I’m a bit late with my postcard this week. This is largely because I had a most entertaining and enjoyable weekend chatting to great people. On this day of CUTS announced by George Osborne and his ‘Igor’… David Laws, I thought I would do my bit for our country – see above.
I thought I would devote my postcard to you this week to ranting – randomly – about things which have caught my eye today while sitting in the sun on Battersea Square and World’s End, Chelsea.
Oh… how wonderfully tweet…
The first thing to catch my eye and set the tone for my febrile mind was the news that The Hay Literary Festival is to hold a competition for literary types to come up with guff or otherwise on twitter. … Oh.. so achingly tweet? The competition is to be judged by?… yes.. you’ve guessed it…. the unofficial ‘King of Twitter”… Stephen Fry… as The Guardian described him. Some might say unofficial pain in the arse of Twitter. I could not possibly comment for fear that he might leave Twitter again and people will want to hang me. I do, however, enjoy Stephen Fry’s stuff and to be fair… he doesn’t call himself the ‘King of twitter’…. does he?
Things could only go downhill in terms of my more cynical side after reading that… and they did. I took regular breaks during the course of the day to have a coffee, read the papers and watch the world go…. by sitting first at a cafe where I have breakfast and then moving over to an Italian trattoria on the other side of the square, alternating between the two with each coffee break. We haven’t had a lot of great weather in the last six months – so I am taking advantage.
Mid-morning I saw an attractive young blonde looking desperately serious in her black spandex running kit with obligatory bouncing blond ponytail poking through the back of a large baseball cap. She was running slowly… more like a jog, but looked ‘terribly serious and self important’ as she did it, as if to convey to the baffled bystander, who was probably more interested in her arse joggling away under the spandex than her ‘self inflicted pain and endurance of hardship’, that only a runner can ‘understand’. I have no interest in the ‘pain’ of runners and cyclists. If I want to go somewhere, I get on a bus, a motorbike or a tube and don’t look serious about it.
Then we have the hordes of people on a hot day wandering about or walking purposefully carrying bottled water. Why do they do this? Are they at particular risk of dehydration? Will they succumb to heat exhaustion as they travel between home and office or home and clothes shop? I would say, from a limited statistical population, that it was probably a ratio of 8:1 in favour of women. Stylish men who use grooming products may well carry bottled water about with them. I didn’t see one ‘blokeish’ bloke carrying bottled water. I suspect this may be because we rationalise that if life threatening thirst should take hold as the temperature soars towards 30C, we can always nip into a bar and down a cold one. It is a most curious thing to do – carrying one’s own water supply around, I think. And why would anyone PAY for water? It comes out of taps and is free (apart from water rates). I am going to join in and buy one of those old fashioned canvas water bottles they use on safaris and in the desert…. and fill it with water in the morning and Rioja for the early evening.
And then we have the ‘Tour de France’ nazis… the cyclists who think they own the roads. As a real biker (fast motorbikes, as opposed to ridiculous leg powered things) I take the perfectly reasonable view that cyclists who wear spandex, yellow jerseys, and those stupid boat shaped helmets are the most dangerous road users. They tend not to stop at red lights. They ride on the pavements…sometimes, they shout at other road users, they are not identifiable (or accountable), they rarely signal and some of them even shave their legs… and not just, I am advised, to avoid ingrowing hairs infecting the wounds when they inevitably get knockled over by a lorry or car.
I like people who ride bicycles and who look as if they are enjoying it. I think Spandex Man is related to Spandex Running Girl… suffering pain for their vanity and ego. I like the people who ride ordinary bicycles, wear ordinary clothes, don’t wear helmets. I did see, in Chelsea – not today, but on Friday – a man in his late fifties or so, wearing a beautifully cut suit, brogues, riding a sit up and beg bicycle with a basket full of wine bottles…and he was smoking a small cigar. He looked great and was, clearly, enjoying himself. He even managed to signal his intention to turn left.
And… inevitably.. there were a few lobsters about. Why do people who have wonderfully pale complexions, blonde hair, ginger hair, think it is a good idea to burn themselves? I heard a couple of women at the cafe warning each other of the perils. They went into a lot of detail about Factor 50 creams. They must work because they looked normal and comfortable, unlike a few women and blokes who had spent much of the day on Sunday getting pissed in the sun and appeared to be walking burns victims today. Of course, it wouldn’t be Britain if the odd person did not complain about the heat…. and they were at it by midday.
I like Battersea Square. I have met a few of the locals. I have seen the people who use the Square…. very laid back and relaxed… and several regulars very amusing the other night, when I was sitting out with my ex over dinner at the Italian trattoria, who came over to chat.
I end my ‘rant’ and brief observations with some good news…
ASBO bans woman from lap dancing, pole dancing and prostitution
A woman alleged to have driven neighbours out of their homes by her sexual activities has been banned from inviting any men around for the night except for her brothers and the emergency services.
best, as always