Here are some of the things that I have been up to recently in Ol’ London Town:
1. Had the most amazing piece of Red Velvet Cake ever ever ever at King’s Cross’ ‘Drink, Shop & Do.’ Incidentally, this place has somehow been taken out of my day-dreams and fantasies to become concrete reality in North London. I am forever grateful to the fairy (or fairies) that did this.
2. Ate dumplings for the first time ever ever ever and wondered where they had been all my life. Apparently right in front of me, if other people’s reactions are to be believed. ‘YOU’VE NEVER EATEN DUMPLINGS? HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? YOU’RE 29 YEARS OLD AND YOU HAVE NEVER LIVED’. Topped it off with super-indulgent Haagen-Daaz ice-cream, which I’m sure I’ve had before, but I don’t rightly remember it. Salted caramel and banoffee pie goodness, oh my god.
3. Got a run-down on English political history of the 1980s, curtesy of the Tricycle Theatre and Moira Buffini’s ‘Handbagged’. Quite enjoyable. Message I have taken away from it: Thatcher was a tyrant. So, not much new there. However, it did introduce me to Neil Kinnock, who I had never heard of before, and this wonderful speech which was delivered by him on the eve of another election (that Thatcher won):
‘If Margaret Thatcher is re-elected as prime minister on Thursday, I warn you. I warn you that you will have pain – when healing and relief depend upon payment. I warn you that you will have ignorance – when talents are untended and wits are wasted, when learning is a privilege and not a right. I warn you that you will have poverty – when pensions slip and benefits are whittled away by a government that won’t pay in an economy that can’t pay. I warn you that you will be cold – when fuel charges are used as a tax system that the rich don’t notice and the poor can’t afford.
I warn you that you must not expect work – when many cannot spend, more will not be able to earn. When they don’t earn, they don’t spend. When they don’t spend, work dies. I warn you not to go into the streets alone after dark or into the streets in large crowds of protest in the light. I warn you that you will be quiet – when the curfew of fear and the gibbet of unemployment make you obedient. I warn you that you will have defence of a sort – with a risk and at a price that passes all understanding. I warn you that you will be home-bound – when fares and transport bills kill leisure and lock you up. I warn you that you will borrow less – when credit, loans, mortgages and easy payments are refused to people on your melting income.
If Margaret Thatcher wins on Thursday, I warn you not to be ordinary. I warn you not to be young. I warn you not to fall ill. I warn you not to get old.’
Found at: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Neil_Kinnock
It gives me goosebumps.
4. I saw my first production of ‘Ghosts’ at the Almeida Theatre, after studying it at acting school. Its rare that I will talk more about the design of a production than the production itself (or if I do, then that’s a bad thing), but the design of this show was so subtle and so stunning, that I couldn’t stop talking about its wonderful, layered symbolism. I wrote a review for City Road Online, which you can read here.
5. Had a cheeky bottle of red during the day with a kiwi mate, because the bar girl practically forced us to. No, seriously, we walked in and we said, ‘hmmm… what are we drinking?’ And she said, ‘Bottle of wine?’ And we laughed, and she said, ‘There’s only 3 large glasses in one bottle of wine.’ And we went, ‘Oh. Fair point. Better be a bottle of wine, then.’ Also, I decided that if the Tory government insists on characterising the unemployed as drunken layabouts (or similar), I may as well get involved. After drunkeness, we then went shopping (DRUNKEN UNEMPLOYED WASTES MONEY ON FASHION). Drunk shopping is quite fun. If you don’t mind spending a lot of money and then looking at your purchases the next morning to find they are a) the wrong colour b) the wrong size c) the wrong shape d) just wrong.
6. Walked from Clapham Common to Earl’s Court, because, why not? Stumbled across: a charity store in Chelsea (MOST TERRIFYING STORE I HAVE EVER BEEN IN); Emmeline’s Pankhurst’s grave (Brompton Cemetery); a Buddhist Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park; a sign that said: ‘Warning. These walls have been treated with anti-climb paint’; a community garden that used to be a church graveyard where Roundheads were buried during the Civil War’s battle for the Battersea Marshes.
7. Attempted to walk around Oxford Circus on a dry October Saturday afternoon. Which was probably the most horrible experience of my life, topped only by the experience of attempting to go into Hamley’s on a dry October Saturday afternoon. OH THE HORROR THE HORROR. Can I just say something stereotypically grumpy and old-lady-ish for a second? Kids these days? SPOILT BRATS. I saw one mother load up her daughter’s stroller with one of ever different brightly coloured stuffed pony the store had, then turned to her daughter and said, ‘Happy? Every one.’ The kid didn’t look that happy. To be honest, neither did the mother. The lesson? CHEAP TAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU HAPPY, SO STOP BUYING IT. Ahem. Apologies. I will attempt to get off my (hypocritical) anti-capitalist soap-box now. But, oh wait, up it comes again – SO MUCH CHEAP CRAP AND TAT. EW EW EW. Look, if we could all just stop buying the kids cheap tat, maybe the world wouldn’t end in a horrible blaze of global warming? That might be a place to start. Give the kid a stick, a patch of dirt, a bit of water and let them explore for hours. They’ll soon get used to the ‘outdoors’ and ‘sunlight’ and ‘fresh air’. And, yes, ok, I did buy something for some kids in my life, but they were very carefully chosen gifts, not cheap, not tat and will hopefully be treasured for a long time (THEY BETTER BE). The only thing that cleansed the whole experience from my soul was a panel discussion on feminist theatre and the pornification of popular culture held at the Soho Theatre. Joy. More people to hang around with that think the world is going to hell in a handbasket.