Archive for London

London 1

Posted in about the blog, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 14/05/2012 by arabrhizome

So my first day in London was brilliant. I hung out with my friend and got to do a whole lot of stuff. I am going to get more stuff done tomorrow. The energy of London is really invigorating. I love this city. I had a bit of a run in with some israelis though on the tube. It was very funny to me. So four middle aged people walk in the carriage in the tube and start giving me really bad looks. They started talking to each other and I recognised the language as hebrew. They were really offended by my kaffyieh I think. All I did was smile really broadly and enjoy their anger at my kaffyieh. Anyway, Im very tired. So stay safe everyone. Live long and prosper.


Back Where It All Started

Posted in about the blog, Friends, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 08/01/2012 by arabrhizome

So I’m back at the hostel where this whole blog thing started a couple of years ago. I don’t remember if I was going to Algeria, or had just come here for a break. Anyway, today I’m here in London and getting ready to go to Algeria for about a week. I had a lovely time with my friend. We had some food and talked over a drink. It was a lot of fun. I’m now back at the hostel. I’m going to amend some parts of my previous blog and then get on twitter for a while before I go to sleep. I hope you’re all doing very well. Stay safe everyone. Live long and prosper.

I’m Tired

Posted in about the blog, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 20/08/2011 by arabrhizome

I’m exhausted. I woke up at five this morning and left home at six forty. I was taking my mom to the airport and we needed to take a train at seven thirty. So we did that. then we took a tube to Heathrow and got there at around eleven thirty. The journey was nice. I said bye to my mom and then spent the day in London. I absolutely love London. It’s the best place in the world. I love love London. It rained a bit but then it was sunny and I was able to explore new parts of London like soho. It was great. I got back home about an hour ago and I’m now so tired that I will go to sleep. I will tell you about my day in more detail tomorrow. Stay safe everyone. Love you bye.

Long Long Day

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 13/01/2011 by arabrhizome

I’m Writing this post from Algeria. However, that’s a whole different story and will be covered in tomorrow’s post. Anyway, I left you yesterday at the end of Tuesday, feeling sad and angry because I wasn’t able to sleep. So I found myself deciding to see if I could maybe get to sleep a bit later and decided to just hang out doing something else until the time for me to sleep comes.

I was aware that there were good chances that I wouldn’t sleep and have a repeat of the previous day. The problem with this of course is that Wednesday was going to be a very busy day for me. I needed to pack, have lunch with a friend, clean up my flat, make my way down to London, and watch Richard Herring’s Christ on a Bike in the Leicester Square Theatre. So I needed my full mental capacity.

Anyway, I spent the first few hours watching Eureka and doing things around the flat that didn’t involve a lot of noise. For example, I cleared up my desk, and tidied up a few loose papers I had lying around the living room. I also folded and put away my washing. Around 3:00 I was really pissed off because I wasn’t even slightly sleepy. I was heading towards another long long day, except this one was going to involve me travelling down to London and trying to stay up as I’m watching a show around the time I’d probably be passing put from exhaustion.

I got a little sleepy around 6:00 and decided to try to sleep until 11:00. I couldn’t sleep longer than that if I was to get everything done before I travel. I let someone know that this was my plan so that they call me and wake me up if my alarm wasn’t enough. However, as soon as I hit the bed I felt energy rushing through my body. I wasn’t going to sleep and that was that. My body had decided to become a real arsehole to me and to itself it seems.

So I got out of bed and decided to get the day started as if I had woken up then. So I made myself tea and did the washing up. I got my bag more or less ready and did a bit of tidying up. I also, checked in online for my flight and printed out my boarding pass. I really like this part of technology. Online check in is our friend. By that point it was time for me to go and meet my friend for lunch. So I made my way to university and picked her up to go have lunch. We were both very tired and not very talkative. So after eating we said bye and I made my way back home.

I finished packing my bag and got the trash ready to be thrown away. I showered and shaved, the shaving was mainly in preparation for my flight to Algeria the next day. Because I was working on little sleep and two consecutive long days, everything I did was slow and laboured. But I got everything done and made my way to the station to take the train down to London. Once in the train, I realised I was not going to be able to have a nap, as I thought I might. So instead I got my computer out and decided to try the new fangled online wifi. As I was getting my computer out, I realised that I had forgotten my boarding pass that I had printed out earlier today. I quickly got online and checked, and it was fine, I could re-print one at the airport, but for a second I was quite annoyed with myself.

As soon as I got on Facebook I saw that at that particular moment the Lebanese opposition was resigning from the government, that’s 10 ministers. Before going further, let me try to explain the broad picture of Lebanese politics at the moment, and the functioning of the government. There are two major political blocks March 14, the majority, and the opposition, Hezbollah, the patriotic front, and other smaller parties. There are also a few ‘independents’. According to the Doha agreement, which was signed a few years ago because of a major political crisis, just under a third of the Lebanese government will be composed of 33 ministers, 10 from the opposition, 20 from the majority, and 3 ‘independents’.

That’s the broad picture. However, the international tribunal investigating the death of Harriri in 2005 is about to present its preliminary findings and it is said that it might indict a few members of Hezbollah. The tribunal has been a hot topic for a while now, and I have many reservations on its functioning and its lines of inquiry. I believe that it is politically motivated and that it did not look seriously at all the possible culprits. But anyway, the Syrian and Saudi governments had tried to offer a solution that completely failed. And so the opposition resigned. However, for the government to be toppled you need a third of it to resign, that’s why the 3 independents are there as a buffer.

So as I was reading the news the 10 opposition leaders had resigned, but the government still stood. Then a few minutes later, one of the independents offered his resignation and the government was therefore de facto resigned. At the moment the news broke Harriri, who was in the US, went into a meeting with Obama. I would argue that this is a huge mistake. If he wants to be seen as a leader and not an American puppet he should have made a statement straight away, it’s not like no one knew that the opposition were threatening an en masse resignation. But instead he went in. He had the presence of mind to cut the visit short, however, instead of flying straight back to Lebanon, he went to France to meet the French president. Is he trying to look like a puppet? Is he trying to look like an employee of the West? Because that’s exactly what his actions are telling us.

At this point we were asked by the train driver to get out at Kettering and get on another train to London because the one we were on had a fault. I gathered my stuff and got ready to do exactly that, cussing the train companies in the UK under my breath, along with everyone else. We got out and everyone was pushing and shoving and acting like total twats. I decided that I wouldn’t be rude, but I was being pushed and shoved, so I used the only weapon at my disposal, my height. I sneaked to the front and was one of the first people on the train. I sat down and realised that I had forgotten my hat and my scarf on the other train. This bothered me a little, but there was nothing I could do about it.

Anyway, the rest of the journey didn’t involve any problems and we got to London only 10 minutes late, which is alright. I was beginning to feel my usual pre-travel anxiety and sadness rising in me. I always get slightly depressed and anxious the day before I travel, the fact that I was not sleeping properly was going to be an aggravating factor. I made my way to the hostel and found that the bed I was given was the lower bunk and was actually a double bed. This made me slightly happy. I still had an hour and a half to go until my show, so I decided to write my blog post then, that’s yesterday’s one (look at the strange self-referentiality of the text that is my blog, it’s quite intelligent).

I was done with it quite quickly and then decided to go to Leicester square and eat something quick there before getting in to the show. By that time I was quite sad and anxious, so I decided to allow myself to have some Burger King, I know that it’s evil but I never have it, and I needed something quick, and I’m going to stop rationalising now. In there I saw a couple of French-Arabs with their child. The child was being all rude and teenagery. He didn’t want to be in Burger King and was going to sulk about it very loudly and visibly. Then his mom just slapped him across the face, and you could feel all the British people cringe about it. It was entertaining to watch, because I understood what they were talking about. I was like a spy.

Anyway, after my food I went in the theatre and made my way to my seat. It was a very good seat, second row just on his right. I’m going to review his show in a separate post, but I will simply say that Richard Herring is very good at his job. His shows are very intelligent and very well constructed. You can tell that he’s thought about every single word he says. It’s a real shame that he doesn’t automatically sell out. Anyway, if you’re in London and are looking for something to do, in the next 8 days, go to the Leicester Square Theatre and watch him. You won’t regret it.

After the show was over, I made my way back to the hostel and got online for a bit. Someone had their stuff on my bed, which I wasn’t happy about, but I didn’t know who it was. I decided to leave it for now and deal with it when I get back to sleep. By this point I was feeling properly depressed and sad. I didn’t want to go to Algeria. I wanted to go back home and stay there. The thing that bothers me most when I go to Algeria, is that I see my future in my dad. I feel that I keep trying to not become him, but life keeps pushing me this way. Anyway, I know it’s a downer but I felt really bad.

I went back to my room to sleep around 10. It seems someone told the man that it was my bed, because he apologised straight away and moved his stuff. I got ready to sleep and put my alarm for 6:00. I needed to wake up early to make it in time for my flight. Luckily, I was so tired that I slept like a log. I think that, for the first time in a long time, I was the first person to be snoring in a hostel room.

Back to Action

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Friends, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 14/12/2010 by arabrhizome

Right so as I said yesterday, today’s post was going to see this post back to regular service. In other words, you would all indulge me in my naval gazing and other self centred writings. Now, I have been a bit of a recluse last week, both in the real world and over here in virtual land. Which means that I don’t really have much to talk about in relation to last week. However, yesterday involved me going out of the house, properly not just to the supermarket. And as I did that things happened. Nothing ground breaking but general stuff. In fact, it was a little bit overwhelming at first. But I got through it and I’m still here so that’s good.

Anyway, so I woke up and went out to uni. I needed to return a book to the library. What I did however, is renew it, as I didn’t really read it all this time. I then went to A’s house. He leaves for the holidays on Tuesday, and I wanted to hang out with him before he goes. We had an excellent time. We played video games and just had a nice time. C was there as well. It was very nice talking to her also. She’s a very nice and funny woman and I always have fun with her. We decided that after the holidays we’ll have a marathon Black Adder weekend/week/a few days peppered around a given period of time. I realise that the last option makes it less like a marathon and more like just watching Black Adder. But hey we’ll see then.

We tried to watch the game, Manchester United against Arsenal for those who aren’t football savvy (That’s okay I know not everyone likes football and I don’t judge), but the connection to the internet wasn’t good enough. So I helped A pack up his car and then made my way back home. I couldn’t sleep until very late at night, but in this time I discovered a very disgusting thing that got me very worked up. In fact, I can say that I am still very worked up about it. So here’s the story as I got it online:

I was on twitter and someone retweeted a video from a mobile phone during the protests last week. It shows a police officer dragging a disabled man off of his wheelchair and on the floor, before another police man comes and moves him away from his victim. The video is quite disturbing as you can hear the people around shouting in disbelief. This is at best police brutality and shameful behaviour and at worst a criminal offence. Here is that video.

Anyway, that’s not the end of the story. On Monday at 20:00 the young man who was dragged appeared on the BBC news channel for an interview, His name is Jody McIntyre and here’s a link to his blog. The man is an activist and has certainly become a little bit of a hero of mine. But anyway, this is not about me saying nice things about him, it’s about telling you what happened. So, back to twitter land, many people were linking to it and being disgusted by the interviewer a hack that calls himself a journalist but is nothing more than a bully and an apologist for brutality. Here’s that interview. Now, I don’t want to insult your intelligence by going through every single wrong thing in this interview. Anyone who reads this blog is clearly displaying a very high degree and level of intellect, I am therefore sure that you will be as disgusted and outraged as I am.

I will however point out a couple of things. Jody McIntyre has shown incredible dignity and poise in the face of an outrageous line of questioning that tried to somehow justify what was done to him. This ‘journalist’ was engaging in victim blaming. It was great to see him destroyed by Mr McIntyre’s calm and articulate responses. My favourite was when he told him that this kind of victim blaming is reminiscent of the BBC’s coverage of Palestine. I was particularly reminded of the way in which the survivors of the flotilla attack were ‘interviewed’, it was more like they were interrogated. The BBC ‘journalists’ would adopt a hostile and brazen attitude with them, asking them the same questions again and again, even after getting reasonable answers. The survivors had to justify themselves, in the same way that Jody had to justify himself in that interview. Again and again the BBC is failing to distinguish between victim and criminal.

The other thing I wanted to point out, was the fact that Jody’s political views were used by Ben Brown (Brown like poo! ha! That’s right I brought you down with my wit and verbal dexterity)to again try and justify the unjustifiable. A man was tipped over his wheel chair and then dragged across the pavement, whether that man was a revolutionary or not is irrelevant. Also, I don’t think that someone’s political views justify them being beaten up, at least that’s what democracy seems to be about.

Anyway, I complained to the BBC and I urge you all to complain as well. I especially urge you if you are a UK citizen and pay the license fee. This man, Ben Brown, is paid with our money and he needs to realise that this kind of behaviour is completely unacceptable. He should issue a public apology as well as a personal one to Jody McIntyre, failing that he needs to be sacked. But more importantly the BBC need to know that we expect better from them. This kind of stunt is expected when it comes to fake news outlets like Sky or Fox, but not from the BBC.

Well that’s it from me. I think we can all agree that this post represents a real return to form from me. There was laughs, tears, righteous anger, completely uninteresting discussions of my comings and goings, and of course a postmodern poo joke. I think this bodes well for the future posts on this blog. See you all tomorrow.

Train and Hostel

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Food, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01/10/2010 by arabrhizome

I am finally in London. The train trip down here was a real mixed bag. I was able to find a seat at a table facing the right direction and basically worked all through the journey, which was very useful. However, the train was over capacity and many people were standing in the aisles and sitting on the floor between carriages. I ended up having a series of bums right in my face, as well as a couple of pubic areas, of both sexes, at about 3 centimetres from my eyes. It was quite distressing at some points, especially because some people have a clearly too relaxed an attitude towards personal hygiene… What I’m trying to say is that I was forced to smell a few strangers’ balls and fannies, which is not pleasant at all. Oh and by the way I am using the word fanny in the British sense of the word, not the American.

Also, throughout the journey my stomach kept making very loud and very uncomfortable noises. This would have usually made me embarrassed, but given that my face was being assaulted by someone’s bum/genitals at the time, I wasn’t that embarrassed. The whole trip was a very uncomfortable and strange affair. I did end up doing a lot of work though because I had to try to keep my brain occupied. So I think that I should be happy about it, all in all. Plus I really should be grateful that it wasn’t my bum or penis in someone’s face.

So I got to London and checked in the hostel. My room is at the top floor this time and has only 4 beds in it, which is quite nice. It seems that the people I’m sharing it with have been here for a while. I met one of them, and elderly gentleman from the isle of white named Carl I think. He seemed very keen to let me know that he needed to get some laundry powder in order to do some laundry. I don’ really know how to respond to this kind of interaction with strangers. I know we are sharing a room but this fact does not mean that we are suddenly friends. I find that some people, sometimes, seem to be a little too familiar in hostels. It’s not that I’m a misanthrope and that I don’t want to talk to strangers, it’s just that I’d like familiarity to grow, rather then be the default setting, say. Now, I realise that Carl wasn’t too familiar, but I’m afraid he might want to tell me about his life the next time we see each other.

Anyway, I also had a nice sushi dinner at the station. That’s probably what I’ll have on my way back as well. And I am now sitting in the lobby of the hostel with my second pot of tea. I really like this hostel very much. It is the best one I’ve been to so far. It’s clean, cheap, modern, and very friendly. I’m not sure they have private rooms, which is the only downside to it. I think they only have gender specific rooms. But that’s a minor complaint. In fact, it’s not even a complaint really, it’s more like a remark.

Well I have to be ready to leave very early in the morning. I am thinking of taking the tube to the airport, rather than the express. I thought I can save a bit of money by doing that. Also, I will be able to read on the tube on my way there. I think that I will work on the plane. At least that’s the plan. It would be nice to finish this thing I’m working on right now before I get to Algiers. I think that this way I could start something new over there. Oh and prepare for my first class. I’m not too worried about that one, since I have my notes and I have already assigned reading and questions for them to think about. I hope this year’s batch are as smart and engaged as last year’s. Some of last year’s students were so bright and enthusiastic that teaching them was an incredible joy. I am aware that these might be the exception and that I shouldn’t get my hopes up too much.

Anyway, I am very tired. I’m not sleepy yet but my body is telling me that sleep will not come late tonight. That is handy, since I am going to have to wake up at a ridiculous hour in the morning to leave and get to the airport on time. So I’m going to watch the Big Bang Theory and get ready to sleep. Good night dear readers, next time you read this, it’ll be coming from another country/continent. How cool is that? Fine, not very cool unless you’re a nerd like me and get excited about insignificant things. So basically all of you.

Packing, Meet and Great, and Saying Bye

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Food, Friends, Me, Uncategorized, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 30/09/2010 by arabrhizome

So I’m done packing for my trip to Algiers. It’s not like I need to pack a lot, I’m only going for a few days. I also had to clean up my flat a little bit. It’s quite a small flat and so gets cluttered very quickly and very easily. I am quite a weird worker as well, in that I need to have a bit of chaos around me to be able to work well. So I had to clear up the mess, as I wouldn’t like to come back to a messy flat. I have all my papers in order as well and I’m quite sleepy. So hopefully I’ll be able to sleep soon and wake up early tomorrow.

Before all that I went to the Work in Progress (WIP) plenary session and meet some of the new post-grads. It was nice hanging out with A and talking to some of the faculty. Also, it’s quite weird being one of senior post-grads. Me and A will have to act as the fathers to the new crop of students. I am not ready to be a dad! Especially with regards to the PhD. I don’t feel like I can guide them or give them any useful info, which is doubly bad as I have to prepare with A a session on good work habits and writing for next week. It’s okay though, as I had worked on a similar session last year with B. My WIP has also been scheduled for the end of October. I think I will rework the chapter I just finished and make it into a 40 minute talk, more or less.

We had to leave a little early though as we were going to meet up with Cy to say bye to her. She’s moving back to Paris to start a new job and I won’t be able to see her after today. We had fun at the bar/restaurant and enjoyed a few laughs. The food wasn’t great but the company was excellent and that’s what counts. Although it’s not really what counts at a restaurant. What counts is the quality of the food and it was a little sub par. I had the seared tuna which wasn’t very good. It just didn’t do it for me at all. So I’m not very happy with that place as a eatery.

I am looking forward to going down to London tomorrow and sleeping in the same hostel I slept at the night I started this blog. I haven’t decided when I exactly I will go down. I guess I’ll see how tomorrow goes and pay it by ear. I need to pass by Uni and claim one of the desks though. So I might do that tomorrow and get done with it.

I’ve downloaded season one of a series called Sanctuary to have something to do in Algeria when my dad is sleeping, which is very often. I’m hoping to do some work down there as well. I am now slightly regretting that I’m going, but nothing to be done about it. I really feel like hanging out with Z and spending a bit of time with her this weekend. But I guess it’ll have to wait for next weekend, if we have time. I am also regretting the fact that I will miss my tennis lesson on Sunday. I am going to play tennis next week though and try to make up for it.

Well that’s pretty much my day for you. I will be writing tomorrow’s post from its place of rebirth down in London. Now to go to sleep.