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Archive for July, 2005

What to do on a Saturday morning?

Saturday, July 9th, 2005

Was going to go to Kew gardens today….  but brrrr.  I think it’s a little too chilly and overcast right now.  Perhaps tomorrow.

In the meantime,  I’m really tempted to either go back to one of the street markets or just wander around Oxford Circus.

I really like how here in London books are commonly advertised on these huge posters in the Underground.  I think it says something about how much of a market there really is for popular books here.  And these ads are not just for light beach-reads or books by Sophie Kinsella (i’m a fan!) or popularist self-help books like Who Moved My Blackberry?, but also more serious non-fiction works like The Corporation, and Niall Ferguson’s Colossus (parts of which I had to read for my International Relations class last semester). 

Similarly, a good third of the posters in the London Underground are for cultural events, concerts, historic places, West End productions and exhibitions.  Contrast this with Boston, where advertising in and around the T is essentially monopolised by print ads for purely-consumeristic goods and services that at most only pretend to have some kind of cultural content (like the Boston Marathon-themed Addidas campaign).

I figure if I’m going to have to look at ads anyway, I may as well discover something about Hampton Court Palace or learn that the Australian Ballet will shortly be in town performing Swan Lake.  Very few ginormous cK underwear ad-type billboards in this city (actually, I’ve seen none to date).

London attacked

Thursday, July 7th, 2005

I live just five tube stops away from my work place at Old Street, and travel through Moorgate, one of the affected stations, on a daily basis (look up a tube map).  I often go into the office early, in which case I would be on the train at just past 9am and at Moorgate at about 9.15am, which would have been terrible. 

While I was walking home I was very conscious of the endless police sirens and the sound of many helicopters overhead, and feeling very somber and vulnerable (even now I can still hear them constantly, hours later). 

This is a very sad day for London, and contrasts painfully with the euphoria of the last few days, what with the excitement and hope of Live 8, and again when the Americans here celebrated  Independence Day and just yesterday when London joyfully won its bid to host the 2012 Olympics.  Although these attackers have been successful in violently disrupting the lives of Londoners today (hundreds of thousands of people are presently trying to leave the city and get home without the benefit of most public transport), we must be thankful that the deadly attacks were relatively contained, isolated events that occurred quite close to each other in central London. 

The people here have been generally calm and determined to recover quickly from the attacks, although people are understandably worried and distressed as well.  There has been an admirable response from police, transport, health and emergency services as well as government officials.  I can only wonder how much disruption there will be for the coming weeks and months before the underground system is restored, and mobile phone networks have been unreliable all day and even now some ten hours later.

(12:15am, London time)

Bars, clubs and movie theatres across the city are filled with people.  Bus and tube services are returning to normal and Tony Blair has returned to Gleneagles to continue with the G8 summit.

The official death toll now stands at 38.

(12:10pm, London Time)

This may be my last report on this, God-willing there will be nothing much more to say.

Tony Blair has given a televised statement from Gleneagles, Scotland where he is hosting the G8 conference which started yesterday, which is also when London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics.  The Prime Minister expressed his deepest sympathies for the victims, condemned those responsible, and indicated that he would be leaving the summit within the next few hours to return to London.

Confirmed reports of fatalities are starting to be made public.  The number is currently at two and expected to rise.

National Rail services coming into London have been suspended, bringing all public transport into the city to a halt.

(11:05am, London Time)

Nothing has happened for a while now, which is good news.  The Metropolitan Police Chief is giving preliminary reports of six “events”, possibly explosions, at Liverpool Street, Russell Square, Moorgate, East Aldgate Station, King’s Cross and Edgware Road.  Accodring to eye-witnesses there are many casualties, and likely fatalities, although officials are unwilling to confirm or speculate.

(10:48am, London Time)

News reports are now confirming a coordinated series of attacks on the city, starting with the multiple explosions this morning on the London Underground and followed by (now) up to four explosions on London double-decker buses around Central London.  An eyewitness report on Sky News from around Russell Square confirmed hearing a blast earlier this morning, and has just reported that a second, smaller explosion was heard towards Tavistock Square, a short distance away.

Some mobile phone networks are reportedly failing after being swamped with calls.  People are being asked to stay away from Central London if possible.

The entire London underground Tube system has been shut down, stranding hundreds of thousands of people trying to get to work this Thursday morning.  By 10am people trying to take bus services into the city were told that the whole of Central London is being shut down and they would only get as far as London Bridge.

According to London Underground staff, there has been an explosion or multiple explosions on the Tube in the city centre, in or around King’s Cross station.  News channels are now reporting that the explosions were caused by a “power surge”, but conflicting reports are still coming in.

(10:20am, London Time)

Wednesday going on Thursday

Wednesday, July 6th, 2005


– London won it’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics

– I wrote another pageful of notes for my new pet project

– My work made me tingle with excitement and imagination.

A good day.

Style Alert!

Guess what?  The Spring/Summer 2006 collections have hit the catwalks!  Just as the Fall/Winter ’05 vcollections hit the shelves.  So, for those wondering what’s next season’s equivalent of this season’s Prada panama hat, Gucci bamboo loafers (from their cruise collection) and classic aviator sunglasses, here’s my buzz-worthy list:

1) Oversized weathered-leather bags from Mulberry – craftsmanship and looks to move a man’s heart
2) Cropped tweed jacket from Miu Miu – the perfect fit for fall, ingenious details.  Practically perfect.
3) Patent leather tuxedo shoes from Gucci – the second consecutive F/W season they’ve offered such delectable shoes (which have recently become hard to find) – oh, and remember their blue-velvet tuxedo from last year?
4) Tobacco-coloured polo tee with cream contrast piping from Lacoste – a novel (top-)spin on a favourite classic (yes, I noticed the British English, but I *am* in London, after all).

And special mention goes to the new line of embossed leather goods from Gucci, “la Pelle Guccissima”.  Expect to spot these in a first-class cabin near you soon.

And previewing for next summer:
1) The skinny, shiny, light pink tie.  Works perfectly with the crisp white shirt and edgy with the plain black shirt.  Perfect for the slim silhouettes presented by Alexander McQueen and Alessandro Dell’Acqua.
2) The skinny belt, or even better, the skinny grosgrain ribbon belt.  Watch for it.

And for people wondering what to buy in London:

1) Oilskin outerwear from Barbour, suppliers to the Queen.
2) Two-ply Scottish cashmere cardigan (Pringle, John Smedley or Scottish Highlands).
3) A bold-printed shirt from Liberty, Pink or Paul Smith.

Finally, things you should already own:

1) Shoe liners, such as the “cotton step” from Falke.  Critical for good foot hygiene while going “sockless” in the summer.  The ones that Hugo Boss makes are also passable in a pinch.
2) The summer special edition EDT of Boss in Motion (that’s the shiny green bottle).  Light, fruity, slightly floral but still unmistakably masculine.  The scent of summer 2005 (if not, my vote goes to Jardin Sur le Nil from Herm

Love, living, life

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005

I went to the supermarket today to buy a bar of soap.  Fifteen minutes later I was at the cashier with four bars of Lindt chocolate, a four-roll pack of Rowntree fruit pastilles, a four-roll pack of Maynards sours, a pack of Haribo sour-candy mix and a bag of Tesco sour-candy rings, in addition to a twin-pack of paper towels and the bar of soap.  Naturally the woman next in line had milk, bread, yogurt, lean mince meat and fruit in her basket.


I finally allowed myself to finish In America by Susan Sontag.  Magnificent.  I was transported, enraptured, inspired and changed.  That’s what novels are for, truly.  (NB: As Bernard Lewis mentions in What Went Wrong?, it is only with the atomising introspection of modernity that the novel could supercede the chronicle.)

I am now desperate to see Shakespeare performed.

To bed.

Live 8 weekend!!

Saturday, July 2nd, 2005  Incredible, really.  In the space of a couple of hours, Paul McCartney, Coldplay, Bill Gates, Kofi Anan, Angelina Jolie and so many many others on the same stage.  Wow.  And the videos.  Makes you cry to think about it.

Meanwhile, Wimbledon is on-going, with the women’s singles final between L. Davenport and S. Williams being played right now and the men’s singles final on Monday.

And of course, it’s 4th of July on Monday too.  Happy Independence Day, and happy birthday, poodle!

In other news…

Friday, July 1st, 2005

I’ve become the third person in the house to come down with a highly-suspected case of whooping cough, which means I have these paroxysms of coughing that leave me headachey and out of breath.  The reported period of infection by this highly-virulent strain is eight weeks.  Sigh, let’s hope echinacea helps to cut that recovery time somewhat.

I received tickets to one of the Live 8 concerts, but not the one in Hyde Park tomorrow(*sadness*).  Instead I got tickets to the Murrayfield concert (that’s in Edinburgh!) on Wednesday. I’m not going to go, I’ve decided.  It’s just not worth the time and money.

I’m halfway through my internship!  As I told Laurel, joining one of those big consultancy firms suddenly seems more appealing than it ever did before.