Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Eagerness (A mostly fictional story)

Monday, 21.02.2011, on the way to the cinema
Went to the cinema today to get tickets for that fancy new action movie. Superguy is hunted by supervillans. Some people might say it's nothing special. Screw them! I waited long enough for this and now I just want to be entertained! *lol* Normally I couldn't afford it so late in the month, as I'm near my overdraft. But no problem! My mobile network provider has this special, so I can get two tickets for the price of one (I love my provider so much)! I'm not so sure how much I got left on my account but have the feeling it's enough. Just can'r resist buying tickets as soon as possible. Always makes me take the rest of the time with a smile.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Never Let Me Go + Q&A @ Stratham East Picture House

"Never let me go" is the chorus of a fictional song in Kazuo Ishiguro's dramatic sci-fi love story novel, which was recently made into a movie by director Mark Romanek, so far not so well known for music videos for bands like the Red Hot Chili peppers or R.E.M. While Mr. Ishiguro himself being the co-producer seemed to guarantee a decent conversion I anyway liked the book a lot, so when my colleague Silke offered me the chance for a ticket to watch an exclusive preview including a live broadcast Q&A featuring director and producer, I gladly joined her.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cemetary walk (Chelsea)

Went for a walk where old time sleeps
holding its breath beside lively streets

venturing birds over tinny clouds
preying for red between the rows
humble greetings with a running nose
dark dressed folk enjoy feeding crows.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Double day of departure (sadly / hopefully): Carine's Farewell at Ask Restaurant, The Cask, Marquis pubs (Pimlico)

While the people of egypt are still hoping to overcome their opressive regime on this "day of departure" as it has been called, another day of farewell has come for me and my friends at work, albeit on a way smaller world-politic scale ;) Carine, one of my French collegues, is leaving for a great new job to Amsterdam this weekend, so we arranged a "dinner plus pub" evening yesterday to say goodbye appropriately.

We first went to an Italian chain restaurant, called "Ask" near Victoria. Thanks to a voucher Carine got from the Internet, we could get the half of the main dishes for free, which was perfect value for money, as my wine and calzone tasted well, but the amount would have been a bit mingy for the full price (and the food was arranged like a face, which I really hated :D). As the service was quite slow as well, I would not recommend the place, although waiters were friendly. But we still enjoyed our time a lot, and also Eric, whom we hadn't seen for one month, took time from flathunting with his wife to be there and there was also another new face, Gilles girlfriend Haruna, still a bit jet-lagged having just arrived a day ago from Washington D.C., where she studied.

So we took our time to "synchronize" and getting to know each other and of course presented Carine her farewell-present, a mug with some carefully selected and skillfully arranged portraits of important game industry representants on it (yes, that means Aurelie, Gilles and me, so she always remembers our beautiful faces between our visits in Amsterdam). We had a great time, so great we ended up as the only ones left and as eventually the waiters started to put up the chairs and "closing time" started to play we decided to grant the staff their evening rest.

Although it was around 11-ish by now, nobody really wanted to go home, so the map with the pubs of the area I printed out before came in handy. My favorite option was "The Cask", a smaller pub a bit off from the big tourist venues around Victoria station. Although a bit inconsiderable from the outside the interior did not let my expectations down. It had a nice atmosphere: a small room, not too bright light, felt very familial but still not to shabby, with cosy pillow-covered benches. The "menu" featured a selection of ales as well as the usual beer selection and as a special a range of Belgian and German beers. Just when I already had sat down and got ready to order my first ale, I discovered that there was only one problem about the place at this time: it had already had its last round.

Allthough there is no standard curfew in England anymore, still every pub which wants to serve alcohol has to buy a licence to do so. Up to that point, it's the same I knew from Germany (which is the reason why in German kiosks you're often not allowed to drink the beer you purchased there, but that only by the way). But to make things more complicated, in Britain there are different kinds of licences which enable pubs to serve alcohol until different hours - the more you pay the longer you serve. And as especially at small and local pubs the drinking crowd tends to go home early, an expensive licence often does not make any sense for them. So at those places last rounds tend to be served early, which is indicated by the typical bell ringing, followed by hectical business at the bar. Which is just what had happened at "The Cask", some time before we arrived.

So, wanting or not to, I waived goodbye to that warm place, not without promising to myself to come back some time for an earlier evening drink, and started to look out for alternatives. Fortunately the locals were happy to help, so in no time we found another pub in a side street which was by far not that great but at least left us time for one beer (les dames and Eric) / ale (me) / teeth-pulling sweet leechee liqueur with lemonade (Gilles). It was called something like "Marquis of ..." but I would not recommend it anyway, although having the local drunks suspiciously gazing upon us clear "outsiders" had its appeal :D

At twelve o'clock, with heavy hearts, we managed to say goodbye to Eric and Carine and embarked on our long journey to the Southwest, which for me should only end at half past one in my bed. How great that my alarm was only ringing at 7am this morning! Still, the evening was an adequate farewell to Carine and worth the tiredness I felt the whole day.

Ask Italian restaurant chain:
The Cask Pub and kitchen, Pimlico: