beach volleyball – london 2012

22 Aug
 I’m pretty sure everyone is getting a bit sick of the Olympics (and Kate Middleton’s navy blazer and cork wedges – mix it up a bit woman!), but I do think my recent trip to beach volleyball is worth a mention. I was sceptical. As I waited for Ollie outside the entrance, a stream of lairey guys surged past. Maybe 1 in 10 spectators were of the fairer sex. I thought I was in for two hours of being jostled by drunkards straining to get a closer look at bikini-clad asses. 
 
But I was nervous for no reason – this is not like any Olympic event I’ve been too before. This is a party! There is a DJ, a compere, fans are dressed up like Where’s Wally. We are whipped into a frenzy by the compere every time a point is scored, and we even have to cheer for the people who rake the sand. “Let’s hear it for the RAKEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRS!!!!”

  There were Dancing Girls between sets.

  David Cameron has been complaining that if he hears ‘We Will Rock You’ one more time he will go insane. I thought he was just being a whinging pom, but you can literally see the sitting room of 10 Downing Street from the stands (on the left of this photo). I could see when he turned the light off, then on, then off again. Poor baby Florence. 

 None of the matches I saw had Team GB playing, so I was interested to see which team the audience would offer their allegiance to. A silly question. Brazil walked out in full body suits, Germany walked out in bikinis. Two seconds later?  “Let’s hear it for GEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRMAAAAANYYYYYY!!”

 

 

 

 

baking pride

17 Jul

My name’s Ollie and I’m competitive.  Yes I admit it, if there’s a challenge I’m 100% in, and I’m pretty embarrassing to be around.

I wish this competitive streak had an off button, but unfortunately it doesn’t and it also stretches to the work environment. I don’t think it’s by accident I sit on a desk with one other (very placid) person, isolated from the rest of the team.

Now for some unbeknownst reason there seems to be a big group of  home baking ‘fans’ in our office, who take it in turns to conjure up all manner of amazing goods. Ever so recently this group has turned from sweet toothed (and natured) baking friends into hardcore competitors that makes Iron Chef look like a quaint village fete.

As a loose member of this fraternity (read desperate to belong), any opportunity to try and impress them with my baking skills I’ll bloody take it.

So as it was my placid desk friends 40th Birthday, I thought I’d try and bake a rainbow layer cake. I’d seen a few pics about these online recently, and thought if I wanted to be seen as mover and shaker in the office baking circle this might be my chance..

Not the sort of cake you’d bake for anyone with issues about artificial colours (or hyperactivity), but for cutting the cake “wow” factor, its hard to beat.

I think it turned out pretty well – my table mate was pretty ‘proud’ of my efforts and you’ll be pleased to know the baking fraternity are beginning to talk to me a little more…  as too are the LGBT group bizarrely.

 

london 2012 part 1 : ‘transport’ for london

10 Jul

Things that are already annoying us about London 2012.

That the inevitable commuting chaos which is set to ensue is being addressed in the following ways:

  • a poster campaign in the tube suggesting we all find ‘alternative ways to get to work’. this is on a backdrop of a woman pole-vaulting across london. hmm, practical.
  • boris johnson is now being tannoyed over the loudspeaker system at all stations at all times. which makes pre-olympics commuting almost as painful as olympics commuting.

And most importantly, no matter how strategically I have been laying the groundwork, the likelihood of me pulling off the old ‘working from home’ lark is looking slim. A ten minute cycle door to door just won’t cut the mustard!

ola stranger

5 Jul

Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to Secret Screenings – the new(ish) arm of the incredibly popular ‘Secret Cinema’.

For the uninitiated (if there is anyone left out there that hasn’t heard of this great concept), at Secret Cinema you buy a ticket to a film but you don’t know what it is. There’s always a big interactive element to the experience, but you don’t know what it’s going to be and the only thing you know is that it’s going to be pretty special.

The screening last night was of ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ – a documentary about a musical legend from Detroit you’ve never heard of.

With a voice and sound that’s reminiscent of Bob Dylan fused with Nick Drake, yet completely individual, Rodriguez recorded two albums in the late sixties / early seventies which, although a critical success, sold barely any copies. Rodriguez was subsequently dropped by the label and he disappeared.

Yet somehow his albums made it to apartheid era South Africa, where the songs, protest themes and lyrics connected with those that opposed the regime. Unbeknownst to Rodriguez his records sold hundreds of thousands of copies, he inspired a generation of musicians and was literally more famous than the Rolling Stones (he never received a penny for any record sales).

The crazy thing about his huge fame was that no one knew anything about him and legend had it that he committed suicide on stage. This amazing documentary follows two South African fans searching for the Sugar Man and the unbelievable discoveries they made.

All I’ll say is that after we had the pleasure of watching this great film, we were treated to a very very special performance which practically blew everyone in the audience’s mind.


This is one of my favourite songs from Rodriguez – as they say in the doc, one of the saddest, most beautiful songs you’ll ever hear.

Sign up to @secretscreening and @futurecinema on twitter for future events.. And also make sure you go see this doc when it’s released.

new york

25 Jun

i was in new york for a couple of days last week. i do love this city, and i managed to squeeze in a lot of things that have been on my to-do list for awhile.

a bike ride around central park. as i was getting the hang of it, i’ll admit i was in the pedestrian-only area. i got yelled at by three different guys for doing so – all of them short, ‘stocky’ and wearing adventure-wear. interesting.

a wander along the highline, a beautiful little park they have made out of an abandoned elevated railway. it starts in the meatpacking and finishes on 30th.

a drink at the bar at the top of the standard. this is the greatest bar i’ve ever been to (it is also the bar from ‘shame’). it does have some mighty strange toilets that must be seen to be believed. there was a big band playing all night and they served amazing cocktails (with names like ‘bang bang’ and ‘the golden shower’, we are quite nervous about submitting our bill to expenses). my new york colleague groaned that it was ‘full of goddam out-of-towners’, but as an out-of-towner myself, i had a blast.

shopping wise, i discovered ‘madewell‘ and may or may not have stumbled upon my dream handbag in bloomies.

i love ny

take me back to greece please

23 Jun

we spent the jubilee week gallivanting across the greek islands. were we sad not to be waving our flags in the rain? um, no.

super clear santorini water.

santorini.

a jetty in milos.

our lunch. everyday.

tiiick.

interesting things about greece:

1. despite being in a spot of economic strife, nobody was shy about charging 4 euros for a filter coffee. greece was NOT a cheap holiday.

2. every single cab driver i asked wanted to stay in the euro. they regretted signing up in the first place, but knew life would get much worse for them if they left. a 25,000 euro mortgage would double in size were they to go back to the drachma.

3. greek people are actually still called adonis, pereus, achilles, athena. i felt like i was back in year 10 drama every time i spoke to peracles, the amazing host at our hotel in santorini.

so long suckers

1 Jun

A four day bank holiday weekend and the impending jubilee madness means everyone we know is skipping town. Including us. Ollie is CYCLING TO SPAIN (not a typo) and George and I are going to the Greek Islands (Do we buy Euros or Drachmas? Semi serious question!).

So, sadly for our three millions of readers, there won’t be any posts for a couple of weeks.

So let us leave you with this lovely full sized cardboard cut out of Her Majesty The Queen that our (until now, seemingly normal) neighbors have erected in their front yard.

Image

God bless.