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Once upon a time in London 16 November, 2008 at 4:43 am

This is an entry I’d started writing on Tue 28 October, but didn’t get around to completing until now, so mostly references a weekend three weeks ago…

Tuesday 28 October

It seemed to be quite chilly when I was out last night, and this evening, when a houseguest came inside, they announced that it was snowing outside. What?… I open the window to take a closer look outside, and sure enough… snow!

I guess it is time to go shopping for a warm jacket then. Especially since my last jacket was nicked a couple of months ago at the Notting Hill Carnival (or just after it, since the carnival was closed for the night at that stage).

Speaking of things getting nicked, I might recount a tale from Saturday night. I had a mind to write about it just after it happened, but instead became engrossed in playing with visuals and making some new videos. Put on your slippers and dressing gown, grab a blanket and come sit by the fire…

Shunned // Shunt

Saturday night, 25 October, I caught a bus down to London Bridge to check out the final night the Netaudio mini-festival at Shunt Bar. It had been running there the previous two nights without me knowing about it, and I was keen, from what I’d read it was about, to go. There was some warning about arriving early as the bar tends to get very busy, but I didn’t manage to get down there until a bit after 9pm. When I arrived I saw a queue. Walking, walking… where does it end? Woah, it goes around the corner and far beyond that. Eventually find the end, wondering if it was going to be a complete waste of time. Soon enough, one of the staff came down and said that, based on last night’s experience, queuing from around that point we could expect a three hour wait. Yes, three hours. And, given that they close the doors at 11pm (the bar itself closing 2 or three hours later), that essentially meant there was no chance of getting in at all.

Disappointment!

Well, what could he recommend nearby that might be somewhat similar? There’s nothing else anything like it, apparently (I’m not surprised, really), so I decided to head back to see what Shoreditch held in store.

Spacelapse // London Bridge

I decided that I would walk back to Shoreditch. A chance for some healthy exercise, even though it was a bit chilly, and reflection on why I hadn’t left the flat earlier to go to the Netaudio gig. Also hoping that I didn’t get lost, given that I didn’t have a map.

Crossing London Bridge, I decided to take a bunch of shots of the Tower Bridge and see if i could make a ‘spacelapse’ animation something like I have seen made by Dr.Mo. And so I’d take a long exposure (4 seconds) photo with the camera resting on the bridge’s railing, take a bunch of steps (about 8), and snap again. This tooka little while, and I had a few strange looks from people, but noone getting in my face or being aggressive, which is a good tradeoff. :o)

In the end, I’m not sure that the photos are of suitable quality, nor perhaps great enough quantity to make a decent animation, but I haven’t really played with it much to see for sure. A project to put on the back burner, I think.

Seeing the Light

It didn’t seem like too long before I was back at Bishopsgate, Liverpool Street Station, theh Shoreditch High Street. I didn’t know what was on or where I wanted to go, but had a general idea to check out some place(s) that I hadn’t been to before. One such place was The Light. Open. Plenty of people around. In I go. Seems to be a lot of (fumbling for right term) “classy”/snooty/suited/gold-digger-y people around in the bar on the ground floor. Perhaps nice to look at, but I didn’t attempt barging in on anyone’s conversation.

The music seemed irritating-less enough, so went upstairs to see where it was coming from. At the door I’m told that there are some private parties, but it is also open to the public for a fee. How much? Two pounds. Okay, I think I can deal with that. :o) The night is called Mediterraneo, though I’m not sure exactly what the Mediterranian connection was. The DJ had copies of a mix CDs scattered at the front of the booth for the taking, so I stashed one in my pocket before taking my stuff down to the cloak room.

Had a dance for a while, and a few beers (I’m still not overly keen on beer, but I don’t find it so terrible any more that I can’t drink it), and ended up chatting for some time with a guy who was evidently friends with the DJ (since he was behind the booth) about music production and I can’t remember now (three weeks hence) what about. I remember he was from eastern Europe, but can’t remember if he was Polish or from somewhere else.

Anyhow, had a nice enough time there, had a good dance, had a chuckle at a couple of trashy drunk girls doing crazy stuff all around the place, and all for not much more than the entry price might have been for the Netaudio festival. (Note: I have to talk it up else feel depressed about not getting to spend my tenner at the Netaudio festival!) And I’d finally seen the Light.

The Light is scheduled to be closed down, for redevelopment, I believe. There’s a big poster about saving the light in the downstairs bar.

Canadians + Kebabs // Hoxton

I was hungry well before leaving The Light, so was on a mission to find some food. I stopped by T-Bar to see what was happening – about to close, so continued on. Takeaway Chinese sounded good, so head over to the place on the corner where Great Eastern Street meets Old Street, thinking “honey chicken”… but finding they were about to close when I arrived, with a few measly scraps of stuff I wasn’t excited about, so left empty-handed. Made a decision to head back over to the Caltex / Somerfield minimart on Shoreditch High Street, but walking along Old Street decided to check out Hoxton Square on my way through. In that directin encountered a kebab shop and decided that food now was better than food later, so went in and queued for service. A couple of guys came in after me, and I ended up talking to them about the menu, wondering just what exactly an order of “meat and chips” would land us. It seemed like a “good idea”, since so far I’ve not been impressed by the pocket bread they seem to use here to house the “kebab”, only I wanted one of those big juicy peppers with it. I think that’s what I was after most, since my first encounter with them in kebabs when I was in Berlin last year…

Anyhow, kebabs, meat & chips, whatever, we were talking for a bit before deciding to exit the shop. I have a vague recollection of a someone walking past and asking us some strange question; we were all in some sort of take-the-piss mood and I think we confused them, even though it seemed their initial intent may have been to confuse us. It was three weeks ago now, so can’t remember really what that was about. One of the Canuks spied some girls and made a comment about “follow the legs”, so we parted ways. Shortly after I saw one of them giving a girl a piggy back down the road. Time for another chuckle.

Byron // Old Street

On my way home I encountered an Aussie who was looking for “Dalston Street”. He’d had a few drinks and was asking pretty much everyone he passed, saying he’d only been in town for a day. I didn’t know where Dalston Street was, but figuring it is in Dalston, thought I’d help him at least find the right bus to go there, especially since it was in the direction I was already walking and not far away.

Anyhow, this guy is from Byron Bay, and is staying with friends in London, just arrived the night before. Working or studying in Byron? Studying. At the SAE? How did you know?! .. It’s the only school I know of in Byron. Lucky guess. Talked briefly about the school, asking about whether they have the (multi-)media, 3D etc courses up there. Yep.

On to more important things – someone said to me not so long ago that Kinglsand High Street is notoriously dodgy. Not the whole area, just the corridor of the street where a large number of people pass through every day and night. I told Byron (I didn’t catch his name) about this, and he said he knew something about it, and that’s why his wallet was in his front pocket. Okay, good start. Anyhow, at the point where I was about to say ti him that if he sees anyone looking a bit strange in the area (we were on Old Street, near to Shoreditch High Street / Kingsland Road, at this point) to stay away from them, we were greeted/accosted by a group of four guys.

Artful Dodgers // Old Street

I still had my hands full, eating the “meat and chips” as I walked, and the meeting started with one of the group asking Byron “What’s your name?” Uh-oh… this is not something you expect to be asked by someone you’re just walking by on the street. Given what I was just abou to talk to Byron about, I was instantly suspicious. I was asked my name too, I think in a bid to keep me distracted. I was trying to keep an eye on what was going on with Byron and saw what appeared to be the leader of the group give him a big hug, reaching straight for Byron‘s back pocket – not into it, just feeling the outside to see if something was there. Oh, shit… I’m trying to ignore the guy who is more or less standing between me and Byron, being wary of him coming any closer or trying to touch me, still holding my dinner, but he is successful in distracting me enough that I can’t quite follow the action. I see the group leader hand Byron his phone – some sort of (intended to be seen as) playful/friendly gesture, and I knew there was a good chance that the phone wasn’t all he’d managed to get his hands on. Byron, still fairly drunk asked somehing like “Where’d you get that?” and might have even thanked the guy… I made my way closer, raising my voice saying “Come on, man, we have to go”, putting my hand on his shoulder and trying to physically drag him away. The group of guys let him go, and walked off towards Shoreditch High Street.

Now was my chance to tell Byron what I was about to say before we were interrupted, and suggest he check his pockets. Sure enough, his wallet was gone. Byron asked what to do. I didn’t really know, and suggested he could try asking for it back. Four gangsters vs. me and a drunk guy didn’t seem like good odds if there was any (more) trouble… Byron chased after them. Seemed like a bad idea at that moment. I checked my own pockets and continued walking along, hoping I didn’t have to make an emergency call to the ambulance and/or the police. Amazingly enough, when I caught up with Byron, he’d retrieved his wallet. He thanked me repeatedly, and found that his ID was still in there and either his credit card was still in it, or he’d left it at home, I’m not sure which (and I’m not sure if he was sure).

Anyhow, Byron stll needed to get home, so I continued on with him to the bus stop on Kingsland Road to find out what bus he should take. It started to rain when we were there, so I asked another passenger if they could try to guide Byron on to the bus, which they would be getting themselves. I had to assume Byron would know where to get off (I asked him, and he seemed to think so), and I had to dash home myself in the rain (using the foam takeaway pack as a tiny attempt at sheltering myself). As I went, I hoped that Byron didn’t get done over again before making it back to his friend’s house…

-spxl

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