Tag Archives: #ev12

#EV12 video

#EV12 Day Eight

Thank fuck! I just got my German power adapter working and now my phone is charging. I was worried. I can’t get anything done without this thing. And since my laptop is running on fumes it’s nice to have a working device. It just needs to last until I get to Frankfurt, as the Air Canada flight from Frankfurt should have USB and a North American outlet in the seat backs. 

So I never really finished yesterday’s blog post, because that wasn’t the end of my night. Instead I wandered. I just walked north and stumbled upon the Canadian Embassy. They were closed, and they misspelled Canada; it doesn’t have a k. Then I walked a bit further and I came across the holocaust memorial which Moti had written about not so long ago. 

If I hadn’t read his blog post I would’ve just thought it was a park. I would’ve thought it was a park designed to make rape easy. There’s nothing in the memorial which can be in any way inferred that it is a tribute to dead Jews. It’s just a fun place to play in the day, a fun place to murder and rape in the evening. I don’t know who designed this.

Just north of there was the US embassy. It’s so very heavily blocked off. Giant fence. Police. It’s a pretty building when you look past all that. Beyond that was the Brandenberg Gate which was also very pretty, but didn’t keep my interest too long. So I kept on keeping on and suddenly I was at parliament, the Bundestag. Lit up at night the building is absolutely gorgeous. I was shocked to see people were still being let up into the glass dome. I figured why not? The reason why not is apparently I need to pre-register. Apparently being awesome is not sufficient.  I wandered the grounds. I was annoyed at how much of the building was gated off. It made me think of the British Commons where they installed a glass (clear plastic?) divider between the public gallery and the actual commons. Apparently someone threw a ball of flour at Blair, and that’s why they installed it. 

Pussy. 

This extreme reaction to POSSIBLE terror threats is an issue I believe. If the commons cannot be a place for all of your nation’s people to be welcomed, then it is no longer truly a house of commons.

Then I continued walking. I found water. I found LRT tracks. Saw an LRT vehicle. Maybe one day we’ll see those in Toronto. Basically I walked towards the Berlin mini-CN Tower. Much like the CN Tower, it’s a broadcasting tower. Also like the CN Tower, it’s fucking hideous. Is there a good design for giant sky phallus? At least Berlin’s isn’t made of poured concrete. So that wasn’t very exciting. It was at this point that a slightly crazy woman came running at me chasing her dog and saying something in German. Turns out she’s from London! We talked and she tried to help me find my way back to the hostel. She was completely useless in that regard, but she had me laughing. She also told me I don’t have a Canadian accent. I assume that means I don’t sound like a Newfie.

Eventually I took a taxi back to the hostel where I noticed they hadn’t fixed my bed. You see, before I went out night walking I got out of my bunk and heard a pop. Some of the wooden slats supporting the mattress were sticking out. Yes I’m fat. They didn’t do anything when I got back it was still like that. So I bugged the front desk to switch beds if the room wasn’t full tonight (there was one free bed last night). No go. Apparently there wasn’t a free bed in the whole fucking building. So instead they had to fix it now as I didn’t want to fall on the woman below me. Would you want an ~800lb man falling on you? Yeah didn’t think so. So they had to go into the room which was already mostly filled, wake everyone up, turn on the lights and fix the bed. 

So, I’m an asshole. 

Then I took some sleeping pills and waited for them to kick in. 

I slept in. I was going to take a tour of the nearest concentration camp, but it left at 10. Now I need to figure out what I want to do, and I have no idea. 

I walked through teirgarten and visited a handful of monuments in the park. Found the Mozart, Beethoven, and Hayden. Strange to see dents from bullets in the marble. Then went to see Siegessaule, which is a monument to the victory over the French in 1871. It was a further walk than I expected, but not so bad. 

From there I went to the DDR museum which is a museum showing life in east Germany and the fall of the wall. It’s not a bad museum, except everything is interactive and they MUST be over capacity. You could barely move and barely take enough time to read the info. 

My plan was to go back to the hostel at that point and use Internet to figure out what to do next. The problem was I didn’t want to walk through Brandenburger Tor again. For the exact same reason I never want to walk through Dundas Square or be around during Taste of the Danforth, too many fucking people. 

So I checked my map (the one on my iPhone) and found an alternate route. En route I was walking by a plaza called “Checkpoint Plaza” and something made me think that I might be near Checkpoint Charlie. Turns out I was. Berlin has big boards up, like you would find when a building is under construction. The difference is these had information on it1, it detailed the history of post-WW2 Germany. A lot of the information covered had already been detailed at DDR, then I found big slabs of concrete. I don’t know if they were actual pieces of the wall or reproductions. Either way, interesting. Oh, and there was the checkpoint itself. 

It was nice to have stumbled across it as I don’t know if I would have gone otherwise. There’s not much to see there, but at least I can say I’ve been. 

I started walking back to the hostel and came across the Stasi museum Moti had mentioned. It was okay. It was somewhat interesting, but a good 50% of the place is not translated to English. I can’t blame them for that as if I were to build a museum, German translation wouldn’t be the highest priority. Unless it were a David Hasselhoff museum. 

Then I continued on my way. I crossed the street and was confused by the lack of sidewalk. Then I noticed what was standing in my way… the Berlin Wall. 

I was at Topography of Terror, which had requested to keep that portion of the wall damaged but in place. It was kind of incredible to see such an aspect of recent political history standing there. 

I didn’t go in, but outside they had an exhibit of the terror from 1933-1945. It was interesting and to continue with the theme, depressing. 

  1. instead of pictures of Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton []

#EV12 Day Seven

Woke up and had breakfast at the hostel, it was passable. During that time, I charged my iPhone, it was too dark in the bedroom to find an outlet, and struggle with silly German1 adapters. After breakfast, I got on the S-Bahn, and headed up to Gesundbrunnen station2 where I hung around for a while looking for the Berliner Unterwelten ticket office. Eventually I found it, and joined the short queue3 to buy a ticket. The English tour didn’t start until 11, so I went to the nearby shitty shopping mall, and wandered. It reminded me of Centrepoint.

I wasn’t there for the mall. Instead I was there for the tour. So I got in line and we started going down the stairs of Gesundbrunnen station. Before we got to the platform, they opened a door leading to a bomb shelter. Basically this tour was a civilian bomb shelter made during World War II. It was interesting to see the German civilian side of that war, and the reality of their world.

Our tour guide as Roy from The IT Crowd4. Okay, it wasn’t ACTUALLY Chris O’Dowd, but man, does he ever look like the dude. He was talking about something really depressing. I think the Soviet rape of German women after taking Berlin, again depressing, and I had to suppress a giggle because I thought he looked like Roy. I had entered the Giggle Loop, but I seemed to have survived the ordeal.

Apparently after Soviets took over Berlin, they blew up all the bomb shelters, and buried them. This only survived because it would’ve destroyed the train station, too. They’ve also got a few other tours that sound quite interesting.

They let us take pictures in one room, as we behaved. The room was pretty much an empty room, except for a few benches. It wasn’t the most photogenic. However, the tour itself was absolutely fabulous. I think Alicia is the one who recommended it to me.

Seeing as the Jewish Museum was pretty damn close to my hostel, I figured I’d go there next. Right? Makes sense. So I did what I’ve been doing throughout this entire vacation, getting directions from Google Maps, and taking screenshots on my phone. Right, that’s cool. The GPS still works on the phone, so I can get my general location on the map, then switch back to the screenshot and compare. Except I got lost. I couldn’t find it. Now looking at the info, I think I needed to go one street further east.

In London there’s some company that provides wifi for a few chains. It’s free to use, you just need to register. So I just looked for a Cafe Nero, Pret A Manger, Wagamama, Pizza Express, McDonald’s or a few others, and honestly in any part of the city I was able to find wifi. Berlin, haven’t figured that out yet. I have no data here, so I walked back to the hotel, and looked it up. Then I started writing this. I think I’ll head out and find this place again.

Went to the Jewish Museum. It’s oddly depressing. They hate us, they hate us, they kill us, they hate us, they hate us, they kill us, they hate us, we assimilate, they hate us, they kill us. It’s a really interesting museum showing the history of European Jews (specifically German Jews) from about the eleventh century, until they killed us all.

The building itself is a funky design, and it seems that the architecture is what they market the museum on. It’s the logo, and it’s very central in everything. Yet oddly I don’t think it’s a very good design. I went in and the first thing you go through is not the actual permanent exhibit. Instead you go through random shit that Jews once owned. Honestly I was looking at the exhibit and thinking, “really?!?!”

Then you have to walk up a lot of stairs, and start the actual exhibit. Which is really good. It’s quite detailed. There’s some stuff which is quite useless for a Jew, like showing us new tzedakah5 boxes. OOO! There’s part of the exhibit explaining what a bar mitzvah is, etc. But then there’s a rather detailed examination of Jews coming to what’s now Germany, and Jewish life from then until the end of World War II.

So… How are you?

  1. or is it European []
  2. Please note, I copied and pasted that, as I don’t know how to spell Gesundbrunnen. []
  3. I’m sounding British, pip pip. []
  4. I typed “Roy IT Crowd” into Google image search and got this image. I own that shirt in hoodie form. It’s from Dinosaur Comics… made by a Torontonian. []
  5. Mac OS X tells me that’s spelled wrong, but Google says it’s right. []

#EV12 Day Six

Today is the second day that I’ve worn my sunglasses. It’s a really nice day with a pleasant chill.

After waking up early to pack and checkout before 10am, I headed to The British Library which had a bit of an exhibit. They had a bit of a history of the Magna Carta with examples. They also had historical documents like handwritten Shakespeare and the lyrics to “Yesterday.” They also had some early Hebrew documents including haggadot. See, I’m celebrating Passover. Woo! Freedom from slavery. Woo! God giving us the 10 commandments. That’s enough. Dianu.

The problem with the exhibit was it was really small. So I was in and out pretty quickly, so off I went to Covent Garden. The market was really disappointing. It was 100% meant for tourist. I’d be surprised if any locals ever go there. I did find an Apple store to leech wireless for a few minutes.

I couldn’t figure out what to do with myself for the next few hours. So I thought I’d back to the hotel and pick up my luggage. However when I got to Green Park station to switch to the Victoria line, I thought I’d leave the station and explore. I found a park. It may be called Green Park (Parc vert) and its kind of not exciting, but there’s green space and the wind is nice. I also have Telekinesis playing in my headphones.

However it’s starting to rain, so I don’t know how long I’ll be here.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbGZJ0Mwi_8&w=450&h=259]

I had a brief lunch. I ate pasta. What’s more British than having pasta? Oh wait. That’s Italian.

From there I went to get my luggage. On my way to the tube station, I thought to myself, ” I really want to listen to Radio Radio.” I pulled out my phone and lo and behold, they weren’t on there. My phone was
fucking with me. It was saying “No Franco-Nova Scotian music for you!”

I told my phone that I was the boss of it. It didn’t believe me. Radio Radio was still not on my phone. So instead I opted to listen to Tigermilk by Belle & Sebastian. Ahh Glaswegian pop, nothing screams London more than Glaswegian pop.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RShI_-85os&w=450&h=335]

On the subway ride out to Heathrow, I realized one thing about these London subway trains. They’re not designed well. The seated passengers are all in two rows facing each other. The distance between the two rows is so small that it’s an area one can barely stand in. As such all standing passenger have to stand in doorways. Even worse the trains’ highest point only gives me a few inches clearance. I was watching someone stick his head out the door at every stop to stretch his neck. However, one great thing about the London Underground is that it got me to Heathrow and once I cleared security, I quickly made friends with a woman from Colorado en route to South Africa for her sister’s wedding. That helped me kill time until my flight boarded, late.

My iPhone was down to 5% battery life. Not great for when I get into Berlin. I was hoping for an outlet (or USB) on the plane, but no dice. Then I remembered my laptop was sitting fully charged, not only was my laptop fully charged, it had Radio Radio1 on it.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PV_Tkc4SrBg&w=450&h=335]

I plugged my phone in via USB and leeched power off the MacBook Pro, and used it as a giant MP3 played. Not the most portable, but I had a row of three seats to myself so there was some good. There was also bad, I was also right beside the engine, so something to block out the sound was nice. The flight was so short I didn’t get to listen to the full record.

When I got to Germany, I received a text from Moti, my older, but little, brother. He was kind enough to escort me on Berlin’s transit to get to the hostel I’m staying at. He gave me a rundown of the transit and the city and tomorrow he’s leaving, but will be back Friday when we can do something before I head home to Toronto.

I checked in and grabbed one of the two or three empty beds. I’ve never done a hostel before, so I don’t know the etiquette. I kept the lights off for the dude sleeping and thought it would be weird to take the bed above his.

I lay in bed tired, but not tired enough to sleep, not wanting to dig through my luggage to get my sleeping pills, I guess I’ll sleep tomorrow.

  1. Please note “Radio Radio” is pronounced the French way, like one would say Radio Canada. []

#EV12 Day Five

I had to check which day it was. It’s raining here in London, I guess the cliché had to be fulfilled, but c’mon London, isn’t it a cliché, I expect you to be better than that.

It’s still early morning, and I’m going to try to go see another play. Why? Well, why not? I’m in fuckin’ London! Going to see a play called Absent Friends. Katherine Parkinson is in it. You know, Jen from The IT Crowd.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuPolrd9yuo&w=450&h=259]

Elizabeth Berrington is also in it. She’s probably less recognizable to Canadians, but she played Auntie in the episode of Doctor Who penned by Neil Gaiman, “The Doctor’s Wife.” It may just be the best episode of Doctor Who, ever.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJR8BVuzBU8&w=450&h=259]

I have to say, this is probably the biggest thing Toronto needs, theatre that isn’t musicals based off of movies. As much as Back To The Future The Musical could be amazing, we all know that such an invention would be shit. Nor do we need more musicals based on bands… I don’t even know what those musicals are actually based on, but I mean Mamma Mia, and the Queen musical. At least Tommy actually is a musical. I hear that Moneyball The Musical is in the works.

So yeah… I’m in a café, staying dry. I’m drinking tea on a rainy day in London. So very cliché.

Unrelated… HOLY SHIT! Finally people are talking about building the DRL!

So after that adventure… the adventure of drinking tea… I went to the box office, and bought front row centre seats for £15. Fuck yeah!

From there I… what did I do? I walked.

I got out of the rain, and had a sammich. I talked with a few people online. Mocking them while they were at work. I then walked some more.

I got to Trafalgar Square, and noticed Canada House is there. I think it might be in my video I shot after I visited Parliament a couple days ago. Canada House is closed. They’re renovating. All consular services are being done at Macdonald House. Seeing as I had nothing to do, I walked to Macdonald House. Went through Saville Row, saw lots of shops. Looked at shit. Came to a building with a maple leaf flying. Looked at it and thought “Canadians!” Looked next door and thought “Italians!” Looked across the square and thought “Americans!” It’s not an exciting place. There is a statue of Roosevelt, and a monument for 9/11. WOO! DEAD PEOPLE!

I then walked some more. I did an awful lot of walking! Just around the corner from where Canuks, Yankees, and Italians like to chill, I found an amazing sign on a wall.

YES!

THE BEE GEES, THEY WERE THERE! OMG!

I also went into Top Shop, and SOMEONE’S GETTING SUED!

Then I walked along and a sinister being however behind me silently. I turned around to find a devastating cylindrical creature. Nothing about it could be human. As long stalk raised as if using it to evaluate me. Lights on its head… what can best be describe as ahead began flashing as a robotic, non human voice emerged shouting “EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!”

I din’t much to offer for defence. I pulled out a Jammy Dodger, perhaps I could bluff my way out of certain doom. To make a long story short the Jammy Dodger bought serious time… and we got to eat cookies. We ended the Dalek with imprisonment within planet hollywood.

Umm, Exterminate.

Then I had a shitty dinner. It fucking sucks.

From there I want to the theatre. I made friends with a couple on holiday from outside Bath. They were a lovely pair. We chatted about our respective country’s geography. His dad’s trip to Vancouver, then hell of London during the olympics1.

The plays was funny and depressing. Totally worth the watch Jen (from IT Crowd) had a great performance, her best I’ve seen her in. SHe actually emotes, and not just over the top emoting… which there’s plenty of in this play. Especially when she reveals her desire as a girl to join the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

It was kinda hilarious. We learn that one of the lads has been away a while, and has gotten engaged. Sadly his fiancée drowned. So friends who have split apart over time get back together. Unfortunately there’s a sick husband staying home. Di, the hostess’s husband doesn’t want to participate. Di is pissed at him because he fucked their friend’s wife… and he won’t admit it.

Watch it. Oh wait, you can’t.

  1. Thank you Toronto for failing. []

#EV12 Day Four

This…

Wow.

I walked from my hotel to the Saatchi Gallery. I made sure that it was open, because it was Easter Monday, and of course, the gallery might be closed. There was no mention about Easter closings on the website, and it says it opens at 10am on Mondays, so I made my way over. When I got there, they were open, and the place was practically empty. There were more staff than visitors. It also turns out that today is Sunday, not Monday. Have I been away from work that long that I forget what day it is?

The gallery was the number one suggestion from Helen, and I decided to trust her. I’m happy I did because my god, it was so much better than the Tate. The Tate was okay, but the work in this gallery was great. Great, not amazing. What was amazing was the photo above. As I walked into the room, this photo was hanging on the wall beside me, I just stopped and was blown away. Maybe it needs to be giant, and shiny1, but wow. I couldn’t believe it.

Turns out I’m not the only one who likes that photo as it was on the cover of a book they had in the gift shop, and they had postcards. I bought a postcard, and sent it to Aaron. Is there anyone better to send a great photo to than Aaron?

I then went for a walk. I also realized something as I walked through the city, sat in parks, just chilled. I realized that I’m a portrait photographer. Sure I shoot concerts, but what I’m really shooting is portraiture. I don’t know how to shoot nature, or how to shoot architecture. Sure from time to time I get it right, but it’s not my forté2. I like shooting people. Maybe it’s that I’m a bad photographer, and want someone else to do a chunk of the work by emoting for me, or maybe it’s just that I have a better connection. It means that when I vacation alone, I don’t take all that many photographs. I should just travel more with people. Or I should take pictures of strangers, but I’m not too fond of doing that. Tried the 100 Strangers project that Aaron suggested, never went beyond two strangers.

This is why for my Ottawa road trip I didn’t know how to shoot the Peace Tower, so I put Emily or Helen in the shot. It doesn’t hurt that they’re both beautiful, and will make any picture better.

So… not many pictures taken on my day of walking. I did take a picture of a tube station exterior to use in my video, which I’ve already started editing. I had bad falafel. I napped. I’m still tired. I ache, every inch of my body. Lying hurts, sitting hurts, standing hurts, walking kills.

There’s another thing I’ve realized3 since I’ve been here, there’s a lot to do in Toronto that I just don’t do, and I do a lot. I haven’t been to the AGO since it was redone… hell, last time I was at the AGO, I was married. I tried to go recently, but they were closed, that just means I need to go again. I’m pretty sure I’ve done a tour of Queen’s Park in elementary school, but I only remember vaguely sitting on the steps for a group photo. I should tour Queen’s Park. I should also have more picnics with friends in parks, Victoria Day and Canada Day aren’t enough. It’s easy to ignore all the awesome that is Toronto and focus on the bullshit that is our municipal politics, or our shitty transit system, or our shitty *insertsomethingshittyaboutTorontohere*.

I think I’m going to sleep.

  1. Glossy. []
  2. Why is forté underlined in red? []
  3. Should I spell it realised since I’m in the UK… and they spell funny. Not as funny as Americans spell. []

#EV12 Day Three

I began my day in London with a morning walk. I walked from my hotel in Pimlico to the Palace of Westminster… aka, Parliament.

Earlier I had lamented that Canadian Parliament is so much better than British Parliament, because to tour ours, it’s free, to tour Britain’s is £15. There’s another reason why Canada’s Parliament is better… we’re allowed to take pictures. So the one above and the one below are the two photos I took.

The tour was interesting. I got to see and be in the insides of the House of Lords and the House of Commons. I got to school an American on hereditary rights of the monarch. I learned more about Parliament’s uprising against Charles I, and learned that the building was built in the 1830s, not that long before Canada’s Parliament, which explains why they share a lot of style. That and we like to copy the Brits.

Then I went to see All New People, a play written by and starring Zach Braff. For those unfamiliar with Braff’s acting work

If you’re unfamiliar with his writing skills

All New People is a play which begins with Charlie (Zach Braff) hanging himself. In walks Emma (Eve Myles) who saves his life.

For those of you unaware, this is Eve Myles… took me a while to recognize her.

Yes, it’s Gwen from Torchwood, the Doctor Who spinoff. Myles is a lot less whiney in this than she was in Torchwood, or even her pre-Torchwood Doctor Who role.

So Emma is showing the house for it’s owners in the middle of winter on Long Island, which is apparently a cottage island. So it’s empty and some old Jews are coming by to see the place. Well, empty with the exception of the dude hanging by his neck.

Eventually she invites over her dealer/the town’s firefighter, and a prostitute becomes involved. It was a good play, the ending was clunky, but otherwise enjoyable. Basically a play about desperation and loneliness. Other than the ending, the only negative was Paul Hilton’s piss-poor American accent.

Finally that burlesque show I mentioned. Fucking sucked. Really just a club night with some burlesque acts on the side, and it’s not even funny burlesque which is what makes burlesque awesome. Toronto has an awesome burlesque scene, which when awesome is about the humour, not about stupidly trying to be sexy, and failing. I think I can find the perfect example:

That’s Betty1 on the left. That night we hung out and since then we’ve become friends.

Tomorrow I have no plans, I think I’m going to sleep in. Then… I don’t know. Go to a park, and hang out? I don’t have a book, because the book I’m reading, Have Not Been The Same, is fucking HUGE. My legs are killing me from all the walking. My feet are killing me, too.

  1. Let’s use her stage name here. []

#EV12 Day Two

For those wondering #EV12 means European Vacation 2012. Much like #ORT12 was Ottawa Road Trip 2012.

I went to The Tate. I liked some of the art. My favourite was this room with only a set of see through stairs on the ceiling, and a railing, but it’s all being seen from below. What I really liked about The Tate was people watching.

It was quite interesting watching people staring at this object on the ceiling and photographing it.

So my legs hurt. I walked a lot today. I woke up at 9, too early, but whatever… I walked to The Tate, as I figured that would be my first stop. I went there, walking along the south shore of the Thames the whole way. When I got there, I did a lot of people watching.

The people were interesting, the art is interesting, the building, not so much. Almost industrial. This might give you an idea.

From there I walked to the Clink. Except I thought the Clink was on the north side of the Thames, so I walked across, the Millennium Bridge, then came back across the bridge just east of there. I found the Clink, paid my £7 fee, and was severely disappointed. It wasn’t very interesting, wasn’t very informative, and it just lacked in many many ways.

Afterwards I went for lunch at Wagamama which was a suggestion by Alicia. How she described it, it sounded like Ginger. From reality, I found it kind of a cross between Ginger and Salad King. I ordered the Spicy Ramen. It wasn’t very spicy, but it was good, and there was hot sauce on the table. Definitely an enjoyable meal.

When I sat down I saw above the kitchen area a Symbol wireless access point, the ones that my company used to use until we replaced them with much better APs1. The Symbol ones were decent, just weren’t able to handle the demand we put on them. I asked and got access to the internet, which made me feel better. It’s so very strange not having internet where ever you are. It’s a sense of isolation. OH! And the hotel is CHARGING me for wifi. It’s £5 for the week, not the end of the world, but it was in their ad.

The room offers one twin or one double bed with Internet access-wireless, cable/satellite TV, telephone, coffee/tea maker, wake-up calls, hair dryer, iron/ironing board and clock radio.

There’s no coffee/tea maker2, there isn’t a hair dryer, which I don’t need because my hair is barely an inch long, and no iron or ironing board, which I could actually use, but there’s nowhere to actually put one.

Nor are there any outlets to plug an iron into! There are two outlets. One for the TV, up high on a wall, and one for alarm clock/phone which is in the back of the wardrobe with a hole drilled in to get the power to the ledge above the bed.

It’s not a major thing as I only have one British to North American plug3 But it would be nice to have a bit easier access to power, as I will need to charge my iPhone nightly. I’m using it quite a bit for maps, and shit. I’ve been taking screenshots of Google Maps when I have wifi, and then pulling up those screen shots, so I can check it out when I’m getting to the neighbourhood. It’s actually working quite well, one downside is if you’re going the wrong way, you have the blue dot telling you that.

On that note. I’m going to stop typing and perhaps write a couple more postcards before I leave for a concert.

While in Camden, I stopped in a bar, because they have wireless. I ordered a Pimms & Lemonade4 and sat on the rooftop patio with my laptop and a pair of headphones. I was going through tons of show listings for the city, and I came across Grant K. Fennell, he was the first one I checked out who wasn’t utter shit. His songs were actually nice and pleasant. He was playing at The Lamb, which is near Highbury & Islington station on the Victoria line. I’m staying not far from the Victoria line, HUZZAH!

So I went back to the hotel, and plotted… and by plotted, I mean I wrote some postcards, wrote all the above. Then around 8pm, I left. I got to the pub. The pub was called The Lamb, I asked for the wifi password, it was “lamblamblamb” and as Nick says:

I didn’t recognize most of the beers on tap. It’s strange and nice… no ability to order a Beau’s, it means I can drink something new for once5. She gave me some Pale Ale, she had a funny accent, English, I think, so I didn’t really catch what it was, but it was decent, MUCH better than last night’s. The beer is £3.90. I think that’s a strange price. I’d imagine that they’d make it £4.10 or something so that you don’t only have a pound and a 10p piece, hard to tip with if you don’t want to give a pound.

I did, however want to give a pound, so I left the £1.10 on the bar, and walked to grab a seat on a couch. The bartender comes up to me and says, “you left your change on the bar.” I look at her inquisitively and say, “it’s a tip.”

Apparently I’m the first person in her entire bartending career to ever give her a tip6. She didn’t even know what to do with it. So here’s a message to you Brits. Don’t be an asshole, tip! Show your appreciation for the person who’s helping you get smashed!

Then they started to play Stereolab in the bar… could they have made my day better? I actually listened to Stereolab on my to the bar.

Grant started playing… he played some acoustic guitar, it was good, I enjoyed him. I for some odd reason decided to take out my camera and shoot. I know, a shock… It’s not like I’ve ever shot at a show before. I also shot some video, for use in my #ev12 retrospective. This one will have fewer sexy ladies than #ORT12.

I then put my camera away, and ordered a cider called Harry Sparrow. It was good. I think it’s better than Strongbow, but not as good as Black Thorne. After Grant finished performing, I hung around a bit, finishing my pint, listening to some young women discussing their love lives, and reading Twitter. I held back from posting information about their love lives on Twitter7. From there I decided, DINNER TIME! So seeing as it’s Erev Pesach, I went looking for matzah. I couldn’t find any. I went into a restaurant and was told “we’re closing.” I went into another restaurant and was told “we’re closing.” It wasn’t even 11pm, yet! Seriously London, wtf is with your early hours. Are you 808? This is slightly ridiculous. I think it’s bad enough that most places are closed around 1 or 2 in Toronto, but 11 is just ridiculous.

Any way, to bed I should go, because waking up at 9 won’t do me, as I have to be Parliament for 9:15. Yup, tomorrow, I tour Parliament. Which I want to call Parliament Hill, but their Parliament is not on a hill, it is on a shore.

After my tour of Parliament, I’m going to try to go see a matinee performance of All New People starring Zach Braff, and written by Zach Braff.

After that… to a burlesque/circus show that sounds interesting. Though I doubt it can be as good as Boylesque TO.

  1. Aruba []
  2. wouldn’t use it any way, as they all make your tea taste like coffee, which is fucking disgusting. []
  3. Thanks, Helen! []
  4. Thanks Adam & Cari for introducing this to me… did you know they put fruit in it in the UK? []
  5. The night before I left, Christine walked up to my table and said, “a Beau’s?” I surprised her and ordered wine… TOO MUCH WINE! []
  6. She’s only on her third day. []
  7. Sorry, Twitter folk. []
  8. Umm, oh, you were actually born around 43 AD? Maybe you should get to bed. []

#EV12 Day One

My father was nice enough to give me a drive from his place in Thornhill to Pearson at 6am. I arrived at the airport around 6:30, and went through the whole shebang of getting on a plane. First I had to check in, then I had to drop of my luggage, then I had to go through security. It’s a whole big thing. The plane was supposed to board at 7:55am, an hour before it was scheduled to depart. I got there around 7:15 after going through all the fun. I was happy I wouldn’t have too long of a wait. 7:55 rolled around, then 8, then 8:15. We didn’t even start boarding until 8:30. Sigh. Whatever. I got to my seat, and discovered that I had an aisle seat… better for stretching out, worse for sleeping. After a couple minutes no one else came, a few more minutes and no one else came… then we starting departing the gate, and I had TWO SEATS TO MYSELF! FUCK YEAH!

I watched the latest episode of New Girl, and as usual, it was garbage. I listened to Love At The Bottom of the Sea, I tried to watch a movie, but couldn’t keep my attention on it. So I listened to Departures by The Rural Alberta Advantage. I got to look down on the coast of PEI and Newfoundland (but not Labrador).

They served a shitty breakfast. A really bad bun, some cantaloupe and honey dew, yogourt1, and a choice of either an omelette or pancakes. I had to make a decision. I had seem them roll the cart of food onto the plane about two, or two and a half hours earlier, obviously it won’t be very good, but which will be worse.

I took a wager and bet the omelette would be terrible. I don’t know if I’m right, but I was right that the pancake, while edible was not very appealing.

After some time of restlessness and being unable to sit there. I decided to get a sleeping pill. I took one rather than the usual two. I tried to sleep. I didn’t sleep. It wasn’t fun.

Oh! What I didn’t mention was that I got to watch a couple making out in the seats across from me, and groping one another, and conspicuously going to the back of the plane around the same time… and not returning for 10 minutes2.

So eventually we passed by the southern shore of Ireland3. We saw Wales, and eventually we landed, in London, it was late. It was 9:30pm.

From that point we needed to go through customs. My passport lost its virginity. I found my luggage, and went through a long maze of hallways and corridors leading to the Underground, and by Underground, I mean Subway4. I rode the dark blue train in silence, listening to two groups of Germans chatting amongst themselves in both English and German. There was also a Canadian girl (with a Vancouver 2010 knapsack) sitting beside me… listening to Dave Matthews Band way too loudly.

I transferred to another line5. I saw in the middle for some odd reason. Then a group of four people were laughing and giggling, and apparently one of the stuffed a salt shaker from the restaurant in another’s purse. She shaked the salt over her shoulder, I sarcastically thanked her and a conversation was born.

One of her friends was so enthralled that I was wearing my Apple windbreaker, and was impressed, because as he put it, it was an Apple mack!

So then I got to the place at midnight, and for the first bit I couldn’t come in… Evenutally someone did let me. I’m going to assume he’s the Fawlty in Fawlty Tower. He was grumpy, gave me a key, and sent me to my room. I didn’t have time or the wherewithal to ask for the wireless password. I think my room is about 3 metres length, 5 metres width. Now this space is divided into a washroom, sleeping area, and a little foyer. I don’t quite get the point of the foyer, it’s about a metre squared. Kinda useless, but there it is.

From there, I started wandering. Turns out there’s nothing in Pimico… maybe that’s why the hotel was inexpensive. I did however find a group of people who were friendly enough and pointed me across the river where I found a pub that advertised it had food. The barkeep reminded me of the elderly Steptoe. I ordered a Marston’s English Pale Ale… and it tasted like piss-water. They weren’t serving food, and the gentleman though I was a fucking moron for asking him about food at 1am. To which I replied, It’s only 8pm. I don’t think he understood me, both my joke, and my accent.

From there I found a corner shop, and dined on chips and a half decent mango drink. I got back to the hotel, took a couple sleeping pills, and here I am, 10 am… gotta figure out what to do.

  1. yuck! []
  2. Truly a quicky. []
  3. The republic, not Northern Ireland which is part of the UK []
  4. Not the sammich restaurant. []
  5. They have more than 2 and a quarter subway lines. []