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Showing posts from December, 2011

The weather inside the British Library

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It was filthy and miserable outside. But in the locker room at the British Library yesterday it was as if there were multicoloured mushrooms growing on top of the cabinets.

The climate inside the library is one in which people believe the other users will not steal their pretty umbrellas even once they've dried out. This pleases me.

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Is Secret Cinema the most entertained you can be?

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As a student I spent half a year abroad in Washington DC, studying politics and working for a politician (Senator Carl Levin from Michigan, since you ask. A great man). This was in the days before Monica Lewinsky gave interning a bad name, which gives you some idea of quite how long ago it was.

I learnt lots of things, including that, although it's very important that you try, sometimes it's impossible to get along with room-mates, especially if you didn't choose them yourself; that - relatedly - exercise can be a great panacea; and also that America is full of excellent opportunities to be passively entertained. I learnt some stuff about politics too but that's a different story.

My favourite haunt, and one that left a big impression on me was called the cinema and drafthouse in Arlington and I'm delighted to see that it's still open.


There it is *smiles at the memory* In particular I liked it because it was a new concept to me. You could go along and watch a …

My set-top box is oppressed by Hells Angels

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I don't know whether this is normal, as I don't have much to compare it with really: I've lived in the same place since set-top boxes were invented. But my set-top box comes over all temperamental every time a motorbike buzzes past. There's something about the frequency of their engine vibrations that makes the screen wiggle and the sound disappear.

This probably wouldn't be a problem for most people with my model of set-top box. Unfortunately, I live right next to some traffic lights and the TV is in the front room, meaning that on occasion motorbikes are sat there for several minutes at a time, buzzing away and waiting for the lights to change.

And even then that wouldn't necessarily be a problem... But on the other side of the traffic lights is the Hackney Road, where the club house of the Hell's Angels of Great Britain is located. Well, it's on Dawson Street, which is a side road. But you know what I mean.


Yes, I know. Ha ha.

Now don't get me wr…

Wonderful Wilton's

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Wilton's Music Hall is just off Cable Street, near Aldgate, and has the distinction of being the oldest surviving music hall building in the world. It is also rather unusual in that it appears to have the ability to make everyone who goes there cooler and better looking merely by association (which could be useful if you're looking for somewhere to go on a date).

I realised this when I visited last Friday, to see a band called The Destroyers, which I wrote about in my other - music - blog.


With its stripped down walls, delicately moulded plasterwork and niagra of fairy lights, it has a glamour that creeps up on you. The place is magical, dramatic, apparently awash with the dreams of its many thousands of performers and audiences. It also seems to be in a bit of a state of disrepair.

I've been hearing for years about attempts to find funding for refurbishment, reading about it in newspapers, hearing about it on the local TV news. I even heard about it in person once, when I…