Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Hammers And Tongues

Well, as you may have astutely guessed from the Cheryl Tweedy trial update last night, I'm back safe and sound from my weekend in London despite the best combined efforts of the London Underground and British Rail. Coincidentally, Stockholm-based US blogger Francis Strand also spent the weekend in the smoke. Less co-incidentally, so did Clear Blue's Princess.

Much hilarity ensued when we arrived at our Bloomsbury hotel only to find they'd shoved us in nextdoor. Then they booked us into a room which was already occupied by a young couple who were rather too preoccupied to notice we'd walked into their room until it was (almost) too late. Many embarrassed apologies from reception afterwards we were finally allocated our correct room. Which was fine...apart from the mouse. Eeeeeeeeeeek!

Um, we didn't make breakfast (too busy setting up humane mousetraps, natch) but we did get to stroll down the gothic emporium that is Camden Market where I watched Emma fingering the sumptuous basques to the backing music of some bloke singing fuck like a beast, fight like an animal ad nauseum. I've since found out this is a song by a band called The Meteors and you can download the mp3 (for that fully immersive PV experience) from here.

We watched a bit of the England v SA rugby match in a disinterested Irish bar before heading to the field of dreams that is Upton Park to see West Ham batter Burnley 2-2. It really should have been about 8-3 to the Hammers but for some careless finishing with fatgiant Danish keeper Brian Jensen the main interceptor. As it was, only a late great volley from £5m supersub Don Hutchison saved us from total humiliation. New boss Alan Pardew has his work cut out getting us into the automatic promotion slots, and the vibes I'm getting already are that the media are just waiting for him to fall flat on his face despite the fact he hasn't taken charge of a match yet.

Even more disappointing than the result was the fact that there wasn't an appearance by The Hammerettes at half-time, making way for some Kick Racism Out Of Football malarkey. You can have too much of political correctness you know, but the good news is that The Hammerettes are soon to star in a website of their own. Just a thought, but if the dance troupe ever mess up their moves during the interval, do they get a good roasting from the team after the match? Parallax View demands an answer.

I saved Emma from the indignities of the pie-and-mash shop in favour of a rather fine Italian restaurant called Trattoria Bardigiana on Bernard Street, just round the corner from Russell Square tube station. Then had some drinks in the claustrophobic confines of that old blogging haunt Waxy's Little Sister before going to see the midnight showing of Killy Billy (Volume 1) at the relatively spacious Empire in Leicester Square.

It's been widely noted (with some disappointment) that Tarantino's latest sacrifices plot for action. I disagree. There was at least twenty minutes worth of plot-development longeurs that could easily have been sacrificed for even more swish slice-and-dice action sequences, if you ask me. The concluding showdown between Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu in a surreal wintry milieu (a very feminine confrontation, Emma thought, and, well, she should know) made for a satisfying climax though and sets things up nicely for Volume 2 (out Feb 2004). Liu really does appear more like an alien than ever before, while Uma certainly looks suitably lived-in and officially has the scariest fingers and toes in christendom. The several close-ups of Thurman's tootsies were considerably more troubling than any number of masked and anonymous Japanese assassins in my Parallax View.

And so, before we knew it, it was Sunday morning, just scraped down in time for the hotel breakfast, then chilled over capuccinos before the emotional farewell at Waterloo station. Despite a nightmare journey back to Shropshire, the weekend left me tired but happy. But now I'm coughing and sneezing like a good 'un, and feeling weaker than Arsenal in Europe. So I'll bid ye goodnight with a guarded commitment to catch up with all outstanding book/record reviews by the weekend.


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