people was there for all to see. Child murders, the plague, actually anything that didn’t agree with the dogma of the day was blamed on the Jews.

Berlin sightseer 2: Camps and Mass Graves

At one point during our stay we went out to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp at Oranienburg (just outside of Berlin). Due to the new year it was closed but we were able to walk around the outside of the building and see the new model home estates being built nearby.

Sachenhausen was where opponents of the Nazis, were first sent after Hitler stole power. These included political opponents, trade union organizers and homosexuals from Berlin. It was a quiet and miserable looking place.

The Communists also used the site after they “liberated” the camp in 1945. For the next five years they were responsible for the deaths of more than 10,000 people and the mass graves were only discovered after the collapse of East Germany. A new memorial marks the deaths of these mostly unknown people, and again across the road from this site are more house and land packages…

Berlin sightseer 3: Staying in Schoneberg

The hotel was not far from one of the gay centres in Berlin. There are several and we explored a few over the week we were there, but the one closest to us also had plenty for those into leather and military. Berliners look pretty mean at the best of times so skinheads in military fatigues walking down the street can look a bit intimidating until you realise something about them…

It was amusing looking at the military shops with all the American-style military uniforms and fatigues on display. For a country that now is so opposed to America’s military power, there is a clear group of people that can’t get enough of dressing like they are ready for combat (although they probably have a few too many piercings for that). Perhaps it’s a hangover from the days of occupation. Either that or perhaps they are looking back nostalgically at their military service…

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?