Drinks with the Directionless
Ex-students: London for the unemployed and directionless - filling time, making money and fighting off boredom.
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Tuesday 24th of July 2012
‘And we should definitely lock some night swimming in!’
My friend Evi is leaving London and we’re planning her farewell dinner. I nod. I like the idea of night swimming, but I do not like the idea of Evi leaving and a nod is about the highest level of enthusiasm I can muster. It’s one up from a shrug.
Her vision is to head out on to Hampstead...read the rest
Monday 23rd of July 2012
There has been a lot of hype about Rebecca Thomas’ debut film Electrick Children. Released in the UK just over a week ago, the film is set on a Mormon colony in Utah. Based around 15 year old protagonist Rachel, the story follows a strange course of events as she moves from her sheltered home life to the brash lights of modern day Las Vegas.
On ...read the rest
Thursday 5th of July 2012
Last week I stumbled out of work and went to meet my friend Natasha. ‘Come to Waterloo,’ she said, ‘it’s half way between us.’ It had been a long week of late nights and this combined with the hot weather meant a rather sleepy wait for her at the main steps of Waterloo station.
She was full of energy. ‘We’re going to go to the south bank,’ she s...read the rest
Wednesday 27th of June 2012
With Glastonbury taking a year off and sheets of rain swamping rural England, this is definitely a summer for urban festivals. London is a bit of a dark horse when it comes to these, throwing up almost weekly offerings of extravagant transformations of its parks and some of the world’s biggest musical names.
Two weeks ago saw LoveBox take over V...read the rest
Monday 28th of May 2012
‘The ticket says 14 and over,’ I say as my housemate Clare hands over the pass for our evening’s entertainment.
‘Oh shut up,’ she says, ‘it’ll be great!’
It’s Thursday night and we’re going to see a rap show in Islington. I’ve never been to a rap show before, but Clare has been a fan of the genre for a decade.
‘I think you’ll really like MC...read the rest
Monday 21st of May 2012
‘I was disappointed by it,’ Evi said, ‘I remember reading a starred review of it last year, but I’m not sure what that was about.’
‘I’m glad,’ I say, ‘I thought perhaps I just wasn’t getting it.’
‘I don’t think there was much there to get.’ She said.
‘It was all the people laughing,’ I tell her, ‘that was what got to me. I just didn’t see what w...read the rest
Saturday 5th of May 2012
‘Can you recommend some places in Soho?’ My friend Magnus has recently moved to London.
‘You know, somewhere really seedy,’ he says, ‘below street level. The kind of place where they show blue movies.’
Magnus lives on a boat with his girlfriend Clementine.
I tell him that I don’t know about blue movies, but I do have a dim recollection of an un...read the rest
Friday 2nd of March 2012
London’s more intriguing film opportunities are shouldered out this week by gaudy screenings of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. John Madden’s adaptation of Deborah Moggach’s novel rounds up the increasingly aging cast of comfortable British faverouite and drops them into a guesthouse in Bangalore. Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson and Bill Ni...read the rest
Tuesday 21st of February 2012
During the next few weeks Highgate’s Gatehouse theatre attempts to revamp Verdi. Playing host to Kit Hesketh-Harvey’s 2012 run of the three act classic La Taviata, Highgate takes north Londoners into the East of the city, to ‘La Traviata’; a burlesque club above a pub.
The show jumps up from the word go and tries hard to be something different....read the rest
Monday 13th of February 2012
In another bid to take on east London, last week my friend Evi and I head over to Dalston to watch 'Freedom'; the new play at the Arcola.
Freedom tells the story of Tajikistan opium farmer Benham and his son Fariad. Forced to lie in order to protect their home from hostile buyers , Benham sends Fariad to England in an attempt to protect his fals...read the rest
Monday 6th of February 2012
My friend Clementine Sauvignon has recently developed a penchant for London’s lesbian scene, and I have been escorting her, apparently as some kind of wing man. Or woman.
On Thursday night we went to the launch of a new gay and lesbian book group at Waterstones in Piccadilly.
‘It’s going to be good,’ Clementine said. ‘It’s called The Velvet P...read the rest
Monday 23rd of January 2012
It was my friend Barney’s birthday on Friday and he wanted to go out. I’d not been ‘out’ in a while, having semi-accidentally fallen into a mid 40s lifestyle prematurely and spent most of the winter in my room reading War and Peace and drinking sherry.
Barney arranged for a group of his friends to meet at the Enterprise, very close to Chalk Farm...read the rest
Monday 16th of January 2012
I go to the cinema a lot, probably about three times as much as I go out to see real people.
I usually go to the Picturehouses or the Curzons, or the BFI. Occasionally I’ve gone to an Odeon. However, until Last week, I hadn’t tried one of the four Everyman Cinemas even though there is one about 25 seconds from my house. On Wednesday, in an atte...read the rest
Sunday 8th of January 2012
‘It will seem like a bad idea when we arrive,’ my friend Evi says on the phone, ‘But we’ll be glad we’ve done it.’
She’s referring to a plan we’ve made to go outdoor night swimming at the Oasis Sports Centre.
‘I’m not sure,’ I tell her. The pool is near Holborn. ‘You know east London always puts me in a bad mood.’ She informs me Holborn is no...read the rest
Monday 2nd of January 2012
The planning New Years Eve always creeps up with a passive aggression that seems unnecessarily calculated for a culture-created public holiday. It’s a big night. That, unfortunately, is unavoidable. To spend it alone, at a parents house, keeping warm and desperately clinging to the last of Christmas would no doubt be dismal. On the other hand, buyi...read the rest
Monday 12th of December 2011
As part of our submission to premature middle age, my friend Evi and I have been attending obscene amounts of theatre. Last week, we coupled this with our new love of not going far from home and investigated the Hampstead Theatre, going to watch their seasonal offering ‘Herding Cats.’
The play revolves around two of London’s 20-35 ABC population...read the rest
Friday 9th of December 2011
Hampstead Village recently held its annual Christmas fair.
Stumbling into work last week, I was greeted in reception by one of the more adult colleagues enthusiastically demanding, ‘Did you see the fair on Sunday?’
We recently discovered that we are neighbours and now have things like local fairs in common.
‘It was brilliant!’ She said, ‘Michael...read the rest
Tuesday 8th of November 2011
Friday night in Dalston. I never normally go east, I can’t really deal with it. It’s not just the hipsters; when I hear of people going out in Brick Lane, or Hoxton or Shoreditch, I make a judgment, something connected to a dim hostile world of art criticism and contemporary music. I don’t want people to make that judgment about me.
But for some...read the rest
Sunday 30th of October 2011
It’s the first Halloween in years that I haven’t spent working in a bar. This makes me feel a bit disorientated. Facebook has spent the last 48 hours telling me about all the different ways I can spend the weekend. It’s mainly about parties, so many parties, and costumes. It sounds stressful.
On Thursday evening, I call up my friend Evi and ask ...read the rest
Thursday 27th of October 2011
My friend Evi has just made a slightly disorientating move from Haggerston to West Hampstead. It’s Sunday and we’re walking on Hampstead Heath.
There was a party at our house last night, but instead of being dominated by regret and the taste of metal, I have the disturbing sense that it happened a long time ago. This morning I’ve showered,...read the rest