Tuesday, 23 December 2008

It's Coming On Christmas, They're Cutting Down Trees

I'm so hard to handle
I'm selfish and I'm sad
Now I've gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had
I wish I had a river I could skate away on

Oh, I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I made my baby say goodbye

It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
I wish I had a river I could skate away on

(excerpt from 'River') Copyright © 1970; Joni Mitchell
Painting is called 'Skaters' also by Joni Mitchell 1994

I just thought I'd send out that rather reflective Joni Mitchell song on this blog ("I make really sad Christmas songs"). I've been trying to learn how to play it on the piano for ages and I can just about do the simple chords. I feel as if I haven't openly quoted Joni enough in these blogs. She is a songwriting genius. Frank, beautiful, a voice that can shatter a heartache and also a painter. I am attracted to people who aren't afraid to take risks with their art, their feelings at the risk of their popularity. What's important to them is the truth.

Anyway, it was at the works Christmas party on Friday when Lee Paddock (whose job title has 'Chief' in it. I've always liked that word, especially when used by streetkids for some reason) asked me to name 3 good things this year and 1 bad thing that has happened to me this year.

Christmas is often the time for reflection over the past year and on the moments spur, over our Thai Christmas Meal (a Metrosafety tradition it seems) I came up with these:

(I would like, all ye you read this, to quickly whack me off a response along the same lines, and you don't have to be as verbose as I have been.)

Three Good Things
1) I became an Exhibited Artist - something that in all my days I have never thought I'd have the guts to do.

2) My blind spot which was diagnosed earlier this year (bottom left corner), is actually due to scarring from the AVM bleed 24 years ago, and not an indication of anything that is about to happen. That was confirmed by in April. By the end of April, I joined The Everest Test as a Trektator.

3) I have met an incredible bunch of people who, over the past year, through some quite testing moments, I am really proud to call my friends. Hopefully friendships that will go beyond April (David Thomson, who sat opposite, said, "Yes, I can see that, and I'm quite jealous of that aspect of it, I'd really like to go up with you, if only just for that. You're very lucky."

One Bad
1) I have realised I've wasted an incredible amount of time procrastinating, that I can actually do things that aren't within my means. Not just this year, but I realised it this year and I've begun to take a deep breath and leap. I regret not doing things. It's worse than regretting the things I've done. I wouldn't change a thing that I have. Well, almost. It's taken me 36 years to learn that.

Anything is possible, you just have to allow yourself to make it happen.

Merry Christmas everybody. I hope you have a great one.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Waterloo Sunset

If you travel via Waterloo frequently, using the travelators, one thing I like doing while walking on a travelator is looking down at the moving walkway ahead of me. Do this for about 15 seconds (don't worry the travelator at Waterloo Station between the Jubilee Line and Northern Lines takes a good 1 min 30 secs, so you won't find you've run out of travelator). After that 15 seconds of looking down, quickly look up at the rest of the tunnel ahead. Because of some strange 'eye thing' the whole tunnel seems to be moving away from you in some freak 'trick of the eye' fashion. Please note, the travelator has to be fairly empty, so this is an 'off-peak' activity.

I used to like walking up to escalators and grabbing on. The lurch you get when something suddenly takes you somewhere is exhilarating and you have to run faster to catch up. Like joining friends unexpectedly in the night and suddenly going on adventures to the other side of town, or Brighton/Glasgow, someone's rooftop. This small lurch of 'escalator fun' was always kinda fun, a little bit of joy while traveling - escalating - or even travelating - for that matter. Ok, yes, it's only an escalator, I was going in that direction anyway... but I think it's important to have a little bit of internal joy while doing mundane things. Some people read while traveling, some people listen to their Walkmen (pl. of Walkman?). I prefer that internal dialogue. It's good to be peripatetic. I'm glad I like it as under 4 months we'll be doing a lot of it for 18 days.

At the moment I've realised that I seem to be faster than the speed of escalators when I walk, faster than I used to. Perhaps it's just Christmas and the need to get things done is fairly time-sensitive, so there's no chance to dawdle. Perhaps since I've stepped on board The Everest Test 2009 Train Boarding for Nepal I've just become more focused, a little more intolerant of time-wasters. When I joined up for this attempt, my first response was like joining an escalator that was traveling at 100 miles an hour and I took a deep breath and leapt into that traffic. I think that this event, this attempt, this 'thing' has taken over my life. The people who I mention it to are really in awe that I've even considered doing this, let alone actually doing it! I dunno. Perhaps I'm living my life a bit more, rather than just be a passenger on the travelator of someone else's. I can't believe I'm paraphrasing my own poem there. Maybe that's what poetry notebooks are for.

I've learnt a couple of things about myself recently.... More on that once I've had my peripatetic on it. I've learnt a couple of new words as well. Some thanks to Word Of The Day. Some not. "Snoodling" being one of them (thank you Chris Martin).

"Peripatetic" being the other.
Definition 1: On foot, walking from place to place.

Usage 1: This word stays the same in both adjective and noun forms.
Also, peripatetics are journeys on foot.

Definition 2: Relating to the methods and thought of Aristotle, who
conducted discussions while walking.

Usage 2: The word gains a capital when you're talking about philosophy.
A peripatetic is someone who rambles on foot; a Peripatetic is an
adherent of Aristotle.

I don't think I can give you a definition of snoodling. Muslim upbringing. Nuff said.

Anyway, I'm sure I promised a photo album from the London Freeze which happened about 2 weekends ago. That is to come. I promise.

Traveling for some people is just a means to get to the destination. For us Trektators, it is the journey that matters most. It promises to be filled with lots of little pockets of joy and wonderment. What we pick up along the way, what we learn, the experience on the journey. 'Journey' has it's etymology in the French for 'day' - Ours will be 12 days up to watch some people play cricket on Everest and perhaps take some photos and a couple of days down again. I'm anticipating lots of learning on this journey and, after our little Trektator dinner on Wednesday, lots of fun.

Meanwhile I'll be having a few rambles once the Xmas sales
are on and I can buy my trekking shoes from Blacks. I've been highly recommended a brand called 'Rutger Hauer' or 'Bauhaus'.

something like that.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Movies of Myself.

I guess I thought I'd make a little video of what I've been doing (or not doing) to raise dosh for charity and awareness for prostate cancer.

FAQ's answered:
Yes, I do shave that quickly.

No, it doesn't hurt.

An evening.

A month.

15 months between us.

We used to work together.

Cumin seeds, coriander seeds, star anise, mustard seeds, heated in a pan, add oil, fry the onions until softened, add the curry powder made into a paste, fry until the oil rises, add the chicken pieces, add the potatoes. Add water. Cook until potatoes as cooked. Add coconut milk. Add green beans. Then cook for another 5 mins. Leave for 15 off the heat. Serve with rice.

36. (I know. Comes from being semi-Asian)

It's going to drop off.

April 2009.

Not on Everest, at Gorak Shep near the Base Camp to Mt Everest.

My Dad is from Malaysia, my Mum is from South London.

When I was 16.

An actor.

A painter.

It's been mainly theatre and voice-overs, though I did do an advert for Maltesers when they sponsored Will & Grace (check my facebook vids). And I was a Palace Guard in 'The Phantom Menace' and 5 episodes of Grange Hill in 2000 playing the older, racist brother to a regular character.

Portraits and abstracts.


Pass. We don't talk about that in open fora.

Pass. Now, you're flirting. Cheeky but that's not for here either. Off the record it's absinthe.


Can I end this now? I have a knish and Christmas shopping that needs attending to.


Amazing weekend just passed. More of that later when I've learned how to picasa everything.... until then enjoy your week!