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Showing posts from 2009

Brockwell Park, Herne Hill in Autumn

_________________________ I went for an Autumnal walk today in Brockwell Park, Herne Hill. Given that it's Autumn, here's a poem by John Clare of that name: The thistledown's flying, though the winds are all still, On the green grass now lying, now mounting the hill, The spring from the fountain now boils like a pot; Through stones past the counting it bubbles red-hot.   The ground parched and cracked is like overbaked bread, The greensward all wracked is, bents dried up and dead. The fallow fields glitter like water indeed, And gossamers twitter, flung from weed unto weed. Hill-tops like hot iron glitter bright in the sun, And the rivers we're eying burn to gold as they run; Burning hot is the ground, liquid gold is the air; Whoever looks round sees Eternity there.

Oren Ezuz: Food Squares @ Macondo, Shoreditch

Food Squares  by Oren Ezuz. Book Launch. Autumn is taking a real hold of the air around North London. I have my cardigan buttoned as high as it will go, my keffiyeh is wound tightly around my neck and my trademark grey beanie is pulled down as far as it can go over my head without making me look abnormal. My journey in the relative cold, accompanied by my friend Jeff Vanderpool, is headed in the direction of a small bar-cum-gallery called  Macondo  on Hoxton Square. My purpose to attend the launch of Oren Ezuz's photobook Food Squares. Upon arrival at Macondo, having ascertained the whereabouts of Raj Poonia, from whom I received the invite, I take seat and commence to take in my surroundings.  The level of magic is just right . Ezuz is a man short in stature and who at first seems fused into the gathered crowd, but, upon Raj's beckoning to him, an interesting, entertaining and thoroughly engaging artist emerges. It is then perhaps appropriate that, like the artist, the b

The Perfect Summer Album

Every summer holiday needs its soundtrack and this summer, for me, was absolutely no exception. Things are looking up in my world: I have a lovely girlfriend , I joined a cricket team  and my current place of work is ten times better than my last. This summer, was an Ashes summer. As I write this the England team are preparing to continue playing against Australia in a series of ODIs, following the successful reclamation of the Ashes Urn. So, right on cue, an Irish band, The Duckworth Lewis Method , release their eponymous album - a concept Album based around cricket. The Duckworth Lewis Method are, in fact, Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy and Thomas Walsh of Pugwash. The album successfully uses the game I love and stories pertaining to it from over the years in order to craft a selection of perfect pop songs. Many of the songs with their hit of history and twist of humour jump along to very Beatlesque melodies and beats. Particular highlights of the album include "Meeting Mr

Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks

Cover image © Penguin. It is a testimony to the enduring legacy of Ian Fleming's character James Bond that our thirst for more adventures is never sated. Fleming wrote twelve novels and two short story collections between 1953 and 1966 from his Jamaican paradise, but this was not enough for us. For  Devil May Care  Sebastian Faulks takes up the mantle and assumes the pen of Ian Fleming to bring Bond back to life once more - after all 'You Only Live Twice'. This new Bond novel is perfect quick-fire reading and Faulks does a reasonably good job of writing in the style of Fleming's originals. The narrative is full of the cultural reference Bond readers would expect of Ian Fleming, indeed Faulks sets the novel in 1967, the year after the last of Fleming's Bond novels. The caviar, the champagne, the Martinis prepared in the famous fashion and Q's gadgetry are all included in the storyline. The locations of the action are equally as exotic, with the plo

Finding Myself on the Underground

In amongst my summer ramblings and my first visit back to Warwick of the holidays, I had someone take a picture of me next to my name. Okay, it's not quite the English spelling of my name or even the Gaeilge version, but it looks similar enough anyway.  The picture was taken at Marylebone underground station.

The Pirate Man of Wimbledon

The Pirate Man himself. So it was, that this morning I found myself heading through Wimbledon en route for my place of work when I stumbled upon this gentleman. He perhaps wasn't what one would expect of a pirate, but he was sporting, upon his shoulder, one piece of essential pirate kit - a parrot. The photo I managed to take isn't wonderful, but if you click on the photo to enlarge it, you should be able to make out the shape of the parrot's yellow and blue wings. I know not whence this gentleman arrived in Wimbledon, where he was headed, or what his business was, but it brought a smile to the face of everyone that he passed.

Illiterate Window Dressing

Window dressing at Next in Collier's Wood appears to have hit a new low after window-dressers managed to misspell the word 'love' in their display. Seeming as the set of strange metallic ornaments only comes with the letters required to spell 'love', it strikes me as strange that the staff there failed to get them in the right order.   Other than being a German surname, the word 'loev' has no real meaning. A word that can be made from the four letters, that would make sense, is vole - a type of mousy animal.

At Lord's on a Monday Evening

At one point yesterday evening, when the clouds rolled over and the light faded beneath a mighty rainstorm, it looked as if the playing of any cricket was a distant pipe-dream. Rain streaked across the windows of the space-age media centre above the Edrich Stand at Lord's Cricket Ground and left those that had taken their seats on the upper tier running for cover. All this with only 2 overs on the board. After a delay of around an hour the halftime entertainment was brought forward and both entertained and amused the crowd until play resumed. Entertainment included Apache Indian, Escala and a fat Asian bloke that looked like Neil Fox. Rajasthan Royals were first into bat and made reasonably steady progress, but Middlesex seemed to be pinning them back to around six and a half runs an over. Eventually, when they were four wickets down, Dimitri Mascarenhas came in and hit a quick-fire 32 of 16 balls. Rajasthan finished on a respectable 162 for 5. Middlesex, with some hard work

Drunken Zebra Crossing

Walking back from Highgate last Friday I stumbled across this peculiar scene. It is, for those more used to photos taken with 12 megapixel cameras, a photo, taken on my phone, of a zebra crossing light looking worse for wear. If it was any other night of the week I would have presumed it to be a genuine accident, but, as it was Friday, one can only presume that the light had been out drinking.

Time for Irish Cricket to Stretch Its Legs?

Whenever I look at the Cricinfo website , or flick through the pages of the Wisden Almanack , I find myself wholeheartedly applauding the associate and affiliate structure for the small cricketing nations. You can cast your eyes down the pages and see names such as Jersey, Uganda, The Netherlands, and, of course, Ireland. Whilst the quality of cricket from the small island of Jersey and the fluorescent-kitted Uganda may seem a million miles away from ' Test ' standard, the standard emerging from Ireland is perhaps just the other side of  the test-match boundary rope. Over the past few years, Ireland have consistently  performed well, and won,  the   International Cricket Council's (ICC) leading competition for cricketing minnows in the longer form of the game - the ICC Intercontinental Cup . In addition to this, the team has now qualified for and progressed beyond the group stages of the last two major shorter form competitions - the World Cup in 2007 and the World Twent

The First Taste of Victory

Swinging Googlies (165 all out) beat The British Library (164 for 7) by 1 run. Victoria Recreation Ground, Surbiton. After a run of defeats and a tie, the Swinging Googlies have finally won their first game of the season.  Rob Punter (34) and Andy Fairburn (27) were the men sent out to open and started notching up the runs pretty sharpish. Fairburn is beginning to look more and more like a demon with bat and ball, both in the nets and on the field of play. This was, according to all records, the highest opening partnership in Googlies history. Lawrie Homan came in and put 72 on the board in no time at all. Mike Abel (5) was looking comfortable - that is before I gave him out LBW. Sean O'Connell (8), Steve Fenwick (0), Dave Le Vay (7), Myself (0) and Joe Abel (0). All in all, with 165 as the team's total, things looked comfortable - it is thought that 165 is the highest ever total set by the Googlies in their history. After the tea break, and in spite of some sharp fieldin

White South Africans Joining the BNP?

Occasionally, when getting on the tube at Wimbledon, I like to vary my early morning reading by picking up a copy of City AM or The South African - both of which are relatively well-written papers, especially when compared to the likes of the Metro. Today, when I picked up my copy of The South African, I was stunned to see the headline 'UK Saffers Flocking to the BNP?' The use of the question mark in the headline perhaps indicates that the publication is itself unsure of whether or not this is true, so what is it based around? The article seems based around the Cape Times' assumption that voting the British National Party, a "far-right party", would better "suit [South African ex-pats'] traditional South African values". The South African goes on to quote from anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, saying that many with a history of hate crimes in South African have joined or contributed to the BNP. Included amongst these is "Arthur K

Watercolour Doodling

This is my first attempt at playing with watercolours. If you look closely then hopefully you'll notice that it is the view from the top of a cliff, looking out to sea at sunset. It's not great, but no artist am I. It was done by colouring a pencil sketch with watercolour pencils, a cup of redbush tea and my right index finger. Click the centre of the image to enlarge.

Razzi's Mint Tea

Razzi had the idea on Thursday night to provide her workmates with some 'Homemade Mint Tea'. In my head, if someone says mint tea I expect dried leaves in a, perhaps, circular little bag. Not so Razzi. For when she says "mint tea" she means putting a load of fresh mint, picked from her back garden, into a mug of hot water - in my case with a little sugar for good measure.  It sounds a weird concept; something that Ray Mears might do in lieu of tea bags, but it worked. After a few minutes to allow the leaves to infuse, the tea was drinkable and lovely with it. Noises of general satisfaction abounded and for Razzi, Petros, Jenny and myself the weekend had begun. The picture can be enlarged by clicking on it.

Swinging Googlies vs The Golden Age @ Alexandra Rec

The Golden Age 170 for 8 beat Swinging Googlies C.C. 108 for 8, by 62 runs. So this was my first match as a Swinging Googly. For all intents and purposes the match was a personal success, although as a collective we probably weren't as successful.  We went out to field first and our bowlers put up a good showing with, to the best of my memory, Ant, James, Ben and Dave all getting wickets. There was some clean catching from James in the field too and some interesting juggling-cum-catching from Andy.  Our big problem came as the Golden Age's middle order came into bat. One of their guys was stubborn as hell and just couldn't be removed from the crease; the other decided to smack the ball all around the Alexandra Rec - scoring two sixes in the process. In bat we were slow. We found it hard to crank the pace of the scoring up to the level of our opponents, especially after the dent their middle had left in the scorecard.  Matters weren't helped when James hooked a beau

Hanka and Tash Do Modern Art

In fairness, it was tame as far a 'practical jokes' go, and perhaps for this reason I found it very funny. I came into work this morning after a busy weekend of not a great deal except cricket, to find that my desk had been turned into some kind of bizarre modern art installation. Gone was lovely my clear desk and in its stead was every text from my bookshelf, a Boggle set, a Santa hat, a load of Scrabble sets and whatever else the clandestine artistes could lay their hands on. After a very brief investigation, my 'mole', intimated that Tash and Hanka were the last to leave the office on Friday night and so they could be credited for this masterpiece. Perhaps the best part of the whole thing was the Supported Study Request note addressed to 'The Kelly', sent by 'The Lord'. I didn't realise Jesus worked in the same building as me, but it is clear that he does after that note. Anyway, in the style of many students, I skipped Supported Study in favou

Dub Colossus: In A Town Called Addis

As many of my nearest and dearest know, I recently had the pleasure of flying out to Uganda and engaging myself actively in the community of Kabale. You may wonder what this has to do with an album whose title makes reference to the capital of Ethiopia - Addis Ababa. Well, on my return flight from Entebbe to Heathrow, I fancied listening to some 'world' music - the blanket term applied to anything that doesn't have English vocals it would appear. Feeling very much in an 'African' mood I saw the name of this album and thought it appropriate to accompany me in my reading of the Alexander McCall-Smith's Morality for Beautiful Girls . The music went beyond the wallpaperiness one usually expects of hitherto unheard world music (think some Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 output of the late 1960s). The music was driven by dark, brooding basslines and rattling, echoing drums. Rimshots flying in surround like a marching band. All accompanied by the ubiquitous dub bras

Heathrow: Terminal 5 at Sunset

This picture was taken inside Heathrow Terminal 5 on the 3rd April 2009. The sun had decided on this day to actually be warm; shame I was leaving for Uganda where the weather was three times as hot! Oh well.

Winter Nets @ The Spencer Club

Winter nets? What are they? All this talk of nets has got some members of the family wondering just what the hell I am up to! In response to my Facebook status saying 'Tomás was on fire in the nets tonight', the response from one bemused friend was 'you really need to give up those tights boy!'  Just to clarify then, winter nets is the name given to practicing batting and bowling for cricket, prior to the start of the actual playing season - the idea being that you can practice inside in the relative warmth of a sports hall, instead of in a dark, boggy field. So, having found a 'mediocre social cricket team' to play for on Gumtree.com, called Swinging Googlies Cricket Club, I am getting into this whole winter nets thing. So far, since mid-february, there have been two sessions, with a third happening tonight Wednesday February 18th was the first net session of the new year. It provided an opportunity to get to meet the rest of the team - a load of Mikes, Ste

Lahore Cricket Attacks

I am passionate about my Cricket. I am often so passionate about cricket that I can happily sit watching an amateur team play for hours on a sunny Sunday afternoon. So passionate that habitually I spell Cricket with a capital 'C'. So passionate that I am willing to make a fool of myself playing badly for a team called the 'Swinging Googlies'. I am also passionate about fair play; perhaps a value instilled in me by my parents, and yet something very important in when playing cricket to the letter of the law. Imagine then my reaction this morning when I turned on BBC News to discover the appalling nature of the terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan Cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan. Forget the fact that they are cricketers and consider them, and the policemen riding shotgun, as mere mortals; human beings doing a job. What these terrorists have carried out is a callous, callous act. Not only have they attacked innocent Pakistani men doing a civil duty and innocent Sri Lank

First Rays of the New Rising Sun

These pictures show the first significant sunrise of the new year in Colliers Wood. The photographs were taken at around 7.30 am on Friday 27th February from my bedroom window. The sun actually had some reasonable warmth to it that day and, after a hard day at work, I was actually able to enjoy payday drinks in the garden for a while. Here's to the arrival of spring.

Listening In...

Okay, so I'm currently in Caffé Nero in Warwick. I'm home for the vast majority of half-term and thought I'd go find myself a nice little corner in a nice little cafe... with nice baristas! Anyway, I'm sat here at my MacBook and I'm listening into this group of ladies speaking. They are quite a bunch too. They are accompanied by two boys taking it turns to play on a Nintendo DS whilst they speak. The oldest lady is rather plump, has frizzy grey hair and is a clear 15-20 years older than the youngest of the other ladies. She seems pretty au fait with her technological gadgets and is possession of a notepad and a large A4 lever arch folder. Of the other three ladies, there are two with dark hair and one blonde. One of the black haired ladies, the cuter, facially, of the two, also has a notepad and is intermittently jotting some notes down. She isn't saying a lot. Her other dark-haired companion is talking a lot, although in not as articulate a way than th

Hoss @ atProud Gallery, Camden

Monday night should be a school night. It really shouldn't be a night for heading to a gig in Camden, but, when you know the band members, having lived with one of them, you tend to make exceptions. Add to that list of reasons for partying on a school night the fact that the band are from Cambridge and many of their entourage and groupies are people that I haven't seen for a while and the decision makes itself. The venue was schizophrenic; one half being a converted stable, with the  partitions still in place, the other half being a large white hall with pictures for sale on the wall - the latter being where the magic happens. Hoss are a four-piece with a distinctive funk-rock sound reminiscent of latter-day Hendrix - think 'First Rays of the New Rising Sun'. Their songs engage the listener and infect even the most conservative of audiences to twitch a leg or tap or foot - as it was, most people were moved to do substantially more.  The stage presence of the band and