Friday, June 1, 2012

Photo Update

I started out thinking there wasn't much to report this week, but, as it turns out, the blog post wound up being fairly long. Forgive my verbosity. Kenz has been in and out of the studio, doing optional summer work and I've been working and taking walks. 

We've been enjoying the weather here; it has been delightful. However, we've learned a new wrinkle about London: there are lots of flies. I'm talking about houseflies. If we open the windows to welcome the warm breeze, an army of flies come in with the springtime air. Army may sound hyperbolic, but two days ago, I turned around from my desk and estimated about fifteen flies circling the living room. 

We had Owen and Celia over for dinner this week. I asked them about the flies. They just shrugged and nodded, saying "Yup." I swatted one or two, and Owen gave me a look that said, "Why?" Ashamed, I took to tolerating them. 

Still, though, flies. Just...everywhere

I've kept the windows closed the past two days.

Kenz joined me on a stroll last Sunday. 

Most restaurants in Chinatown have a similar window display. It makes me less enthusiastic about ordering squid.
We made our way through central London, connecting dots about where some nooks and crannies are - places where we'd been before, but had always sought out on purpose. I really appreciate being able to fill in some blank spots on my mental map. We realized that the Johnny Cupcakes store is a lot closer to central London than we had originally thought. 

Johnny Cupcakes in Carnaby Place

For some reason, I always think to go to a play on Sundays. Most of the rest of the days of the week, it doesn't cross my mind, but Sundays are usually the days I think, "Man, I really want to go to a show." The problem is that there's hardly any plays that have shows on Sundays. I usually slump in resignation, knowing I've missed out for the week, and resolving to plan ahead the next week. 

We lucked out this past Sunday, however. As we were finishing our stroll on Sunday evening, we happened upon Rock of Ages: 

Knowing the movie is coming out this summer, both Kenz and I had resolved to go see the play before the movie - possibly so that we could reserve the right to be those people. You know those people - the ones who say "Yea, well the book was better," or "Well, we saw the play in London's West End..." Of course, we won't be those people (at least I hope not), know...maybe?

Anyways, we saw that the show was starting in fifteen minutes. I looked at Kenz like a puppy dog and asked, "Can I just see if they've got any cheap tickets left?" Kenz was pretty tired, ready to go home, and not as excited about the show as I was, but acquiesced. 

We got third row seats for 25 pounds. 

Now, you're thinking to yourself, "Third row! That's pretty awesome." And, for the record, it was awesome. However, it wasn't necessarily as awesome as you'd think. The seats were cheap for a reason. A theatre production isn't the same as a rock concert. Being that close at a concert means you get to interact with the musicians, see them play their instruments, and get blasted in the face with your favorite songs, etc. At a play, you're sitting in your seat, craning your neck back, and looking at the undersides of the performers' chins.

And there's another thing about Rock of Ages. As we were walking in, Kenz said, "There's going to be a lot of half-naked women in this show." I half thought she was kidding. I was pretty oblivious to the promotional posters outside the show; all I knew was that there was going to be a lot of 80's hair band songs repurposed for the plot. I hadn't paid much attention to anything else. I thought it'd be a fun romp of a show on a Sunday evening. 

Well, Kenz was right. My explanation will be unfairly reductionist - there's a lot more context to the show that I'll cut to make a long story short - but there were three women on stage for 85% of the show that were only about 15% covered. Yea. Three women dancing, singing, and gyrating on stage in their quite revealing underwear. 

For example:

It was hilariously awkward for both of us. We thought about the family sitting in the row in front of us - the family of mom, dad, and teenage son. I would've been mortified if I was that teenager. And I'm even someone who values "the theataaa" and, you know, Kenz and I are supposed to be mature and getting culture and all about some art - but we couldn't help but giggle every time those girls came on stage.

All in all, though, it was a fun show. They tried to create a rock concert atmosphere, complete with vendors strolling up and down the aisles, selling bottles of American beers. We had a good laugh about it afterwards. 

We took the long walk home, too, because it was the perfect temperature - one that doesn't have Kenz too cold and me too sweaty. That's a hard balance to find, trust me. 

View from the Hungerford Bridge (looking west)

Late night busker
I made it down to Croydon again this week for some Wednesday night league play. The stinging Nettles wrecked my legs. It felt like I was walking through a jellyfish tank. But it was fun and pretty:

The sun doesn't set until about 8-8:30 now. It makes up for the 4pm sunsets during the winter.

I got out to Bethnal Green to visit with my friend Stephen. A lot of people make fun of south London, saying it's ugly and isn't really a part of the 'real' London. And Stephen is one of those people, often asking, "oh, south London - is it still there?" Well, I wasn't too impressed with east London, myself. 

Bethnal Green looks and feels a lot like Camberwell - copious amounts of liquor stores and fried chicken shops, not a lot of impressive architecture, and enough trash to make Alcoa Highway (in Tennessee) look pristine. 

The Olympics will mostly be in east London - that's where the Olympic park and stadiums are. Stephen got a letter in the mail that said surface to air missiles will be positioned on top of the building just down the road from him and that, during the three weeks of the Olympics, fighter jets will make regular flyovers day and night. You know, for protection. He was taken a bit off guard by that, naturally.

Stephen's rabbit, Henry Blu Bunnydude

The Bethnal Green park had children in the local school decorate bricks.

Just outside the Bethnal Green tube exit

Time for random photos:

Sunbathers outside the Imperial War Museum

The overlooker

Kenz hosted a baby shower for a school friend; someone brought these Lillies as a host's gift. They still smell awesome.

Brixton street art

"You always take pictures of me eating!"

Kara and Jerry making fun of my moustache

Thanks for reading! It's the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this weekend; everyone is displaying their Union Jack flags, prepping for some anachronistic adoration of the monarchy for the next few days. We'll try to get out and see what it's all about, taking pictures as necessary. 

Have an exceptional weekend!