diamond geezer

 Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Saturday didn't quite go to plan. I'll start with the good bit, and then you can watch things head downhill.

» I went to the cinema to see Attack The Block, which is the new sci-fi action comedy film directed by half of Adam and Joe. It's set on a South London housing estate, so I went to watch it in South London for added buzz. Usual story - aliens invade tower block, bunch of teenage muggers sees them off. Los Angeles tried something similar with Skyline, but whereas that was abysmal this is great. It's very down with the hood, avoiding too much patronising crass patois, despite being written by a middle-aged white man. The plot even hangs together, pretty much, apart from the entirely unbelievable bits. There's a lot of swearing and drugtaking and kids with knives, as well as intergalactic teeth, and don't go see if fireworks give you the willies. But I really really enjoyed it.

» Attack The Block is supposedly set in Oval, the inner-city cricket haven, so I walked there after the film for a bit of location spotting. I was trying to track down Wyndham Tower, the 19-storey tower block around which the entire plot revolves. I had no idea precisely where it was, but a massive concrete pile of flats couldn't be too hard to hide. Not by the station, not down the Brixton Road, and all the blocks towards Stockwell were the wrong shape and size. I eventually twigged that the film wasn't shot round here at all, and that the name of the tower was a slipped-in sci-fi reference. How stupid did I look?

» Next stop Brixton, for National Mills Weekend. Brixton has a well-hidden windmill (the last in Inner London), which reopened at the start of the month for the first time since the 1930s. Today was supposed to be its second public day, but I turned up to find barriers in place and an apologetic lady from the council. She wouldn't quite explain what was wrong, other than that some unexpected interior repairs needed doing, and could she please have my email address. The lady from the Friends of Brixton Windmill wasn't much more forthcoming about the closure, except it might take about a month, and could she please have my email address. Both of them were incredibly keen to invite me back, whenever the next opening is, although their desire to grab my contact details felt more like you'd expect from windmill-based chuggers. Keep your eye on the website, and maybe they'll be just as pleased to see you soon.
(If you're interested, Keston, Shirley, Upminster and Wimbledon windmills really are opening today)

» I thought I'd go and see the Westminster Morris, on their annual day of dance. A dozen troupes of hanky-wavers and stick-bashers filled the heart of London and jingled their leg-bells, as if somehow Charing Cross was still a medieval village. I arrived in time to see eight old men in hats having a whale of a time jigging about while their colleagues looked on, tankards of real ale in hand. And then two minutes later they stopped for an hour-long tea break, so that's all I saw.

» I wanted to see "Oil Stick Work", a digital projection at Canary Wharf station that's part of Art on the Underground. This is a weird one. An American builder is being paid to paint a grain silo in Kansas with a small black crayon, starting each day at dawn and stopping at dusk. He's painting so slowly that the entire process is due to take three decades, ending in 2038, because that's art innit? A live feed of this pointless painting has been shown on a big screen at the far end of the Canary Wharf ticket hall since 14th May last year, but I never usually go up there so hadn't seen it. Yesterday was my last chance before the transatlantic viewing window closed, so I made a special effort because it would be a shame to miss out. No luck, the screen was blank. A notice by the escalators thanked passers-by for coming to see the artwork, but apologised that the plug had been pulled early due to technical problems. I bet nobody else came specially on the last day, just me. The painting continues.

» I got semi-invited to a Eurovision party, round at some house I've never been to, belonging to some people I don't really know. I didn't go because it sounded dangerously sociable in a not-quite fun way, but that wasn't the answer other people wanted.

» I stayed in for the evening and wrote about how I didn't get to see a tower block, a windmill, some morris-dancing, some digital art and several bowls of European dips.

I hope your Saturday was more successful.

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