Wednesday, April 28, 2010


First look at this

So you'll understand why I'm posting this:

Because finding your tranquility is sometimes just as easy as walking through your back garden. Thank goodness for Spring. It's hard to feel stressed or irritated at the increasingly monotone nature of working life when your friends are funny, the sun is shining and the greyness of the city is alleviated by the colour thrown about your day-to-day, like so many islands in the sea or oases in the desert.

Sorry I've been so lazy/overwhelmed/tired and thanks to those who haven't given up on me (you know who you are, AH and EW). Proper writing to follow as soon as I can kick myself up the arse hard enough.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

I love juxtapositions

I love it when there's a ukelele in a rock band.

I love it when a child is the best thing in a predominantly adult play.

I love it when you find a Japanese park in the middle of the very English West London.

I love it when someone is actual civil and helpful during rush hour traffic.

I love it when you hear a French accent pierce the severe halls of the British Museum.

I love it when you hear a Maths graduate wax lyrical about the subtle joys of Erik Satie.

I love it when you find a blooming flower in the midst of concrete and litter.

I love it when an old person uses Twitter.

I love it when you see your teacher/boss/parent drunk. 

The little things in life that challenge your expectations, that shatter your prejudices, that remind you that you don't know everything about the world.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Mind the Gap

“Mind the gap… The next train will arrive in 3 minutes."

The tannoy rings, devoid of either excitement or resentment. A deadpan voice revealing nothing. The afternoon rush hour. The grey Tube platform where one is surrounded by paradoxically crowded solitude.

After an equally mechanical series of beeping, a departing train sends a ripple of air along the platform, temporarily suspending in mid-air anything that isn't weighty or strapped down and fluttering them about like so many manic marionettes: Coat straps. Abandoned leaflets (Free trial of... !) Her hair.

It almost resembles like a slow motion scene from a romantic comedy, her hair moving like a brown silk wave, at the same time random and enticingly arranged. She is looking away, the profile of her chin the only teasing aspect available to me, and standing to close to the edge of the platform there is no better vantage point that avoids the universally implied social contract to not be a creepy pervert. Deciding that the train of thought borders on pathetic, my hand reaches inside my jacket pocket and fishes out my worn copy of Chekhov plays and flicks to my bookmark midway through the Cherry Orchard. Mere seconds after, the object of my observation reaches into her bag and takes out a book of her own.

As she does, she turns toward the opposite platform, displaying an adorable button nose and deep brown eyes that even from afar seems to hold a glint of mischief. As with the dozens of others on the platform, her delicately small mouth is locked in a semi-frown of weary focus. Overall I find the face very pleasing, with a slightly elfin cute look that I find so captivating and distracting. My attention is drawn to the book in her hand, worrying slightly as it is a black hardback about the size of the Twilight books that are seemingly breeding in bookshops across the country. If it turns out to be "New Moon" the magic would dissipate, an electric moment evaporating to leave the mediocre uneventful commute home that otherwise occupies that hour. An inward sigh of relief: it is Anna Karenina. I smile slightly, gently approving her choice of travelling literature.  

She must spot this out of the corner of her eye, and looks up slightly but not completely so that she is slightly peering through the swept aside fringe of her dark chocolate hair (Lent clearly cannot end too soon). The pragmatist in me finds this amusing, the romantic in me finds this fantastically endearing. She in turn looks at my book then back up at me and returns a smile. It appears to me that the dim lighting increases slightly, a deeper orange glow almost like springtime rays of sunlight beating down making the building swell and sharpen in the most optimistic way. Two book lovers with a brief connection across the concrete concourse.

Yet scruples and convention states neither of us step toward each other, no moves are made to start a conversation in such a situation. The divide of mere feet might as well be miles. Out of earshot: out of access. The leftmost edge of my peripheral vision, unwilling to break the elusive gaze, spies a pair of headlights and my feet feel a faint but growing rumbling in the platform. Still the look is held, holding until she seemingly realises with a jolt that the Tube carriages thunder toward us are for her homeward bound journey. She takes a few steps toward me (a mere few taken on my part would have taken us to handshake proximity) and boards the vessel.

The doors close with a cutting finality. For all its wheezing and lethargic action, the doors sliding shut recollecting a steam press I saw as a youth, slamming together with a clunk of finality, putting to an abrupt end any potential precursor to a meeting. Our eyes meet once more through the scratched and smoggy windows (as the train chugs its way past me on its initially slow and almost taunting warm-up run) before she averts her gaze. Is it embarrassment? Is it coyness?

And with that, as suddenly as I had started to fall for her, the tube gathers speed and leaves the station.

"Next train will arrive in 2 minutes."