Archive for the ‘art’ Category

Traditional Barber of Ruislip   Leave a comment

 

Waiting outside the tailor’s for some last minute alterations to finish, the sign for Traditional Barber of Ruislip hove into focus.  Outstanding.

 

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Posted October 6, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in art, Tourism

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Sam Wanamaker Playhouse — Philotas: Rebellion in Action and Edward’s Boys   Leave a comment

 

We bought tickets for Philotas: Rebellion in Action, a lecture on the political intrigue surrounding Samuel Daniel’s play and, especially, the subversive nature of the chorus and the efforts put in to be true to the source and still not be tortured and killed for offending the monarch (James I still as dangerous a ruler as Lizzie the Virgin before him).

The lecture was dry and it seemed most of the attendees were academics in theatre or literature (one fellow behind us had just accepted a post at Durham and his neighbours, in the cozy pit seating, were likewise well seated in University departments around London).

The highlights, though, were the readings from the scripts by the boys down from Edward VI School in Stratford-upon-Avon (aka, Edward’s Boys).  We knew there would be a reading, but expected adults because we didn’t really research the production and only bought the tickets to get into the Wanamaker at least one time before our move to Birmingham.

Which brings us to the Wanamaker and why we wanted in.  It is designed to evoke the Blackfriar’s Theatre — down to the exclusive lighting by candles — from the Elizabethan era which had an entirely boy cast.  This was managed not by recruitment but by kidnapping SANCTIONED by the Queen, herself.  No shit, the Master of the Revels had license to acquire performers without their parents permission and there was literally fuck all the parents could do about it.  We just saw a documentary on this a few weeks ago (which, to square the circle, used some of Edward’s Boys in the cast).  Fantastic…boy actors playing the parts originally played by boy actors in a venue similar to that of the original play.

 

Posted September 30, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in art

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The Wah-Wahs and Mudlarking   1 comment

 

 

I went mudlarking Tuesday on the polyp-like Rotherhithe peninsula (I don’t know what it is really called) and the Wah-Wahs weighed heavy on my mind.  Here’s a wee (or, ‘Wah’) story to explain, somewhat, what I’m on about and the lasting impact of the phenomenon (right up to this very day).

I blacked out as the Wah-Wahs enveloped me and I regained consciousness miles away in the driver’s seat of my 1974 Monte Carlo which I remembered as needing some new rod bearings.  The skies were the colour of Prince’s duster in the Purple Rain video, the red clay in the logging road on which I was parked was vibrant.  The tick-tick-tick of the billy club on the window was ever more insistent and I heard a stern voice demanding, “Open the door, sir.  Sir?  Right NOW, open…the…DOOR!”  I looked at my hand, still gripping the large bin liner still relatively full of R22 refrigerant (chloro-difluoromethane, HCF2Cl) the bag pushing gently on my chest and the steering wheel opposite.  I looked over and just as I made eye contact with the State Trooper very close to shattering my windscreen, he shattered into a mosaic of a million pieces and dissolved away.

 

 

As the shards rearranged themselves, I was actually not at all miles away in my car but still sitting on the couch in the rental house at least some of us were paying rent on.  The bag, indeed, was still in my lap but there were several panicked looking faces circled around me with Mark (the manager of the Turtles record store in town and one of the actual housemates) gripping my shirt with both fists and shaking me so violently that the sputum I was emitting was in our hair, on the window sill (I don’t remember there being glass in the window), and on the floor.  I wiped my face with my sleeve and said, slowly, “wwwwwwwwwwwwowwwwwwww!”  Two of the meat suits animating those previously panicked faces, upon seeing my sudden recovery, each grabbed for the bag, and Pat M came away with it.  In one continuous move held the open end over most of his face, squeezed the bladder-like portion, said something in a monstrously low voice, slipped on some of my sputum, landed on his back on the coffee table, and commenced to violently convulse long after we grabbed for our beers and the table collapsed.

Still stunned, I asked if that’s what happened with me.  “No, dude, you just ceased.”  Now about 40 seconds into his seizure, Pat emerged as suddenly as it had taken hold, and asked how long he’d been gone.  Such is the nature of Freon huffing.

 

 

I tried several entrances to the foreshore but only managed short segments of treasure hunting before the waters closed off access and I would be forced to go back up the wall and find my next entrance.  I wasn’t heavily into the treasure hunting aspects of it, though, happy to merely walk the secluded beaches and debris fields slowly emerging as the tide receded.  At the ferry to the Isle of Dogs I was cut off again but was able to wade around (above) the submerged bit without swamping my Wellies.

We got started doing Freon because, VC, another of our associates had driven me to Rose’s Department Store in his cripple-van (another episode of excess, a year or so earlier, found him crumpled in a car wreck with a broken neck).  I needed some car parts and while I was digging through the shelves he rolled up with a couple of cans of R12 freon (dichlorodifluoromethane, CF2Cl2) and a massive grin asking, “do you know how to use these?” in his distinctively nasal voice.  I knew he meant huffing it — we’d both mentioned that we did this as younger kids while our dads were refilling the car AC compressors — but I didn’t have a valve nor the money to buy one (and, wouldn’t we need a balloon so it would warm up a bit out of the can?  answer: no, just don’t get the liquid form on you).  He swung his begloved hand out of the bag draped over his wheelchair seat displaying the ice pick he had already shoplifted adding, “We’ll use this!”

[Side note: I once saw our VC get hustled out of another shop for nicking shit and he got away with it by screaming down the house: “you’re only doing this to me because I’m a cripple!”].

 

Cans of R12 similar to those we used

 

Sitting near the Putt-Putt course at the far end of the desolate car park, he balanced one of the cans upright in his lap, held the ice pick over its top with his left hand, and smacked it hard with the padded glove palm of his right.  The ice pick flew free but didn’t cause any damage; he stopped the liquid/gas flow out of the can with his thumb, held these a few inches from his mouth, then released it a bit to take in a huge lungful.  “Oh, yeah, this is GREAT!” he said, loudly and about 4 octaves lower than his normal voice (Freon is a lot heavier than air).  Then, he fell out onto the parking surface and I ran around to collect the can, now spewing all over the place…waste not, want not.  We finished that first can sitting on the pavement leaning against the front tire of the van.

 

 

A friend was in town from the States.  I say, “friend,” but we really haven’t seen each other in decades.  She and her husband begged off the foreshore walk despite an offer of a joint put in as a sweetener (they’re from California where weed is legal, so it wasn’t really much to offer).  Waste not, want not as the saying goes.

We started buying (and stealing) cases of this stuff as, over the next couple of weeks, more and more members of our circle of trippers began to participate (most of us with a case of localised frostbite to show for it).  One day, the little cannisters disappeard as a large, green tank freshly acquired from the roof unit above the multiplex cinema replaced it.  This was the R22 from the first paragraph and it seemed to have a much more intense mode of action.  R12 would have a few seconds onset where a cyclic, pounding/wind rush noise would engulf the user (these are the Wah-Wahs) ahead of 20-30 seconds of geometric visuals and perhaps a little glimpse at death from the user’s perspective.  Within 45-60 seconds, it is as if nothing had ever happened and you are ready for more.  A can split between a couple of guys will do about 10 times apiece; split 6 ways, it also did about 10 shots apiece due to less spillage.

The R22 tank was supercharged in that, while only lasting the same time to maybe 30 seconds longer, it was much less predictable and, often, much less fun because the trips lasted so much longer inside than anyone observing could possibly realise and mined personal inventories for their deepest and darkest insecurities.  R22 was the shit, and outrageously dangerous shit at that.  I still am baffled that no one died of it, directly, during that summer.  At one point, we were filling a bin bag with it and doing it out in my folks’ pond in about 8 meters of water.

 

The debris fields along the Thames are puzzling.  The walk along the Isle of Dogs a few months ago had one stretch that was mostly gravestone fragments and another that had an unusually high number of tampon applicators.  These U-shaped chunks of metal roughly 4 inches by 6 inches are strewn for 200 meters along this bank in plain site of the Tampon-Epitaph Beach.  What are they?  My guess was either some sort of large staple or broken links of chains (the more poetic of the two options).

Which brings me to the memories dredged up on this trip to the foreshore.

I had the keys to a house in Griffin Georgia in sort of a caretaker capacity for retirees to the Gulf Coast near Tampa in — I’m reasonably sure it was — 1984.  My duties were to keep an eye on it so that the sort of parties I was having there would not occur there in their absence and, in exchange, I could use the lake and premises in moderation.

There were about a dozen of us in and around the place, all tripping on some very good blotter but kicking it into overdrive with occasional blasts of the industrial Freon. When the owners walked in, I was sitting at the piano with CLW who was absolutely (and tunelessly) slapping the keys with both hands while banging out timpani on the front of the piano with the foot that he somehow got stuck in an umbrella stand an hour or so earlier.  There were several people having a tug-of-war with VC in his wheelchair in water deep enough to cover the wheels but not quite up to his chest.  RMA, who had been sitting with me and the erstwhile pianist, was just pulling her head out of a 6-inch-wide and inch deep dent she had just put in the plaster a few inches above the floor (R22 was involved).

That young woman with the massive bruise on her forehead is now quite middle-aged and visiting London (but, notably, NOT the waterside).  I was going to meet up with her and hers at a pub after the mudlarking, today.  But, I like this memory the way it is so I just picked up my treasure hunting bits and went to a different pub to send some bullshit excuse via email as our reunion meeting time loomed:

 

 

It’s not at all a great memory, though.  Of the people at the lake house that day, CLW became an ambulance chasing lawyer; I believe DH is now a drama professor; Pat’s a photographer. There were musicians, TMcB now part of the local canon in Athens Georgia, RMA a singer-songwriter (when it strikes her fancy, and despite the head injury described).  Our VC (musician) eventually committed suicide with prescription meds and another musician, Eric T, blew his head off with the handgun he suggested he and VC should use to shoot me on stage, y’know, for publicity (his brother, Kent, who was also there, died of an accidental drug overdose sometime in the early 1990’s). Yet another guy, Steve B, beat all of them for elan by killing himself with a nail gun squeezed to his temple.  There were others, but the statistically relevant sample of 10 shows 2 academics, 1 scumbag lawyer, 6 artists/musicians.  There were among those listed 3 eventual suicides plus 1 “death by misadventure” (that I am aware of).

 

 

 

There’s almost always something too big or heavy to carry home.  This bar is about 4 feet long and would make a great fireplace poker but I decided to leave it be.

I spent years before, during, and after these events honing a skill that has stood me well.  When someone calls out my name on the street or otherwise in public, I don’t react, flinch, give any acknowledgement that I am who they think I am.  I have actually been cornered by people who, it turned out after convincing them they have my doppelgänger and not me, were folks I actually was glad to see and I had to chase them down to explain this.

The Wah-Wah memories didn’t inspire confidence in the original plans for today.  34 years is just not long enough, yet.

 

 

You damn, dirty apes!  God damn you all to Hell!”

Wah-WAH-wah-wah-WAH-WAH-WAH-wah-wah-wah-wah-wah-WAH-WAH-WAH-WAH-wah-WAH-WAH-WAH-wah-wah-wah….

 

 

Eyam at Shakespeare’s Globe, London   Leave a comment

 

We went to see Eyam at the Globe last night.  Overlong but entertaining and disturbing in equal proportions (which is to say, not too much of either but worth the groundlings ticket price by far).  The content warning, above, is 100% accurate (some scenes or the climax thereof will stick with me a few days) but the pace was that of slow television.

Best line: “I pissed in that one.”

 

Posted September 16, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in art

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Isle of Wight Trip, 2018   6 comments

 

Unable to travel far for various reasons, we took the better part of a week and went to the Isle of Wight, arriving in Ryde by Hovercraft.  Beachcombing the first afternoon, I got well dusted with sand and seaweed by getting behind the one in the picture to soon after it passed.

Also on the first day, I scoured the streets for interesting shops and hit gold with “I’m, Wonderful,” a combination Polish deli and sandal emporium:

 

 

The island railroad uses old London Tube cars:

 

 

A former colleague from Wimbledon says these were the ones from her childhood (1970’s):

 

 

They are still in remarkable shape although some look, on the outside, like they are close to rusting through.

 

 

We didn’t swim not even did we bring shorts.

 

 

We weren’t the only ones.  This group included fully covered (burkha’d) women:

 

 

We were quite happy cats on this holiday.  Not as happy as these that we picked up in a charity store in Ventnor, but satisfied with the overall effect:

 

Posted August 19, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in art, Tourism

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This Week I Have Been Mostly Reading …   1 comment

 

I don’t have many people at work I consider friends and one of them left the labs for good, yesterday, frustrated by the nonsense in the University, the Department, the lab and his research group.  He lasted nearly 2 years before The Great Funk (not the good kind, either) set in.  The brightest burn out the quickest (while a dim bulb like meself carries on toward the 10 year mark).  We didn’t have many conversations but every one of them was engrossing, intense, and completely free range (not free ranging, but free range, like chickens pecking at the soil).  During one of these, an offhand comment about acid during a longer discussion of one of my frequent head injuries (the one where I was struck by a falling tree whilst running in a snowstorm near Athens, Georgia) stuck with him; not a tripper himself but open to it, he applied his freakish eidetic memory to a choice of parting gifts and presented me with Michael Pollan’s How To Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics.  I am touched by this unusually thoughtful gift and I hope he knows how much I will cherish it (not least because I was going to buy it for myself when it comes out in a trades/paper edition).

I have also been reading my twit feed fairly regularly and recently added Existential Comics to list of followed accounts.  This is a recent one, typical of the genre:

 

 

Running Month in Review: July 2018   1 comment

 

“On The One” Brolly Stand, Ruislip, Middlesex 21 July 2018

 

Total for July: 0 miles but trying to live life On The One, regardless.  Only four new pubs added to the list, but we revisited some cracking old pubs in my convalescence.

As of this post, the longest run I’ve done since 02 June is down a rail platform, two sets of stairs separated by the tunnel at Harrow-on-the-Hill Station (and the tunnel) and partway down another platform (maybe 100 meters all in).  Physical therapy continues, now 8½ weeks into at least 13 (and possibly 26) of weights and yoga.  Still in pain, but much more bendy.

 

 

So, I am moving around slow enough to notice different things (like the Bootsy Collins Boot-shaped Umbrella Stand) than when I was running 40-50 miles per week prior to crippling myself.  For instance, this is not the 2nd sighting of the Red Shorts Blue Shirt phenomenon (nor even was the first mention of it in this diary amongst the first 10).  But, now I see it everywhere.

 

 

Granted, some things were only noticed after a prolonged and complete stop.  One day, my bus to work came to a halt here:

 

 

Listening to some podcasts from news outlets in the States (da fuck is wrong with your government, kids?), concentrating on some ligament stretches the cramped bus seating allows, and studying the scene out my window, the scene, below, flashed at varying pace and intensity until it dissolved away and I found myself studying a similar landscape near Dahlonega, GA for a few moments.  A lorry zoomed past and rocked the bus and me back to my documentable location and I noticed there actually was a strobe light in my field of view:

 

 

Varying from 90 to 160 flashes per second (faster than which it blurs to a mostly continuous glare), the polished fins on this vent pipe reflected the sun for an instant as it past by.  The fins are twisted slightly and as the morning progressed, the flash point creeped downward .  I’m so fucking bored, not running and all, that this was one of the highlights of the month:

 

So much so that I didn’t even bother to get a decent photo of the item.  Kind of like this:

 

 

Not hungry when we passed it this weekend, I shortlisted this chippy (for the sign, alone) in West Drayton for a fish lunch on the run if I ever run again:

 

Posted July 31, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in art, Running

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