Thursday, June 17, 2004

The kitchen at work has moved. It used to occupy a corner room, with a view of theatres and The Ivy, and of, well, sky. Most of the people on my floor see no sunlight from their desks, and as the kitchen was clearly taking up a slice of desirable, prime space, it’s now being converted into an office, so that the view of theatres, The Ivy, and sky can be enjoyed by not thirty people, but one.

New office kitchen is still a hellish mess. The builders put in one socket, so the kettle lives on the floor, there is no fridge or microwave, and no hot water. Contents of new, hobo-themed kitchen: gummy jar or Marmite, tin of tuna, can of Castlemaine XXXX, giant bouquet of flowers. Some bitch at my work is always getting giant bouquets of flowers, and it has never, in two and a half years, been me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Do dreams really come true?

Very Big Author is most unhappy with some proofs of his new book I sent him. Very Big Author has gone as far as to call the managing director of the company, and tell him how unhappy he is with them (well, why on earth would he talk to me? I am only the person who’s been working on the book and sending him proofs, after all). My fantasy has two parts: one, I talk to VBA and, sighing sadly, admit to him that, actually, I really don’t give a hoot about his stupid book, and if he’s not happy with how it looks maybe he should have delivered several months ago, as his contract stated, rather than so late that we all have to rush to get it set in time. Part two: VBA is outraged, and calls for my head on a plate or, health and safety laws being what they are, that I be fired. After much deliberation, the company reluctantly fires me to appease him, and I of course get a giant settlement because they feel so guilty.

Let’s place bets. Do you think I can goad him into it?

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

The smelliest street in London

No, it’s not Leicester Square at 4am on a Saturday. It’s not Brixton Market on a hot day, after all the stalls have closed and the bin men haven’t been round yet. It’s not even a mile within the radius of Camden Town tube! The smelliest street in London is St. Martin’s Lane. It always smells bad, but it smells worst in the morning, when it is either hot or raining. It’s that smell I associate with the third day of a festival, when everyone smells beyond sweaty, like melted ice-creams and stale beer.

Friday night Kara and Anamik were celebrating their lovely new house, by inviting all their friends over to trash it. They live in Hackney, and generally I’m scared of Hackney, but their place is very nice and I wish I lived there. It has dark wood shutters and floors and amazing 60s/70s furniture they got cheap. I plan to steal all their decorating tips for my next home.

Work is bums this week, and there is too much to do, so much that I haven’t had time to read Mimi, or look for vintage fabric on eBay, or barely check my Hotmail, or find a new flat. These are all things I like to do every day, at least once a day, and as I am on leave for the next month I have no idea how I’ll do them, as I have no computer at home. Maybe will buy a computer with my next paycheque and live off Supernoodles and toast until August.

Did drag Amy Lou to H&M today, though. I got a lovely bag for Therese (details are scant as she reads this blog), a woven gold belt (100% pure, all-natural polyurethane!), and a white headband for my debut on Saturday.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Went to Baltic a couple of weeks ago for my sister’s birthday drinks. The list of cocktails is truly awe-inspiring, and I was briefly tempted by a Cracow 75, before settling on a Billie Jean. ’75 is the year I was born, but in Tooting rather than the World Heritage site that is Krakow (to give it its proper name). After discussion, Steve and I decided a Tooting 75 would probably comprise: 1 part Mad Dog 20/20, 1 part Tennant’s Extra, topped with Lambrusco and garnished with chicken bones and a wad of gum on the side of the glass.

Went to Emerald’s birthday drinks on Sunday, in Brockwell Park. It was lovely: I’ve never been to that park and it was like being on a village green or something. If you looked in a certain direction all you could see over the crest of the hill was a church spire . . . who’d have thought Brixton was mere steps away? After some wine I toddled off home, stopping for an ice-cream in my local shop. A young woman was there, wearing a small, pale Siamese cat draped over her shoulder. Trying very hard to sound sober, I said ‘That’s just the prettiest cat!’ She looked at me funny and I think in my slightly intoxicated state (damn Emerald and her violet liqueur!) my words actually came out as ‘I want to eat your cat. Mmmm, tasty. Where do you live?’

A horrible thing happened on Saturday morning. I was eating my cornflakes when I became aware of terrified screams coming from one of the tower blocks I live in the shadow of. After about a minute, the screaming hadn’t stopped. It was punctuated by very angry shouting. Now, to give you some idea of how loud this was: I was sitting in my living room, and the tower blocks are about 100 metres away. So I grabbed my phone and keys and ran to the estate, trying to decipher which building the screams were (still) coming from. Once I thought I knew, I called 999 and a police car was on the scene within a few minutes (unlike in Mike’s case . . . ). The police seemed very eager to talk to a young couple looking very upset and standing outside the doorway of the block. I do not think they were the people I heard, as from the sounds I heard I did not think the woman doing the screaming would be able to walk, much less look composed and talk to the police. I stood outside the block for a few minutes, shaking and trying not to cry, and then I went home.

At home, I listened for another siren, assuming an ambulance would follow, but there was nothing. So I thought the screaming woman was dead. I mean, do you know what five minutes of screaming sounds like? And anyone can tell the difference between ‘stop tickling me’ screaming or ‘what a scary film’ screaming and ‘I think he’s going to kill me’ screaming. And what I heard was definitely the last one. After a few hours of trying to read and crying and not think about it, I called my local police station to find out what had happened, figuring that, as I made the 999 call, I had a right to know. The man I was put through to scrolled through his incident log. ‘When the police got there the situation was over. The woman didn’t want to press charges, so they left.’ he sounded satisfied, even smug. So I guess what I learned on Saturday morning was:
1) You can’t help someone unless they want to help themselves and
2) To mind my own fucking business
3) That the police really don't seem too bothered to tackle the domestive violence epidemic in England (with two women a week killed by their partners, I think I can call it an epidemic without being alarmist)