May 03, 2024

Advice for Shanai

One of my favorite people in Minneapolis, Shanai, is moving to London for a few months to study Shakespeare or something. No, museums! That's it! Shanai, here's all the things you have to do [and some things you must not do under any circumstance] whilst in The Smoke.

...Go get wasted dancing to The Smiths and Nirvana at Popstarz at least once...stay away from G-A-Y unless there's some shitty boy band playing, or Will Young, and then go at all costs... Take a boat to Greenwich and walk around the parks, then take the Victorian foot tunnel under the Thames to Island Gardens and take the train back to London...Go to The Effra in Brixton, just off The Effra road; it used to be my local; live jazz six nights a week; i miss it... Go see a show at the ICA...Go to Hampstead Heath; it's lovely even if it isn't late at night and you're getting your cock sucked... or better yet, take a bottle of wine, a blanket, and a boy up to Primrose Hill and relax because you can drink in public...speaking of, nothing says 'geezer' like drinking tins of Stella on the tube into town on a Saturday night... Have a curry on Brick Lane...Go back to Brick Lane on Sunday for the market; there's a real coffee shop up past the brewery that will sustain you when you miss Minneapolis brew but learn to love the freeze-dried stuff...Spitalfields is my next favorite market, followed by Camden (only for the corduroy jackets)... Eat Hobnobs...Buy toiletries at Boots...Have lunch at the top of the Tate Modern...Go to the V & A Museum and the Whitechapel Art Gallery ...Take the bus whenever possible...Avoid any pub that advertises "Olde English Fayre," "cask-pulled ales" or "Traditional Fish and Chips"... eat a scotch egg... Do not, under any circumstance, go to the Texas Embassy... Or buy 'absinthe'... Go to Somerset House late at night and walk in the fountains... Go to Somerset House on a warm summer day and drink Pimm's... Or enjoy happy hour in Hoxton Square... Avoid EasyEverythings; they're nothing but Eurotrash whorehouses...Buy chips late at night from Dionysus on the corner of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road...Read The Guardian...Eat Pret a Manger sandwiches but sparingly... Get lost whenever possible... Don't miss the Sloane Museum behind Holborn Tube Station... visit Jim at Gay's the Word and say hello to him for me...take the Eurostar to Paris, or get out of town to Manchester, Southend, or Edinburgh...God I'm jealous as fuck.

London: warren of my thoughts. How I miss it. Though nostalgia doth color my memories of that city. Last stint I pulled there was miserable and hard in a lot of ways. I didn't find a job for a long time, I lived in this flea-infested monk's room in Brixton, my writing did not go so well, and I spent most of my time escaping life and failure by cruising late at night in dangerous parks. I met excellent friends -- friends I feel so strongly for I almost cry each time they write me. Through them I was introduced to new poets, good champagne, and Madonna's gay masseur. Brixton was the best possible microLondon for me -- the stench, the noise, the color, the miasma of danger and the slick old cobbles and the cars kids would start on fire a block away on the council estate. A few boys, especially my first time around, as a student -- Christopher, the Pole, staying illegally in London and how he disappeared suddenly, Damian and I staying at that photograph's studio in Bayswater and doing photoshoots naked on a bed of red felt, doing E with Mike at Heaven and watching Stereolab perform and hugging each other and saying over and over "I love you man!"...Big vegetarian dinners Meghan used to make for us, Damo and his insane drives to work each morning through Regents Park, that summer I spent in Damian's flat in Lancashire, in love, accepted by his family, and the two trips we made to Greece, somehow, despite the fact that we were completely broke, the asylum seekers I taught English to, the drive through the North Yorkshire Moors as that summer waned.

...Time for work. Sigh.

Posted by jason at May 3, 2024 09:59 PM

Jason, I remember you took me to this place in the East End--it was below ground with this old iron railing at the top of the staircase. Can't recall the name of it, but I remember it was a big fave of yours. When we went there it was rather quiet except for dripping sounds.

Also, caution Shanai that the Eurostar is more fun if you're sober.

Posted by: glen at May 4, 2024 10:01 AM

Yes well, you were dripping down in the toilet, I seem to remember ... and no, I'm never as fond as Paris ... sight of many public displays of midday vomiting.

Posted by: jason at May 4, 2024 11:48 AM

Golly. Your post made me want to drop out of college and move to London. Fuck Cornell! =)

Posted by: Addymal at May 4, 2024 02:50 PM

Toilet? You told me it was a jazz club!

(I guess those weren't saxophones after all. . . .)

Posted by: glen at May 4, 2024 03:34 PM I recall, the last time I was in London, I stopped round your flat and your flatmate told me that you weren't there but out at the EasyEverything. Does this make you a Eurotrash Whore?

London is boring. England is boring. She's better off going up to the Shetland islands and living in a grass hut and spending all her dark days twisted on whiskey and digging sheeps eyeballs out of her stew...

Posted by: CPH Jones at May 4, 2024 04:58 PM

> I recall, the last time I was in London, I stopped round your flat and your flatmate told me that you weren't there but out at the EasyEverything. Does this make you a Eurotrash Whore?

Yes, well, let's just say I learned the hard way -- I'd rather not have to look at some Estonian vomit on his cellphone while his buddy fondles a thirteen year old French girl eating McDonald's french fries while I email my mom.

I knew you'd have some bitch about London! This from the man who, je me souviens, left a message on my answering machine that said "Jason! I will be at so-and-so a place at noon! You can meet me there! It will be the last time I set foot in the city of London! It is done! Farewell!" Quelle dramaqueen!

Posted by: jason at May 4, 2024 09:22 PM

No, Jason, no, no , no , NO. je me souviens exactement. I did not say that. I'm sure that what I did say is that it would be the last time I'd be setting foot in London for a very long time to come. After all, I've spent a rather significant chunk of my life there, all with being a punk rock youth squatting in a burnt out building in Ealing and the dozens of other times I've descended upon that boring, over priced piles of old, white bones. I'm done with Europe for the time being - there are other, darker continents to explore and none of them are overrun by tacky Eastern Europeans who think they're stylish in their thigh high boots, pink leather mini and fur bomber jacket made up of different types of fur from dozens of different animals. I fear for the EU...

Posted by: CPH Jones at May 5, 2024 08:17 AM

Jason, thanks for the advice. You are amazing. I'm sure you know that as a white-trash gal from the range, I'm a bit wary of the whole 'college summer vacation in Europe' crowd, of which I am now going to be a part. I know that my mother(and any number of other people) would love to slap me for wasting my time/money, which I suppose could be better spent selling hardware for seven dollars an hour at REX. I promise to send you lame postcards, and I will do what I can to get my cock sucked.

Posted by: Shanai at May 5, 2024 08:43 AM

The EU is the only hope for the planet.

Posted by: jason at May 5, 2024 08:53 AM

London Calling! I suppose I'll never understand it till I visit. They've got some alright music, though. And what I see on the BBC intrigues me. I spent my free time in the Austral-Pacific part of the Empire.

Posted by: Brian at May 5, 2024 09:41 AM

The EU is the only hope for the planet? Please explain. Though I appreciate the symbolic importance of the EU, and, to a lesser degree, the harmonizing effects of travelling in a border free Europe with unform cash (having travelled before and after Shengen, I think after is ultimately more enjoyable, if less exciting), I must point out that the European Union is one of the least democratic political entities active today. While I myself am totally opposed to democracy, I doubt that you are. Therefore, how can this undemocratic, unloved, and much maligned nehemoth of a superstructure be the world's only hope? How, Jason, how?

Brian - Australia and the people who live there, are TOTALLY LAME! Yes, every last one of 'em. You cannot truly appreciate the significance of this until you have lived and worked in the UK. Kiwis are OK, though.

Shanai - You will be fine so long as you avoid Australiens and chicks from Jersey (new, not old) and stay off the beaten path. Use Lonely Planet, not Let's Go. Basically, do nothing that Jason told you to do. Well, except for the Greenwhich part and the Heath part and the obvious part. DO NOT eat at pret a manger, it's like a British McDonalds, avoid Edinburgh (Glasgow is far better), drink absinthe (absinto, really) just don't be all lame and goth about it like some retarded left over 80's person, do go to Easy Everything (cheap internet access and everywhere), visit Marx's grave, go to the British Museum, eat at Govinda's (Hare Krishna vegetarian), buy chips anywhere (Coffee too, there's a Starfucks on every corner in London), shop at Tesco, not Safeway or Europa Foods, eat Jaffa cakes and Fox's Buttercrunch Biscuits (Hob Nobs are acceptable),and, under absolutely no circumstances whatsoever should you be talked into going down to the Pink Palace in Corfu. Don't do it.

Posted by: CPH Jones at May 5, 2024 03:35 PM