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metrocentric

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Riding on city buses for a hobby ain't so bad [Jun. 27th, 2016|11:36 pm]
metrocentric
The lit up, steamed up windows of an 87 coming the other way up the Strand; odd to see that on a dry evening. Middle aged man thinks so to, says to his wife, in a tone almost indignant:

  Look at that. Are they boiling potatoes on that bus?

====

A couple discuss where they will eat tonight. It is taking a long time; we are on a 3, now passing the Crimea monument, they've been at it since Lambeth Bridge. His suggestions are lengthy, featuring favourite dishes at each establishment, the wine list, the disposition of the staff, the decor, the acoustics. Her contributions are staccato and terse, consisting primarily of the restaurant's name, cuisine and location.

There seems to be no point of agreement between them. Neither engages with the other's recommendations. They must be in a state of mutual oblivion, for it's not until the queue at Shoryu slides past the windows that he says:

  Are you, ... I thought you were just, ... you're getting all this from your phone, ... from a, an app!
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PFERDE STATT BETON! [Jun. 21st, 2016|11:21 pm]
metrocentric
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PFERDE STATT BETON!
Frankfurt am Main
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An Unfinished History of Violence / Not the End of Vandalism [Jun. 11th, 2016|11:38 pm]
metrocentric
When I was growing up it seemed there was more violence than today. Playground violence, street violence, pub violence, football violence. A casual nihilism, given expression through recreational violence, violence without fury.

More vandalism too. Mounds of diamonds at the bus shelters, the phone boxes. Windows barred or strengthened with wire mesh in the glass.

It was like living in the home of a toddler: those things that were not already broken had been proofed against breakage.

Much less now. There are theories. Lead-free petrol. That and the phones to keep the fingers busy.

The telly was on in the pub earlier: tear gas clouds and the age-old ballet of running and scrapping and chucking cafe chairs about.

      "We're all voting Out, we're all voting Out - Fuck off Europe: we're all voting Out!"

An old bloke down the bar was telling war stories - from when he went all over The Continent with Spurs. His eyes shining. "...when you seen em all running... Stanley knives an all... then you was back at work on Monday..."

Maybe it's just an echo. Reasserting a constant, from my childhood into my teens into my twenties. Neither comforting nor reassuring, but as familiar as a school corridor revisited.
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Crystal Palace Park [Jun. 5th, 2016|12:01 am]
metrocentric
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Park Cafe
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All this and the diacriticals, no wonder I got no sleep [Jun. 4th, 2016|11:52 pm]
metrocentric
A tram in ---.

They're knackered old things: narrow, plastic seats, you could hose them clean from the inside out.

A wedding party gets on, full rig, she in the dress, he in the suit and everyone else got up too. All joy and noise, and here in --- where no-one cracks a smile.

They look so young and ugly and beautiful and vulnerable and brave, the two of them. The tram packed with them and the rest; empty and cold and sad before.
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The vote changes nothing; the struggle continues [May. 5th, 2016|09:41 pm]
metrocentric
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Do not touch any military debris. It may explode and kill you. [Apr. 18th, 2016|08:54 pm]
metrocentric
Unexpected, sudden, day off. I went to West Ham and then I went further.

At this point I should apologise for treading all over killsurfcity's parish without prior.

I got off at the end of the line. I bought an Aero in a newsagent's.

It was quiet; there were people and dogs, but they were silent.

There was a snack van, and its generator began chopping off the quiet. Then an emergency telephone started ringing - all by itself: yellow on a post and no-one to answer it but me. No, I didn't.

At first I could not make out the fort towers at Shivering Sands. Then I could. Not there... not there... There, right there!

Two low dark vehicles were moving fast across the sand, at once ridiculous and sinister, like something out of Quatermass. As I got my camera onto the front runner the passenger turned my way, head bulged out by ear defenders, properly eyeballing me. Moody.

I'm told they were looking at shell fragments, like you do on a beach.

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daß diese Furcht zu irren schon der Irrtum selbst ist [Apr. 1st, 2016|09:40 pm]
metrocentric
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Dogs must be carried [Apr. 1st, 2016|08:56 pm]
metrocentric
Chancery Lane, ascending from the platforms.
Observing the conditions of carriage, a woman hefts up her fairly large dog into her arms and steps onto the moving staircase. The hound appears at first surprised - the roll of its eyes seems to indicate alarm - this is evidently not an everyday occurrence. But then it identifies a meaning in the action: it must be an expression of affection, so the beast reciprocates, enthusiastically licking its owner's face. This continues most of the way to the top; as I pass on the left, I hear the woman ask the beast in her arms: "Oh, you...Are we having this every time we get on escalators now?"

Conversing with someone I did not know very well in crowded, noisy premises.
How long it took, how many rounds in the exchange, for us to realise that while she had been talking of the actress, Eva Green, I was referring to the suburb, Hither Green.
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A man with a faun on his lap [Feb. 11th, 2016|08:45 pm]
metrocentric
On a weekday midday intercity train to a northwestern city, a youngish couple are seated several rows ahead of us. The woman is next to the window, her legs across those of her adjacent companion. The high seat backs all but obscure the pair from my view, but the woman's feet and ankles are visible across the aisle. In dark tights, at this angle, they look like hooves.

In a rushhour cab through rain and tramworks of another northwestern city, as the vehicle arrives at the station music begins to play: the sentimental croon of 'The Road Is Long' by The Hollies. It's too loud to be the cabbie's mobile ringtone; it must be from speakers somewhere in the taxi itself, somehow triggered by arrival at the station. Feeling that there is a commercial intent concealed in that, and next time we're walking it, if I've any say in the matter.
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Catania [Jan. 30th, 2016|11:03 pm]
metrocentric
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Catania
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UNCLEAR DEPTHS [Dec. 20th, 2015|03:36 pm]
metrocentric
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UNCLEAR DEPTHS
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It's the season when you'd want a fire, or would be if it was properly cold [Dec. 20th, 2015|03:35 pm]
metrocentric
A woman standing near me on the platform at Chancery Lane tube the other morning gave off a scorched odour.

More precisely, as if she had been close to a burning car for a while.

Not just the burnt rubber smell, but also the hot metal, melted synthetic materials, the petrol flared off and the leather and the paint all incinerated.
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São Bento [Nov. 6th, 2015|09:04 pm]
metrocentric
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PROCURA-SE
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C2C in the morning [Nov. 1st, 2015|10:47 pm]
metrocentric
One of the eastern termini, one of the weekend mornings. Tinker Bell and a male companion in the costume of a generic superhero are sitting on a bench. They are here in time for an early train, though not for the first.

The worse for wear, they appear not to have slept in the night. Tinker Bell has taken a tumble at some point previous: her lime green tights holed at one knee, her treacherous shoes are on the bench beside her. Generic Superhero has a puddle of vomit at his feet, to which he is now adding.

He says to Tinker Bell: 'Don't look at me'.

But she does anyway, and not with an expression of disgust. Superhero leans back; the exertion of regurgitation has caused his eyes to water, and Tinker Bell reaches over to gather on her finger a spilling drop from each eye in turn. He does not see, he has turned away, but she takes the finger to her lips to taste his tears.

The 06:10 to Shoeburyness is now available for boarding.
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The wall of Tyburn Convent, or whatever's next to it, the other night [Oct. 26th, 2015|10:00 pm]
metrocentric
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Marble Arch W1/W2
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Боня и Кузьмич [Oct. 18th, 2015|12:42 am]
metrocentric
Typing, and plenty of it, requires gym-bunny music, for me. For that, the gay radio. The other night they played a track and I'd the presence of mind to grab the details off the display.

I recognised Kiesza immediately; not for herself, but as one of the Thompson Twins. I recognised the location instantly: a decade ago I went there, in winter, and every time I took my camera out the cold bit my fingers. There's a herd of cherry pickers giraffing over a fence, you can see them to the right - that's how I knew for sure. But this isn't about that video, but another one.

I was meant to be typing, wasn't I? Next thing, I found this:

Not that it's anyone's responsibility to keep me informed of these things, but why did no-one tell me? Better than the original.
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(no subject) [Aug. 15th, 2015|07:15 pm]
metrocentric
On a train towards Barnes, Mortlake, North Sheen, Richmond. Three across the aisle, thirties-young: a couple and one another woman.

"Has she told you about her first job in London? Did she ever tell you about that? Do you want to, shall I tell her?"

"..."

"She was paid, right, by this rich guy, this, was he Russian?"

"..."

"Anyway, he was rich. And what [name] was paid to do, was be his wife's best friend. Her best friend in London. And this went on for, what, a year at least? Eighteen months?"

"Really? Just to be her friend? I mean like, I don't wanna, but, how much?"

He starts talking again, but now his partner speaks up, sharply, with the careful emphasis of someone who wants a point understood.

"He paid me to keep tabs on her. I reported back on her. That's what he paid me for ."

There's a pause, and then her boyfriend says:
"You never told me that... No.... you never told me that."
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Gare do Oriente (informal access) [Aug. 11th, 2015|11:40 pm]
metrocentric
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Gare do Oriente
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There has to be some kind of convention one can pray in aid to get out of these things [Aug. 11th, 2015|11:21 pm]
metrocentric
Two young men are discussing stress. One suffers from it, the other seeks to advise: he suggested colouring books. This was greeted with some enthusiasm.

The stressed fellow must have steadier hands than mine - I remember colouring as a test of the nerves; upbraided in infants' school for 'going over the lines', I never could approach the endeavour calmly.
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