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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

nyc 2: back home

i am now back in london.
the journey home was pretty uneventful. flight was delayed. no surprise there.

i am sad that i am not going to be wandering the lower east side tomorrow, instead i will be off to work via canary wharf.
i am pleased to be back in london. it is home.
there will be a few more nyc posts to come, but it will back to normal service. go on admit it you know you have missed the half baked ranting i normally do.

nyc 2: pic

walking through the new york streets you soon notice that there are a lot of psychic shops dotted about the place.
more often than not the pyschic does their work in the window of their shop.




in this case the psychic may have been a good reeder, but not a great riter.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Sunday, February 25, 2007

nyc 2: ache

been on my feet a lot while i have been out here. boy do they ache.

apparently there is a storm coming in. i now have thoughts of being stuck at jfk overnight.

jst about 36 hours left here and all i can think about is the stuff i should have done and didn't do. oh well, that makes it pretty much like my days in london.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

nyc 2: the city that never sleeps.

don’t believe the hype. come 11 o’clock or midnight a large chunk of new york city is closed, mostly when i am trying to find a coffee…..
sure times square still buzzes and there are some diners open.
sure the subway runs all night.
but don’t believe the hype this is a city that sleeps just like any other.

nyc 2: icons - diners

they are all over the place, you are tripping over them. they range from the greasy spoon take away type thing through to the plush restaurants. the problem is that you can walk for miles trying to make a choice as to which one you will eat in.
some look inviting, some you can tell that no matter what you order what you will get is food poison. some look friendly and welcoming while others are obviously there for made men only!
some of the diners are just what you expect them to be, lots of tables, rude busy eaters, patrons sitting at tables who are planning their next movie, play or book. others are no more than a hole in the wall that serve food and coffee that just about qualifies for such a description. these are the ones where the d├ęcor is almost as old as new york itself; they are they hall of formica topped tables with wonky legs. they are the places where you don’t linger too long.
some seem to be buzzing with people, others are ghost towns.
but diners are everywhere and they hold the promise of that fictional new york that we see on tv and movies, more often than not they let you down, but at least you get fed.
while i am here i am i am eating meat. it seems the best way to experience the place as it should be. turkey has become a favourite. the philly cheesesteak is to be avoided.
the soft drink that has made the trip is boylan’s black cherry soda. it is lovely; i will miss that when i return to london.

nyc 2: hip hop hunnies.

new york city has much to recommend it. there is much to see, there is much to do. it is a city that throbs with possibility.
the one thing it does lack is a tottage factor. for a city so large there just are not enough good-looking women. while london teems with hotty totty new york seems to be somewhat barren in this respect. oh there are a few who can take the breath away – but they are the exceptions rather than the rule.
it may be the weather – it is cold so the ladies maybe wrapped up so much that there is no chance of a letch.
a few sexily dressed women are venturing out now the weather is a bit milder, but new york is lacking in the hubba bubba factor.

Friday, February 23, 2007

nyc 2: pic

some pics from near where my hotel is located in the lower east side.









it looks like new york is supposed to do.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

nyc 2: pic

some pics - the freeze was just beginning to thaw.






nyc 2: cold

it seems that new Yorkers are as obsessed with the weather as Londoners are.
When I arrived the snow was still on the ground, it had gone from that lovely white spectacular of fresh snow and was now a mix of snow, ice and slush. There was a chill in the air, but not what you would call freezing.
Though to look at the new Yorkers who are striding around the place are dressed for artic conditions. Layers upon layers. Oh ok there were a few times when the wind came up and felt like it was ready to freeze my nose, it was a fleeting moment.
Mostly it is just nippy.
The other day as I was walking along broome (and getting lost, again…) I was standing at a corner when I hear a couple, not quite whispering, “he’s not cold!” I wasn’t sure if they were words spoken in awe or uttered in fear of the madman.
As they seemed interested I thought they deserved an explanation” “I’m not cold I am English.”
It got a laugh.

nyc 2: icons

the world appears to be a small place, we can see most of it without ever leaving the comfort of our front rooms.
as with most casual tourists my visions of new york are coloured by what i have seen on the tv or at the movies, heard in songs or read in books. so there are several things that for me scream new york.
the first of my new york icons is the yellow cab. if you were to look up ubiquitous in the dictionary one definition would be the yellow cab, they are everywhere. they seem to hunt in packs. there is rarely a flow of traffic that doesn’t feature a cab or three. in fact there seems to be far too many of them, so much so you have to believe that some of them are not real cabs but they are there because of the new york tourist board making sure that this aspect of new york’s image is maintained just for the tourists.
like the legendary black cabs of london i have witnessed an occasion or two when the cabbie has pulled the new york equivalent of “sarf of the river? no way”.
i have to say my few rides in a yellow cab have been both exciting and disappointing. the excitement comes as the trip from the airport into manhattan gives you a chance to see some parts of the city you probably won’t get to see again. this time it was the spectacular view of the east river. additionally there is something anarchic about the way americans drive so you do feel that your life is in a precarious place. the disappointment comes in that the cabbie is not at all like those that appear in the movies, none of them are as witty, charming or philosophical as the ones that appeared in the classic series “taxi”. my experience of them is them chatting into their mobile phones.
still the ride from the airport is well worth the $45 plus tolls and taxes.
so the first of my new york icons is the yellow cab.

Monday, February 19, 2007

nyc 2: getting there

there is a reason i don’t like long distance travel (actually there are several but lets not get bogged down in facts…) and it is you need to be somewhere at a certain time. as emma can attest this is not one of my strongest attributes.
but with herculean effort i dragged myself out of my flat in a timely enough fashion to get me to the airport when i was supposed to be. (true my original plan of hanging around the airport all night would have been better but there was stuff i needed to do and that seemed to take up the whole of saturday).

now i couldn’t catch the tube to either paddington or heathrow because they don’t start until my flight boarded.
but buses to paddington easy.
buses to heathrow? who needs that hassle.
so do i do the 205 straight to paddington or the 25 to tottenham court and catch one of several others?
205 is easier but starts later. 25 a faff but runs all night.
205 it is.
tick tock tick tock no 205. but i have let a 25 go by.
tick tock tick tock no 205 going in the other direction.
bugger it catch the 25 and change.
hop on the next one.
a nervous look at the time. mmm.
now where is the bus stop i need to catch the next bus. obviously it is over there.
get there.
nope it was back there. shit.

come on number 7 (oooh almost a bruce connection) my time is almost up.
ah at last.
get to paddington. now it will be plain sailing. on the heathrow express and there you go sorted.

if only.

one of the heathrow express trains is there. taunting me. it is stranded.
why?
someone is stuck in the loo. he has locked himself in and can’t get out.
wonderful.
tick bloody tock.

phew new train in and i am out.

at the airport.
an imposing busty black woman gives me the eye as i say my plane boards at 8am, with a tsk of her teeth she says 8am is when the doors close. put in my place. but i rescue it with the stuck in the toilet story, she laughs loudly. i have won her over. she gives me directions as to where i need to go.
run pat run.

nice short queue for the check in. but everyone is ignoring the shoes need to be checked. my smelly trainers in my hand, my laptop out. get me through. hurry hurry.

gate 2 here come.
no time for duty free (you lucky people i was going to get a camcorder to do films of me in new york – no cliff not those sorts of films…) , no time for magazines. just enough time for a pee and get some pop.
fucking machine – bad enough you are charge twice what you need for a bottle of coke but you won’t take my money. wank wank wank.
got it.

on the plane. seat is a little cramped. mmm that airhostess rubbed up against me. oh ok she had no option but i’ll pretend she was just hot for me.
flying is dull dull dull (which is better than exciting because you have suddenly become an extra in a disaster movie…). in flight entertainment so so. had a bit of a snooze.

another line. another wait. us customs are doing their finger printing and iris checking. it takes forever. i end up with some wearing blue surgical gloves. i want to scream there is nothing up my arse, but contain myself. he is also going bald on top but has tried to look youthful by spiking the hair up.
all the officials are in uniform and have guns.
a bit scary.

grab my bag.
one last check. family in front of me is waved through. asian guy waved over to another official. i am waved through. make of it what you will.

cab it, bus it or subway it?
oh look there is a direct door-to-door bust thingy, only he isn’t going my way. total tosser. cab it is. great views of the surrounds of new york and of the city itself. but more than anything i arrive at the hotel.
there is a sense of fear as i enter the hotel – you never quite know what you are going to get. but while i didn’t get the jimmy durante room, i am in the milton berle room, i am impressed.

now lets get out there and enjoy nyc.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

quotes

david cameron is a little shy about his use of drugs.

dominic lawson on the other hand tells the world; "a few years ago i contracted psittacosis as a result of inhaling the droppings of infected pigeons."

the crazy world of the tories....

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

booked

at last the hotel is booked.
i will be based in lower manhatten in orchard street. it is about as far away from central new york as i was last year, but this time in a more vibrant and boho area, (though i have to say i will miss the fiery latina who was mangeress of the hotel i stayed at last year).
so that is one weight off my mind.
now lets get that checklist of woes out and start working through that.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

quotes

in monday’s independent newspaper bruce “the brute” anderson is seen to say “nicotine kills far more old etonians than cannabis does.”

i like the quote because at last i have been shown a justification for the smoking industry that is beyond question.

anderson agrees with me that drugs should be legalised, but he points out that cameron faces an image problem with the large c conservatives – the flog ‘em and hang ‘em brigade. this is because cameron wants to make the tories soft and cuddly and secondly because now cameron is seen to have “had a small problem with law and order”. yet those tory faithful fawn over jeffery archer – who has not only broken the law but has committed sins against literature.

meanwhile over at the observer in the letters page this could be seen “when i asked my neighbour's wife to be my guest at my fair lady in drury lane, she recoiled as if i had asked her to a wrestling match.” this was in response to an article the previous week by henry porter (tolerating intolerance is still this country’s besetting sin)

now i confess i haven’t read the article and i will save that for tomorrow, the reaction does seem to herald mr. porter as being brave for saying some home truths about question of muslim integration and such like. it does seem churlish to point out that melanie philips book, londonistani, seems to be saying the same thing and has been out for quite some while.
perhaps it is just that the home truths have to come from those who think the same way we do and because they have said it, it allows the rest of us to agree.

but back to the quote – next time she will know to take them to see the wwe……

Monday, February 12, 2007

hotels

this time next week i will be in new york.
currently i have yet to book a hotel. everytime i find somewhere that is in my price range (cheap) and seems to have all i want it to have (ensuite bathroom and right location being the two most important - i can live without there being a gym, there being a breakfast, there being wifi in the room....) i read a series of reviews and i suddenly go off of it.
normally there is one review that makes the place sound like it a hell hotel, but it is enough to make you stop and think.

or you find a place you quite like and then disocver that you can't book the darned thing because their website doesn't allow you to and then when you request room details from the website you never get a reply (yes i am talking about you chelsea savoy hotel...)

mmm i am going to have to book something tomorrow or else i am going to be in a bit of a pickle.

and people wonder why i don't like to travel.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

spliff

so once again the story of david cameron’s drug daze at eton rears its head.
david cameron is right that politicians are entitled to a private past. however a case can be made that the gloves should come off when you are the leader of a party, especially when you may just have a chance of becoming the leader of the next government.

no one expects politicians to be squeaky clean, but we would like to see a certain level of honesty, particularly those who are planning on leading.
i don’t think a youthful experiment with a drug is something that should have you barred from politics, or prevent you from becoming the prime minister (you only have to look to bill clinton to see that a little bit of experimentation doesn’t stop you from becoming the leader of the free world). after all we do not stop smokers or drinkers from leading us.

the reason it is an issue is that cameron might be in a position where he will be setting policy on questions of youth offenders and drugs policy.
being an old etonian means that cameron has come from a very well to do background, no state school for him, no living on council estates for david cameron. yet for all the ease and comfort of a well off upbringing he still felt the need to experiment with drugs (allegedly).
so perhaps when the question of youth and drugs rears its head in parliament david cameron will be able to listen with a sympathetic ear, because he too has had a puff or two.
perhaps david cameron will understand that not all users of drugs are evil people, that the use of recreational drugs do not turn people into slavering maniacs.
the likelihood is that he will continue very much in the vein of previous tories and see this as a malicious disease that needs to be wiped out, and all offenders banged up on her majesty’s pleasure. of course ignoring his youthful mistake.

even worse is that it is set to be that question that will plague him throughout his career. he may as well, as lord tebbit has advised (and who would have thought i would ever agree with him!) say yes or no to the allegations and get on with the rest of his career.
i doubt there are that many people who are going to change their votes at the next general election based on the fact that he may have had a few spliffs. he might find that the fact he can own up to a mistake and has moved on to achieve his ambitions not only serves to win doubters on to his side, but also provides a powerful example to others that drugs can be left behind.

meantime i fear it is as the old rugby song proclaimed.
“it is the rich that get all the pleasure and the poor get all the blame.”

Thursday, February 08, 2007

24

bloody hell.
24 just gets better.
twists and turns, murder and mayhem. plot and counter plot. mobile phones and guns. jack being jack.

but more importantly chloe is chloe.

i love it and i love chloe.

pics

some more pics.
these are from the snowy day we had in london.

mirrors - i like them almost as much as i like cranes.


photoshopped.


arty.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

snow

oooh we are going to get lots of snow.
it seems the idea of 6-inches of snow is something that sends shivers (ho ho ho) down the spines of many people.
on the radio there is talk of economic disaster, complete transport chaos and no doubt the return of thatcher as prime minister (sorry my own personal nightmare).

one of my pals in the states is coping with several feet of snow.
and yet with 6-inches we are ready to proclaim the end of the world.

i am looking forward to it, but given the track record of the sages of the weather i suspect it will be a light dusting of snow that will have disappeared before i wake up.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

pics

even more pics.
i spoil you.
no need to thank me.





question

what do you call a group of goths who crowd together?

i was stuck the other day by a bunch of gothy students at the tate britain at how hard they were trying to be individuals, but they all looked the same.
i guess they were sneering to themselves at how "normal" the suits and ties who were there looked. i bet they felt a sense of pleasure that they could express themselves in ways that the rest couldn't do. the suits can't do it because they are controlled by "the man".
(oh i know goths won't talk about "the man", but i have no idea what they call it and i learnt it from the "young ones"...)

this in turn reminded me of a tattoo convention that took place a few years back in brick lane when hoardes of tatted people streamed passed the pub i was drinking outside of. again the look of utter contempt for the "normal" people who were standing drinking.
they were not rebels like those who flocked from the convention. all of them in black, all of them with their big biker style boots, all of them with a band t-shirt on, all of them with their piercings. all of them looking so much the same that they looked more conformist than the people in the pub.

all of this brought to mind frank zappa. at a zappa gig a member of the audience was complaining because the managers of the venue had requested that people sit down. the heckler was comparing it to a police state. to which zappa said "don't kid yourself we all wear a uniform".

he is right.
i didn't bother pointing this out to the goths. they will learn soon enough.

in the meantime the only answer i can think of for a group of goths is: a pitch.

pics

because i haven't done many pics recently here is a pile of pics.
they are not great. mostly done at night and really needed a tripod.
but here you go. enjoy.





Friday, February 02, 2007

go

The Prime Minister, tony blair, has been questioned by police for the second time. The ongoing cash for peerages enquiry is hanging over his last few months in power like stink on shit.
The idea of “buying” a peerage is nothing new, and pretty much most of us have always believed it has been going on. The problem for new labour is that they always claimed that they would be better than the previous tory government. It appears that they are not.
A lot of hoohah has been spouted about how the cash for peerages has led to a feeling of distrust in politics, while blair has probably not helped to elevate politicians in the eyes of the public, politics under new labour seems no worse than it was under thatcher and major we just have to remember the names Hamilton, archer and aitken.
one of the more obvious aspects of the current scandal is that is now apparent that a new way of funding parties has to be found rather than one that encourages parties to go out and shill for cash from the super rich and then be beholden to them, because as we know there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

All that having been said, I find myself in agreement with david Cameron: blair must go sooner rather than later.
Blair can proudly point to improvements in health and education, he can point to an unparalleled period of economic growth. There is much that he can be proud of.
But Cameron is right blair is a short term prime minister facing long term issues, and more and more his authority is slipping away.

There is little that he can achieve in the next few months that is going to cement his legacy, other than being in power for 10 years.
But by staying he runs the risk of providing the groundwork for a conservative party victory. He runs the risk of cutting the ground away from Gordon brown. And he leaves himself open to criticism of just being interested in himself.

Blair has to go now.

The only thing that would make it worth him staying is if he would be prepared to pull the troops out of iraq, or if he would renationalise the rail service.

He won’t, so he might as well pack his bags now.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

24

whoooooooooooooooosh.
second week in, hours 3 and 4 and cor blimey has it managed to up the ante.
people who have seen following episodes say that it just gets better.

another 20 episodes to watch and i want to see them all. i want to see all he twists and turns. i want to enjoy each and every jaw dropping moment of it.

ok that should be my last 24 post (for at least a week or two..)