Here I am in London, Marylebone, to be precise, 191-a Gloucester Place, NW1, to be really precise. So, if anyone from the UK reads this (and don’t think I don’t know you do), you know where to find me.
This is a basement, or cellar, apartment which is really rather cozy, I imagine a realtor would say. It is about 2 metres by 5, or 7 ft x 15. with a little extra space for the loo and the closet. This includes a working kitchen. There are two windows into a sort of air shaft cum sunken patio, also accessible by a door. I’ll shoot some interior photos tomorrow in the light.
But, I kind of like the place, so far at least… It is kind of like living in shambles on the doorstep of luxury, tho. Right outside are multi-million pound town houses and the like. Regent’s park is just a block or so away, with botanical gardens, ponds and streams, and a zoo.
Here are some initial observations, in no particular order…
**Right after arriving here, I dumped my stuff at the flat and set out to explore my neighbourhood a bit. I saw a cute little yellow convertible car with a bumper sticker which really took me by surprise. I snapped this shot quick as I could, but you’ll have to take my word for it when I tell you that’s n “Obama08” sticker on the boot!
** When I first visited New York City many years ago I came away with one clear impression: There are a lot of pay phones and they are all in use. That is no longer the case in NYC, cell phones have pretty much obsoleted the pay phone.
When I first visited London, just seven short years ago, I had a similar impression about pay phones: There are a lot of pay phones, and they are all plastered with adverts for phone-sex and the like. The phone booths were well past pornographic. They still are. They aren’t in use nearly as much as they were in 2000, but they are still there with all of their little pornographic ads. I suspect that they are only really kept there to hold those little advert cards.
** Amy Winehouse is everywhere! Well, not Amy herself, but her look. I have seen women and girls from all ages and walks of life with either Miss Winehouse’s trademark mascara, hair or both. I walked by Marleybone School as it let out for the afternoon, and saw all sort of high school age girl with the mascara. I saw the look in other parts of town, as well.
** Other noticeable fashion trends: Colored tights with short shorts or very short skirts; little black dresses are everywhere, and on a Tuesday afternoon; I was worried how I would look in my mismatched jacket and trousers — no worry there, it’s a prevalent look on the streets here.
** Milwaukee has a high level of disregard for public accommodations (think sidewalks, etc.) whenever construction is going on. Parts of the East Side right now require a pedestrian walking just a few blocks along Prospect Avenue to cross the street several times, dodging various construction projects. Many larger cities, such a Chicago or New York have a lot more construction going on at any one time, but they tend to require the builder to protect or temporarily re-route the public right of way during construction.
London goes a step further. Most scaffolding is, upon erection, draped with tarpaulin. Along with the tarpaulin (see the photo of construction next door to Madame Taussad’s) are signs apologizing to the city for the eyesore. These signs are of almost sarcastic earnestness, “Please accept our firmest apology for the works. We are trying to make London better to look at in the process…” and the like.