Monday, 16 July 2007

Dongly things and Dont's



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I found the above panorama on my phone when I woke. I have no idea when I took it or why. I was in Ellis' guest nest surrounded by computers, box files and what Douglas Adams called "dongly things". I got to my feet (smelling, I have to say, great) and a small, dark cube on a shelf suddenly went click... and then hummed. My immediate reaction was to freeze, but I trust Ellis implicitly and realized that any cybernetic sequence I may have set off by standing must be there for my own welfare. So I pulled myself together and headed downstairs, to be treated to a plate of tabbouleh followed by a bacon roll.

When I first knew Ellis he wasn't in IT, he was a director from the much under-rated "Do that again, only less shit" school and he passed on two rules to me that I have never forgotten:

1. "Never put on a play you're in love with. Every play has bits that are pants."

2. "If anything in a production is shit and the director says it's not his fault, he's lying."

He is also the most fictionalized man I know. He's just appeared in a novel and back in 2000 there was this (for the broadbanders):


Which is also a pretty fair picture of how he approached theatre. Which I appreciated.

I decided to head home via Abbey Road, which I've never been down before and I'm glad I did. It turns out it's a very long road but also, architecturally, the maddest in London. Take Rowley Way for example: I came across it in a sudden downpour. It comes out of nowhere like a dystopian Hanging Gardens of Babylon (a good thing) offering neither shelter nor, once you're walking down it, any clue as to what might exist outside of Rowley Way. There's no horizon to Rowley Way, just this strangely maternal arrangement into sloping concrete rows and columns of potted palms and security cameras and chrysanthemums and tiny plastic garden features all apparently thriving on neglect. Those inhabitants of Rowley Way who are wearing anything at all wear the usual no-fit gangster fashions. They're supposed to look stupid though, aren't they? These clothes, they're meant to be annoying, yes? Regardless, when the weather cleared up I headed down Regent's Canal into Camden Market and that family-friendly rave emporium "Cyberdog".

I love Cyberdog. They have live dancing on the counter there now. It's better than Hamleys. I didn't go there to buy clothes - obviously... I don't buy clothes, anywhere - I just wanted to slip into that loud, daft, comfy nineties bubble again, with it's wide-of-the-mark utopian vision of twenty-first century living. Actually there was a t-shirt there I quite liked once as well. It had a little red computer display that counted down from 50 to 0 in the chest and I thought, if you're going to have a screen in your chest then that's the one to have. It would make you seem more dangerous... provide a useful air of suspense if you meet someone at a party. They would stick around talking to you at least until your t-shirt reached zero, I'm sure of it, just to see what would happen. But it wasn't in yesterday. Not that I asked. Not sure how I'd wash it anyway.

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