Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Three Tableaux


We are looking for someone to move into my room. The first day that the ad was up, some guy called to arrange a time to come by and see it. Conveniently, he agreed to come 'round while I was having people over for dinner. Before he arrived, I told the guests what the prospective renter was like on the phone. "He has a strange accent," I said. "I think he is Dutch, or Scandinavian." During the dinner, he arrived, introduced himself, and then asked to go use the toilet. Immediately one of my guest looked at me quizzically and said, "Greg, he is not Dutch. He is Irish." So much about Britain remains a mystery.

(It had been far, far too long since I've had people over for dinner. We had an warming autumnal menu of cabbage soup with fried apples, risotto with sage and roasted squash, and balsamic glazed carrots. A success.)


I was buying day tickets at the ENO, and saw a sign that said "backstage tour, today at 11am." So I returned at 11am, and joined the tour. Everyone else on the tour was quite elderly, and I suspected they were there as a group. Having followed the tour to its second stop in the auditorium, a very angry old lady confronted me, practically yelling, saying that this was a private tour (they had all come down in a bus from Ely) and that "there wasn't enough room for me." This was an obvious lie -- there were about 30 elderly people. One more would not have made a difference, and the sign clearly indicated this was a public tour. But I was so angry I just left, and spend the rest of day thinking of withering things to say to her. The best I came up with were "Well, having to live in Ely would put anyone in a bad mood" and "Bitch".


Later that same night, I was in a good mood after seeing the good Butterfly. The tube was packed, as it tends to be at 11 on a Saturday, with drunk people. Sitting across from me was a highly intoxicated Eastern European gentleman with hideous blond highlights in his hair. He looks at me threateningly and mumbled something inaudible. I leaned forward to hear him better, at which point he kicked me, pretty hard, in the teeth. I gripped my mouth, which was bleeding but not too much, at which point he mockingly gripped his mouth and made "poor baby" noises. He just wanted to start a fight, so everyone in the carriage, including me, just sat very, very still, doing and saying nothing. In fact, I'm not sure exactly who on the train saw what had happened. At the next stop I, along with two teenage girls sitting next to the Eastern European gentleman, moved to the next car. The two girls were very nice.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Achtung, Achtung.

I will be leaving London Saturday, December 17.

I will be in New York City from the afternoon of the 17th until the evening of Tuesday the 20th. New York friends: will you be around then?

I will arrive in Seattle Tuesday night.

This ticket is not-changeable and non-refundable, despite the fact that I still have no passport.

Today I went to see The Beat My Heart Skipped (vedict: mixed), but before the movie there was (as is normal here) about 30 minutes of TV commercials. On of the commercials was the Sony Bravia ad in which truckloads of bouncy-balls bounce down the hills of San Francisco. (Seriously, click the link if you haven't seen the ad. It rules.)

The images of San Francisco made me tear up. God only know what I'm feeling these days.

(Okay so I lied about the introspection. Next post: I got kicked in the teeth by a drunk stranger on the Tube.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My New Pseudonym

Okay I didn't really write this. But if I said I had, you might have believed me for a second or two, right?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Concert Diary

In general, my problem right now is that I want the inexorable march of time to just stop.

Today I was supposed to go and buy a plane ticket back to the US.

Instead, I didn't leave the house.

Still no passport.

As a way of easing my way back into updates of this thing, I'll begin by listing all the music and other cultural things that I've done since October 24.

October 26: Gabrieli Consort, doing Moteverdi's Vespers of 1610, with solo voices on all the choral and orchestral parts . It was really wonderful. I went with college classmate R—.

October 28: Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the stage show performed at Soho cabaret venue Too2Much. It was very good.

October 29: Debauched housewarming. The theme of the party was "myths and legends." I went to the party as "that urban legend of the guy who put his dog in the microwave." This involved carrying around a stuffed dog, which I had set fire to. It was a hit. I became very intoxicated.

October 30: I went to Brighton with the boys. I have good pictures.

November 2: Colloquium at Cambridge by RP. I missed my train, and there was bad traffic from the station, so I missed the entire talk. But it was okay, both because I'd heard the talk already when he gave it a Berkeley two years ago, and becuase RP missed my Cambridge colloquium. I had a lovely time with M— afterwards.

November 3: Londonist birthday party. I got so very drunk. Falling down drunk. I met people who knew me only from my online writing. I also ran into a sex partner from, like, eight months ago, who randomly lives with the best friend of the Londonist TV critic. It was a good party.

November 4: I heard a lecture at the Design Museum by the graphic designer of the Guardian, and then went to the Popstarz memorial event for the Popstarz founder who died. He fell down the stairs leading up to his house, and cracked his head open. The night was weird, but fun. Everyone I knew left, but I stayed until 3.

November 5: Madame Butterfly at the ENO. I bought a £5 standing ticket, and was then offered a really good ticket by a lonely man who had an extra. He's one of those men who really wants someone to talk to. I can sometimes be too nice to such men.

November 6: Opera Rara concert performance of Donizetti's Il diluvio universale. Went with M—, ran into the Spaniard and E—. The four of us, unsurprisingly, geeked out to an extraordinary degree, intimidating and slightly scaring the one other, non-musicologist companion B—.

November 8: Andreas Scholl at the Barbican. With Accademia Bizantina. Scholl=Overrated. O V E R R A T E D. Good. Fine. But not very good. The orchestra played circles around him.

This last weekend was pretty empty. Turned down an invitation to a rock show Saturday. DVD of Withnail & I at R—'s house Sunday; that's about it.

This week I might go see Salome, but I probably won't. I will definitely go to M—'s colloquium Wednesday, despite his typically self-depricating insistance that I shouldn't. Maybe a dinner party next weekend.

Next post: Introspection!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

so much to tell, so much to hear

I have to get to the funnest party of the year right now, but there is so much to write about here. Good concerts, work, people, activities, jobs, movies...

For now... if you are reading this and just got back from DC, you have to right me write me right now and tell me how it was. Unless you are a musicologist at a New York university, in which case I've already heard from you. Thanks!