I'm so glad I didn't break my nose this week. But I definitely bruised it.
I went to a Gogol Bordello show with Helen at the Roundhouse in Camden on Thursday night, and I now know EXACTLY what it feels like to be repeatedly elbowed in the ribs and slammed against a metal barricade while the feet of crowd surfers fly dangerously within inches of kicking me in the head. It was amazing... and exhausting. Long live gypsy punk!
The best part was at the very end... when Eugene (the lead singer) walked onto the floor and asked Helen if she wanted to join him backstage. I couldn't believe rockstars actually did that. As I wasn't directly invited, and given that she's probably the band's biggest fan next to the band members themselves, I didn't want to be the third wheel anyway, so I left it to her to go entertain him. I went home... battered and bruised, but super excited and happy for her. (And no, apparently nothing too dirty happened between them... just a couple snogs and the exchanging of personal e-mail addresses.) Cool, huh?
Oh Eugene, you Ukranian cad!
There's been a lot of punk rock in my life lately. Besides seeing Gogol, I also went to a small punk show on Monday night at the Underworld - an old, dingy venue right in the middle of Camden Town. The place reminded me of a much cooler Cobalt Cafe, but not quite as hip as The Whisky. Actually, it might come pretty close to Paladino's, except underground - literally (a basement bar). Some of the bands were better than others... JB Conspiracy was ska punk and just awesome - they've toured with Rancid, so yeah. But American band Guttermouth, who I had never heard of before that (shows what I know about punk) was a little too intense for my taste.
Either way, I had a good time. It was for a first date... with a Brit... who is pretty awesome. He is a 27-year-old college graduate who likes cupcakes and Thai food, owns his own flat in South London, is friends with Reel Big Fish and knows a bunch of people who can potentially hook us up with free concert tickets. He's a proper dark-haired gentleman, who wears Converse and hoodies. I'm kind of surprised he exists. But that's all I can really say about him for now.
On Tuesday night, CT was in town. He stopped by London on his way home to Simi for the holidays so we went out for a semi-touristy night on the town (I only say "semi" because he's been here before on multiple occassions). I met up with him around dinner time at The Generator Hostel, an accomodation arrangement which was by my recommendation of course.
And in case some of you are wondering - the Generator is exactly the same... except now you have to ring the doorbell or slide a keycard to get in. The bar and Turbine are as tacky as ever, made even more visually explosive by the metallic Christmas decorations. And yes brothers, they still have the meet & greet. It was very, very, VERY nostalgic - especially when I walked past Valencia's on the corner and Pizza Paradise across the street.
For dinner, we went to the Founders Arms... then we went hunting in Putney for a quirky pub that CT thought he'd been to when he was in London years ago. It turned out to be a different pub with the same name - The Jolly Gardener's. But he said it was actually better than the one he went to. Consequently, it's going on my list of "places o' fun," and if it weren't so far away I'd probably become a regular - especially because of the comfy chairs, super friendly bar staff and the oodles of board games available for anybody to use. They also have quiz night! It was good fun!
Besides all this stuff, I haven't really done too much else except impose house-arrest upon myself so I can finish my essays. As of tonight, I've finished my theory essay, 3/5 of my human image essay, none of my production and discourse essay, and half of my digital tech essay. It's not easy attempting to write more than 12,000 words in a week and a half. But hopefully I'll be done by Boxing Day (the 26th) and I can rest easy for the rest of my holiday. There goes Christmas...
It's a good thing Kim arrived in London today so I can take frequent breaks and have someone to be merry with this week. AND, I know she'll understand when I go into "serious study mode."
This way, I can actually take productive friend-bonding breaks instead of "stop and watch British reality TV" breaks... which by the way, is officially my favorite way to spend weekend afternoons. I've got the schedule for the best ones memorized:
2:30 - Dickinson's Real Deal (Channel 1)
Oddly enough, this is an antique show. I never cared about antiques until I started watching this show. Basically, random people come on here, try to sell their stuff to dealers, but if they don't like the offers, they take their stuff to auction. It just amazes me what people will spend their money on. On the last episode, this guy sold an old talc container with a picture of The Beatles printed on the front for 60 quid. 60 QUID! FOR AN EMPTY CAN!
12:30 - 101 Challenges
The hilarious Scottish brothers Lee and Leslie Vine take us on a journey across Asia where they try and complete a total of 101 kooky challenges submitted by viewers. Last episode, they participated in a Chinese Acrobatic circus, studied kung-fu wall climbing, and arranged a 101-person conga line down the Great Wall of China. They even stopped over in the Philippines to try some balut. It doesn't get better than that.
12:20 - Unsigned Act
It's like American Idol or The X Factor - except with bands.
1:25 - Relentless
By far the best reality TV show of all time. Participants of this show are put through miserable/embarrassing/highly awkward situations for a chance to win 3,000 pounds of cash. For 48 hours, they are followed by hidden cameras - forced to do crazy stunts in order to receive and answer quiz questions that could help them win the money. But it's not that simple... dun dun duuuun. The guy who was on today had to sing the lyrics of "I touch myself" in a crowded rugby stadium. He also had a question stamped onto his ass without him knowing it... and was forced to drop trou in front of complete strangers to get it answered.
Wow, I'm really not doing this any justice. Just look it up online and watch it for yourself. It's fantastic.
I can't believe I've spent so many words talking about reality TV. I'm so lame.