Tag Archives: London

A British house party

29 Nov
Co-op party

NOTE: This is not an image from last night's party.

The best part of going out on weekends is not knowing where to go. In fact, I try to avoid over-planning stuff because in the end nothing goes the way I expect it. Such is the case last night when I went out with my flatmate and a couple of his friends. It was some friend’s birthday, so we headed to Green Park first to start off the night. Too bad we came late for drinks, so the birthday girl wanted to go to her friend’s place in Acton. You know what that means–house party!

Since I’ve landed in this sceptered isle, my fun has been limited to pub nights and mediocre club, but I have yet to enter the world of the British house party. Though it took us ages against torrential rain to get there, it was interesting journey getting there. I didn’t really have anything cool to wear apart from my H&M coat, but the fact that I wore my hoodie as well just ruined the style.

Despite dressing like crap, it was one of those house parties where everyone seemed chill and the venue was just cozy and quite spacious (for British standards). Not everybody was chill, though. As me and my mates were putting our coats in the closet, some bitch thought it would just be welcoming to act like, well, a bitch. Such is a welcome. Otherwise, it was easy to start a conversation with most of the people there, and I didn’t feel much pretentiousness coming from the partygoers. On the other hand, some were too friendly. A thirtysomething woman caressed me for a few minutes as I introduced myself, but I managed to escape her clutches once she introduced me to her husband. Why the hell were you touching me then?

The thing that seemed to peeve me was why certain people, after a few drinks, end up talking about politics. Since I was the only American at the party, some people always like to bring up social issues, especially issues relating to the USA. I always seem to wonder why every time I have a conversation with someone in this country (particularly guys) needs to bring politics in the conversation. It’s fascinating, but I go to parties to banter, not talk about who’d make a great Prime Minister next year.

After two cans of Stella, it was time to go for all of us. But after going to this house party, I wonder if I’m getting old for this. Perhaps I should have a house party at some point. Free Stella for everyone!*

*While supplies last.

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Welcome to “Oysterland”!

23 Nov

The worst part about living in the near-edges of Greater London is the lack of Tube service. With the introduction of the Oyster card years before I decided to live here, it looked like it was one card for all–Tube, bus, light rail, rail services–but not the case if you live in Kingston upon Thames or Surbiton.

To get into London the fast way, which is commuter rail, I had to do a tedious process known as purchasing a ticket at a machine. Not only was going to the ticket machine an inconvenience, but I had to accumulate paper tickets and watch them so I won’t lose them. Did I mention it’s bad for the environment as well?

The days of printing tickets will soon be over (well, almost) from January 2nd. Now all rail services in Greater London–all 607 square miles of it–are accessible for all Oyster Card user, not just weekly, monthly and annual Travelcard holders. Ta ta, paper tickets and hello to up to 30% cheaper fares!

A one-way ticket from Surbiton or Kingston upon Thames to Waterloo will cost only £3.20 off-peak. Quite expensive still, but better than paying £5 off-peak!

So rejoice, pay-as-you-go customers, you can conquer all of London without being beholden to the paper ticket, and welcome to “Oysterland”!

To access the map of “Oysterland,” click here.

We Know What You Did, Dr. Brooke Magnanti

15 Nov

The thing I like (and sometimes dislike) about London is anonymity. Like any big city I’ve encountered, I’m just a face in the crowd. At least if something humiliating happens to me in a public place, I can just walk away–and maybe write a blog about it using a pen name.

But what happens when the pleasure of anonymity ends?

Well if you’re Belle de Jour, the party’s over. Now we can put a name to a pseudonym. Belle de Jour, the doctoral student known the world over for her anonymous blog of entering the world’s oldest profession and whoring her way to her degree, has been revealed to be none other than an obscure research scientist working in Bristol. Dr. Brooke Magnanti, the prostitute turned scientist, unmasked herself in The Sunday Times this week–and she doesn’t look like anywhere near close to Billie Piper’s portrayal in the ITV2 (Showtime in the U.S.) series, “Secret Diary of a Call Girl.”

I’ve enjoyed reading her blog in book form until my mother lost it somewhere in the house. I look forward to enjoying what will happen next to her writing now that she cannot hide her identity from the public…though I’m not sure if her years as a scientist will be anything interesting. I can imagine in the next series of “Secret Diary” if she has afterthoughts while doing research. Hmmmm….

Random Thoughts While on a Night Bus

31 Oct


So I’ve come home the last couple of nights on the night bus, a long-winding contraption that zips through communities throughout London when the Tube closes for the rest of the night. Here are some stuff I’ve encountered while on a bus at the wee hours of the morning:

So many gostosas on the bus. That means Brazilian women. Hot, young Brazilian women. Too bad I don’t speak much Portuguese.

I had a conversation about Indie music and how Kings of Leon has turned too pop. I made it clear that it was unusual for me to listen to “Use Somebody” and “Sex on Fire” at a club. I admit I like those songs, but it’s awkward trying to dance to it.

That dude’s boyfriend that I encountered last night sure looks a lot like the Moz himself–Morrissey. I told him that his passed out lover/companion looked like Morrissey, and he didn’t know what the fuck I was talking about. He thought I was insulting him, but I insisted it was a compliment to the highest degree.

People smoking on the bus. They sure are baller.

Would you ever live above a shop?

12 Oct

I’m not used to living above a shop (an abandoned one that is), let alone on a busy street. I thought the day I lived above a shop is the day I moved to New York. That never happened, so I’m living the dream here in London, in the (somewhat) quiet suburb of Kingston upon Thames.

I can hear everything from my room: the red double-deckers pulling into the bus stop, a couple of rice rockets (Yes, Virginia, rice rockets do exist in the UK), and some drunk blokes on a Thursday night (I’m one of those after 7-9 drinks). It doesn’t bother me when I go to sleep, unless the Fresher neighbors turn up the music with grime, horrible 90’s music, and Pixie Lott (step aside Lady GaGa!).

I’m from the suburbs for Christ’s sake, where the houses are spaced apart and where teenagers terrorize the neighbors by throwing eggs and decorating the place with toilet paper from the 99 Cents store. If I told people that my flat (apartment for all you North Americans) was above a shop, people would either be curious, from New York City, or assume something weird.

My question to you follows: Considering what I’m living through, would you ever live above a shop? Comments are great!

West End Weekend with Holly Golightly

12 Oct
The dazzling Anna Friel

The dazzling Anna Friel

I didn’t know until 30 minutes before the show that I was going to see “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” I haven’t gotten around watching the movie, nor haven’t bothered to read the Truman Capote novella, but watching the play has been on my mind ever since Anna Friel’s lovely face was plastered on the Underground.

It was my first time watching a play in a major theater district ever. I haven’t even seen a Broadway play, mainly because I couldn’t fork $100 or have the patience to wait in line at TKTS. And don’t get me started on Los Angeles’s theater scene.

The show was at the Theatre Royal in Haymarket, which is one of the oldest surviving theatres in London. Anna Friel dazzles as Holly Golightly, the fun, elusive gal who attracts the awe of nearly every guy she meets. Joseph Cross stars opposite Friel as the aspiring Alabama-bred author William (mistakenly called Fred) Parsons. The rest of the cast make up for a bubbly yet dramatic performance, which follows the mystery of Ms. Golightly.

It was a great play I tell you. Friel and Cross’s chemistry made for good entertainment. However, the downside of the play was mostly technical issues; James Dreyfus needs better practice at his New York Jewish accent. It didn’t sound convincing at all.

Mind you, nudity was abound in this play, but it would be too NSFW for you too see the incriminating shots. In my opinion, the nudity was quite tasteful.