Monthly Archives: May 2010

Easy like Sunday morning… (or my lurcher takes his repose Part II)

Is a tummy tickle out of the question?

This is a photographic response to Stephen Foster’s blog.


Are we going to sit at home with those dodgy glasses on come the Autumn and Sky’s launch of this new-fangled domestic excitement? I, thanks to Southend ODEON, have at least 5 pairs of the ugly things if you want to come round and watch. Not that we have SKY anyway. Or will it remain a novelty thing for occasional trips to the cinema, theatre or the IMAX in London?

I wondered this as I watched the 3D trailer for 3D tv yesterday. To whet our eyeballs (and make us run out and order it) we saw 3D football, ballet and rugby. I am slightly intrigued as to how much ballet they have on Sky, but the only one it made a real difference for was the rugby. In fact, some of it makes you just feel a bit boss-eyed. I’m not sure I like it.

Anyway, me and the kids sat in a little line like 70s newsreaders and watched StreetDance which, despite a flimsy premise and lack of real acting, was pretty good fun if you like dance-offs and banging beats. Which we do. I had a little nagging voice in my head at one point: it became evident that the double-crossing baddie was a black kid and that the “enemy” were his new crew, comprised of black kids – the talented Flawless in real-life.

This wouldn’t have mattered except that I also noted that the multi-racial goodie crew, Breaking Point, were lead by a very pretty white girl and that the new hero to save her broken heart was going to be a white guy. They then conducted the ultimate dance-off dressed in white.

I told myself that this was a minor detail, of course it didn’t detract from the film, after all I didn’t have an equality and diversity box to tick on the way out as I do on every lesson plan. At the end the audience seemed happy with the outcome, except one. My 5 yo. She had big tears rolling down her cheeks.

She didn’t like to say at first, but on gentle discussion it turned out that she had empathised and or identified, or even been a little bit in love with the double-crosser Jay who had left with his bad ass tail between his legs at the end. The double-crossing bit seemed to have either gone over her head, or have been of no consequence. Poor thing. The only one of us to come out of a feelgood movie, feeling bad.

I asked her about this in private later. It turns out, far from having a soft spot for double-crossing bad boys, she only likes “black or brown boys”. She ended the conversation about it by saying of the white ballet dancing male “hero” that she “hated him”. She’s 5, she speaks in absolutes. I am afraid this only confirms what I already know to be true. People who say that colour does not matter are usually white. I used to say it myself. It doesn’t matter when it has never directly affected your life.

On the other hand, if you are of a different race, it matters. Very much so at times indeed. So whilst the majority of the audience will have felt no way about the final outcome in Streetdance, my 5 year old, who clearly identifies herself with the black community (yesterday at least) had a very different view of the thing. And she’s right. When I returned to my original unease about the black kids being the bad crew, the magical winning couple being white and all the power players in the piece (the ballet school directors) being white, I wonder what other invisible slights the world has stored up for my kids along the way.

Magner’s Cider (in due course)

And again.

Prefers to be in the driver’s seat…

This is an experiment, blogging from my flickr account: you can tell it’s a dodgy weather bank holiday weekend…

Let’s see what happens?

Positive Sunday Vibes: ‘Mr Negativity…slope away’

And if that doesn’t work you’ll need to pick up a pair of these on your way out…

Saturdays promise so much: or a “Series of Disappointments”

Of course, it’s not quite so bad on the deliver so little front during the football close season, unless you are Milwall or Swindon fan, but most of you will get where I’m coming from with this?

The hopes and dreams (or wishes and horses) factor is multiplied at least tenfold on a Saturday. Hopes for sporting triumphs, a big win on the nags, the lottery, bingo even and of course the chances of a Big Night Out if you have any energy left after a working week (or money after paying a gas bill).

I find myself suddenly gripped today with an urge to go to Newmarket, but I am going to sit on that off-piste urge until it gives in. Saturdays are not great days for punting – too many races to get your head round and not enough iron discipline in constant supply either.

Today, instead, I will carry on reading a book: Hackney, that Rose-Red Empire by Iain Sinclair. This book, for a Hackney refugee like me, is like gold dust. On the page I am turning into streets I know like the back of my hand but I am discovering small creases on the palm that I have never noticed before. It is a delight.

Sinclair has written about, Stephen Gill’s photography of Hackney in the book and through a circuitous route I ended up at his website last night – the link goes directly to the Series of Disappointments collection, but I loved the Hackney Wick market photographs too.

These feature the rough house market that used to take place every Sunday morning a few minutes walk from our last London flat. It was not a market such as you would recognise, taking place on the dusty dirt of the old Hackney Wick dog track and car park. It had a definite air of frontier bandit country. We went once, intrigued by the thousands of people returning laden with blue carrier bags. The Guv’nor, as streetwise as you get, bought a radio with no insides. That’s the kind of place it was. And of course, you wouldn’t be taking it back.
No way.

So here are my radios without innards for today. At least I know they won’t tune in to nothing from the outset.

Lord Shanakill 3.30 Haydock
Mureb 5.05 Newmarket
Dazinkski 4.45 Haydock

And as it’s Greyhound Derby final night I am making a mental note to back the winner (T2 Lyreen Mover out of Lyreen Diva) and then buy this book. I miss dusty old Hackney and I miss the Lowlife.

~ Summer Come Down ~

The pushy sun rises
Before I fall in a

We emerge muddled with ice
Onto leaden streets stripped

The love leaf’s wearing thin
Too many genies

The plain city birds’
disgusting song

Remains of the Day (the flipside for Emily)

It’s been ID ed: A clearnose skate.

Well done forensic fish psychologist Emily.

But, now you have to finger the perp!

Waiting for Mud

Last weekend was the Mud Run. We went down to watch a friend in a Ukelele band who were planning on entertaining the crowds (in the mud naturally), but the tide was doing its own thing that morning and staying in and in and in…

In the absence of mud, the Ukes played anyway like seaside troubadours and the eldest, who loves a good fossick, unearthed this beast. Strictly speaking it’s only half a beast, note the fearsome spine. We were going to pop down to the Sealife Centre for ID purposes, but then we decided to have an ice-cream instead.

High points of the morning: watching the Foreshore Guard trying to keep the beach clear around a ringed plover’s nest (entirely undistinguishable from the stones even when clearly pointed out) & the Ukes who played “Feeling Groovy”.

Low points: lack of mud, omnipresent car parking wardens hanging about like vultures, and being told off by the Foreshore Guard for having Rudi’s evil dog paws on a lead on the beach (in contravention of byelaw number 3 zillion and twelve).

Foreshore Guards earn their dough, you know. It’s not all sitting in a hut watching the world promenade by…

A monster of the deep

Feeling Groovy

Turquoise & Rust

Feeling even groovier

The Transgressor eyes up the amusements


I’m not a big fan of the stuff, but I did rather take to the idea of one wall in a bold pattern a few years ago. Consequently we sport birds and cages in the downstairs loo, some swirling art nouveau homage in the front room and a Designers’ Guild with a smart Russian name that nods to a damask pattern in the bedroom.

Oh, and come to think of it, the girls have a spot of nautical bleached stripe below their dado which they delight in peeling off when they should be asleep in their beds. I have been trying to get some Cole & Son flamingos on one wall in the bathroom too with no success. I am told that it would fall off, but it wouldn’t: the room is big and doesn’t get damp in that way and I would nail it on to be sure. Perhaps I have this wallpaper thing worse than I first thought.

The Bathroom - note the wood floor mum!

Abluting Flamingos

One day.

And on another one day, not in this lifetime probably, I’d like a nice bit of De Gournay like these – painted directly onto silk.

Apologies for the lack of formatting, ideally they would be perfectly aligned.