New Loves In Old Haunts

Gower Street Scene (Framed)I didn’t quite go into detail here previously on the massive holiday I was planning, apart from the Thurston Moore squee, so I should state briefly for the record that I spent about 6 weeks from mid-October to early December trying to be young again across London, Montreal, New England, New York City and Berlin. A wise man would stake no money on the chances of me blogging about that in any comprehensive way, but I do usually manage the first few days! So here’s the first day I spent in London, and let’s hope I’ll get to a few more later on.

Grant Museum of Zoology, London: The Lovely Bones

I’ve long run out of humorous excuses for neglecting this blog, the pathetic truth being that I neglect it because I don’t think many people read it, which of course engenders a chicken-and-egg problem which is so totally first-world I’m ashamed to even be talking about it. So let me launch right into the good stuff, and by good, I mean good if you’re into skeletal remains and cute furry things entombed in glass formaldehyde coffins.

Anyone who understands London at all will know that you can live there for years and still only scratch its surface, unless you happen to be Peter Ackroyd, in which case I want to transplant your brain into mine. The Grant Museum of Zoology is a classic example of how I managed to live five minutes’ walk from an intimidatingly long walrus penis bone for four years and not know it. It’s one of UCL’s museums, small but very charming, and of course like almost every other museum in London, you can enjoy it for free – something I always appreciated about London, but even more so after I’d visited New York. I realize that as someone who used to enjoy taking spontaneous detours past the Rosetta Stone or Elgin Marbles on the way home from lectures or shopping, I have been extraordinarily spoilt, but that’s just what London does – it spoils you for anywhere else.

But I digress – onwards to the walrus schlong. (Actually, don’t get your expectations up too high, it’s not that big of a deal. Well, it’s big, but I shamelessly exploited it to sucker you into reading a post about a dusty little zoological museum.)

Here’s a thumbnail gallery to help with page loading time, and so that the full-size horrors of the Surinam Toad or the Jar of Moles aren’t plastered across the front page of this blog, but the full post follows under the thumbnails.[slickr-flickr type=”gallery” search=”sets” set=”72157628495925387″ flickr_link=”on” descriptions=”on” size=”m640″]

Ecstatic Peace!

Naturally, every time I plan a trip to London, before I even bother checking plane flights I check the gig calendar to see what I can plan my trip around. This year’s check revealed that Thurston Moore would be at ATP the weekend of 3/4 December, but I’m not extremely keen on attending this one because the rest of the lineup isn’t appealing enough to me to justify the expense. So I decided to bide my time and see if the acts I was most excited about from the lineup would announce separate gigs in London, as has often happened in the surrounding weeks of ATP.

After several weeks of waiting, nothing had happened, and I was getting antsy about getting the flights at a good price. So on Tuesday night I knuckled down and was just about to buy my flights, with my last day in London to be Friday, 2 December. Just before I confirmed payment, I realized that since I hope to impose myself on the hospitality of various London-based friends for accommodation, it would be a lot more convenient for any friend I’m staying with if I left on a Saturday rather than on a Friday, in terms of returning their keys and stuff like that. So I booked the flight for Saturday, 3 December instead, and opened Facebook for some idle “so, did anything interesting happen in the last 10 minutes?” surfing.

It turns out that in the last 10 minutes, Thurston Moore had announced a gig. On 2 December. At the Union Chapel, which is one of the few London music venues I’ve been trying to see gigs at for years with no success. In 2003, I chose to forgo seeing Low there so that Alec and I could get out of London on a Valentine’s Day weekend. While it was a wonderful weekend and totally worth it, I must admit the decision still haunts me. And every time I’ve returned to London since then, the timing just hasn’t been right to see someone I like perform there, let alone the linchpin of my favourite band.

So this long story is basically why, on Tuesday night at about 8 p.m., I ran around my home screaming, near tears from happiness, and wondering how I would survive until the tickets went on sale.

They went on sale at 5 p.m. (Singapore time) today. I got one.

And now, if you’ll excuse me from this excursion into INDIE SQUEE, I have to watch X-Factor USA. :D