Monday, August 31, 2009

Pills & Soap; Shopping In NY,NY

So, you already know that our shopping experience in New York got off to a fun start, and I'm sure you don't want to see any more photos of the promo photoshoot for the 60th edition of V Magazine, featuring Cameron Diaz on the cover.

I certainly don't.

In case I have never mentioned it before, mon C loves shopping. In a BIG way. As for me, well, it stresses me. Unless I'm shopping for a new laptop, HDtv or art.

Buying clothes is wholly unpleasurable for me.

In the event I had already done the thing that took us to New York - seeing the play Mary Stuart with Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter. I'd previously seen the play with the same two leads in London in November 2005 (twice-it was good, and it was in fact the subject of one of my very first blog posts).

Therefore I was more that happy to spend the time as was Xfe's wont.

So, what did we buy on our shopping trip south of Houston*?

I picked up a new pair of Chuck's. I'd seen these in London (at a price just shy of £100) and thought they were fun. So when I saw them for $42 in NY it was a no-brainer.

I don't actually know how often I'll wear them. They're fun to look at-maybe I'll put them on with my jeans sometime.

I was tempted to buy some limited edition gold ones, but Xfe knew better.

I've not bought Chuck's since I spent the summer working in Baltimore, as a student. Then I bought a whole range of converse hi-tops; I had them in red, black, white, turquoise and another colour, probably green, though I can't quite remember.

Next, I bought these from my new friend Duane Reade:

Pills and soap. 1000 x 200mg of generic ibuprofen, 500 x 325mg asprin and 3.5 x 32oz of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps.

I know most people buy Levis jeans or something. But hold onto your hats my American cousins. If I go to a high street pharmacy in the UK to buy generic ibuprofen I'll probably pay $3 for 16 x 200mg. So, you can see why buying 500 for $15 in the US was a bargain.

Similar story with the asprin (somewhat influenced by my mother's leg amputation I'm going to take 1 a day to keep my blood thin).

*that's Houston as in

and not the place in Texas.

Friday, August 28, 2009

3.56AM - A Rude Awakening

I have mentioned before that I am a light sleeper.

On Tuesday morning, very early on, I heard the front gate close. I heard male voices. Then I heard footsteps, heavy, first on the decking and then coming up one of the two sets of external spiral staircases.

I thought it was D-DJ and Electric E on another night out before their wedding this weekend. But, when I heard clipped voices over radios, and still in a state of of semi-sleep, I irrationally thought that Fred & Seb had the removal men in.

Suddenly I realised that at very-early-am it couldn't be, sat bolt-upright, jumped out of bed, closed the bedroom window and pulled down the blind.

Clocking the clock - 3.56am- I opened the bedroom door, and through the hall out of the worksite side window I could see the light from a torch shining. Then I heard a dog and more voices.

By then Xfe was up (and naked, as he sleeps). He went to the front door and told me, looking out of the glass panel, that there were two policeman standing at our front door.

Out of the window I could see more policemen. Xfe went back to the bedroom and I to the door. I opened it and could see the two policemen jump as I took them by surprise. I asked if I could help them.

They explained that a member of the public had reported seeing someone on a roof and they were therefore searching the gardens.

I asked how they got in through the security gate, and they explained that a gentleman in the front block had let them in. I clocked Dr Botox had his bedroom window light on, so presumed that it was him.

They asked me if I had heard anything. I said not and explained that as a light sleeper I probably would have heard any disturbance

I didn't offer the policemen the chance to come in and get a clearer view into the worksite. I thought that if there was a perp kicking about I didn't want them to see the search light coming from my window. I told them thanks, and closed the door.

Xfe came back through and I reported back to him. We could hear the police dog and the policemen going up the side of our lane and round the back (where there is an access to Miss Hugo's apartment).

Miss Hugo is very concerned with personal security. I may have mentioned before that she usually sleeps with the light on in her bedroom, that she had a lock fitted to her bedroom window and sleeps in the second, smaller bedroom instead of the master bedroom, because should she need to she can escape from the patio leaving her bedroom door locked.

I thought that I should call Miss Hugo to reassure her in case she was panicking. But as it was late I wasn't sure if I should. In the event I didn't have to. Within 2 minutes the phone rang and a terrified Miss Hugo told me that ther was someone outside her window and she had seen a torchlight up the alleyway and into her window (the police were looking in her patio).

I could see a policeman standing on the wall outside her bedroom. At the other side of the flat there was another policeman on the worksite wall. I could also see torchlight about 5 or 6 garden's down where the police were searching.

As to the information that I'd been give that a member of the public had reported a person on a roof, I have to admit I was slightly dubious given the level of police activity.

This was confirmed when very shortly afterward the police helicopter appeared. I was expecting the search light to sweep, but it didn't (a couple of days later when I was speaking to my brother, a police detective, he explained the 'copter would have been using heat seeking equipment, so no need for a search light).

Then, surprise surprise, I had a text from Fred.

I phoned him immediately to report all.

Xfe and I were up and about and watching the activity for about another 30 minutes, In total the police spent about 40 minutes on the walls around our flat.

I have some more information and speculation courtesy of Dr Botox and Fred & Seb from when I was talking with them in the courtyard, on Tuesday night.

One thing is for sure though. I was glad this happened on Tuesday morning and not the next one. Xfe left for China on Tuesday night (for 6 weeks) and otherwise I would have been all alone, and not so brave. One of my biggest fears is looking out a window and seeing a face stare back inside at me, so I would have struggled to look through the front door panel as Xfe did.

Panicky fright

My worst fear...

Ol' Red Eyes is back!Uneasy rider

The bastard Peter QuintMelissa Graps is very cross

I'll read this when Xfe is back. In the meantime, forgive any typos in this post. There's no way that I can look back over it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sugar Daddy's Golden Boy

The other day on my way to work I clocked this silver haired daddy emerge from a flat with a golden tanned, havaianas-wearing boy.

It wasn't the warmest of mornings and boy looked a little chilly in his shorts and T.

Although they didn't really look like father and son they did look like a daddy and his boy. Sugar daddy clearly had a sweet tooth.

Daddy spoke with a rough-around-the-edges London accent. Not quite cockney, but almost. His boy spoke with a South African accent.

I clearly heard these when boy asked daddy if he wanted to buy him a breakfast and daddy asked boy not to walk so closely next to him - which is why boy starts lagging behind!

Off they popped into Smiths of Smithfield for a big breakfast, leaving me wondering what they might have done to build up such a superior appetite at such an early hour in the morning.

Monday, August 24, 2009

the fArmER's bOys

Continuing the journey into my boy-fan memorabilia history, here's another letter from Baz, lead singer of the fArmER's bOys, this one dating from September 1983, when I think they were on tour.

Having been a fan of the band for a while I was very excited to hear that my city was on their tour. However I was still at school and I didn't know how I'd get to see them at the University Union.

The Jensen session is a reference to David "Kid" Jensen, a radio 1 DJ of the time (he had the slot before John Peel).

I wonder what it was about their song T.O.S.D. that made me gush that I thought it had "lasting value" (though I think articulating "it's really good" in that way shows a certain maturity). But here's a thing - I'm listening to it as I type. So I guess (for me at least) it does.

I have a vague recollection asking Baz what T.O.S.D. stood for and that he told me "the old spotted dog". I suspect everytime that he was asked the same question he gave an equally random answer.

So, anyway, only a month or so before I would have the chance to see the fb's in Aberdeen. But first I would have to find a way to get into the University Union...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Neighbour Watch - The Hole

When you last saw them, at the beginning of the month, the works next door looked like this:

Since then there's been plenty excavation, and they've been drilling the hole deeper and deeper.

Our hopes for a neighbourhood swimming pool soon subsided when this was leveled out.

Then they dug some more until now we have this:

When it rains very hard I worry about the land sliding, and my building crumbling. Hopefully that won't happen. However I do no that the piling that was put in to retain the integrity of the boundary and support the walls you see does not go as deep as the foundations for our building.

I'll be happier when they start the construction works though.

Electric E's nuptuals

It's less than a week now until our neighbours downstairs D-DJ and Electric E get married. Two weekends ago they had a hag night (a joint hen and stag do) involving drinking in Soho and Hoxton all day then coming back downstairs for a party. Fred and Seb went along (to the party). We didn't.

They reported (by phone the next morning) that best man is no longer going to be best man after having a carry-on in the toilet with the missus of one of Electric E's newly married friends, while his own missus was banging on the toilet door.

This led to fisticuffs between best man and the husband guy, with someone being layed out cold.

On Thursday morning this week Electric E got home just after midnight, obviously pissed. She slammed their front door downstairs waking me up. Then I heard banging. I thought Fred & Seb were voicing their annoyance.

Next morning Xfe told me it was him doing the angry banging, and that he is going to have words!

Fred mentioned to Xfe that he thinks Electric E has a drink problem. In any event she really is a silly little girl.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Soho Street Scene

There's always plenty good stuff to see on the streets of New York, and an ideal way of seeing all that you need to see is the Gray Line NY tour bus.

As seems to be the case with so many things America, the choice of tours and options is boggling and confusing. However we found that the all loops - 48 hour ticket is perfect.

It gives you unlimited hop-on hop-off double decker sight-seeing over a 48 hour period (starting when your ticket is issued) that includes 4 tours: Uptown Loop, Downtown Loop, Brooklyn Loop, and Night Tour.

Having done the others I was inclined to give the night tour a miss. Do not-it was so worthwhile. If anything miss out the Brooklyn Loop. The only stop that's worth making there is Junior's Restaurant (of which more later).

In any event the Night Tour passes through most (but not all) of the Brooklyn Loop.

It cost us $49 each, translating to a grant total of £60.76 (for the two of us) on my credit card.

We did the Uptown Loop (including Harlem, Central Park, Lincoln Center, Dakota Apartments and the Museum Mile) on Saturday morning. We switched to the Downtown Loop on the afternoon (taking in Times Square, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, World Trade Center Site and Little Italy). However we struggled with traffic as we headed down Broadway towards Canal Street.

And here was the cause of all the commotion.


A bloke in grey trunks and specs.


These 2 blokes, one in red shorts, the other in blue speedos, both in specs.


and that guy in white speedo trunks and specs.



Its some kind of promo for the 60th edition of V Magazine, with Cameron Diaz on the cover.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New York New York

So we're back from New York, with a selection of the sights and sounds (well one sound at least) from the streets of Manhattan.


...and Brooklyn.

I'll tell some of our stories and post some of the other pics soon, such as Sunday lunch:


...and of other delicious appetizers.

I'll explain why Xfe was constantly looking up*:


...looking it up:


and when he did, how he came to find "London".


As for myself, I found the Big Apple a lot less rotten than I did on my first visit some 20 years ago.

Statues, art, graffiti... and Harlem




Here is the view of the super-busy Times Square as seen from our hotel room. Super-busy that is until Xfe chooses to frighten everyone away with his anti-social cellphone habit.


As for that sound-I don't think it originates from NYC, but that's where we heard it, while shopping in a fashionable Soho boot-ique (aren't they all).

*he was of course constantly looking up to see Manhattan's big erections:


As for this Soho street scene - well, that's what puts the sex in the city, making New York so fabulous!



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