1. Furnished

    Yesterday, after living in the same barely-furnished flat for nearly three years, I finally caved and bought an extra dining chair, two bedside tables and one coffee table. They don't match, they're as cheap as I could find from IKEA's online store (the really cheap stuff demands a car and a personal visit) and I will happily leave them behind when I next move. Nevertheless, the decision to buy was one I agonised over for about a year.

  2. I don’t know how to go to the theatre

    Going to the theatre isn't something I've ever done in any major way. I think the last time I went to the theatre was to see Blues Brothers: The Musical six or seven years ago and I ended up walking out during the interval as my spider-sense had picked up on the audience participation that was due in the second half.

  3. Covered in bees

    Now everybody's competently growing tiny lettuces and dismal herbs in their window boxes and smugly claiming that as 'food', the logical next step seems to be keeping livestock: pigs and chickens and the like. Lately, this has manifested itself as an interest in bees. Everywhere I look, someone is writing about bees.

  4. Viene la tormenta!

    I wrote recently that I wasn't a big fan of the summer but that I didn't see it as a precious commodity that would be wasted if I wasn't out roasting myself a shade of lobster red instead of sat on my sofa playing Fable 2. I've been reminded this weekend of another reason why I'm sceptical about the whole season, because in the UK, every sunny day seems to come with a big bastard storm attached to it.

  5. Staying in for the summer

    It seems that in England, summer has arrived in force, with not just days of warm weather ahead but rumours of entire weeks of it. This seems to happen every year -- almost seasonally -- and with it comes the inevitable telling off I receive that I am indoors and not outside enjoying the sun.

  6. That damned, elusive Grand Café

    Here's a surprising fact; having lived in London for more than two years, I only began taking my laptop to write in cafés about a month ago. I'm not sure why, though it might go some way to explaining why I haven't been writing at all for about two years. It seems that for me to be really prolific, I need the ritual of leaving the house, sitting somewhere free of internet distractions yet not free of eye candy, venting my spleen for an hour all over my laptop, and then fucking off home again. I just can't find anywhere around here that quite fits what I need.

  7. Cause and effect

    Since moving to London, I have witnessed precisely two motorcyclists being knocked off their bikes by oncoming cars, and both times I have felt at least partly responsible, though thankfully not for any reason that could see me in court. No, I operate on a more philosophical plane.

  8. Celebrity chess

    This morning I saw Paul Whitehouse jogging in Crouch End. This was a disappointment, because having seen him once before on Tottenham Court Road, he no longer counts toward the celebrity chess set I've been working toward since moving to London. If it had been Harry Enfield, for instance, I'd be up to ten pieces; as it stands, I remain stuck at nine.

  9. Every time I eat a sun-dried tomato I die a little inside

    So, I've spent the last year living in Highgate, having felt my time in Archway had come to a natural conclusion when December arrived and the house I was living in had no heating, no working oven, no functional lighting in the kitchen, 90db Hip-Hop at weekends and a mouse infestation so chronic that the other tenants had taken to approaching the kitchen with heavy footsteps, to give the mice a chance to run away; out of sight, out of mind, you see?

  10. That Student Life

    As happens often --- probably more often than is strictly healthy --- I've found myself fantasising about what I might do if I was suddenly offensively, disturbingly and disgustingly rich. This fantasy varies; sometimes I think I'd end up living in Italy, perhaps owning a small espresso bar; other times I imagine I might end up back in Oxford, where I would spend my days lounging in the QI Bar discussing, I don't know, Anthony Eden's handling of the Suez crisis, or whatever's happening in the world these days.

  11. A Newcomer’s Guide to London

    So I've now spent three weeks in London and I thought it would be helpful to anyone else thinking of moving here if I passed on a bit of advice, based on what I've learnt so far, to help you avoid culture shock or finding yourself in an embarrassing social faux pas.

  12. That Was the Oxford That Was

    About two years and two months ago I arrived in Oxford from Canterbury (via a few months in sunny Weston). Today, I arrive in London, which I'm going to assume is a lot like Oxford, except about 100 times bigger, a bit dirtier, and full of knives.

  13. Everything Must Go

    A problem with moving house is that you have to sift through all the crap you've been happily hiding away for months. For the most part, this can be quite cathartic, as you mercilessly cull anything with more than a millimetre of dust on it, casting out vast sacks of rubbish into the gaping maw of the recycling bins, but there's always a few things that need thinking about.

  14. My Book Life, Revisited

    Back in July I let you know of my resolution to read, during 2006, an average of one book per week. At the time I was already six books behind schedule but I was confident that I was going to manage it. Now though, with just two weeks of the year to go and my count at 40, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to make it, but I'm fairly satisfied nonetheless.

  15. Death of an iPod

    Three years ago when I bought my first iPod, the message printed across the screen-protecting film simply read "enjoy". Now, on iPod number two, the message reads "don't steal music". It is, I suppose, a sign of the times.

  16. Dazed and Confused

    I apologise in advance if this week's thrilling momentary diversion is a little disjointed, because the last 12 hours has seen me slightly unstuck in time. This is because last night, at 2am, the clocks changed, and while I thought they were going forward an hour, it turned out that they were, in fact, going back.

  17. Cost and Effect

    It has been an exciting week; not only did Nintendo finally release the launch details for the Ww...for the Wwww... for their new console, but Apple also updated each of their iPod lines and also revealed a new iTunes and something that is hilariously codenamed as 'iTV'. How will my wallet fare after all of this? Let's find out!

  18. Petty Victories

    So, this week I'm going to talk about toilet rolls, and toilet roll dispensers. This might seem like a bit of a departure from my usual high-brow material --- you know, Superman, Gameboys, Cafés --- just please bear with me, as I'm trying to make a wider point.

  19. Riddley Walker

    As part of my (actually now-floundering) attempt to read an average of one book per week, I've been spreading my reading about, taking in books by authors who I feel I ought to have read but haven't (Hemmingway, Greene), translated literature by foriegn authors I've never heard of (Calvino, Gutiérrez) and current popular fiction (Safran-Foer, Niffenegger). There's also one, dreaded category that I touch upon only rarely: books that have been on my shelf and remained unread, in some cases for up to fifteen years.

  20. My Book Life

    I'm not usually one for New Year resolutions, but this year I made one that I told nobody about in case I spectactularly failed; my resolution was to have read, by the end of the year, an average of one book per week. So far, 30 weeks into the year, I've read 24, so, while I have a little catching up to do, I'm confident now that it's an achieveable goal.

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