Too late

January 25, 2008 at 12:31 pm (1)

Am thinking of digging my grandmother up to take her for a drive in the country. When she was alive 11 years ago I couldn’t drive.

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Hand signals

January 18, 2008 at 4:01 pm (soulbeantransport)

Yesterday I caught sight of a driver, travelling in the opposite direction, giving the finger to another motorist. Such was his emphasis that his knuckle was challenged to keep the finger from shooting off. ‘How pathetic,’ I thought — until this morning when I extended my own finger into the imaginary bottom of a trucker who’d honked me out of his way. I slowed to make sure he saw my wrist swoop to take a hefty dig up in the air.

Oh, to have him pinned down by Hell’s Angels while I poked his rectum and let him know that I was right. In the event, though, we mirrored each other – he too was frantically gesturing. In a better world, instead of this frustrated mime, we could spread the love and volunteer to sit on our own index fingers on behalf of the other person, and then say goodbye with a thumbs-up.

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Another update :0)

January 17, 2008 at 8:06 pm (1, soulbeantransport)

Today I had my second car accident — the front-right indicator smashed by a width sentry outside a supermarket car park. In the first one, around six months ago, I took the passenger mirror out, with a little help from the width stump at Battersea bridge. This morning, I opened a cupboard and my favourite mug fell out and broke. My friend Aby gave it to me a few years ago. (A stick-man on it shouts ‘I’m not normal’.) I’ve asked her for a new one. That’s the best way to replace a broken or lost present. I have this favourite bag from Burma, it’s handwoven, but one day I was on the Tube and left it there. (There was nothing inside it but a book which I was holding so it fell off my shoulder.) Then my Burmese friend Baw bought me a new one from India’s border with Burma. You’ll meet Baw in a few weeks when I update from Goa, in India.

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Oh, bummer!

January 15, 2008 at 12:28 pm (1)

From The Guardian:

In what seems to have been another misjudged remark, Obama’s wife, Michelle, campaigning for him in South Carolina, also brought up race. Addressing African-Americans sceptical about his ability to win, she said Iowa, which is predominantly white, voted for Obama. “Ain’t no black people in Iowa,” she said.

The language could alienate some white voters and the comment is also wrong: there are 75,000 African-Americans in Iowa.

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Soul Bean breakfast

January 15, 2008 at 12:19 pm (1)


Fry half a red onion (or white) until caramelised. Add salt, pepper, and a little curry powder (or anything else you have to hand). Chop a banana and fry with the onion. Then sprinkle a little feta cheese and mix in. Then, add two eggs, beaten with soya milk or milk. Enjoy with brown pitta bread or any other brown bread. My friends Anna (right) and Nadia, above, may laugh, but it’s awesome.

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Cheer up, it’s only January

January 15, 2008 at 11:49 am (1)


Walked past this man (above) outside a Kentucky in Clapham Junction, in south London yesterday. His downbeat look contrasted with the happy chicken meal advertised next to him. There is a more upmarket poultry chain called Nando’s. It’s catchline is: “We put the chic into chicken”; KFC no doubt puts the ick.

Below, today — opposite me as I write — in a public library is a man with a book about the universe before him, fast asleep. You would think the universe would be enough to stimulate you for ten minutes, but no.


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January 9, 2008 at 5:37 pm (cartoons, soulbeantransport)


This is my 1997 Nissan Primera. The picture is courtesy of Brent council in London, which issued the £50 ($100) fine on the windscreen (top). Having passed my test only last year, with this my second ever ticket, I was charmed that the attendant had left this souvenir for me online. It’s like those pictures of you upside down, screaming at the end of a roller coaster ride.

It was taken on the morning of New Year’s Eve, outside my friend Amir’s flat in Kilburn, north London. I had stayed the night there and not realised that in the morning I would be stomped on. Anyway, this post is a way of procrastinating about paying the bill. No food for my buck, only a picture. And now, a entry. I’m never parking again.


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West London afternoon

January 9, 2008 at 4:09 pm (blog)

1.30pm I’m in Hanger Hill park in Ealing. A cyclist brushes past an old couple. They huff and puff. He stops and confronts them, American accent. ‘In England you can’t cycle in parks’ they say. ‘That’s just racialist,’ he says. (Though he’s white.) They exchange words. Then as he’s about to make off, he says: ‘You’re lucky you’re not my age or i’d beat the shit out of you.’
At this point I step in and say: ‘You’re out of order mate, they’re right, you don’t cycle in parks.’ He looks surprised and gets off his bike — ‘You ARE my age’ — and offers me out. Ten years ago, twenty years ago, I would have lunged at him, slipped in the mud, gone home with a black eye and bloody nose (back then the rule was ‘go for the balls’, but assessing him today it would be ‘smash the iPod’). Instead, I was calm and said: ‘I have no problem with you,’ and took a step back. The couple and I then walked on together. ‘We’re so sorry,’ they said. ‘That vocabulary.’
‘It’s not your fault,’ I said. ‘He’s clearly disturbed.’
Then he cycled past us hurling a few Fs. I chased after him out of the park. ‘Pick on a couple of old people son.’
‘Fuck off paki,’ he said.
‘You’re an unhappy wreck mate,’ — not quite as effective as paki — ‘pick on a couple of old people.’ I made sure to smile, which i thought was nice, but I was hit.
‘Terrorist,’ he said. ‘Terrorist-paki.’
‘Kiss my arse you prick.’
‘Around the corner,’ he said. ‘You come here mate,’ I said — the middle of a street is the safest place for a fight — cars will eventually arrive to break it up.
He cycled off — ‘Terrorist, paki…’ (the US foreign policy mantra). I went to my car, intent on surprising him and running him over. Then I noticed the couple.
‘Are you alright’ they said. ‘I’m fine,’ I said. ‘Best not to think about him and let him spoil your day.’ Easier said than done though.

The last time someone called me paki it was also in Ealing, where i grew up, twenty years ago — another cyclist. It was night, I got angry, chased him a good few hundred metres. This time, however, i was more riled. If I’m gonna suffer racism, it should come from an English person, not a bloody foreigner.

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Clapham days: a memory

January 7, 2008 at 1:44 pm (blog, Double espresso)

We had rats for two months, but we were in denial. We could hear them, but we’d convince ourselves it was something different, like plumbing. Paul, my flatmate, put these pellets everywhere. They were supposed to kill the rats. What he didn’t know was that rats don’t have their own corpse-removal unit. If one dies they leave it there. That’s what happened.

One day our friend Rich came around and pointed to the conference of flies above the kitchen sink. With no further ado, I turn on the vacuum cleaner to suck up the flies up mid-air.

“There’s a dead animal here,” said Rich.

Don’t be silly, we said.

“Well what do you think that smell is?”


Paul and I were in denial.

Rich prised open this board under a sink. Sure enough, there was dead rat there, which because Paul owned the property I thought it best he cleaned up. We’d tried everything – a sonic device that plugged into a wall socket. It made a noise only rodents can hear. Who ever put it together was having a laugh, they did something so it attract rats rather than repel them. Rodents from all over the neighbourhood made their way to the illegal rat-rave in our home.

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Update :0)

January 3, 2008 at 4:04 pm (blog)

It’s a Thurday. London is cold. Although, not as cold as Canada. Yesterday my friend JJ. For the past few days I have been entertaining him. Although, he disappeared after I took him to see Matthew Bourne’s production of the Nutcracker with my parents at the Sadler’s Wells on Tuesday.

I had read excellent reviews and bought tickets last month — £50 ($100) each. It was terrible. JJ fell asleep in it, he’d much rather have been at home updating his site. My dad thought it was great that we all made it out of the house. The audience, you felt, had to clap or face the reality that if they didn’t, the most logical way to express their dissatisfaction would be to demand a refund.

Really, luvvy dancers camping it up with ‘humour’ better suited to the Von Trapp family in The Sound Of Music. An utter waste of time. Last week, though, I treated my parents to Ennio Marchetto on the South Bank, a brilliant Italian comedian who impersonates popstars using paper costumes. His inventions are truly ingenious, it’s a roller coaster ride of the show.

Anway, this Christmas I lost control of my girth, which will be punished in the gym next week. Funny, you might try to escape such familiar narratives and pretend you’re an individual but it’s difficult to eat properly during the Christmas break. Also it’s cold, and what could be more warming than lamb.

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