bombs over london — from the fornt lines of guy fawkes day

I am filing this report from the front lines. For the past four nights the sky’s of London have been filled with the sights and sounds of exploding rockets. Every few minutes a new barrage begins. Any direction you look you can see the explosions. The sounds of the rockets echo down the streets and allys forming a constant background noise. The air hangs thick with the smell of black powder smoke.

From my window, on the sixth floor of the City University halls of Residence in Islington I can sometimes see four or five explotions at a time. Late at night the flashes illuminate my room, and the blasts drowned out conversation.

This is Brain Beggerly reporting from London, England for Live Journal.

* * * * *

“What the hell was all that about?” I hear you ask. Well way back in 1605, someone buy the name of Guy Fawkes decided he wanted to blow up Parliament. So he got his tools together and tunneled under the buildings and planted his dynamite. Little did he know he was going to be unsuccessful, caught and charged as a traitor. He met an unpleasant end and continues to every year on or around November 5th. The 5th being the official day.

Also known as “Bonfire Night,” this is a holiday celebrated throughout England. There are local bonfires all over the place with firework displays, some have food stalls, and djs, and usually an effigy of Guy Fawkes is burned (hence the continual unpleasant ending for him). Good fun is had by all and leading up to the day you may find children around town asking “Penny for the Guy?” so they can buy fireworks or such.

Anyway, for the past four night, starting at around 7:00pm Friday there have been essentially non-stop fireworks here in London. I have a nice view of them from my dorm room as I am on the sixth story and my building is the tallest thing for quite a long way in the direction my window faces (which is toward central London). Every time I start open my mouth after sundown I have to compete with the booms, snaps and whistles of roman candles. I am starting to think that London is being bombed and this whole Guy Fawkes thing is a cover. I feel like I am in Kabul…


decent into hell!

I went out to Leicester square Friday (its the heart of the nightlife in London.) and went to some blah bars and places, then at like 3am since all the other bars where closing Paul and I asked one of the guys who drive the bike cabs (you know like the ones in Asia where two people sit behind the bike driver, anyway!) we asked him if he know of anywhere still serving al-key at that hour. He said that there was only one place he know of, so we asked him if he could tell us where it was, he said to hop on and he would take us there, and that he would not charge us as he was freezing and needed the exercise to keep himself warm. So we hopped on and rode all of like three block’s up to the end of Soho and he stopped and pointed to a little black door and said; “That’s it, just talk to the chap at the door.”

OK, well the door was not even full sized, it was like 6 and a half feet tall, and no sign, and to get to it you had to walk under two rows of scaffolding. the light coming out was a hideous red. and the guy at the door was a troll. He was 5 feet tall and almost half that around, (same at the shoulders and the hips!) he would not look at you for more than half a sec. he kept his hands in his pants and shifted his eyes back and forth sweeping them up and down the street as he said “its a fiver each to come in.”

Well after much debating (like 8 minuted) we decided that we would go in just for the experience, as the cabby had said that it was quite the bohemian atmosphere inside. So we paid our 5 pounds each and the troll let us pass. Down one set of steps left at the bottom and down a second set of steps we entered the bar.

The “bar” was about 24 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 7 feet tall. The lighting scheme was straight out of “big trouble in little china town” Three bulbs, no lamp shades, and they where red. Navigating the floor was an adventure in and of itself. There where at least three placed where you had to go up or down a set of two or three steps. and no two steps where the same height or width. In at least one place there was a step on one side and non on the other side. The walls where covered in that really thick cheep paint in some off red color that has not yet been named because all the people who name things like that are too scared to venture down the steps. and the ceiling was a la smoky! with exposed wires and pipes.

We decided to get a drink. (why? Don’t ask I am sure looking back that I must have been inebriated, though I had only had two beers in the past 6 hours [as they are expensive]) well we pushed our way to the “bar”, believe it or not this place was crowded! With all types, guys in full suites, girls in evening gowns, guys that looked homeless, gang bangers, and everything in between. We managed to push our way around the corner of on end of the bar. Oh did I mention that the bar consisted of a couple of 12by2’s hung between two random pillars? So we squeezed around the corner into a dead end ally between the end of the bar and the bathrooms (if they counted, we never went in to see what they looked like, too scared!)

So we looked behind the bar to see what there was; and it was not encouraging! A couple of cases of hot beer on the floor, 5 bottles of liquor (Jack, Captains, JD, and some other unidentifiable bottles), some two liter coke’s (unchilled) and some one gallon OJ jugs (also unchilled) and oh yea, a sign saying that drinks where 4 pounds! But anyway, we decided to order since we where now quite far from the entrance and if there was a fire we would die, and our bodies would never be identified. So I ordered a rum n’ coke, and Paul got a Jack n’ coke. Bye bye 8 pounds!

Well she (I think) brought us the drinks, and let me tell you they where only drinks in the looses of terms! They where in the little kiddie Dixie cups (you know like two sips for me!) and they where not even full! well we started to sniff them to see if they where safe, and then they guy next to us moved out of the corner and we got a whiff of something all together different: crack! No I’m just kidding there was no crack in the corner, but I would not have been surprised, as there were drug deals going down within ear shot, and at least two girls soliciting! The only strange thing was that one of the drinks was still full of foam like 10 minutes after we got it??? Anyway, we stayed a few minutes to finish the drinks and peal paint off the wall, during which time I discovered that if I pushed on the wall it moved! Then we got the hell out of there, and I at least vowed to never go in there again!


eulogy for a pair of jeans.

I went to kick the hacky sac and heard it. That sound that I dreaded for so long finally found it’s voice.


In that carpetless room, with cream colored tile walls, the voice echoed ringing in my ears over and over, fading like an evil laugh, as the villain walked away from the helpless hero.

“Shit! Man, these are my favorite pants!”

* * * * *

I had to hold a funeral for my favorite pants today, only weeks after I spent hours scrubbing and soaking them to remove the blood stains from my misadventures in Paris. Little more than a month after my mother fixed the small holes at the corners of the back pockets. Five years after I rescued the last pair from the $15 bargain rack at Gadzooks. After countless nights of clubbing and raving till the early morning. My favorite pants have sustained a mortal wound. A gapping hole six inches in length, running down the side of the seam. A wound from which they cannot be rescued, as I lay them to rest I can only hope that I may find their equal someday, though I know that there can never be a replacement. Good bye my friend, my faithful Kik Wear strait leg, button fly, style #710220, cut #7180, I will miss you, you where a true friend, there for me through countless days and nights, you met your end in service, and you will be remembered as a true companion.


raves & smog demons!

I went to my first European rave last night. It was held in an old Tube station down by Trafalgar Square. The venue is actually a club called Heaven, but every month or so they have a big party that goes to 9 am. The music was really good, a DJ I have heard very little about played, his name is Andy Farley, and he was amazing. Good old hard house, the kind they don’t play anymore in the US. I had a nostalgia moment, I missed being 17 and raving all across Virginia with my insane raver friends. I had such a good time, the only thing that could have been better was if C██████ and the rest of my friends could have been here.

Well, there was one other little thing that could have been better; I wish I had a car! See the problem is I did not find out about the party till almost midnight, for a French guy who lives down the hall from me and his brother who was visiting him. They where going with some friends of theirs and the car was full. Problem is the Tube closes at midnight. Well I was really itching to go out, so I decide (along with two other guys who live on my floor) to walk to the party. Now we left her about ten till midnight. 40 minutes latter we got to Trafalgar and the club. I danced way too much and now every muscle in my body aches. We did not leave till almost nine am! I have forgotten how long eight hours of clubbing is! Anyway, I crawled into bed at ten am and got up at three-ish! Right now it’s three thirty in the morning and I just took my pants off the hook on the back of my door (where I hung them to dry) so I could throw them in my dirty clothing pile, and they are still damp!

As for the dirty clothing pile, I am afraid of it… I know that buried in there are at least three shirts from nights I went down to the pub, and my cloths from last night. And I know that if I disturb that pile then I will unleash a “London Smog Demon!” Because over here smoking is more endemic than in the US and they don’t have big air ventilators to keep the air circulating, so the smell is twice as bad in anything you ware out. Not to mention that I think that the cigarettes over here are different, either that or my reaction to them is getting worse. Every time I walk into the pubs or past someone who is smoking my eyes begin to physically hurt, like they are bruised, and they water like I am crying.)

Anyway some time tomorrow I will have to fight the London Smog Demon, so I can have something to ware next week.


spaced out

Ok, you know you are spaced out when;

As you go to turn the page in Aristotle’s Ethics you suddenly realize that you have not retained any of what you read on the two pages that the book is open to. Somewhere in the second paragraph, as Aristotle was discoursing on the nature of ones friends and relatives impact upon ones happiness after one is dead, a strange thought suddenly burst into existence in your head; “why the hell the asteroid that hit the ship in the movie Black Hole was round, and if it had hit the ships big open room (that runs down the axis of the ship) while the main characters where running across a bridge in said big open room, why where they not suddenly sucked into space as the ship (or at least aforementioned big open room) experienced sudden explosive decompression? Of course this thought leads you to remember that that movie was made in 1981 by Disney (the same year they mad that other box office flop Something Wicked this Way Comes) and that the phenomenal lack of success experienced by these two movies seams to have put an end to Disney making live action movies. Now days Touchstone still makes live action and they are owned by Disney, but it’s not the same thing. Why? Because the old live action Disney movies (of which I must have owned well over 300 in the ’80’s, and that was not even half of them. They include such classics as; The Mask of Zoro, and Pollyanna not to mention Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (I have no idea if I spelled those right but I don’t feel like looking on the IMDB!) (do you still remember where we are in this sentence???) had Tinker Bell at the beginning with the picture of the castle at the Magic Kingdom (I think that one is sleeping beauty’s but I’m not positive.) or the really old ones had Mickey Mouse. Anyway, this leads you to wonder if it would be possible for the artist (animators) to paint the cartoons directly on the film. would they have to use a single haired brush, and look through a magnifying glass? Is it possible to do that well? And about this time you realize that none of this had any baring on anything that in anyway affects your life. (even chaos theory would have a hard time making this relevant to my life I think!) And the last lines that Aristotle wrote where “So much for our examination of that subject.”

What subject????

I think all this is due to my reading James Joyce’s Ulysses because he writes like that first paragraph of this entry! (and that book is 800 pages long) My mind has gotten very good at wondering off to frolic in it’s own inner playground because Joyce cannot tell a story.

Ulysses is without qualification the worst writing I have ever read. It could have been written in a language I cannot understand and reading it would have had the same effect on me. I would like to have one of the people who voted it the best work of literature in the english language in the past 100 years explain to me what type of crack/LSD/heroin/PCP/dope/insert appropriate mind altering drug here they where on when they cast that vote. Ulysses has no plot, not main character, no structure, and ABSOLUTELY no redeeming quality! Don’t ever read it.