Archive for July 2013
Back in January, when London was under a constant grey and weeping cloud, I trekked to Brixton and collected an old bike that I couldn’t yet ride. My blog entry on collecting my old Dutch explains all, I had decided in my mid-thirties to learn how to ride a bike. And I have. A mixture of listening to friends tips, a steely determination on a few Boris bikes when my friend Stephen and brother-in-law Adrian still hadn’t fixed mine up, a long bike ride sandwiched between my sister and Adrian which served as an unofficial cycling proficiency.
As my legs pushed up Kingsland Road in stifling city heat the other day (London has a habit of chosing between oxygen and sunshine, it’s impossible to breathe) I spotted a notice board with a quote from Albert Einstein.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
I instantly connected with this from the cyclists point of view as opposed to a new life mantra (Luther has been back on don’t you know? I need to sit very still for that). I think back to the many hesitations I’ve had as learner. Too slow when traffic lights change, too scared along the canal path that runs past my flat, too cautious around any movable object in general. The romantic, and slightly hipster, notion I had of peddling around care free like a scene from a French film isn’t the reality.
The point of my typing this is in The Guardian today Philip Hoare described not wearing a helmet as a case of civil liberties. How do I make my point without throwing too much weight behind the word helmet as an insult?
As someone who is effectively the Bambi of the cycling world I heavily rely on direction from responsible cyclists, courtesy and awareness from pedestrians and vehicles, unbreakable concentration and my cycling helmet. While I know that in a case of Hat Vs. Double Decker it wouldn’t act as a force field, it still helps as a reminder that I am vulnerable on two wheels. And you know, I think that’s a very good thing to have at the forefront of my mind while I practise and practise. Even after I stop ducking under the bridges along the towpath, and stop choosing to crash into concrete over the possibility of colliding with anyone or anything, I’ll never not wear one.
1. The much talked about Shake Shack may possibly topple my favourite burger joints in London (Patty & Bun and Dirty Burger). Don’t be put off by the queues, they are brilliantly quick at whizzing through orders. I was talked in to trying the Shake Stack (a cheeseburger with a lightly fried Portobello mushroom that is stuffed with their cheese sauce) along with crispy crinkle cut fries and one of their Concretes (frozen custard ice cream with “mixins”). If you leave your London cynic at home you’ll enjoy the enthusiastic and friendly (very American) service.
2. On Sunday evening I spent an evening utterly frightened and puzzled at a secret location in London courtesy of Punchdrunk theatre company. The Drowned Man was my first experience of promenade theatre, and though I suspect I missed huge chunks of the storyline due to lack of guidance the attention to detail and vastness of sets was impressive. I love that we all came away with a completely different experience. It is pricey but if you feel flush and want to immerse yourself in something completely different then do go. Tickets are limited but still available.
3. Public Service Broadcasting were a Glastonbury highlight for me. I thankfully remember their gig at the Lexington this week far more clearly and it will go down as a highlight for 2013. I’ve had a slight obsession with them since hearing London Can Take It on 6 Music a year ago. And for all the nerd girls out there you’ll find a heart-throb in bow tie wearing banjo playing J. Willgoose, Esq. A true fiek (fit geek). A band you have to experience live.
4. Adore this new track from Friends. Dev Hynes seems to be cropping up on so many amazing tracks right now. He’s made Samantha Urbani sound as if Kate Bush was born in the Bronx on The Way.
1. The original Sugababes line up, now Mutya, Keisha, Siobhan have released the full length Dev Hynes produced track Flatlines to the world. My pop tart side definitely coming out.
2. Leaving aside the fact that the video creeps me out slightly Julia Holter has released another clever and complex track In The Green Wild.
3. Phoenix were a Glastonbury highlight for me. I couldn’t have asked for any other band to officially close the Sunday night and if I tell you how many times I’ve watched their set back on iPlayer in the space of two weeks you’d worry. The video for Trying to be Cool gets the point of the track entirely.
4. Time to bring out the inner hipster. Ariel Pink featuring Jorge Elbrecht track Hang on to Life. Track of the week for me.
5. I’m not a fan of the Manic Street Preachers but adore their latest track Rewind the Film featuring Richard Hawley (that man probably being the reason why I’ve connected with this). The video is beautifully shot, bleak and melancholy.