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w/e 2024-03-24

We had two nights in London this week, beginning with attending Russell’s, Alice’s and my 148th birthday party in a cocktail bar I must have cycled past many times over the years but never noticed.

It was nice to see a lot of friends in one place having a good chat. Even in the London beforetimes I had pretty much stopped trying to organise any gatherings larger than a casual handful of people because I found even the basics too stressful: who should I invite, why don’t people RSVP, who won’t turn up after all, what will go wrong, etc. So it’s nice to share an event with other lovely co-birthdayers and hang out with a bunch of other lovely people. Thanks all.

After a good breakfast we’d thought about going to an exhibition on the Wednesday morning but a friend who’d been said it was disappointing so we saved a combined £28(!) and instead wandered 15km (9 miles) through the West End, popping in and out of shops, buying almost nothing (sorry, economy).

A photo looking up and across a street. On the other side of the road is a row of possibly Georgian terraced houses. The closest is next to an empty building site, its brick wall covered in black plastic to protect it. The wall and its two tall chimney stacks are held in place by bright green steel girders. The pavement and the road are separated by alternating red and white plastic barriers leading into the distance.
On Sackville Street, just off Piccadilly

§ In the afternoon we went to see Dune: Part Two having watching Part One on telly a couple of nights earlier and enjoyed it. All in all, better than I feared, having become extremely wary of big-budget Hollywood spectaculars – mostly just not my thing. It felt more “grown up” than Star Warses and Marvels etc. And I know nothing of the books, or other incarnations, so didn’t care how faithful it was or wasn’t.

I enjoyed One more, feeling pretty gripped throughout its long length, but also agree with all of Ted’s criticisms. Two started dragging a bit and getting a little repetitive, but was still a very good ride.

I’m immune to whatever charms others see in Chalamet but he seemed to fit well at first as Paul, a spoilt, charmless, “American,” brat. Towards the end of Two the limits became apparent and I wasn’t at all convinced that people would follow this guy into a war. But, having read an interview with Villeneuve, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to Paul in the third part.

My two favourite one-line reviews of One by cookie and boyeatsmoon respectively:

not bad if u ever just feel like staring at the color orange and not feeling a single emotion for two and a half hours

155 minutes of industrial design and thousand-yard-stares while Hans Zimmer honks at you with his giant mechanical goose.

§ In the evening I was on my own so had a tasty dinner and then wandered up and down Going For Dinner With Billie Piper, loving seeing all the people out having a good time. Soho’s not what it was, continuing its West-London-ification, but then it never was what it was for anyone who’s known it for long. Despite the increasingly spendy and glitzy establishments, and the polishing away of grit, it was still life-affirming to walk around somewhere so packed with people and things to see.

I felt I should have stopped somewhere for a drink, but despite being comfortable having a coffee alone, or eating in a restaurant alone, I don’t find sitting in a busy evening pub/bar alone enjoyable.

Time for one more good breakfast with a great view for people-watching a Fitzrovia street, and then it was time to head west to Paddington and then onwards to home.

I’m maintaining my 50% failure rate of long-distance train journeys being on time. It must be a year or so now. Congrats GWR et al. British Wail.

§ It was surprisingly nice to get a brief shoutout for on the radio. Something about a stranger liking and sharing it live, not in text on the web.

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1 comment

  1. Ah! Thanks for the mention. I finally saw Part Deux today and have *new* criticisms!…

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