A chronicle of movement aimed at synchronizing thoughts and keyboards with said movement.


Life inside and around the Thames

While the whale in the Thames struggles against its captors to land a fine rally of bangers and mash (sausage and mashed potatoes -- actually just sausage-flavored breadlike liquid over a pillow of salty foam), the early part of the day saw a voyage to Camden, the largest outdoor market in the whole of London.

The sight amazes immediately when you leave the Tube station and wander into (not onto) the street. In a day unusually rife with sun, Camden hums. Its stores stick out into the street whose traffic zips by on the infrequent Vespa or bus, while guys in torn-up clothes with torn-up faces pitch, in torn-up accents, their respective stores, products or substances. An open-air building, which is more like an above-ground labyrinth, meets you first, and greets you with a rather impressive display of t-shirts that boast a full command of the word 'fuck' and all of its conjugations. Also, some jolly plays on those crazy antics of President Bush.

Down the street, the stores fade into more indie stuff -- which often means 'metal' in London. This is not the place to talk about the whimsies of Belle and Sebastian. Or anything less than Motorhead playing their guitars with the bones of the men who rocked so hard that their heads fell off, onto spikes, and were carried away by the devil on a flaming motorcycle that jumped so high that it crashed into a Trans-Am driven by a flaming horse on the moon.

British stores offer kitsch, including action figures of Jane Austen, William Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde. Some offer shoes. Some socks. Most offer area workers who have a latent scorn for what their media portrays as America; that is, a bunch of loud buggers with no care for their society. One of the saleswomen (a Brit with golden hair that clung to her forehead as if rained-upon) told me to tell George Bush to stop shooting her countrymen with a soft and disarming, yet non-aggressive smirk. But their curiosity overcomes initial impressions, just as does ours. As it should, especially at a place like this, when each store offering buttons melts into one offering jagged belts and plastic viking horns into one offering hemp into one offering tikka masala.

I bought a doughnut for 1.50. I still don't know the sign for the British Pound. But it was sort of a sandwich donut, with two pastries (one iced with chocolate) flanking banana icing in the middle. This gave me another step on my march toward diabetes and a great feeling of levity and daytime languor, of sun-starched happiness and full contentment drawn from the stomach. Unfortunately, it also meant that any further admission to the stomach would have caused crowding, thus excluding the very worthy Thai, Japanese, Chinese guests and the lady of mulled wine.

No matter. This market was what London should portray more, this clashing and vibrant stream of culture blended together but with each ingredient still radiating its own taste. None compromised, but together greater. Fuller.



The British Museum offers the most misleading term in all of England, aside from perhaps "free drinks" and "club without cave people inside of it." The museum, in fact, serves as the new host to the collective pillaging of every British explorer or archaeologist or man with waxed mustache and breaks for brandy. Civilizations from the Old Kingdom in Egypt to the Mesopotamians have gladly donated their corpus of art to the men who poured into and tore through their lands after these works had time to settle under layers of dust. The original pediment of the Parthenon sits, refurbished and whitened. Mummies remain, dozing in coffins before they haunt some tourists. And the Rosetta Stone's here.

The Rosetta Stone.

Not that it's bad this way, really. They're preserved, probably better than they could be, anywhere. Except for America.

This Druid, drawn by a guy who did a lot of research on Stonehenge, tells a squirrel how much he'd like to eat him.

Above: Corpse of dead man. 2,000 years old. Still has skin, internal organs, hatred of Lower Egypt.

Below: Skeleton of a very small man. He may have been killed because he was short.


Porcelain Prince

One must approach it as if stalking a tiger. It must not know the direction or rate of your pursuit. You must conceal your smell, your sound, your every breath. It's a marvel, really, how it stands, white and sturdy and shining as if under fluorescence. If it catches you, it does not surprise, it merely weakens its lever so that the accompanied flush is little more than a water-bottle's worth of a squirt and the flusher is stuck pumping, as if an old maid, dressed in off-white dirtied through sadness and time, covered by overalls fashioned by old man Levi Strauss, pumping water from a well. When enough water has filled the bowl, forces of gravity overcome recalcitrance.

And this is our toilet.

Does Taco Bell ship overseas?


British Journalism is not so much so good

Today we learned the following things in journalism class:

The British media (and its readership) doesn't hold attribution of sources in as high regard, as say, topless women on Page 3 of The Daily Sun. (Every single day) In fact, high political stories don't need facts attributed to sources at all. Brilliant.

A militant father's group (Fathers 4 Justice...also very nominally clever) hatched a scheme to kidnap the Prime Minister's son, but was foiled by the New Scotland Yard. The group, having already dressed three of its members as Batman, Robin and something like Captain America and sending them scaling the walls of Buckingham Palace and also having thrown condoms filled with purple chalk at Tony Blair during Parliamentary Questions, will soon be disbanded.

The coach of the British national soccer team told some random sheikh who bought him an expensive dinner that he'd be willing to leave the team after the season for the right money. As it turns out, the sheikh was actually an undercover reporter.

An undercover reporter.

And the paper for which he works sells 3.2 million copies every day. That paper is the same one with the Page 3 girl.



As I'm writing this, the alarms are going off, sounding the certain destruction of one, fateful egg. (We read Orwell today)

Mike apparently was not around for the first set of false alarms, and in his ebullience at turning the yoke into a scramble, released a cloud of smoke into the apartment, which the alarm sounded to the residents of Lexham Gardens. They got well-adjusted to sirens in the 1940s, so I'm sure they don't care too much. They're stalwart folk, with constitutions fortified with mayonnaise incessant.

Having now planned most of the trips, I'll say to you that it's very important to win at least four consecutive Superball lotteries or be the son of someone named Rockefeller to live very comfortably in London. So, make the necessary arrangements. It's not so bad when you first look at it -- a small burger, you'll find, costs 5 pounds. Now multiply that by the current dollar conversion rate, which has the proportions of the old (hot) Barbie's bust-to-waist.

But Rome's been booked -- two weekends from now. So has Barcelona, to see the feminina!, in three weeks. Then there's spring break -- maybe a long date with the Weissman? (Nils, who's hermiting around Europe before returning to a school in Greece that by all evidence doesn't require attendance or any sort of inclination toward work).


To the French! (The British hate them more than we could ever comprehend)

It's the tower for a Swiss financial group. The Brits call it the "Sexual Gherkin."

To the French! History dog pees!

This is so cool.


Tower of Londoooon (oooooh)

In the post the other day, when I said that the crows can't leave the Tower, I meant ravens. And when I said "wings clipped," I meant "wings clipped and put in cages at night."

Today had very little that paired with the excitement of the past few days, with perhaps the greatest scintillation arising when I found microwaveable Chicken Tikka Masala for 1.29 (I can't find the British Pound sign on the keyboard; if anyone is privy to this secret, please spare not a second in sharing it!). This purchase, as part of the body detox mission -- an attempt to roll back the waves of assault that fried food and beers thick as war heroes have perpetrated unto my body -- could leave one or two lasting effects:

1 - If great, it costs around 1/10 of other Indian food around London and the world and could potentially destroy the Indian food culture. Go, Pakistan.

2 - If bad, I promise that my stomach will entertain you over the next few days.

But anyway, here are some more of the pictures from the panoramic tour. Today's set features the Tower of London, which is pinpoint what a castle should look like. Except for the torture devices, which were sorely lacking...or still in use.

Above: A pointed arch in the Tower, inspired, of course, by those who originated the pointed arch (Romans?). Below: A view from in front of the Tower, standing right off the Thames River (not quite as clean as the Charles).


The Greatest Pub Yet and Musings

Sepia makes things look much cooler. Tower Bridge. Not falling down.

We had an adventure! Thanks to the Beeradvocate.com, we set our mission toward Parson's Green, in search of a pub called The White Horse. We found it. It was brilliant. Had a huge array of beers from the Isles on tap and then a bottled beer menu that strode through the continent, pausing for extended holiday in Belgium. The place was crowded, filled with various degrees of buggers. But they were great buggers, all so willing to talk about beer and music (don't tell the British you like Oasis, especially if you're not someone who likes Oasis -- it makes them suspicious of you as an citizen of this world. Belle & Sebastian's good for them.) and women. And the more you talk, the more you can prove that it requires a great deal of work in order to slur your words, the more they set upon making you slur. The group of four hipsters from Wimbledon bought me three beers -- a Chimay, a Duvel and an Anchor Liberty (representing the greatest beer-brewing nations in the world). Fantastic! And another guy sitting with one of the members of our entourage mentioned that we may be able to work at a beer festival in the area. Bang-up!

Today's panoramic trip through London (sponsored by Boston University) coursed all through the city. We stopped at the Tower of London, where traitors were killed. Very cool. I'll include pictures all week. Promise.

And our balcony possesses a power splendid for the breeding and collection of thought. It's quiet in South Kensington -- money keeps the volume subdued. In a time when everything races, the balcony's a luxury. Well, so is the entire flat itself. But I guess that's why I'm writing all of this. To capture moments, or at least try to equate some shade of the brilliant vision that accompanies being young and carried away. So, I apologize for being maudlin.

Herra Haiku

White Horse Pub.
Parson's Green.
Where the British are philanthropists,
and buy Americans
Belgian beers.