Tuesday, 30 October 2012

We'll meet again...

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.  Today is the end of an era.  Three years have passed since I started to write this blog – but today, my friends, I shall be loving to hate London for the last time. 
Actually, that isn’t strictly true.  My home town for the last eleven and a half years will no doubt continue to do my head in at times and its quirky charm has yet to be lost on me.  But I will no longer be writing about the trials and tribulations of life in the Big Smoke here.
Alas – fear not!  I shall still be around, and London life will still be a big part of what I have to say on t’internet.  My monthly musings on the city can still be found in my Underground Overground blog http://blogs.angloinfo.com/underground-overground/ and you will be able to find my capital news and reviews on the soon to be re-launched website Capital Life www.capital-life.co.uk.  
But, the best news of all?  I have started a new blog – on my BRAND SPANKING NEW WEBSITE!  Woo hoo!  Not only will I be telling you what I have been up to and reporting on what is hot and what is not, I will also be keeping you all up to date on my creative pursuits – from blogging and writing fiction to painting and crafting!  In fact, at www.shellyberryoriginal.co.uk I reckon you’ll find out something about your little friend here that you didn’t already know.  Take it as a challenge...
Of course, I am still on twitter http://twitter.com/lovehatelondon and personal friends will find updates on Facebook, but if you don’t do social media, you can still sign up for my newsletter using the simple form to the left of this page.  Okay, so they aren’t very frequent, but hopefully when my email pops into your inbox it will be worth the wait!
So there you have it.  It’s been sweet.  But, my lovelies, it’s time to move on.  I’ll see you soon on the other side...

Monday, 22 October 2012

Here's (not) looking at you...

The observational among you will have noticed I haven’t Loved to Hate London for a while. Those who read my Underground Overground blog will know it’s because I’ve been ill.  And folk unlucky enough to know me personally will have heard all the gory details – and are probably as sick of my moaning as I am  of, well, being sick.
Not only do I, like everyone, hate feeling lousy, but I’m also atrocious at doing nothing – especially when you feel so crap that all you can manage is dozing in front of daytime telly.  And daytime telly invariably means that at some point you will find yourself flicking over the channel and coming face to face with Jeremy Kyle.
I try to avoid Mr Kyle at all costs but, after day three in front of the box, he found his way into my living room.  Not only do I find him irritating, obnoxious and a lot of other things that I really shouldn’t say in public, but I find his show quite boring.  Whilst my recently retired dad finds it fascinating, sadly my work in the public sector has made the folk televised as they demand their partners take lie detection tests nothing out of the ordinary.  And yes, that probably makes me sound like a terrible snob, but sadly, where I work, airing your dirty laundry in public is not unusual – and, trust me, I’ve seen some cases badly in need of a large dose of Persil.
And whilst I admit I am a snob about Jerry Springer cases, I really can’t stand people at the other end of the spectrum either.  People who love attention as much as the chat show freaks – but seek it in a very different setting.  A couple of weeks ago (in fact the night I got ill) I went to a private viewing at a gallery in Mayfair.  Whilst I found the artwork quite interesting, I got the distinct impression that most of the people there were more interested in being seen than looking at a few pictures and a couple of sculptures – and decidedly ungracious when those of us who wanted to see the wares on show tried to squeeze between them and the cameras.
I think my problem is with people who just want to be seen no matter what the cost.  Wherever they fit on the spectrum of society, they just want to get noticed, for good or bad.  I mean, take fashion.  On Saturday I fought through my fever and went to the V&A Ballgowns exhibition.  I admit, I loved it, and my friend and I had a hoot offering our criticism of the frocks on show to anyone who cared to listen.  But, some of the dresses were just plain hideous – and I honestly think that it wasn’t only in my humble opinion.  Some designers seem to forget aesthetics in the rush to do something different and, whilst some of the more outlandish creations were beautiful too, others had got lost in their need for attention.
So, Londoners, take note.  Whoever you are and wherever you are from, if you want to get noticed, go ahead and get yourself out there.  But, if in doing so you sacrifice your taste, integrity or general decency as a human being, don’t expect me to keep watching whilst you make a spectacle of yourself.  

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Nowt as queer as folk

Readers... I have a confession to make. It is now three years since I started to write this blog and I have to admit that these days I find it hard to find something to say about loving to hate London that I haven’t said before. I often ask my friends to help me find my inspiration. Recently I went to a leaving do for some folks I worked with years ago. I ran into an old chum who told me he keeps tabs on me via my blog. I shared with him my predicament. He looked at me and shrugged. “Why don’t you write about the people around you?” He suggested. “Not a bad idea,” I agreed. And, through by beer-induced haze, I started taking mental notes.

Looking back, I now fully appreciate what a fantastic group of people I worked all those years ago and, sadly, how under-appreciated some of them are. Let me start with “Marie” (names changed, naturally). Marie is excellent at her job and has a quiet thoughtfulness about her that means she is probably overlooked in a world where those who shout the loudest get the furthest. Last week she was made redundant when, in reality, she should have been promoted into the jobs “Ann” and “Joan” had secured, not through hard graft and skill, but by knowing who to get pally with to get ahead of the game.

Then take my good friend “Vivian”. Vivian is a smart cookie. She has been through the mill since I’ve known her but has come out the other end stronger, sharper and wittier than ever before. She should be running her own business by now but admits that, by the time she returns home at the end of the day and finally makes it to the weekend, her energy has been zapped in a soulless job she took in the hope it would help her move into something more rewarding. Needless to say, I am working on her.

But what of those at the top of the pile? You may ask. Well, one manager has had their comeuppance and shown the door. Another, Ben, has left now, but still hangs around, no doubt in the hope that he will sniff out an even better position – and failing that, a bit of stuff to keep him entertained.

As for me? Well, I’m glad I escaped – even more so now I can see how much I was held back in such an oppressive workplace. It was only when Vivian pointed out that Ben had got in the way of my attempts to progress my career on more than one occasion that I realised that, perhaps if I had returned one of his looks with something other than disgust, the might have been a little bit less obstructive. The thought makes by blood boil - and my stomach turn.

But, you know what? I have moved on with my life and my career. Yes, I might not have missed out on certain opportunities if I hadn’t worked there for as long as I did but, you know what? I don’t think I have done too badly. As for Marie? And my good friend Viv? Well, call me an old hippie, but I believe in Karma and know that, one day, they will find their niche and be content there. As for those who have made life so difficult for the rest of us? Well, Karma works both ways…

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Turn on, tune in and cop out...

Something very irritating happened to me on Friday morning. After crawling out of bed I made myself pull on my joggers and head out with my iPod and water bottle.  Yes, I was going for a run.  I started off with a fast walk to warm up before putting in my headphones and pressing play.
The battery was dead.
I almost groaned out loud.  For a moment I contemplated turning back to grab my phone for entertainment instead, but knew that if I went back into my flat, the lure of my duvet might just win over my good intentions.  I made the decision to run sans music and kept going.
It turned out to be quite an enjoyable experience.  I headed to the park where autumn was in full swing.  The wind was rustling crisp leaves, birds were chattering away about their imminent departure to warmer climes (well, that’s what I like to think anyway) and children were laughing as they played in the last of the summer sun.  And, although it was not my longest run, being able to hear my own breathing was actually very helpful – and the order to “speed up” by a passing OAP mildly motivating.  So, as I headed home, I made a decision: for the next four days, I was going to go about my London life headphone-free. 
It was a revelation.
I shall start with the tube.  Notoriously overcrowded and renowned for moving millions of people from A to B every year, you would think it would be a good place to eaves drop.  Sadly not.  There’s something about the tube that makes everyone shut up.  I think this is down to two things.  One, the absence of mobile signal (it would appear Londoners are better at talking to people over the phone than in person), and two, the noise of the train roaring through tunnels being too much competition for even the gobbiest gossip.
The buses, however, were a completely different ballgame.  When on our mobiles, we Londoners don’t half talk shit – and we don’t mind who hears us either.  I spent a (mercilessly) short bus ride from Holloway to Highgate being subjected to one woman’s story about an argument she had just had with a neighbour over and over again as she called every number stored on her sim card.  And , later that day, I caught another bus at about 3.15 – just in time for the school kid rush.  This was not pleasant, and, without the anaesthetic powers of my music, reading became an impossible task.  By the time I got to Moorgate I was sorely missing my tunes.
So, do I recommend foregoing your iPod when you head out into the big bad world?  No.  But then, don’t plug in by default.  Listen to the world around you.  Who knows, you might hear something you like, something that makes you laugh, even think.  And, if you don’t?  Well, turn on, tune in and cop out...