Monday, October 24, 2016
Egg and Petula
I took the dog to Hampstead Heath yesterday, where things were looking very autumnal. Olga had a long romp and managed to get in a fight with another dog. I didn't see what happened exactly, because I was taking a photo at the time, but suddenly there was lots of growling at my feet and Olga was wrestling with a black spaniel, chomping on its ear. The fracas lasted a micro-second and there was no blood, thankfully. I suspect the spaniel got too close to the Kong.
And that was just one of about a hundred things I did -- little things that have been nagging at me for weeks. I glued the broken doorsill in the bathroom, and replaced the molding at the base of the bathtub. I descaled the kitchen kettle -- something that I never had to do in America, where electric kettles are not "a thing," but that's essential here in London where the mineral-laden water tends to leave behind white deposits. I trimmed the garden and collected a full bag of garden waste. I did laundry. I filed a bunch of paperwork. I tried to replace a bulb in our floor lamp that dramatically exploded a few nights ago, but the new bulb doesn't work, which makes me think the lamp itself is on the fritz. I organized and archived all my recent photos.
It was good to get so much done. I did not read a word of "Swamplandia!" I think I am destined to be reading this book forever.
Oh, and you might like this brief video. Remember how my portrait is going to be in an art exhibit, and is on display in the Regent's Park tube station to drum up publicity? The video introduces some of the artists in the upcoming show, including my colleague Martin, who did the portrait. And remember how I said I wanted to see the poster before it got damaged or graffitied? Well, sure enough, someone has graffitied it. They wrote "EGG" on my forehead. I'm trying not to take it personally. (In elementary school I was widely teased with the moniker "egghead," and the fact that as a nearly 50-year-old I am still cursed with that name ought to be amusing, I suppose. But I find it weirdly hurtful! My inner six-year-old is alive and well.)
Finally, last night Dave and I sent to see Petula Clark perform at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. I bought tickets several weeks ago when I saw an ad in the paper -- I had to seize the opportunity to hear "Downtown" live! Dave barely knows who she is, but he had fun too. She did not disappoint. Despite the fact that she is 83 years old (!) she still has the voice, and she performed a full two-hour show -- including most of her '60s hits, numerous new songs and versions of The Beatles' "Blackbird" and "With One Look" from the musical "Sunset Boulevard." Apparently Tony Hatch, who wrote many of those old hits, was in the audience too -- I wouldn't know him if I fell over him. The crowd seemed to be mostly people 10 or 15 years older than me, with a smattering of young gay couples thrown in. (Petula's songs were used in the late '90s as the soundtrack for the movie "Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss," which helped cement her in the minds of a younger generation of gay men.) Anyway, it was a fun night!