Tuesday, 17 February 2009


My pal (pictured) and I took the day off yesterday to swan round Notting Hill and eat cake. Everything feels like a film-set there: girls cycling around with bunches of flowers in their bicycle baskets, the candy-coloured houses, second-hand bookshops and boutiques of organic cotton, overpriced babygros. If there were more students and odd people it would be a mini Brighton.

The Oxfam bookshop in particular is brilliant. I found a great 70s craft book- while today's are all about beautiful photography and teaching you how to cast-on, this one was properly hardcore - welding, stained-glass making, carving a 'torso' out of a lump of tree with a chainsaw. And all in grainy black-and-white step-by-step.

Oh and the houses. Huge sweeps of wedding-cakey white stucco and rainbow-painted mewses. My friend and I decided she would run an esoteric record store and I would run a shop selling ribbons and cake and we could live there and write zines. One day...

Tuesday, 10 February 2009


Two men on the bus on Sunday night, late twenties, sartorially challenged, munching their slack-jawed way through bags of crisps and bottles of Lucozade. One has a carrier bag full of cans of Grolsch. They are discussing the ladies they are going to woo this evening:

Man 1: Harriet's going to be there
Man 2: What's she like?
Man 1: Rank. Big tits.
Man 2: You going to do her?
Man 1: Yeah probably

Lucky Harriet!

Second conversation - in a lift with two staffers on one of the nation's favourite women's magazines. One says to the other: "Is the models size 00?". They then launched into a conversation about how which of them is a size eight and which a six.

What is this country coming to, etc...

Monday, 2 February 2009

And another thing...

I am in Bust! Check out page 38 x


Snow snow snow! Snow snow snow snow snow!!

Quite amused by the inhabitants of Clapham South, which was closed this morning, marching around in the snow, blonde highlights and rugby collars wilting, bellowing into their mobile phones about how "one snowflake and the British transport system grinds to a halt...!" I however have made it to work- am quite enjoying the anarchy and chaos. London is quiet, slow, misty, from up here in the rooftops every chimney and cornice is padded with white.

For a break from the tempests outside, I have been reading (well, devoured in two days) Love Me by Gemma Weekes. I rarely buy a book straight from the reviews - am too cheap to fork out on a hardback usually - but I am glad I did. The lurid and cheap-looking cover goes to show you should never buy a book by its etc as it is gloriously evocative of grubby Hackney and steaming, sexy New York, sticky-sweet with hip hop music, Caribbean food, rum, sex, carnival colours, lust and desire.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Hampstead Heath

Went to Hampstead Heath on my own yesterday, getting off the tube to a soft, constant rain; after plodding rather miserably through some suburban-looking cul-de-sacs, I walked out onto the heath. It's the strangest place: a cultivated bit of countryside, dropped into the city, where for a moment there is silence, shiny blackbirds picking through leaves, trees with acid-green moss streaked with rain, and you could be in the middle of any rural shire. Only the occasional distant siren suggests that there is something beyond the mud and fields. Then, walk up a small hill and the towers of the city rise out of the mists like some settlement from Oz.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Reading the city

London is a shouting city.

Being a country girl at heart (although if anyone thinks being a teenager in the depths of the countryside, with one bus a week, and miles of fields between you and, well, anything is romantic they have been seriously misinformed) my eyes sometimes ache for green fields and a night sky so clear and black it's as though you are standing at the edge of space.

Every possible surface in London screams to be read. Adverts exhort you to indulge in razors, in books, in 3-for-2s, in 'genuine pre-ops'. Signs inform you where to sit, where to park, where not to chain your bicycle, what to recycle, to turn left, to not enter here or there. Restaurants and bars beckon you in, warning notices keep you out. Even the people are blazoned with brands and logos. There are a thousand road signs whispering of Victorian commerce and ancient byways.

Words are my thing, I get anxious without a bedside book or even a cereal packet to read in the mornings, and a stop-start bus or broken tube is inhuman enough with your face wedged against someone else's shoulder and their handbag in your spine without a book to carry you away. But sometimes, there are too many words.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Plans and projects

In tune with the new year, I am planning a new venture to overturn the world of handbag-crazy women's magazines forever, but as usual I don't want to say too much in case I jinx it. In any case, a web nerd is squirrelling away right now and people (real people, not just me using pseudonyms) are writing things for me.

I was inspired over the weekend by this magazine . Please buy a copy or at least donate - no just buy a copy. It's really well written and funny, and advertising free, and so reliant on people with taste and morals, like you.