Squirk's Overseas Experience

The tales of one Kiwi returning to Mother Britain and exploring the Big Wide World... without being eaten by a shark.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Farts for fivers

Too many glass jars, not enough cash? Make money from home. Sell your emmisions.

(Found in the Gumtree classified site's Gumtastic Ads section. Go the Internet!)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Those who woo me

Hey, all recovered now? How would you feel about moving to Bournemouth for the fall and winter?

So ran the message from my friend Geoff. I know I'm looking for a little change in my life right now but Bournemouth? I mean, I had to use a map to find what part of the country it lay in.

I'll give it to the man, he did try hard to sell the idea. Apparently there are plenty of reasons that I might want to go:

  • It's cheaper!
  • There's good shopping!
  • They have a beach!
  • Nicer people!
  • And no chuggers!

I try to allow serendipity into my life. I like doing big things for small reasons. I probably would have jumped on it if he'd asked me to move to Edinburgh, or Berlin, or even Bangkok. I just don't think it'll work with Bournemouth.

England just doesn't excite me that much. London has enough entertainment, history, opportunities to make up for it all (for now, at least). Besides, I've long maintained that London isn't quite England — it's another country with its own language and people.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Misses and messes

Thanks to a suprise tip-hoff from my friend Geoff, I almost caught David Hasselhoff on my day hoff. Unfortunately, I seriously underestimated the difficulty of finding anything quickly in Harrod's. Seriously, that place is vast. I know I've been in London for more than a year, and I should have been before now. (Even if only to buy an expensive plastic bag.)

Sunday was the infamous drinking event known as The Church. Yes, there was sawdust on the floor. Yes, the queue was huge and thirsty. Yes, there was an unusual drinks policy at the bar. (Customers trying to order a single drink would be out of luck -- all drinks are served in plastic bags, three or four cans' worth at a time.)

Yes, I drank far too much and my poor friends had to carry me home, while I subjected them to my incoherent groaning and beltlessness.

I'm sorry, guys!

Apparently they all managed to venture out to some kind of live music venue while I slept it off. Let me tell you, I'm glad I didn't have work the next day.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dates for the calendar

A bunch of us have Monday off work so we plan to attend The Church in all its infamy. All I'd heard about it before I came over here was printed in The Big OE Companion:

The most notorious of all antipodean drinking attractions is The Church, so named not for its beliefs but because it's held every Sunday afternoon. It's fun but it's not pretty, and the heavy drinking culture has led many a Kiwi into disgrace. If you find yourself there for the fourth weekend in a row, head out the door immediately, take a tube to Heathrow and catch the first flight home. For your poor mother's sake.

Every Antipodean has to go at least once, they reckon. I've been here for well over a year now, so I suppose it's time I did my duty.

Still Kiwi, but much quieter

I've been listening to Bic Runga quite a bit lately (you can spy on my listening habits with Last FM) and I foolishly missed the pre-tour mini-gigs she had with Neil Finn in the background, on piano. She's back again, now, but her final London show sold out but there's a phone number for standing room. I think I might try ordering a ticket or two.

Anyone feel like coming with me next Tuesday night?

Bonus level

This sounded interesting: Music from classic video games played by a symphony orchestra with a live stage show and lasers. Oh, and light-cycles. Sometime in November.

Update: The Church was indeed fun but also very messy. I had to buy a new belt after what happened. Bic Runga's show sold out and I didn't go. I felt a bit out of place in Video Games Live! but I'm glad I went.

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The bouncer had a teddy bear

So I didn't actually call anyone or organise anything for this weekend, but I did expose myself to the chill London air two-and-a-half nights running. I also discovered that free Portugese bakery treats, as scrumptious as they are, simply don't have the grease power to satisfy the drunken cravings of someone who replaced dinner with goodbye drinks.

Is it OK to have one leaving 'do on Thursday and another on Friday? Discuss.

I've lately become somewhat enamoured of Weston's Strong Organic Cider, served over ice or straight from the bottle while watching the dead rise in Leicester Square before heading off to the theatre.

Whether it was those warm-up drinks or just a good show, I heartily enjoyed The Vegemite Tales' eerily accurate depiction of Antipodeans in London. Except for Eddie, the mullet who sleeps on a surfboard and wears the same flourescent pink singlet every day. I don't know if there have been any Aussies like him in London since 1992, but it wouldn't have been the same without him.

Four cans of Fosters out of five.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Quarter century celebrations

OK, so I didn't do much on Freddie Tuesday. My workmates suprised me with a catepillar cake and a couple of perfectly-selected DVDs — Flash Gordon (the office knows me as Ming) and Kevin Smith's film Clerks (the 10th anniversary edition).

Anyone want to see the stage adaptation of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales on Saturday? How about the even lower-brow Vegemite Tales?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Lynndie appears on Slide 33

Skarnz wrote about the Milgram experiment which showed that when ordinary people are told to hurt others by an authority figure, they generally go along with it.

Man, psychology has the best emperical examples, by the way. Especially the old school ones that are super-unethical.

Well then, Mr Skarnz, the Stanford Prison Experiment will be right up your alley. The short version: A bunch of ordinary dudes get locked up in a university building made to look like a prison. Some other ordinary dudes are assigned guard duty. Things get really ugly, really fast. Dehumanisation and abuse of power escalate to shocking levels in a matter of days — and everyone plays along.

The slide show on the site tells the whole sordid tale. Recommended reading.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Nonsense illustrated

The ridiculous bed of sleep
never bludgeons the Eiffel tower
until an apple made more silly.

In other news, September is Jack Daniels Birthday Month. As it turns out, your host appears to share a birthday with both Freddie Mercury and Mr Daniels.

Your host also has the planning talents of a retarded mongoose, so hasn't planned a single thing.