My office is on the thirteenth floor, and has picture windows all the way around, so that – with the exception of a small part of the northwest corner which is blocked off by a similarly-sized building next door – we have a 360º view of London. And what we don’t have is a clock, so whenever I’m not at my PC and want to know the time, I have to look down Victoria Street to Big Ben (or St. Stephen’s clock, or whatever it’s really called). Which is great: using Big Ben as your office clock is like keeping your jewellery in the Tower of London, or getting your groceries from Harrods.
All of which reminds me that when I lived on Tooley Street we used to refer to the mini-supermarket on Shad Thames as “Harrods”, because its wares were similarly ambitiously priced. In fact, I’m fairly sure you could buy the constituents for a meal more cheaply at the real Harrods than you could have done at this place, whose name I have conveniently forgotten. Still, I’d undergo worse hardship than that to live on Shad Thames.
There’s a man whose job it is to stand outside my building holding a placard that directs passers-by to a tanning shop down a side street. Generally, and especially on slightly miserable days like today, he does this with a fixed expression of gloom on his face, as well he might. But once or twice a day, he lays his placard down flat on a wall and retreats to a sheltered spot about five yards away from his pitch, to stand for a few minutes without holding up a placard, out of the wind and rain. And when he does this, the expression on his face is one of sheer delight. I admire his ability to find a reason to be cheerful in the least promising of circumstances.
Two wins and a draw last week, and we’re back up to ninth. It seems Palace only do well when I ignore them.
Well, it’s my blog.
And it’s likely to be getting a rest for the next week or so, while I disappear to join the ranks of the propertied classes, or “smug middle-class bastards”, as I believe they’re officially termed.
In preparation for this, I have done all the “things to do” on my “things to do” list. There will, naturally, be a new “things to do” list come Monday, but for now there are no “things to do”, except fun ones. Excuse me while I snoopy-dance my way out of the building.
I never knew that the singer in the Dave Clark Five was not called Dave Clark. But he wasn’t, he was called Mike Smith and he died yesterday aged 64. So thanks for the song, Mike Smith, and sorry I never knew your name.
(Dave Clark was the drummer.)
My two-week period of homelessness has meant I am spending more time than usual in London’s leafy south-eastern suburbs. A couple of nights ago I went truly off-piste and ventured out to Biggin Hill by bus. And you know what? It’s nice out there! What it lacks in 24-hour shops and, well, people, it makes up for in prettiness and a cheery fellow-feeling that you don’t see so much of in town, largely because everybody is in too much of a hurry to stop and make conversation (and anyway, if you start a conversation with the wrong person you might get stabbed). All the bus drivers said “hello”, including the one who took me, and only me, from Keston to Bromley in about the same time it would have taken by car (thank you, Ken, for all the new bus lanes).
Also, I got to see horses in fields. I like horses in fields, as long as they are quite far away and separated from me by something solid (e.g. the side of a bus).
Never mind the funereal procession of black gowns (you have to say “gowns”; “frocks” at a push – never “dresses”) on display at last night’s Oscars ceremony: I am more distressed by the profusion of poorly-thought-through beards. Witness the otherwise-attractive Seth Rogen, James McAvoy, Viggo Mortensen (although in his defence, he’s never looked good, apart from in comparison with the rest of the cast of LOTR, all of whom were playing monsters) and the master of the ill-advised facial hair arrangement, Johnny Depp. Sigh. Such a shame.
…after that appalling loss to Wolves at the weekend. But the weekend’s cheering footballing moment was Spurs beating Chelsea in the league cup final yesterday. I sort of hate them both, but I’ve hated Chelsea longer and for more noble reasons.
If I weren’t getting my hair cut by the best hairdresser in the world (no, of course I’m not linking to her; I’m not stupid) tomorrow afternoon, I might have gone to Palace v Wolves. Wolves are two points and two places below us in the table, and if we lose this game I smell a nail in the coffin of our play-off chances. If chances can have coffins. And if (metaphorical) nails have a smell.
I will actually go to a real game at some point, rather than thinking of excuses not to.