Man steals £3 of Bacon

This week, my mum was down in London for a work conference so I went to meet her in the Pullman Hotel on Euston Road, and eat canapés and guzzle champagne (complimentary work treats), before heading to Prezzo (didn’t bother with a voucher this time) for some tapas.

Whilst waiting for the bill, I quickly checked my emails, and burst out laughing. I get the e-newsletter from the Lancaster Guardian every day, and the top story on this particular day was…unbelievable. MAN STEALS £3 PACK OF BACON. Literally, read the article here.

It’s times like this when I just literally love the North.

Get a Netflix Account

So this week, I’ve spent most of my spare time either on Skype to various loved ones, decorating my bedroom with various bits and bobs and abusing my netflix account. A friend from Uni was insistent that I watch the series ‘Breaking Bad’ and after much determination to stray away from things ‘recommended’, I decided to give the bloody thing a go. We watched the first episode together, and then subsequently I have been left to fend against the gore and violence on my own. But you know what, IT’S SUCH A GOOD SHOW. I must admit, I do like to pause it before I sense some awful act of stabbing, shooting or neck breaking takes place and mentally prepare myself to shut my eyes and open them again at the right time.

As well as BB, I have revisited a show which myself and a friend from home used to watch every Monday, Wednesday, Friday after school. And that show is The Hills. I can’t quite believe it was 2006/7 when I last watched this show and I know in reality (no pun intended) that the premise of it is shit, but it’s just so easy watching. I can literally whack it on when I’m getting ready and almost listen to it like some bitchy rich girl Californian radio play. It’s great. I forgot there were so many series but at only 20 mins a show, I am safely breezing through them. Now, I’ve had debates before as to whether watching reality TV actually decreases your intelligence and I whole heartedly believe that getting engrossed in the drama of other people’s lives, on television is just the same as watching and discussing a soap opera. Most of these types of shows are so scripted anyway, they fall into the drama-reality category anyway.

As the generation that have grown up with not just the internet but tv shows like Big Brother, when another reality TV show comes along, we are just hoping that it’s juicier and more explicit than the last. In our consumerist society, we are just waiting to dispose of yet another cast when they’ve run their course on our TVs. But it made me question, what happens to those stars once they’re out of the limelight and are in fact no more a ‘star’, than Bill who’s delivered the milk for the past 20 years? I posed this question to my boyfriend and as we discussed, we lifted memories of past reality TV stars off the dusty shelves of our subconscious minds. Names like Nadia and Kemal from Big Brother,  Stephen Colletti from Laguna Beach and Maria from The Only Way is Essex. I don’t know the ins and outs of what goes into production behind these things, and how the ‘cast’ members are treated but I questioned what has happened to ‘stars’ off the radar that were seemingly doing well whilst they were on the show. The Only Way is Essex is a prime example of this. If anyone has ever watched it, you will know (but not realise) that when a cast member leaves without it being mentioned and dramatically filmed circa Mark Wright’s painfully cringey exit from the show in Series 3, if they leave without doing a goodbye or ‘moving onto new things’, they are simply not mentioned EVER again in the next series. You don’t even really notice the absence of these past (and sometimes main) cast members until about half way through the next series when someone knew has come along and you go, hand on a minute?! Amy Childs was removed from the show for being ‘too Essex’, supposedly dumbing down the representation of girls from Essex and just particularly being a nitwit, can’t argue there, but what about cast members like Maria Fowler? Maria was seemingly a nice enough girl, pretty, about a light year ahead in terms of average intelligence of the cast and yet, series 4 saw no mention of Maria. Now I didn’t watch TOWIE in the early series, (cue Netflix subscription and spare time in the evenings) and so I did a bit of investigating. Turns out, poor Maria pretty much got a call one day saying she was axed, she was then diagnosed with depression, anxiety and to cut a long story short, tried to take her own life. Fortunately, she’s made a full recovery, but in a recent interview she spoke out about how ITV bosses and ‘friends’ within production of the show didn’t even contact her days after the incident to see if she was alive, let alone okay.

I know plenty of people that would love to go on a reality TV show, make a quick bit and then retire, but going on TV does something to you. You either change and become a total knob, stay on the show forever (Sam Faiers, Towie) or totally disappear to only be snapped in Morrisons 5 years later with nothing but Vodka and Pringles in your trolley.

The biggest hill in Cambridge

This weekend, my boyfriend arrived in London (missed him) and we traveled to Cambridge to visit a friend for her 22nd birthday. Boy are we getting old. It was great cos not only did we get to see said friend on birthday, but other friends too including one that had just come back from teaching children english in Peru. We went to a couple of pubs around the little village she lives in in Cambridge and this required going down one of Histon’s ‘biggest hills’. I was pretty apprehensive, heels and hills do not mix usually, and from going to University in somewhere like Lancaster, I’m sure as hell pleased that the majority of the South is flat. Anyway, this ‘hill’ in fact turned out to be around on an angle of about…20 degrees? If that? The ‘biggest hill’ in Cambridge was in fact…flat.

On our return, we spent the sunday exploring some of London’s museums. Museum of London gets first place. Not just for it’s vastness but for its build up to the post 1940s part of the whole experience. I’m partial to the 60s/70s/80s eras of Britain, anyone the same age as me will probably tell you the same, but seriously the MoL have got it going on! From the display of Mary Quant to the rainbow of Doc Marten boots. There’s an exhibition on come November which I’m keen to go to called Made in London: Jewellery Now which explores creations and unique visions of the most exciting, imaginative and boundary-pushing jewellers working in the capital today. I must say though, although an icon of British museum culture, The British Museum didn’t quite do it for me. Yes, seeing the Rosetta Stone up close was amazing and far better than listening to Drake drone on about it, but the crowds were too much, you couldn’t see anything, and the atmosphere was more like a cafeteria than a museum. This is probably because bar the usual rooms, anything else you can go in costs £8+ and then there’s just cafes and restaurants all with bills about £30+ for 2 people to eat a sandwich. Anyway, rant over. We finished the day at the British Library, and seeing things like the Magna Carta and Queen Elizabeth I’s hand embroidered diary really made up for anything that day. The British Library may be ugly on the outside, but it is full with everything and anything on the inside. It even had a section on the history of football, with original programmes and annuals, which kept Pete content anyway.

British Museum: 6/10 British Library 9/10.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

I was stood on the platform today at King’s Cross on the Hammersmith & City line going Westbound and it was 8am in the morning. I was reading the copy of Stylist I was handed when suddenly I realised I was stood completely on my own on the platform. Completely on my own apart from the fact the platform was overcrowded with people doing exactly the same thing as me and commuting to work. The thing is, no one speaks. Not one single person. In fact, it was so quiet I’m not even joking when I say you could have heard a pin drop.

I mentioned this to my friend and she said that ‘London is the loneliest city’, to which I’m sure anyone would agree, whether born and bred from the place or elsewhere. I thought back to the Sam Selvon novella ‘The Lonely Londoners’ which I got an A on for my lit exam (besides the point, wanted to brag, let me) and how London is described as an entity rather than a place, and that it actually is alive with people, but not with personality as such. If you mention somewhere like Yorkshire to anyone and you imagine an inhabitant of the area you can pretty much guess that in their head they’re picturing a rosy cheeked, chubby bellied old man (Santa minus beard) going “OH ‘ELLO LOV, NOW THEN TELL ME YA BE REIGHT FER NOW?” [Southern translation: Hello love, I hope you’re going to tell me you’re well?] But with London, you just don’t have an answer, there’s so many different answers, which leads to never having one. I’m not saying everyone from Yorkshire is like that, my boyfriend is from Yorkshire and there’s only the occasional phrase that he says that I have to stop what I’m doing and just say “WHAT?” I’m also not saying everyone from London is a faceless, personality lacking individual, I’m just saying WHY DOES NO ONE TALK ON THE UNDERGROUND? I gave a woman an acknowledgement smile as she gave up her seat to get off and I made to sit down and she looked at me like I’d held her at gun point and said “FUCKING MOVE BIATCH OR THE WHOLE CARRIAGE IS DONE FOR.”

Life Pro Tip: Don’t even make eye contact on the underground, otherwise you’re a crazy psycho escaped from an institution, just riding round on the tube until the staff manage to get you back. Or you’re Northern and thinking talking to people and making eye contact and smiling is FRIENDLY rather than threatening.

Waitrose

So round the corner from work, is Waitrose, and we all know that Waitrose, is expensive. Yes it sells delectable lovely amazing food stuffs, but at a bread roll at the price of a pasta pot at Tesco doesn’t seem worth it when you’re living off minimal monies. However, I have devised a plan to scam you Waitrose, muahaha. Not really, but basically buying Falafel and rocket and wraps and some kind of sauce to make things a little less dry mouth on Monday, lasts until Friday, tah dah! So anyway, I’m all like HAHA WR I’VE BEATEN YOUR SYSTEM LOLOLOLOL and then when I’m paying, I get handed a temporary waitrose points card. “Works exactly like a Boots card I guess” says the uninterested-in-my-skint-life shop assistant and I had twenty minutes to kill on my lunch so YOU KNOW WHAT, I signed up online, it was free (this excites the student blood still lurking in my veins) and my card will arrive in 2-3 days (magic). So I’m on the way home and I come across a WR near my tube station, I’ve got this card now and the more I use it, the more points I get which = more money off my next purchase. GENIUS MARKETING. I spent MORE money in WR on the SAME day to buy my food shop for the next week. There is a WR around the corner from my house back up North, I’ve never shopped in it. There’s a Sainsbury’s where I went to uni and if I spent over a tenner on my weekly shop I would cry, but yet London Grace, things it’s okay to spend £30 that I must repeat, don’t really have right now, in Waitrose. THE most expensive food retailer in the universe. The moral of the story is: make sure you get a Waitrose card, it’s great, it gets you money off and everything, I spent £30 and you know how much discount I got with that charming piece of cardboard? 1p.

I know this is a stupid question but

Today my dad and my younger sister came to visit me to see how i’m doing on this big journey called life. Nah, all jokes aside, it was nice to see them and be involved in visiting London as a family of tourists rather than a lone (and poor) twenty something. I met up with family members x 2 around midday at Marylebone, a pleasant station. One of the only stations in London which hasn’t been swallowed by 80s council estate architecture and just remains a newly painted version of it’s 1880’s self. On meeting the younger sister, I notced she was wearing make up, well I can’t remember when I started wearing make up but it must have been around her age. On complimentingher  about said make up, her response made me chuckle. “Yeah well I walked down the stairs this morning and Dad asked me who’d beaten me up!” [My puzzled face] “Because he said I look like I have two black eyes!” I didn’t tell her then, and I wouldn’t tell her now, but maybe when she’s 18 I’ll let her know that there’s a fine line between smokey eye effect and panda.

Our adventures took us first to the underground (we Hetherington’s might like to hike but city walking aint our thang) and onto the southbank, where we admired the Thames (from afar, that thing STINKS if you get too close) and then minding our own business when suddenly we get caught up in a sandcastle fight. I’m not even joking. There was a sandcastle artist there and he was arguing with an elderley man (he was exaggerating his ailments quite clearly) about stealing his work and portraying it as his own. I thought I was witnessing first hand, an argument between two artists, in person, seeing these two great masterminds of artistic flare challenge each other over who deserved the title of SAND CASTLE ARTIST THE ALMIGHTY. Turns out, I was infact watching a poor bloke who does sandcastle artistry on the side have an argument with a drunk, old(ish) homeless man, who tried to sleep on his couch, which was made of sand.

ruth

We decided to visit the Tate Modern, my dad’s a photographer and so he’s loved to drag us siblings around gallery after gallery since we were yay big. I do enjoy it profusely, but I also have a limit. Turns out, my sister who is 9 years my junior, has the same limit. I don’t know if that’s good for her or bad for me. Either way, by this point we’re just following my dad around, taking the mick out of people’s funny shaped noses in the portraits and narrating the thoughts and opinions of those taking a serious interest in the art, when we get to Picasso’s painting of The Weeping Woman. Painted in 1937, it is one of the subsidiary paintings based on one of the figures in the vast mural Guernica, which Picasso created as a response to the the bombing massacre of the Basque town of Guernica by the German air force who were lending their support to the Nationalist forces of General Franco, and I studied the poem Weeping Woman by Grace Nichols in my first year of University, so I know a lot about not only the visuals of the poem but the raw emotion and depiction of the woman’s thoughts that many have analysed, Nichols included. So when I’m stood there, reverberating all of this information to my sister who is mature beyond her 12 years, the last thing I expect to hear from her (and the small crowd that had gathered to admire and earwig to what i was saying) was “I know this is a stupid question but, is this the original?”

 

American Werewolf in London

So today, I dragged my Mancunian arse out of bed and headed to the V&A museum. It was always my intention to purchase a members card, but as a dear friend who is also down in London has one and you get a +1, I thought I’d just tag along with her. Anyway, today was Friday and she was obviously working, so I decided to brave it myself, and pay the £6 in for the Club to Catwalk exhibition, (the man behind the desk gave me puppy dog eyes when he asked if i wanted to give the £1 donation and i succumbed).

The exhibition, if you haven’t been, is nowhere near as good as the Bowie one that recently featured. Well, from what I gather anyway, I haven’t actually been to the Bowie one, I’ve just heard things. Don’t get me wrong, the Club to Catwalk one was great, hands down to the Curator for putting that much plastic fantastic fashion into such a small space, but my only comment was that things were repeated, and there was heavy feature on John Galliano. I like his 80s designs, but to me, he’s the hit of of the 90s, but I do appreciate the ‘cool’ tag that he attached to going to St Martins. Here’s the link to the exhibition, I recommend going for the PVC cod pieces, the looped film of London’s clubs in the 80s and of course the homage to Adam Ant. Take in the customised denim jackets as inspiration. And my biggest tip of all, go with someone who has a V&A pass so you can skip the queues and be their +1. Endless fun being the plus one.

On the way home, I remembered the wise nagging words of my mother with ‘don’t forget to merge your oyster card with your railcard to get a 1/3 off travel’. That’s right my friends, a 1/3 off, only off peak though, and as I’ll be travelling ON PEAK from now on, this is really helpful. I guess it’s better than nothing. After queuing for, well, forever, I was finally greeted (or rather grimaced) at the booth by one of the many vampire underground staff. I think the reason they’re so grumpy must be on the fact that they almost never see sunlight, trapped in their goldfish booths of Kings Cross underground station, forever tortured to watch THE MOST BIGGEST AMOUNT OF PEOPLE EVER for the rest of their immortal lives. I opened my mouth to say “Hi, I was wondering if I could merge my oyster card with my-“, “Card”, “Oh, erm okay”, (fumbles in bag) “Today would be nice.” “Sorry, here you are.” [Awkward silence] “Here, next!” And that was it, it took all of 16 seconds…I counted. Safe to say as I know how the ticket machines work, I won’t be going to the ticket office again, thank goodness. It did remind me to watch An American Werewolf in London though.

I’ve just got back from dinner with aforementioned friend and we chose to go to Prezzo, it’s a great chain and I found a voucher for 25% off, which is just FANTASTIC, as said friend is on a placement (unpaid) and I’m always poor. I offered the voucher to the waitress pre meal to which she bent politely down to my ear level and (without whispering as her actions implied) said “SORRY MISS WE DO NOT ACCEPT ZE DISCOUNTED VOUCHER IN ZIS BRANCH AS ZIS IS MAYFAIR, YOUS WILL AFT TO PAY ZE FULL PRICE FOR YOUR MEALS.” Okay, thanks, great for embarrassing me well and truly in front of the whole restaurant, the restaurant I picked because of the decor and the fact it’s on Mayfair, I can’t read the small print on the voucher because it’s on my phone as I don’t have a printer as I’m too poor to afford a printer as you SO KINDLY POINTED OUT.

LIFE PRO TIP:

Don’t eat in Mayfair unless you can a) afford to or b) are dining with someone who can afford to.