Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Yey, legitimate procrastination (4)

There are two films that have brought me close to tears and to this day still make my eyes water at the thought of them. And they are Pather Panchali (the first part of the Apu trilogy) and Laputa.

I know, it's not manly to cry over the village people or even cartoons, but there you have it, the only two films that have touched me.

I won't tell you what parts are the tear jerking moments If you've watched them, you'll know.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Yey, legitimate procrastination! (3) - Fight!

All right, this is the one I've been looking forward to. I love a good fight as anyone who knows me will testify. And of course, like many other youtubers, I love to watch classic fight scenes from the movies that I love.

By far and away, the bulk of the coolest fight scenes come from the Far East. There is something about an East Asian fight that is just 'wow, wow, wow'. I suppose it is the lack of guns that make it so appealing. But I will start in America and cross the Pacific in my epic quest for the ultimate fight. How could we ever forget the classic fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris in Way of the Dragon. Funky or what? But even though I start with a classic from Martial Arts, lets not forget some epics. Swords and Sandals, I loved this one from Gladiator. And here's one from a modern day arena to drool over.

Ah, so many fights, but what is my favourite? Well, yes, it is going to be from the Far East. And I haven't even given Rocky or Kill Bill a mention. Forgive me for forgetting them in my quest to reveal my happiest oggle moments.

From Japan, Zatoichi. I love this guy. Hard drinking, hard gambling and with funky hair.

From Thailand, Ong Bak. I love Tony Jaa and the very Earth he walks on should be scared. He doesn't use any wires or stuntmen or graphics, he is pure hard core.

From China, Crouching Tiger. Still amazing to watch and I love the fact that the best fighters in this film were the women.

But my favourite, and it has been a hard one to choose, comes from Korea. Enjoy the Oldboy.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Yey, legitimate procrastination! (2)

Dancing is essential in every movie. A little bit of music and a lot of funk makes anyone look good when they skip to the beat. I don't care how straight laced you are, a dance willl make the most miserable person tap their feet to the beat and will uplift any film. The classics such as Saturday Night Fever, Fame and Flashdance spring to mind as films that were a bit 'eh', but sod it the dancing made up for it.

But these are oldies, we're looking at least at a quarter of a century since these were made. Are there any fresh ones out there. Well, yes, plenty. Fans of French cinema must surely remember the wicked beats from Le Projects while people who love the wacky stuff have got to admire the moonboots on this guy. And I could watch this one all night long, wow, what a lady and what a dance.

However, my favourite dance scene comes from a film that you least expect. I don't know why, but I really like it. It may never go down as a classic, but man it is most definitely danceable!

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Tossers

In fifty years time, these guys will be part of the greatest famine known to man. Will I feel sorry for them?

Yey, legitimate procrastination! (1)

While being a film maker, one of the things I love doing the most is looking at other trailers on the net. When getting started with the editing, I always cut a trailer, even if it is for a short. The main reason is that it is relatively easy to do, you get to see a lot of the footage and it is pretty much instant gratification

Some trailers ooze cool that make you wet yourself on just seeing them. Some bring back the sweet memories of your childhood. A lot of trailers are better than the films they represent. A few do not do the film they represent any justice. And a few are completely misleading (a shame as that last one was a great film).

But, I'm going to have to pick a favourite and so here it is. Possibly my favourite trailer, ever. It does everything a trailer should do and the film is wicked as well.

Friday, 27 July 2007

I want my MTV!

I got to admit that I am the king of procrastination. Hey, why do you think I actually write a blog. It isn't just for the fun of writing somethin g new and fresh everyday, but it is also a great way to delay doing something useful annd productive for your life (just when did blogging pay?) However, the real way to delay is youtube. Some people belive facebook is a way of wasting your life and it is true, to an extent. But how many times can you poke the same people until your finger hurts? Nah, my king of timewasting, apart from writing these posts, is youtube and all the other video sharing channels out there. I put enough of my own stuff on there. But also I like to watch other things too. It's like tv, but without the boring bits or adverts.

So for the next week, sit back and enjoy the clips I love to flick to, now and then.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

'Summer' reveals all on the Charlie D. Show!

Charlie D.: And welcome back ladies and gentlemen. Today we have a couple who have reached a stalemate in their relationship. We have Summer from the south who has been missing from his home for the last three months. His wife, The Sun is going crazy wondering where he is. And here on The Charlie D. show, we're going to see if we can get the two back together again. So give it up for Summer!

Audience whoops as Summer comes from backstage. He grins to the audience.

Summer: Who da man! Who da man!

Audience whoops. Some girls do a strip tease in the front. The camera blurs their images in a vain attempt to censor their antics.

Audience: Go summer! Go summer!

Charlie D. looks bewiledered at the cooly dressed Summer who poses for the crowd before coming down to his seat.

Charlie D: So. Sumer. Just where have you been all this time.

Summer laughs.

Summer: Aw, Charlie, you know.
Charlie D: Well, your wife The Sun says you been missing for what, three months or so. So just what have you been getting upto?
Summer: Look man, I can't help it. You know, I guess I'm a sucker for the ladies. And La Nina is the sexiest lady of them all! I mean, I'm hooked!

Audience starts booing and hissing.

Summer: Come on, guys, you got to agree with me here, it's all about the Latin beat!
Charlie D: What, you telling me that British Girls just ain't good enough for you.

Audience really boos.

Summer: No man, I dig the chicks here. But you now, La Nina only pops round every few years, so you got to catch her when she's hot! But you know wherever there is fitness, I'm there. I mean, I dig Hungarian beanies. But South America, Mmm!

Men in audience cheer, but the women drown them out.

Charlie D: You know what, I think we got to see the fuller picture. Let's bring out your wife.
Summer: Oh S**t!
Charlie D: Yep, your wife has been backstage listening on. It's The Sun.

Music as The Sun comes out. Audience instantly puts on shades and starts cheering.

The Sun goes straight towards Summer and starts beating him.

Sun: You mother****er! You little bast**d! I been at home expecting you for nine f**king months and this is what I get! Some cheap harlot from the South Pacific. You motherf**er!

Sun takes off her shoe and repeatedly beats Summer.

Summer: But baby, ow!

Bouncer tries to calm The Sun down.

The Sun: Motherf**ker! I will kill you.

Bouncer eventually calms The Sun down as she sits down. She pulls her chair away from Summer.

Summer: Yo baby, calm down.

Charlie D looks on. He grins.

Charlie D: You know, I don't know if I should do this...

Charlie D sighs and looks at the audience.

Charlie D: Should I?
Audience: Go Charlie, go Charlie.
Charlie D: Sun, what would you like to do right now?
Sun: Charlie hon, I want to find that little b**ch, La Nina and slap her down for tussling with my man.
Charlie D: Well...
Audience: Go Charlie! Go Charlie!
Charlie D: All right, ladies and gentlemen, give it up for, La Nina!

Audience whoops as La Nina struts down the staircase. Funky beats rule in the background. La Nina struts in front of the audience. The Sun can no longer take it and grabs La Nina. They tussle and suddenly The Sun rips of La Nina's wig.

Sun: There you go Summer, there's your girl, just another little boy!
Summer: Oh s**t.
La Nina/El Nino: You know honey, I am more woman that you could ever be, and that is why I got your man!
Sun: You motherf**ker!

Sun grabs La Nina/El Nino and they begin to tussle. Summer looks on, shocked. Audience keeps whooping. The Bouncers lets the fight continue.

---

Charlie D: Well, at the end of the show, there are few words one can say. Let's all hope that during this uncomfortable time for all the participants involved that they can live together and hopefully bring a little ray of sunshine into all their lives. I'm Charlie D, and you've been watching The Charlie D. Show

'Thames liable to flood-

-ing!' Screamed the newspaper headline so I turned expecting to see parts of London on flood alert. It would have been the first I heard of it. Oops, of course not. London is perfectly safe (those words could haunt me in a couple of weeks), so why did a London based newspaper make me panic! I would have read it regardless.

Anyway, I looked on the map provided and found out that the Thames stretches all the way to somewhere near Bristol. Wow, some funky place named Gloucester. Look at these vast areas covered in blue. Well, as a Metropolitain, it hasn't affected Gatwick, Stanstead or Luton so I guess the country can't be in that bad a shape.

But you have to admire the Blitz Spirit that takes over HM's Subjects when a catastrophe hits the British people. It's a sign of community and strength that you have to admire; the charity and the restraint that 'we' show in the times of adversity is surely something that we could teach the rest of the world how we can deal with a disaster and still come out intact!

---
Nick. I wish she popped out of my cake.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

living the dream

Last night while at work, I had a dream. It came to me through the air, wafting its fine sugary scent into my consciousness. And from there I realised that I wanted to live the fantasy, I wanted to live the dream! I wanted it all but especially I wanted it now. Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie is what I thought, let me at it! I want it all and I may well not say please. I will cross by-passes and flooded underpasses to get there and so finally fulfil a neon lit desire.

---

This morning, after only four hours sleep, the idea of coffee and doughnuts repulses me.

Monday, 23 July 2007

bloody e-mails

Monday morning, check e-mail.s Tons of crap (some may say spam) from the useless, a few interesting ones but nothing really urgent for my attention. Damn. Must reply, but now looking at e-mail bankruptcy. How do I cope. Not just one or two but 7 e-mail accounts and believe it or not they all mean something. There's a personal account, hardly looked at and I don't know why I even bother. There's one for a previous start up, a junkmail account, current business account, one for the youtube accounts one for another set of youtube accounts and one for making online purchases. So many e-mails to look at, most spam, most not that cool and in fact argh, it is too much for my mind to cope with. The finger hovers over the key that will resign all my inbox to its fate as 'trash'. I must do it, I must. It is getting oh-so-cluttered.

One thing that was fun in my inbox. Enjoy!

Sunday, 22 July 2007

...babes, it's a london thing...

Sometimes the incompetence of this city can make you laugh.

Sometimes it will make you cry.

But most of all, we're just incompetent.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

A few of my favourtie things - Her!

'Her touch her eyes and of course her hair,
Seeing her dancing and then when she sings...'

---

There is nothing as uncontrollably beautiful as she. Everything about her is indescribable to this man but of course as I like to try my hand at writing now and then, I do try to clumsily describe the feelings within me. If only she could actually realise the immense power she holds. Her form is something that radiates everything that is good and wholesome about humanity. James Brown sang his soul for her. Tenoch and Julio drove round Mexico for her. Sometimes we don't realise what she is until years later. But sooner or later we'll clock it. She has caused men to go blind and betray themselves just for a glimpse of what could be.

And no matter what, we always think the same thing. She's worth it.

Friday, 20 July 2007

A few of my favourite things - Filming!

As I wrote plenty about the weather last week, we will swiftly skip onto the next verse.

‘Writing and filming and travelling everywhere’

---

I’ve been writing since I was a kid. Unpopular and with no friends I turned to the pen to light my way. Night after night I sweated by the lamp of a paraffin burner endlessly scribbling down ideas, hopes and dreams. For years I carried on this endeavour until one day I decided that London was no longer the place of dreams but just a dishevelled mass of concrete and sewerage. So I headed abroad to sunnier climes and feisty food. But ending up bankrupt I ended up back where I began, in the armpit suburbs. Penniless and hopeless I stuck out at filming. Despite the fact that I can hold a camera without shaking, my films have received accolade after accolade. What they are shall remain a secret for all eternity until they are actualy received, probably by someone who knows me little but licks my bottles. And after all, who wouldn’t want to share the delights of my creations on this merry little town.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

A few of my favourite things - Naughty!

Girls in the summer and all that is naughty!

---

It's July and for the Northern Hemisphere that means hot temperatures and long summer evenings slipping into humid nights. But of course, it's been freezing this year so all the promise of heat has been chucked out of the window. Summertime, the hormones start racing and everyone feels frisky, ready to reproduce and get funky. For nine months of the year we shuffle in overcoats and big woolly caps so for the three months of June, July and August we flaunt what we got. Everything comes out and suddenly your eyes open up to what is actually a beautiful city underneath the doom and gloom that is normally London.

Just the other day as I was swinging my bus round the corner when I brought the 14 ton monster to a stop, just to get a better look...I may have tooted the horn a few times. Could that alleged act be interpreted as harassment or was that just a reflex action? Is it my fault that I have such a great vantage point in an otherwise dull job. Come on, do you really think bus drivers are actually checking out your passes?

And naughty, that is what the summer brings out in all of us. For nine months we are reserved and boring. But for three months of the year, being naughty is allowed and fun. Try Finsbury Park if you're feeling naughty. In fact, try all the parks as being naughty makes summer fun, and of course, is one of my favourite things...

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

A few of my favourite things - WD40!

'Wiping oily hands with W, D-Forty.'

---

Last week I was cycling back for my lunch break when my chain suddenly seized up into the cogs. A little bit of a hairy experience when you got a bus trying to overtake you. So I bunny hopped onto the pavement and after five minutes of yanking, managed to free my chain and so cycled off again.

Of course, my hands were then filled with grease.

On arriving home, I tried washing my hands with soap and water. No good, the grease wouldn't shift. It's like an extra layer of skin or getting mud on you after playing in a rainy filed. However, no matter how hard I scrubbed, the grease just wouldn't shift.

But luring in the corner of the patio was a can of WD 40. Possibly the most useful invention known to man, if there is a problem in the house, spray some Wd 40 onto it and it will do the trick. Probably.

Well, I was hungry and I had filthy hands. I had two choices to clean or to go dirty. I chose the can of lube and a squeaky clean finish. And hey preston, instant sheen with a tingle in your skin...

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Pizza - Coming soon...

A few of my favourite things - FOOD!

Brown rice all fluffy and dinky fried doughnuts.
Cod, Snapper, Herring. Tuna and Halibuts.
Plenty of meat that is tied up with string.
These are a few of my favourite things!

---

Mmm, I love eating, cooking, shopping for food (the only shopping I enjoy). I love the taste of good meat and fantastic fish. Freshly caught and brought from the beach. Lightly seasoned or heavily cooked, it is all good. Good rice, my favourite staple especially the red rice from Jaffna, the same colour as our hard red soil. Doughnuts, oh yeah baby, is there anything greater? Yes there is. Fruits and vegetables, tropical and less exotic, it's all good, but a pain in the neck to rhyme with, hence their exclusion. I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't take drugs, but boy, do I eat a few of my favourite things often and with gusto! And cooking. Man, I love to cook!

Monday, 16 July 2007

Call for Muppets!

As the Silly Season has begun this great city would like to issue a call for anymore cockstains, wankers and fuckwits to put their hat in the race for the glittering prize of tinkering with the local bus service.

Ugh, we got a whole nine months of this.

---

And do you really think I have any sympathy for these dicks after their cock-ups?

Editing puts me in a bad mood.

A few of my favourite things!

Brown rice all fluffy and dinky fried doughnuts.
Cod, Snapper, Herring. Tuna and Halibuts.
Plenty of meat that is tied up with string.
These are a few of my favourite things!

Wiping oily hands with W,D-Forty.
Girls in the summer and all that is naughty.
Thunders and Monsoons and all of the Springs.
These are a few of my favourite things!

(Okay, last verse)

Writing and filming and travelling everywhere.
Her Eyes, her touch, her smell and of course her hair.
Seeing her dancing and then when she sings.
These are a few of my favourite things!

When all life sucks. When all life stings.
when I'm feeling bad...
I simply remember my favourite things.
and then I don't feel so sad...

---

A better version here.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

The randomness of blogging

While randomly hopping through the news services, it was interesting to come across this article on how London is sinking. We were actually fortunate enough to be taught about the isostatic tilt/rising sea levels general sinking into the clay mush of London at school. So it is no big surprise. However, the surprise really comes when you think how unadvanced are the ideas for a new barrier. We have not got long until this one runs out.

---

And I was very happy to have out-predicted wikipedia. Yesterday they talked about the climate of India which I have been flirting with over the last week with my monsoon series. How will I next out predict them?

---

And finally, a funny one from the youtube files. Now we have to see how Brown will ‘perform’.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Another Friday evening in South London

---

Location: South London street.
Time: Just before tea time.

We see a mild mannered traffic warden eye up the registration plate of a van.

He types some information into his key pad, take a photo with his digital camera and issues a ticket.

The traffic warden issues the ticket and walks merrily away to his scooter, parked nearby.

---

Location: The same South London street.
Time: Moments later.

The driver of the aforementioned van comes out of a cafe holding a cup of tea, and for a change, a bagel.

He comes upto his van. He notices the ticket.

The van driver screams, ‘You fucking c-n-u-t!’

---

Location: A little further down that same South London Street.
Time: A minute or two after that.

We see the traffic warden merrily riding on his scooter down the road.

He hears a revving behind him.

He turns to look and sees a huge silver van.

That is the last thing he notices as the van rams the scooter off the road.

---

Location: A pavement on that South London Street.
Time: Seconds later.

Our plucky little traffic warden leaps of his scooter and tumbles onto the pavement.

The van mounts the kerb.

There goes the scooter.

Our traffic warden rolls away.

The van misses him by inches.

Our van then drives off and scoots round the corner.

---

You don't believe me?

Friday, 13 July 2007

Memories of the Monsoon

I could make this topic last forever and ever, such is the British fascination with the weather. But as the week draws to a close, so must I and so today marks the end of the brief but inspired series on the monsoon.

---

Although I didn't clock it at the time, my first monsoon was in the Seychelles when I was four. There's not much you can remember about a family holiday at that age, but I do remember being at the house of my Great-Grandparents. On that day, the bulk of my family were indoors and I think they were celebrating my mum's birthday. It was raining hard and I was outside in the backyard, standing in the rain. I remember that back yard well, a staircase leading up the hill side and couple of Giant Tortoises as pets in their enclosures. I looked up and saw my Great-grandmother standing in the veranda looking out at the rain.

---

Millennium, summertime, Colombo. After returning from an epic journey from the dry, dusty north of Sri Lanka I arrived back in the capital top spend my last 5 days in the country. Not one day was dry, and every road was flooded. Walking round the Fort was like taking a second shower. Colombo is a party town but it is not the most pleasant of cities at the best of times as it usually rains on a daily basis anyway. But in the monsoon, it just sucks.

---

Last year, in the north. Seeing the monsoon for the first time in the open plains of the Vanni. Or what should have been the open plains. Acre after acre of flooded land. The railway was just above the floodwater and there was the odd tree sticking up out of the floodscape. Weird but beautiful. Although there are wet seasons all over the world, when you see it for yourself, just how much a landscape can change with a lot of water, it is breath taking. Somehow the train kept on rumbling north, never sinking into that water. Breathtaking.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Visiting the Monsoon

The common cpnception of the monsoon is that great band of rainfall that strikes much of the Indian Sub-Continent (in particular Bangladesh) and floods it. And it is occuring at around this time.

---

Then there is the ''other monsoon''. As this part hits the Tamil areas of the Sub-Continent, most people outside these areas are completely unaware of its existence.

---

This includes myself. Until last year I didn't realise that the NE Monsoon could actually be so evil. I went to Sri Lanka in a pair of jeans and was looking forward to the hot dry weather of the North to actually getting them washed and dried in a day. And then I arrived in Mannar.



Although this is known as the Dry Monsoon, its origins in Tibet means that after crossing the Bay of Bengal it hits the next landmass with all the force of...well, a monsoon.

---

The reason for all this monsoon musing is quite simple. Again, I find myself with some holiday time coming up in November. Now where do I go? I was thinking the Seychelles, but that same monsoon continues across the Indian Ocean until it also hits those little islands in the sea. After the wet and wild 'summer' that we are experiencing over here, I think I need somewhere a little drier...

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Livin' da vida Monsoon

'We danced barefoot in Morocco, the Maldives and the Monsoon'

(advert for a travel company currently plastered over much of South London)

---

Living in a monsoon for any extended period of time does take some getting used to. For the weeks leading upto the first rains, it is unbearably hot, dry and dusty. Life slows as people look up at the heavens and hope. You hear a rumble in the distance and you think, 'Mmm, maybe this evening'. But instead of the cooling rain, you sped the night tossing annd turning in the heat.

And then in comes. Suddenly. The thunder rumbles overhead and the rains pour down. The heavens open and whoosh. Everywhere you go is water. Children play in the wet, adults smile and the days get tolerably cooler.

And then it keepps raining. After the first day is all said and done, the next day you wake up and find not just puddles but impromtu lakes everywhere. Step outside and your feet will be greeted by mud and water migled together in some new concoction. Everything grinds to a halt. The roads become impassable, landslides block the railways and brdiges are brought down by surges along the river. Suddenly a functioning society goes 'pop'.

And then there is the smell. Gone is the refreshing taste of new rain. Instead there are months of stagnant pools of pap. And I'm being nice with the description. In these pools of pap rest diseases that will conquer the hardiest of immune systems and send you packing off to bed in a fit of pain (bollocks it's a rare disease). And when you're sent off to bed, the smell of damp keeps you awake. Oh yes, do not expect your clothes to dry out. Drying yourself with a towel becomes a health hazard and don't even think about washing a pair of jeans.

And when you want to go out, there is just no incentive. As soon as you do you know you are going to get plastered with water, mosquitos and open sewers.

---

'The rain dripped down pitter-patter on the tin roof as the rickshaw glided elegantly outside my window. I stopped and looked up at the ferocious cloud gthering overhead as the sweat dripped off my brow. The cooling air swept in, ending the stifling heat of a night of passion'

(Mismanaged quotes from an ordinary writer)

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Monsoon London

Thanks to the beautiful Monsoon Wedding, most people living in the UK associate the Monsoon with something like:

'A romantic stroll interupted by a passing shower and so seeking shelter with your loved one under a tin roof while rickshaw riders glide serenely past...'

Mmm. A Monsoon is not fun.

Anyone who has lived in London for the last month has had a taster of what a monsoon could be like. It has rained in ridiculous amounts and heavily each time, very different from the normal drizzle we are used to. All right, we were not hit by the floods but it has been a drip soddingly wet time in the Capital recently. Anyone walking around South London at around 4pm-ish yesterday should have been absolutely soaked. Thunder and lightning ripped through the air, the sewers overflowed and there were a lot of wet t-shirts...

And that is just a taster. A monsoon makes a place that normally looks like this:



To something like this:



Not yet are the full effects of climate change upon us. But it's coming. And we better get used to it.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Ring-ring

I love my mobile, I love it so much, I cannot survive a day without it, it is the world's greatest invention, I would rather die than live without a mobile, I would sell my own mother for a bit of top up time!

---

People really like their mobile phones. I know a lot who have two phones. And yes, they are useful. I know that it is a pain in the behind to try and get any filming done without a mobile and having lost my phone three months ago, the week in which it took to replace it was a tricky set of events in terms of organisation.

I left my mobile in my locker over the weekend and actually it was quite relaxing having the weekend without it. You should try it, switching it off for a while. It makes you feel, funky.

Of course the spread of the mobile phone has been a curse in the development of basic social skills. Being late is now justified as you can 'text' your punctuality down to the last minute. And the amount of times that I have heard 'I'm on the bus', it never ceases to amaze me.

However, mobile phones are the next stage in human evolution. People who walk out in front of large vehicles while chatting or even worse, texting. Even better are the drivers who text, eat and drive a manual (shift stick) car/van/tipper truck at the same time. We can see a real skewering in the population.

---

Human interaction does suffer thanks to the mobile phone. There are countless times I see children getting up to anything while their parents are chatting away on the mobile. I can see the first words of a child changing to 'ring-ring' anytime soon. Also when in the shops, you get customers chatting on a mobile phone and searching their wallets/purses for money and cards while the cashier patiently waits. That is rude.

The other day I was driving my peasant wagon through some peasant-esque parts of South London (hey, which parts of South London are 'unpeasant-esque'). I pulled up to the stop an someone barked out, 'Does this bus to to X?' Of course, she was on a mobile and I don't answer. Then I was asked again, oblivious and I nodded. She of course didn't notice. This went on for a little bit until she screamed that she was 'Only looking for some help'. I then pointed to her mobile phone.

I will always help those in need. But if you want my full attention, get off your phone first. Unlike a cashier, I don't get fired for being rude...

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Crossings of the River Thames 3 - Kingston Bridge

We swing round the loop in the Thames and come to crossing number three, Kingston Bridge. And surprisingly for what seems to be such a bland suburb, its crossing over the river has a huge history to it.

Kingston has two claims to fame. Firstly, it was the coronation point for 'Seven Saxon Kings of Old' (but none of the good ones like Alfred the Great or Edward the Confessor) and secondly its bridge. Yep, Kingston Upon Thames was the first crossing point upstream from London Bridge until 1729, and as one of the oldest crossing points over the River Thames it made this part of the world actually quite important. As you can see, transport in the 'London Area' was as convoluted back then as it is now. This ramshackled wooden bridge made Kingston an important node in the transport hub of what would eventually become South West London and in fact the main reason why Kingston Upon Thames today is still a 'Metropolitan Centre' of the suburbs is due entirely to its crossing over the Thames.

This little wooden bridge became a focal point for trade and tales. Some say that there was a crossing here since Roman Times, but Kingston's Roman history has always remained dubious. There was definitely a fording point during the Saxon era, when Kingston really came into its own and from 11th century there is documentary evidence of a crossing over the River. Of course being Kingston Upon Thames, any history about the old bridge is scant at best.

The old bridge however has left its mark on the present landscape of the riverside and here we can see the view from the old approach towards the 'new' bridge which was first constructed a little further upstream in 1828.
I say 'first' constructed for a reason. The new Kingston Bridge has been widened twice since its grand opening in 1828. Once in 1914 on the downstream side in order to stop the local population from being knocked over by trams and again in 2000 on the upstream side as part of general repairs to the bridge. So this single crossing is in fact three bridges all pasted together. Only when you go underneath the bridge do you see the full impact of the various bits that have been bolted onto this river crossing.


Kingston Bridge itself is not that bad a crossing and is probably one of the better designed bridges over the River Thames. This is in no small part due to its widening in 2000. It consists of two (fairly narrow) lanes for general traffic in either direction. Add to this a bus lane going towards Kingston and cycle paths on both sides of the bridge as well as wide pavements to take the masses over the Thames.

Being my home town, I have used Kingston Bridge more than any other crossing over the River. During this tour of the river there are a few crossings that I have never utilised before, but Kingston bears quite the opposite distinction. I have driven or have been driven, numerous times over it. I have walked over it and I have cycled over it countless times. I have also walked beneath it plenty of times (part of the bridge overhangs both river banks) and have rowed beneath it once. It is 'my' crossing in the sense that I have used it so many times in the past and will probably continue to do so in the future. Not only is it a functional crossing, but it is also quite a handsome bridge, it arches makes an imposing image over the river. It is probably the prettiest structure in Kingston and its listed status is actually something that is actually deserved. It is one of London's understated crossings, but not for want of being quiet. Around 50,000 vehicles use it everyday but do so in relative ease, despite the stupid one way system that exists in the town centre. But it is one of London's more graceful crossings and an engineering delight that has been adapted twice to modern conditions and yet has retained its original architectural features. A case study in how to do something right. A combination of practicality and sound aesthetics. It's a shame the rest of this part of South London hasn't taken a leaf out of its book in the rest of its design.


Getting there:

Nearest Train: Kingston. Buses: The bridge is in the town centre but for the extremely lazy routes 111, 216, 281, 285, 411 and 481 along with 451, 461 and 513 serve stops closest to the bridge on both sides of the river. X26 serves the Southbank (Kingston Side) only.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

The Greatest Video Game - Ever!

Sod it, even the BBC agree that Zelda is pure sex when it comes to a control pad.

In the nineties I lost my life to the SNES. I really mean lost it. I spent hours dodging around on Mario Kart. So much so that when recently attending an exhibition on the wonderful inventions, I whipped my friend's butt when it came to the old kart. The reflexes remain implanted in your thumbs forever.

And Zelda (along with Secret of Mana) remained firmly implanted in my heart, I was the king of the RPG.

And then my exams came along. And so did the upgrading of the consoles. Now, I am not the most studious of people (remember I've ended up as a bus driver) and I realised to upgrade to the N64 would mean flunking my exams.

So I wrapped everything and boxed my preciosu SNES away. Only occasioanlly allowing myself brief glimpses of the gaming world. But I cast myself out forever. And I never got to play the 'Occarina of Time', officially the world's greatest game.

But I will, oh yes, I will. One day, I will return to the video gaming world. And I will play the world's greatest video game. And I will agan, loose myself in the beauty that can only be attained as the master of the control pad.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Zzz

I'm so tired. So very tired. Everyday I post letters. It is so tiring. I must get up very, very early, when the rain is falling and the wind is howling. I must walk to the sorting office. Yes, there is an 'office' to sort out the letters. Big letters, small letters, ordinary letters. I like the letters. But it's very early for me. My head hurts and I feel sleepy. And my bed is so small, I never get enough sleep at night. Ah, sleep. Zzzzzzz.


Monday, 2 July 2007

Acting on...

It's that time of the month (or a little bit late) that I talk about what's been driving on the side of the double deckers throughout June.

Actually, it's been a bit of a bit of a mixed month. A lot of advert for a lot of stuff. Buy, buy, buy! Seems to be the way forward now that summer is here (in spirit if not in reality) and everything and anything is up for sale. There's nothing dominating the panels, no one big advertising blitz.

But there was one advert that did catch my eye over the last month. The 'Impulse' poster screaming up and down the local high streets. They have a new range of fragrances based on Paris, New York and London. This really tickled my sense of humour. I know lynx has stupid names like 'Africa' for its products, but everyon knows that they all smell the same and the whole 'lynx effect' is a really stupid running gag. But 'Impulse' for cities. Hah!

What would the smell be? Smog, open sewerage, over running bins? The list of smells is endless, but often, not pleasant, when describing a city.

All right, maybe it is not the actual smell of the city they are trying to capture, but the 'feel' of the city. New York, yeah it's stylish. Paris, yeah it's chic. London...well, that's a tricky one. What are they trying to capture. The Friday night war zone, the friendliness of the tube, the smell of the city? They should have gone for 'Impulse Tokyo', a far better choice of 'funky'. London is just, 'bleugh'.

But despite all that, I do like their TV Ads.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Bits and Bobs

While I write up this blog, I thought I would take you for a tour of the little place I like to call home. First of all, welcome to my lair and what 'Babarouge Ltd is all based on.



A damn mess, but it is all organised chaos. On the left is my diary, the source of all my woes and wonders. An invaluable ddocument, so I recently duplicated all the numbers in them (I rarely store numbers on my mobile). Moving across the table is my beautifully overloaded computer, surrounded by two hard drives and a couple of phones. Earphones, essential as I am currently editing the Funky Brothers and the ubiquitous pile of paperwork. I'm sure there is a tax form somewhere there.

As I move along I come to one of my sister's creations.



Lovingly presented to the public, this is true marketing genius that only occurs when you are working way past the witching hour.

And finally, now that I have finished the application for that grant, I thought I would engage in a little pleasure read to stimulate the mind.



I've had my eye on this book for the last month and now I have a little free time, I am looking forward to devouring it. Yeah, I kknow, I am a saddo, but I actually read that for fun.