London first: Got there with a big heavy backpack on my back, a cello case (beautiful new purply mauve thing with skateboard wheels), a backpack bag (for on board the plane/walking around with) AND a box of 100 FourPlay CDs. Having had about 6 hours sleep out of the 24 hour trip. Horrible. So I took a bus into the city and a cab from there to Kirra's place. After a bit of a rest, I followed Kirra out to Guildhall, where I met Danae, and sat on the computers for a while, after which I went to Covent Garden and walked up from there to Oxford St. Fun! I got some new Dr Martens boots as one of my old ones had a hole in the sole, and of course it was raining! The result was that for about 5 days of serious walking around London my feet were in agony. Them's the breaks I guess...
Then on Friday I did more wandering - to Notting Hill Gate, where there
are some excellent second hand record stores, and from there up Portobello
Rd to the superb record store Rough Trade. Kirra went off for three nights
to stay with her boyfriend in Nottingham. On the Sat & Sun I went to
a fascinating conference at King's College London on Consciousness - see
if the page is still there. Two full days of talks from brilliant people
like Dan Dennett (my fave philosopher!), Nicholas Humphrey, Ned Block,
as well as David Chalmers (an Australian working in America, with fascinating
(although I think wrong!) ideas on consciousness), and the entirely wrong
(*grin*) but _highly entertaining_ John Searle.
So what does one do? Well on Friday night I went to the pub with Danae after she finished college, and then stayed up till about 4am chatting. Same on Saturday night, and similar on Sunday night. Very sensible. Nevertheless, I learnt quite a lot from the conference, and consolidated some important ideas which I shall try to write down at a later date.
Since then I've had a whole week in London. A distant friend of Danae's
(also from Greece, called Alexis) came and stayed at their place for most
of that time as well. From Danae and him I learnt how to read and pronounce
Greek, which was fascinating and highly enjoyable. On the Wednesday I went
with Alexis to the Tate Gallery, from which we walked all the way up to
Leicester Square. On another day (Friday) we went to the British Museum.
Opposite the Museum is a fantastic comics shop called Gosh, at which I
spent a surprisingly sensible amount of money all things considered.
On the Tuesday I walked all the way up from the Thames (Temple Tube Station) to Oxford St, going to various other cool comics shops on the way, and Blackwell's Bookshop, and bought the wonderful graphic novel "Hicksville" by New Zealand author Dylan Horrocks (you're borrowing this as soon as I get back Chris!) From Oxford St I walked into Soho, and spent hours in heaven, aka Berwick St Soho. On this street are more cool record stores than I can count in my head. Amongst them, Selectadisk (cool despite the silly name), Sister Ray (superb), one of many Music & Video Exchanges (more in Notting Hill Gate, Camden, etc) at which one can get some excellent bargains, and the most brilliant record store in the whole of London, Ambient Soho. Home of experimental label Worm Interface, they stock excellent weird stuff, drum'n'bass, and various other uncategorisable styles, plus they actually allow you to listen to the stuff! The only problem with London stores is at most of them you can't listen to anything.
On the whole it was possible to get things for about equivalent to new stuff in Australia if one was careful. I'm expecting continental Europe, and definitely New York, to be cheaper still though. But the range of stuff on the shelves in London is mind-blowing ;)
That mostly covers London. Other specific things involved themes already
stated above *grin*. On Thursday I went to Camden Town, and notable was
a fantastic comics store called... "Crash City Comics" No. Something City
anyway. I'll look it up. [Editor's note: It's Mega City Comics.]
And last night, more gratutiously late conversing with Danae (Kirra, you're just too sensible with your sleep patterns! *grin*) till something like 3am; I'd rather not think about it since I got up at 7:30am to catch the plane! And stupidly, I got to the airport more than 2 hours early, checked in with NO queue, and then had tonnes of time to kill. Better safe than sorry I guess.
Well, I'm sitting in an Internet Cafe in Amsterdam now, missing K &
D but having so far a fantastic time. Got to the hotel, up LOTS of STEEP
stairs, collapsed, put my stuff in the room (I have a 3-bed room to myself
tonight, and from tomorrow and the rest of the week a single) and then
went out walking. And found myself thinking this was the best place in
the world [Mind you, when I was walking around London I was thinking "I'm
not going home! This is too brilliant!"]
I'm staying in the Museum district on a lovely street, next to a great deli. The hotel is about half a minute's walk from the Vondelpark, the biggest park in Amsterdam, and a short tram ride into the centre. Bought a double gelato cone with banana and chocolate opposite the park, walked around, it's just wonderful. And this from someone who doesn't even really drink alcohol, and won't touch pot or anything like that! It's nothing to do with that really. Not the best place in the world perhaps [despite all the culture and bustle of interesting people, and despite the goodnaturedness of most people (a nice change from London!), there's a general air of King's Cross about it that doesn't go away. Seedy], but still...
And in this internet cafe they're playing really good electronic music, the computers are in good condition (and are PCs not Macs...) and, well what could I possibly complain about?
Hopefully my next missive will not be too far off. If you don't want
to get these messages from me, just let me know ;)
Missing you all, so keep in touch!
Also found at firstname.lastname@example.org
Experimental Electronic: http://www.fourplay.com.au/sound.html
[Editor's note: This is my signature at my web-based email address, email@example.com which is the email I use while I'm away. The address firstname.lastname@example.org forwards to wherever I am at the time.
For comparison, this is my signature at email@example.com:
Peter Hollo firstname.lastname@example.org://www.fourplay.com.au/me.html
FourPlay - Eclectic Electric String Quartet
Raven: experimental electronic
"Of course, dance music can be a music where you lie on your back and
your brain cells dance" -Michael Karoli of Can, quoted in Wire mag.