Friday, 28 August 2015

London So Far

Everything has changed again.

I've moved in with Lauren,  who I've known since sixth form college, her boyfriend Ben and Jen, who I met at uni. (They let me move in even though my name doens't end in 'en'.)

I have Claire's old room, which is small room and has a single bed. The slats slip out all the time, so sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night as I turn in my sleep and part of the mattress plummets to the floor.

The room does however have a huge mirrored wardrobe and I found some mini disco balls when I moved out of my last house, which I've hung from the lighting fixtures - sometimes spots of light sparkle on the ceiling.

I've moved so many times since I've lived in London. Besides all the friends who let me stay with them when I first arrived (I even stayed in this house for two weeks)...

There was sharing a flat in Finchley with Nat - a cute little flat in the leafy suburbs with a garden and a lovely cat - but mouldy walls and damp...

Then there was lodging in Manor House, close to the park and Turkish bakeries, and apparently violent gang wars between Kurdish and Turkish kids, although as the lady I lived with pointed out, it was purely between gangs... It didn't feel like a rough area to live in at all, I loved it. And if I ever find myself with a shipload of heroin to get rid of, I'll know where to offload it...

Next I moved to Bethnal Green. I met Mon at a party and afterwards my friend Sharris told me she was looking for a housemate. She'd lived with a guy called Phil for years and he was moving out to live with his brother, and save money. It was a huge house for two people - the kind of house everyone goes back to for after-parties. Fun on Sunday morning at 5am, god-awful on Sunday evening at 5pm when you wake up to a house littered with empty bear cans and fag ash...

I loved walking home through the market stalls on Whitechapel Road, fruit and veg sellers calling out in Bengali - and one white ginger man too, who Mon told me had learnt the language just from working on the market for years. I also liked Bethnal Green market down the road, and Pellici's cafĂ© for coffee and breakfast, run by the same Italian family since 1900, which is amazing.

I used to go in the Blind Beggar pub  a lot too round the corner - it's well-known because the Kray Twins shot someone in there in 1966 - and Needoo Grill for spicy lamb chops. (Two weeks ago I went with Nat and ate so much lamb and drank so much white wine that I was sick in my mouth and had to get a taxi home. Disgusting.)

And now everything's different again. 

In the mornings I walk over the water at Canary Wharf and battle against the stream of dark suits coming up from the tube station, to get into the station instead of out like everyone else. When I exit at the other end, I have a nice little walk that takes in Westminster, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. It's weird seeing those sights every day. Not too keen on the Houses of Parliament, to be honest.

Every morning in the house now feels like we've had a massive sleepover, with Lauren Ben Jen and me (even though I'm a copywriter, I will never write 'and I' because DATS NOT 'OW I TALK) making tea and chatting to each other, sometimes plus a friend of Jen's or my boyfriend Phil.
I wish I'd blogged more over the last year, as the story of how I met Phil could have had a neat little ending - he was Mon's ex-housemate and I moved into his room. 

Anyway, something pretty monumental has changed too recently...

My cousin Chloe (who I've just remembered lived with me for a month in Finchley after Nat moved out, before deciding London wasn't for here and moving back to the Lakes) has had a baby girl! She's named her Aurora. 

Imagine if she'd stayed in London, imagine if she hadn't moved back and met her boyfriend and had a baby and found a place to live near Beatrix Potter's cottage...

I've got the day off today and it's pay day and I'm going out to buy Aurora a TEENY TINY OUTFIT!

On another note - I wish I was in London 15 years ago, so I could have gone to the garage clubs. 
They might not have let 11 year olds in though I guess...

Friday, 7 August 2015

Vogue Offends

I love Vogue, a lot, but I have two things to say on the September issue.

First of all, as soon as I ripped the white covering off (my boyfriend bought me a year's subscription for my birthday) - I frowned at the copy:

Voice of a generation

Is she?

Is a young millionaire who could have probably jumped on the property ladder aged 12 really the voice of a generation crippled with debt and doubting whether they'll ever be able to buy a house?

Secondly, inside I found a photoshoot to celebrate the season's opulent mood - luxe fabric and intricate detailing, layered to look like the collection of a Victorian adventurer. You can imagine the clothes spilling out of a heavy trunk, in a townhouse filled with exotic artefacts collected from far-flung travels...

The AW15/16 collections were heavily influenced by the Victorian era - high necklines, long skirts, Gothic black, Chinoiserie, print inspired William Morris designs etc.

I like it, but I think Vogue have allowed themselves to become too swept up in the theme. The editorial - entitled The Shining - reminds me of creepy photographs from the 1800s, showing indigenous people in tribal dress, staring glumly at the camera. (Although I've just Googled the photographer Paolo Roversi and that's his style- I've seen his sepia-toned photos of Natalia Vodianova before. She looks like a wild mermaid, dragged from the sea and put on display in a Victorian freakshow).

Next to the shot of a model sporting a tall, wrap-around headscarf, huge earrings and layered necklaces, the copy reads:

Regal meets tribal: it's all in the mix at Marni - elevated by Paula Galeeka's porcelain skin.

Thats strikes me as quite thoughtless. Thoughtless as in nobody thought that sliding the word 'elevated' between 'tribal' and 'porcelain skin' could be construed as culturally insensitive. It's basically like Vogue are suggesting tribal dress becomes fashion once it is taken from the Africans and put on a white face.

I don't think they're really saying this, but why didn't someone say 'that sounds a bit colonial, let's tweak it to be on the safe side'? Don't they worry about seeming old-fashioned and offensive?

I don't get what it means anyway. It's not much of a styling tip for the new season is it? Have porcelain skin. What's that got to do with fashion? It's not the 1800s and it's not the 80's either. Vogue is my favourite magazine, but if they're going to talk about skin colour, or the voice of a generation for that matter, they need to have something relevant to say.