Thursday, November 25, 2004

think of a day part 2. oh yes.

And so I continue...suspense builds...This can't be read without reading part 1...

Jon and I went for a drink to analyse my photos and the finer points of life. We sat in a pub next to the Golden Hind overlooking the Thames. As the conversation digressed we found ourselves mocking the appalling attempt Oxford Street has made at Christmas lights. Laser beams that beam different colours in the air, and are supposedly seen throughout london only, becuase of light pollution and smog they are disappointingly faint. Really, designers of this callibre should know better. Not only this but they beam at 8:12, again, apparently, the Olympic Rings to encourage 'back the bid'. Yes, it's happened. Christmas has been turned, not only into the commercial tragesty we've known about for years but now some advertising campaign. In order to assess this for ourselves we headed underground.

Once on the tube I taught Jon the finer craft of tube surfing. I may dedicate a whole blog to this in the future. Talking of olympics, this should be included. Another marvel of the tube is the little machines that sell 'snap maps'. This, is for anyone who wants to be easily identified as a tourist. It's small and compact but with one 'snap' it becomes an all singing, all dancing (and very big to boot) map of all central attractions with bus, tube, and pub (eh?) routes. I bought one earlier in the day and impressed Jon with it's impressiveness for the rest of the evening. We found our way using this for the remainder. (Not that we needed to, but it's always fun to pretend)

In Oxford street, we laughed and we were probably insulting to those designers who think that beaming coloured lights from the tops of pieces of scaffolding with pictures of characters from Harry Potter (like, why?) makes for good Christmas decor. I think not. Jon wanted to see the England book that had caused me so much hilarity. So into Borders we went, found the book and laughed (me with tears running down my face!) at the photos. Then Jon bought the book for me. what a sweetie. I think we may have freaked a few other customers out...

We walked down Regent Street, much more impressed this time by the lights, into Carnaby street, whose lights just about take the biscuit. They actually are stunning. No really, they are. We window shopped the shops of finer things. Then found a lovely little alley way with sheets of lights and cooky restaurants and bars. But the rest of london was waiting. So on we marched. Onto picadilly and then leceister square. cokes from mcdonalds and then to trafalgar square.

Then somewhere in the middle of trafalgar square Jon looked at his watch...

'Becci do you have a lecture tomorrow?'
'Yes at 10... (methinks, 'he's being interested in my day tomorrow. that's nice') ...where to now? Lets go to Parliament then over Westminster bridge!'
'Becci, we won't get home.'
'Sure we will, it's ages before the last trains' (I seriously thought it was about 8pm)
'Becci, it's 11.15'
'You're joking! I haven't eaten since breakfast' (Why that was the first thing that entered my head I've no idea, but really, I hadn't eaten since breakfast and now it was 11.15. that's like 15 hours...anyway...)

Suddenly I felt very tired. Psychology is a strange thing. So to Charring Cross we went and got on the train, astounded that 6 hours had just 'vanished'. More tube surfing, added some people watching: 'what does that person do for a living?' 'Where is he headed tonight?' I got off at Canada Water, adding as I went...'I haven't seen a famous person in a long time...had a great night, see you soon (or something along those lines)'

So onto the East London Line I got, bound to New Cross Gate, or so I hoped. As did another man, evidently for he asked me if it went there...the converstaion followed thus:

'I think so, I mean I hope so but I didn't think it stops here'
'Yes I'm not sure either'
'Maybe we've got on a train in a parallel universe or it's metamorphosed' (did I really just say that to a perfect stranger and what does that word mean anyway??)
He Says: 'Do you live in New Cross?'
'How long for?'
'Since September.'
'Are you a student at Goldsmiths?'
'Yup, studying Media and sociology.'
'What aspect of the media are you particularly interested in?'
'Photography and Documentary making' then I ask (becuase it's always good to ask questions back or you do look very egocentric) 'what do you do?'
'I'm in the media. Mainly concerned with politics. I'm making a documentary for the BBC on the historian, George Brown.'
I think my jaw actually did hit the floor. At least I hope it didn't. What followed was some stuf about politics and media that i didn't really understand.

We arrived in New Cross Gate and dismounted (can you do that off a train? My jaw had to remount however). We continued chatting and he told me some inside stuff about the media and in particular the Hutton enquirey being as he knows Andrew Gilligan. Erhem. He gave me his phone number and email address and said I could ask him questions about media stuff and he'd do his best to answer them if he could. Oh, and that I could shadow him if I wanted whilst he makes his documentary. Not all that exciting really then.He's in the process of writing his third book at the moment. I googled it, and him. He speaks truth. I got another famous person. Ok so he's not so famous, although my tutor knew of him.

I said goodbye and walked the 30 seconds to my flat, in doing so, glancing up to look at the Deptford town clock. I saw it strike midnight and I realised I had just had a very surreal day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

think of a day

As I saw the hands of Deptford town hall clock hit midnight this morning I realised that I had had possibly the surrealist day I'd had in a long time. Surreal, but maybe just crazy and very long.

At 10am my day started at London Bridge where I bought a homeless guy a cup of tea and discussed how waiting for it to cool down was a better option than asking for more milk. Then I met my friend Dan, the one with whom I talk well and am inspired by. We walked from tower bridge to the Tate, stopping to go up to the top of City Hall, seeing the cannons fire at the tower of london. And as usual we discussed grace. We discussed voices. Voices that tell us different things about God and faith and how it's our task to find our own path (how postmodern does that sound?) through them. At the Tate, we did, literally, bizarrely, that.

The new installation piece in the Turbine Hall is of many voices coming out of speakers and you walk through them, trying to hear. Physically, we were experiencing our conversation.

I left Dan at 1 and met Jon, designer, (hmmm...knowing that he'll read this, what shall I say...) extrordinar and also designs a national christian student magazine. We had coffee-or rather he did and I had one of those raspberry tea things-and discussed stuff. just stuff. Purpose of the meeting was that I'm taking some photos for the magazine and wanted to see a lense he had which, incidently didn't fit my camera.

At 2 I walked over millenium bridge, falling for the 328th time in love with the South Bank and it's concomitance of architectural marvels, and onto St. Paul's where I wandered, saking it in and trying to find the Old Bailey, for photographical purposes. After, going into Clinton Cards (bad publicity coming up...go on, sue me) and being told I couldnt take photos of their teddies for an article on valentines day-boo hiss, I found the Old Bailey and with 300mm zoom, shakily took the statue for a law article.

Down in the tube, I travelled to Tottenham Court Road in search of more places that might have cheesy love type things. No luck. I found myself in Hamleys. Damn it. Such a laborious task. I spent a rather excited hour photgraphing teddies and barbies and discovering that they still sell My Little Ponies. I bought one. And I've decided it would be fun to be 7 again. Doing all this london thing by myself for a couple of hours was the therapy I've been missing. It's possible to spend too much time with people. Even for me.

Whilst waiting for the pictures to develop I wandered. Saw the lights. Saw the crepe man that my friends had crepes from after one awful night out waiting for a night bus. Only the distrctions of the crepes meant we missed the bus and had to wait an hour, got fed up so walked to Trafalgar square anyway. So I saw the same man outside the same shop and relsied I where I was. I randomly laughed out loud. He looked at me with panned expression and said 'Crepe?'

In Borders I engrossed myself in some photography monographs and an incredible book of photos of England. It's meant to be sterotypical cliches and in many ways it is but there's just too mnay things that I recogised as the England I know and I, again, was laughing out loud. Enjoying my day rather too much, I picked up the photos (realised why tripods were invented-for those using long lenses and shaky hands like myself.) and heading bakc to the Tate to meet Jon.

Ok. this story is taking far too long to tell and it's losing it's dramatic appeal and hilarity that actually was. Tomorrow I will finish.


Since 'cakes and swans' my origamy hobby has somewhat taken off. Inspired by how cute my room looks covered in paper swans and how excited people get when i make them one, I bought a book. Oh yes, a 'teach yourself origamy' book and now, not only can I make a swan I can also make a pigeon, (very badly) a flapping bird and a frog. I can only move onto bigger and better things from here. Problem is I don't think I'll be able to open my door soon, or for that matter, pass my degree.

Monday, November 22, 2004

the paths im a treading

There seems to have been such a dramatic U-turn in the last year and I'm still staggering through somewhat the fog of uncertainty. But an exhilerating uncertainty. Too many opportunties (aside from my degree) are arising and falling into two categories...those continuing from the last few years - youth work, evangelism, talks and then this new and exciting path of media and photography. Both make my heart beat faster. But I can't do it all and I'm not sure which path I should be treading the most. Desi Maxwell, a wise lecture in Belfast said to me that sometimes God takes us down very different paths from what we expect. sometimes this becomes our lifetime path. Sometimes we go back to an earlier path but whatever we learn, emotionally, spiritually, practically on those paths it's never wasted.

Somehow I think I want to straddle two paths. But I don't want to do anything by halves.

gathered together

Recntly, with all the hype of london, photo assignments, essays, settling in and too many weekends away i found myself and my longings being somewhat scattered away from their source. not in an outward rebelious scattering but in that subtle way when your guard isn't as high s it should be or you're just too busy to notice. And that's where i found myself heading towards hitchin for the 4th weekend of my 6th weekend extravaganza. The CU houseparty came as a welcome break and a place to refocus. 7 hours on an hilarious mini bus (a journey which should have lasted 1.5) certainly meant that barriers were down and that level of honesty that is always required in small group, christiany 'how is God speaking to you?' settings wasn't as much of problem.

Grace bought my scattered longings closer to the source this weekend. Grace which gives me the freedom to hear God's voice say 'come' and to respond knowing im dressed in robes of righteousness. Grace which allows me the freedom to be who I am with God and with others. Grace that i see relfected powerfully in the lives of the chirstians i've encountered in london that i feel able to admit my mistakes, my issues, to cry and accept their ministry and prayers. It's a grace that in the last two years ive been discovering for the first time. I'm being awakened not only to the grace that saves me but the grace that sets me free now. Knowing I live by grace and am part of God's kingdon NOW.

And it's only that grace which draws my scattered longings back to the Source.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

cakes and swans

Tonight, in celebration of my incredible talent of cramming too much in too little time and coming out alive (3 essays and a photo project project in central london handed in, 2 nights in cambridge with a friend, having my cousin stay for 2 nights, CU, lectures, seminars, church twice, all in the space of 5 days) I turned to mother earth with my housemate Laurel.

We cooked fairy cakes tonight. The icing was a little on the runny side and we didn't let them cool properly before applying. The sweety stars thus floated out of their synchronised patterns rather bizarrely.

Once the culinary delights were completed we turned to the oriental craft of origamy. Inspired by a birthday present I bought (my seemingly adopted brother) David I think i've found a new hobby; just to keep me amused when I've nothing to do. 7 swans later we felt suitably creative and orientalised. I just need to learn to make something more than swans now.

Friday, November 12, 2004

and off i go...

Having had a weekend home and gingerly stepping on the scales to discover I'd put on half a stone I realised something needed to be done. Exercise has been limited since moving to london. I would like to blame the lack of sports facilties at Goldsmiths for this increase in body mass. And I would be correct in doing so for Goldsmiths, despite it's creative glory will never contribute in raising olympic heores. We have a hall that has the space for one badminton court. The end.

And so I run. Less than 100 yards from my room, set back from the main road is a green expanse. New Cross' answer to a park. And so in the ever watchful winking eye of Canary Wharf and the imposing block of the sociology tower, reminding me my essays await, I push my body round. Ignoring the comments from the men 'hanging out' there, especially when the kids are coming out of school and the youths, dealing. Two, three times until my blood is pumping and my enthusiasm renewed for working. And it feels good. It really does.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

famous people

In the small space of time I have lived in the big smoke I have seen no less than 3 famous people...

I had been here no less than a week when I had my first episode of 'seeing famous person' sickness. Out in Soho, for a housemate's birthday, minding our own buisness. And there he was, Sam, from Pop Idol (if you're an avid reality TV show follow you'll know who I mean...the young cute one), stumbling out of the bar and puking on the road. Pleasant. I got photos, got shouted at for taking photos, my friends started arguing. And I walked on. I could have sold the photos to 'The Sun' or some other equally distasteful paper...but I wouldn't be that cruel.

Then, and more excitedly, I was near Bond Street, hanging around with some CU friends after an event in All Souls church. As we walked past the theatre where Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was playing, there he was, famous person number2. Jason Donovan. I kid you not. One of the girls went crazy. She loved Kylie and Jason. Posters on the wall and all. Me? I just shoved my phone in his face to take videos and photos-my camera's not sophisticated enough to have zoom. Jason, was very obliging and we chatted nicely then he hopped on his motor bike, revved the engine and drove into the night.

Finally, today on my way to drop off photos for the newspaper (oh yes...) I was underground walking through the crowds to the Northern Line. I saw a familiar face walking towards me. I did that double take you do when you recognise someone. As he continued coming toward me, time stood still, but my brain raced searching through my archives. Where do I know that face? college? belfast? a bar? somewhere on my gap year (I usually attribute unknown but known faces to this last one as i met so many different people that year)...and then it dawned on me...TV. It was Dan (the tall, bald, very camp guy) from Big Brother 2004. The frightening thing is I thought I knew him, thought I'd had at least one conversation with him. But no, I'd just watched him. And I didn't even watch the whole of BB as I was in Colombia for the second half. Shameless.

So this famous person disease...where does it come from and why does it excite us? I've been reading the Beattitudes recently and Jesus' concept of who will be blessed is so topsy turvey to us where rich, famous people that we've seen are what we boast about over the dinner table (or in blogs!), not those who are meek and poor or hunger and thirst for righteousness. But more than that, how on earth could I mistake a TV personality for a friend? Scary, utterly scary.

Re: I'm in print...

Turns out I am wanted on the London Student newspaper photography team. So yay!! More opportunities to develop and more doors opening. It makes juggling time even more or skill...another hacky sack thrown in there. Once a fortnight deadlines, much runnng around the city to be done, and money to be spent...I'm excited.