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After a great day wandering around London, I took a breather in one of my favourite haunts: the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park. I went there a fair number of times when I lived down the road in Earl’s Court. That sounds strange now I write it down, but it is a park genuinely conducive to innocent time-passing.

If I had had a camera back then, I might have joined the other artists who find much to appreciate there. I did take some of the auditory environment home, especially some of the ambient stillness from this Garden, that ended up on my own tape compositions in spirit at least.

This morning I stumbled upon the Borough Market, near the Globe Theatre in Southwark, and survived with my wallet and my dignity intact, mostly. This Market is all about Food; after resisting the myriad cheeses on offer, I regretfully declined some home-brewed cider and perry, before scarfing down an ostrich-burger that had been dragged backwards through the garden. A nice lady asked me if I was Nicholas Cage, before selling me bags of rice crackers and cheese-roasted cashew nuts. (I love cheese, and adore cashews, so resistance was … irrelevant.)

In short, I think my relationship with London is back on track after some troubled times, particularly the visit I described in Feb 2003 during which the air of paranoia was obvious and I had my bag searched at a DLR station. Compared to Dublin, with the strong Euro, prices don’t look as insane as they did before, either.

This evening I hit the Tokyo Diner off Charing Cross Rd. for カツ丼や漬物や麒麟一番。 (Katsudon is breaded pork with rice, Tsukemono is a side order of pickled vegetables, and the beer was Kirin Ichiban, which I think I like, actually.) Excellent, and great value – I’ll be back, for sure. Then a lazy trek back to the hotel and a quiet evening with TV, magazines, and cashews. I found wide-open wireless net access in Shaftesbury Avenue last night, I’ll try it again tomorrow so I can upload this latest update. Tomorrow it’s PC shopping: as before, I’ve done my homework, I’ll only bite if I see what I want at a very good price – good enough to justify the stress of schlepping it all back to Dublin.

One more thing I must note, however: I had been hearing about something called “Plastic Surgery Live”, and thought it was a joke, someone’s imagination of the worst possible “Reality TV” show. I was horrified to learn, during this trip, that it is real, I had just missed it since I don’t get the UK’s Channel Five at home. It’s on as I type this, and it seems that the “live” tag only applies to studio chat and a minor procedure or two, but they aren’t pulling any punches when it comes to showing the actual procedures or the parts involved. I won’t be getting penis enlargement any time soon – the operation looks like a nightmare, and the issue has never arisen, anyway. (Um…)

If anything, the show looks like an extended argument against cosmetic surgery, with an American surgeon in the studio looking at photos sent in by viewers and more often saying “lose weight”, “see a dermatologist”, “get counselling” and so on, than “surgery would help”. Want Britney Spears’ nose? It will cost you a lot of money and the experience of having a surgeon hack away at your schnozz with a rasp while high on Ketamine. (You, not the surgeon, would be on the drugs, we trust.)

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Written by brian t

September 17, 2004 at 10:33 pm

Posted in london, travel

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