Sunday, August 27, 2006

All dressed up but no where to go.

Today saw John and I out to another football match, this time at Chalton, SE London. We were expecting a nice win, but were humbled by a 2-0 scoreline. After a long drive home, we had a lovely meal at Cafe Brazil.

At 2am in the morning - John's car was broken into and his Satnav taken. He was up all night - unknown to me - and was trying to organised the window to be fixed so we could get touring in England.

Worse was that Nick was landing at Heathrow at 7am and we had organised to pick him up and go from there.

John and I remained housebound for the day awaiting the window man who never arrived. Nice to have a relaxed day at home i guess!

Oh well, the adventures of living in London.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Turkish Delight

Out with friends last night to a turkish restaurant. Was great fun, even tried the Sheesa Tobacco pipe. Apple flavour, very nice. The food was delicious and the belly dancers were amazing. Loved the dark lounge atmosphere, complete with cushions, rugs and brass table tops. The place was dimly lit by turkish lamps and the smells of incense and fruity sheesa wafted in the air. Not sure about the loud turkish pop music, but the mezmerising belly dancers made up for it.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Guilt as a weapon.

The power of guilt is all to easy in the hands of someone who wants to have their own way. Its part of the cult to self. The Me culture. My mate Steve rambled on about needing compromise in relationships. Using Guilt is definately the antithesis of that.

Isn't it just terrible when someone uses guilt against you. Its a weapon of choice for some, and something that most of us have grown up using or being motivated by.

The manipulation is so powerful cos of the way values are instilled into us early on I think. The idea that affirmation by your peers or a friend, partner whoever, will be gained as reward for a type of desired behaviour.

In this sense one party must set themselves up into a position of power by keeping the other person down. The continual set-up tests and guilt trips made to test your worth as a person and requires you to prove yourself continually.


Fulham 1 - 1 Bolton, Craven Cottage

John and I went to the Footy last night to watch the Wanderers. £5 tickets as I am a local Fulham resident, the ground is literally 5 mins walk from my flat, just perfect.

Craven Cottage is Fulham Football Club's home ground, set on the north bank of the Thames. Its name comes from the Cottage which is perched on the north east corner of the ground. The place has an intimate feel to it, very small for a Premiership ground. You feel very close to the action.

The rain was trickling down all night and we warmed ourselves with a dinner of dry hot dogs. hmmm

My SLR camera got bounced by security again "You keep that camera in the bag, if we see you using it we will remove you from the ground yeah?"...nice. Its the 2nd time in two weeks and a recurring theme, maybe I should take it as a compliment.

The game was quite uneventful and high school quality for much of the night - except for a few glimpses of Premiership Quality. Bolts were unlucky to come away with a draw. Fulham seems to be the bogey team, we havent won against them in 5yrs or so.

We were seated in the neutral area, which was made up of predominantly Fulham supporters so couldnt go nuts when we scored a penalty. The crowd going up for the home equaliser was electric though, great stuff.

As always its always fun to see some live sport.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Dragon Boating (22 August 2006)

Tonight I went with the work team to Dragon Boating with the rest of the division. Lots of fun on the water - all the competitive souls come out of the woodwork. Was great to do something active - and the BBQ was good too!!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Secret Life of Us

Am I just niave? Do I live in some innocent old world where I believe what you see is what you get? The childish thought that my friends lives were as transparent as mine to them? Why is personal secrecy so guarded by some? What happened to people being open and honest with each other? Where does the need to have secret lives come from?

I guess the important thing is to respect their privacy in these matters. Not to be involved and step back. But what are the borders? Its hard for me to know - maybe the safe thing is to say nothing and be silent and thus becoming part of the "mysteriousness" world. Upholding the walls, upholding the secret lives, so not to be affected by the flak which comes from opening up secrets, even if I didnt know they were secrets.

I have learnt recently this importance of this gameplay and the requirement of silence by many that I know. What are people afraid of and why do they do it? Why do people feel the need to be mysterious or superior to others by building walls between themselves and others? To pretend to be something they arent. Isnt it all just false?

I find it amazing to learn of their other lives and the effort the borders between their facades is kept rigidly separate. To find another layer of person beyond that I knew is both interesting and disturbing. To think someone I regarded as a friend would need to hide a part of them from me - what is a friend then?

Its hard not to be cynical.

It seems to compound that feeling of mistrust which seeps into our lives. That abyss of selfishness which is so easy to fall look after only oneself and project yourself to others as you would like selected ones to see you.

I dont know - is it just life these days? So many game players...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Stockholm via Heathrow (11 August 2006)

Victor, Me, Lillian, Keith & Joe, Stockholm, Sweden
Another rushed friday at work sees me leave at 2pm to catch the 7pm to Stockholm. The current terrorist threats have meant huge queues and congestion at all London airports. I'm queuing for 3hours before being rushed through body checks (very stinky as all footwear to be removed for examination).
All we are allowed on board is a clear plastic bag with passport, ticket, wallet and keys. Some lady has a years supply of pills she takes on board...I wonder how she would survive without it!
Another hour in the tarmac and Lillian and I are winging our way to meet Keith, Joe and Victor in Stockholm.
The airport arrivals is near empty, its great to be back in a place which is quiet and crowdless. The terminal itself is glass metal and dark waxed wood floors. Very classy.
Lillian and I catch the city express train , which looks nice and new in brilliant Yellow, very similar to the Heathrow Express in every way. In town its late Friday night and all i want to do is get to the hotel and crash out for the night - its been a very long day!
First impressions Stockholm is very similar to Sydney to me, wide city streets, 90 degree grids and a quietness in the bars we past which is a contrast to London. Oh and fresh air. The wonder of travelling in foreign places is never far from me though and I enjoy the new signs and trying to decipher the language.
Next morning we meet down stairs for a meal of vast proportions.

Getting to know you...

I love those chain mail things where you learn the little titbits about people, here is one I got from Jo this week;

A) Four jobs I have had in my life:
1) playing with BBQ Chickens at mum and dad's shop
2) accounting in Chatswood, when it was a 20min drive to work.
3) accounting in North Sydney, when lunch times were spent walking down Blues point road to stare at the Coat Hanger.
4) accounting in Scotland, and driving to Perthshire to work in the country.

B) Four movies you would watch over and over:
1) The Spanish Apartment
2) A Few Good Men
3) Amelie
4) Before Sunset/Before Sunrise

C) Four places you have lived
1) Sydney, hometown
2) Edinburgh 2004, lovely och just braw
3) London 2005 - 2006
4) Lae, PNG 1980 or so

D) Four TV shows you love to watch:
1) Top Gear, UK motoring show
2) F1 races
3) UEFA Football
4) Ray Mears

E) Four places you have been on vacation:
1) Egypt
2) Dordogne, France
3) Scotland, Highlands
4) Hong Kong

F) Websites you visit daily
2) yahoo mail
4) (of course)

G) Four of my favourite foods:
1) pear anything pear, soup, sorbet, juice, etc
2) yum cha dim sum, a chinky at heart
3) KFC fatboy chicken
4) mom's grilled chicken wings

H) Four places I would rather be right now:
1) on a hill or river somewhere in Scotland or Switzerland - in the great outdoors
2) chatting with close friends anywhere
3) on holiday taking photos
4) sitting on a Sydney beach enjoying a lazy saturday afternoon.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bolshoi Ballet Cinderella (9 August)

Royal Opera House, London

Spent a lovely night at the Ballet with Keith and Lillian at the Royal Opera House. Cinderella was wonderful and entertaining. Standing for three hours was a physical challenge - but not as bad as imagined. Enjoying what's on offer in London.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

London Cabbie - The Sadness of Cold London

Thursday night is bagpipe night. Usually after a couple of hours playing pipes and chatting with the lads at the bar I take the luxury of a Taxi home at 11pm or so.

Usually the ride is along the Thames Embankment, through the smart shopping area of Sloane Square, then through Fulham finally onto Putney Bridge. Of recent, my conversations with Cabbies has been near non-existant, sometimes banter about sport or the traffic or the weather...small polite talk, but recently I cant be bothered to muster up the energy.

Once a cabbie said "you are from Australia right? I should be in for a good tip then", I recalled the cheeky reply in the old Pizza Hut commercial - "be good to your mother" but I resisted the urge....

This last Thursday night though, I was again feeling quite lazy and didnt make the effort to chat to the cabbie. I was being quiet - he was being quiet - fine. Then a few bikers fired past in their Harleys and the Cabbies says "ohhh, I'd love one of those!". So I struck up the conversation.

We somehow got onto the topic of Community, or the lack of community in London. People being extremely cold, cutting themselves of the world. Withdrawing into themselves and basically looking after No.1. The Cabbie lamented the state of affairs. He called alot of people who got into his cab, hollow, empty, with long tired drawn out faces. People who earned hundreds of thousands of pounds, but were ultimately unhappy.

He said these people were looking forward to a better tomorrow, lamenting today, and remembering a fairytale yesterday, as if life was easier in the old days. The were not living for today. He said - these people will never be happy, they think they will, but they won't, so they continue to work themselves into the ground following a false promise. The ultimate job, the ultimate salary, the early retirement.

The idea of a Cold city, where people arent connected, even where eye contact is seldom depressed him. That people have built walls of cold steel around themselves, not allowing themselves to be vulnerable to others or to let them in. He said people should take a chance, drop their defences and try to interact with each other more. They would be happier, it would be a happier place.

This is true, but I put it to him that people had been hurt before, by others who were still cold, who refused to let them in - and ultimately made people bitter and resentful of their neighbours. The lack of trust, borne by the few bad apples and nutters made it easier and safer to withdraw yourself.

He agreed this was true - but also acknowledged that 90% of the people who wandered into his cab were perfectly fine. Where does this fear come from then? Is it healthy to not trust strangers, and then lose a possible friend? Have we all just been burnt too many times?

For me, I have become London cold, I see myself being rude, cutting off people and not looking them in the eye. I notice my abruptness, falseness and brevity with people. I have started to develope a hardened cynical shell here. The friendships I have tried to make have fallen into a black abyss...all the acquaintences I made last year in London had disappeared into thin air.

Its sad - but it must be this London effect. People dont need you - they don't want you and they cant be bothered putting in the effort to know you. Or they simply reject you.

Its the truth so far - apart from the people I have met at Bagpipes, who seem genuinely happy to have me onboard. I wonder how life will be elsewhere and back at home. I hear Sydney is just as cold. But as a local - it has never really effected me in the same way.

Life is interesting...
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