July 21st, 2004


Safe as Milk

Barry, or Basil Wednesday rather, has just given me a bit of a scare about the Saturday launch. According to the manager's memory, we'd agreed to do the launch on Saturday, 31st July. I should bleedin' well cocoa, mate! Fortunately, this Saturday is still free so there's no need for anyone to go out and cancel the hire of jetskis or crampons. The show will go on.

The show, I can now confirm, will include an actual Zihotch amongst its tombola prizes. Yes, the Zihotch has arrived and here is the proof. Thank you, Mr. Lee. Also brought to the door yesterday were the patches. Now, if only those pesky CDs were to appear, I could get down to the wrapping.

I was now intending to perform some sort of character assasination on an actress I saw in yesterday's Independent. She'd been "interviewed" at this year's Veuve Clicquot Polo thingy by some diarist and had made disparaging comments about London's bid for the Olympics. A Hackney resident, apparently, Mrs Camilla Rutherford (I've now found her name, alas), was questioning the decision to hold so much of it in Hackney. Couldn't they put it somewhere nice instead? Or course, according to Mrs Rutherford, she liked living in Hackney. It's edgy and there's always something going on.

To be sure, Hackney's borders do contain a wide variety of failings. Neither am I currently supportive of the London bid. It's hard to tell where someone lives when they say they live in Hackney. I generally think of the area around Mare Street when they do, but it could just as easily be Stoke Newington, London Fields, De Beauvoir or, perhaps unlikely for Camilla, the Marshes.

Nevetheless, it's the edgy comment that troubles me. Fortunately, since I don't know where she lives, it's hard to comment more precisely, but I dislike her use of this word. At some molecular level, it's 1986 and I'm reaching for a brick to chuck through her front window. Naff off back to Fulham! I imagine that she will if the acting career really picks up.

"Camilla? How are things? Haven't seen you in ages!"
"Oh gosh. Well, I've got some great parts since Gosford Park. Were you at Cowdray?"
"No, we were on the continent. Rupert's family have this gorgeous chateau in the Loire valley. Are you still in London?"
"Yah. I've got this place in Hackney."
"Oh, Camilla! Always the rebel. Isn't it dangerous?"
"Well, it's sort of edgy, you know. Restaurants, art galleries, nightclubs, crackhouses!"
"You must be right at home then."
"Ha ha ha. Yes, it really is quite exciting, innit."
"Word! Ho ho ho. Camilla, you don't happen to have any charlie, do you? I'm dying on my feet here."
"I'll give Gee a call, he should be able to sawt yew ahht."
"Oh, stop, please! You're so frightfully good at that. That must be why you're the actress. Now, do tell, have you ever shagged that Jude Law?"

Now, it's hard to know in what context she made this off-the-cuff remark. It's not hard to imagine that this is the sort of thing you'd say in the context of a polo crowd. You'd justify your living in Hackney with mention of some of the good food in the area and how the Kingsland Rd/Hoxton scene is really vibrant, etc. A discussion of house prices perhaps. So convenient for the City and once they sort out that new train line... You say edgy because you think the person you're addressing it to will get the idea. You can't say to the person at the polo match it's the only place you can afford to live in London. So her motivation for saying edgy is unclear to me without the context of the conversation. As it that of the newspaper diarist. This isn't Tatler or the Evening Standard magazine. The diarist must know that printing a comment like this isn't going to ingratiate Mrs Rutherford with many of the Indy readership. It makes her sound snobbish and a little stupid. Mmm, that full length photo of her, a small amount of copy, it'll take up x amount of the column space allotted, so only one more piece to write. It's filler.

So whatever Camilla's intentions, opaque, what I can't help hearing is what might make it edgy. Because it's not wall-to-wall white people? Because it's still filled with the working class? Because it's rather grimey in parts? Because you feel threatened? What it is, is London and if you don't like it, then kindly head back whence you came. People who come from Hackney don't describe it as edgy. They're busy enough with trying to survive in the area. Edgy is what you say when driving through in your car, not when walking on the (generally uneven) pavement. When there's an escape clause in the contract.

The reasons for pushing the Olympics in this area are to do with trying to get some much needed investment in the area. I'm not at all convinced that this is the sort of money that the borough needs. It does need money spent on housing and schools. Immiserification is something entirely out of keeping with the ideals of British socialism and that's one reason why I find the council's tales of mismanagment so disappointing. They've been in power too long. They're entrenched. Building a stadium isn't necessarily going to generate anything locally other than a stadium and some bus routes. I'm doubtful.

Mmm, looking up for Camilla links, I come across this article from the Observer, where...

The family house, which Rutherford paid for with modelling money, is located in deepest, edgiest Hackney. 'It's much more urban than Notting Hill,' she says. 'We hear the sirens in our garden. And there's something about life in that. And maybe one of the reasons I'm less fazed about living in Hackney than other people is because I get some glamour. I can walk along the litter-strewn streets today, because maybe tomorrow I'll be in Paris. I'm not sure I would live in Notting Hill, even if I could afford it. And I refuse to feel out of place here. Why should I?'

No comment. Well, except the need to make Hackney sound like some 19th century expedition to the Congo? I'm smelling something of the colonial attitude to the jungle in these comments, admittedly those of the journalist in this case. If only we didn't live in these times of correctness and could just say it was full of spics, yids and niggers, etc. Spivs even.

Give me Angelina any day of the week.

Well, the CD has just arrived too. One, for approval. Looks fine. Get on with it. I'm in talks, well, that's hardly the word for it given the 12 Bar and congenial Andy Lowe, to play in August. I'm trying for the night with Joanna Newsom and Micah Hinson. I find Newsom intriguing, but I'm not yet sure about the lyrics. This is a video [here's the hi-bandwidth one] of her doing a song off her new album, it's unhinged in a way that really appeals, but I'm not sure whether I could take a whole album of it, which is fairly much how I feel about The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table!

Anyone who spotted the undeleted brutal murder mention recently might like to know that was going to form part of a more in-depth paragraph about Scarborough. Apparently one of the co-owners of Bacchus was found dead one day after a vicious attack.