Saturday, April 24, 2010

How to negotiate with a sweet tooth

I'm moving home this weekend. For the third time in a year. It's been a transient and somewhat unsettled 12 months, in more than the physical sense.

However, this time it's somewhat different - I'm moving in with my boyfriend, and I'm moving south of the river. South! (breathe, Kelly). We had long and fraught conversations about where to live, my North vs. his South, which degenerated into my Anywhere but Balham To Prove Your Unswerving Devotion to Me and his I Love You But I Love Balham More.

We reached an impasse.

Eventually, he offered to bake me a different cake every week that I lived down south with him. I thought about it for all of two seconds and accepted.

As he's going to be away for nearly 5 weeks for the world cup, the procession of cakes has started in advance of our moving in together. So far, I and my workmates have been the lucky, lucky recipients of some rather amazing concoctions, as follows:

- Dark chocolate and ginger fridge slice (part of the reconciliation push)
- Chocolate cupcakes (for V day, again not strictly part of the Cake Zone agreement)
- Lemon Drizzle cake (currently holding number 2 place)
- Banana Chocolate cake
- Courgette cake
- Chocolate cornflake cups
- Coffee and Walnut cake (comfortably holding the number 1 place; not remotely compromised by being dropped on the concrete outside my flat)

I think in order to give this truly astounding effort the recognition it deserves, I am going to start documenting the cakes on this site, with ratings based on look, taste and texture, with extra points being awarded for embellishments (decorations, additions, off-piste flourishes).

Let the caval-cake commence!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Panic at the zebra crossing

I am making my way home, cycling along in a little bubble of a daydream and feeling a little shaky because I have forgotten to throw back a late afternoon snack to keep me going. I try to change lanes in the peak hour traffic at a particularly tricksome roundabout when the car in front of me brakes suddenly and I skid to a halt just behind it, my tyre bumping their back bumper.

I can see the businessman in the front seat put on his handbrake as he hauls his massive bulk out of the drivers seat and waddles around to the back of the car, sun glinting off his bling-tastic cuff links. "Sorry!" I smile apologetically, a little surprised that he feels the need to come and inspect the back of his vehicle. There is a tiny scuff mark where my tyre touched his bumper, which he points to with a chubby finger, bellowing "What do you think you're doing?". He reaches down and wipes the smidge of dust off his bumper. There is now no trace of any contact on the bumper. "I could SUE you for this you know!" he spits in my face, turning purple in his rage. "Really?" is all I can think to respond. I look down at the invisible mark on his bumper. I stare at him. He stares back. "You cyclists think you OWN the road!!" We stare at each other some more. I say "sorry" again, because I really don't know where this is going and I am tired and need some food. The collars of his expensive looking purple shirt quiver.

He stares at me some more. I sit back on my bike seat. He finally decides to leave it, and walks back around to the drivers seat, stopping to give me one final hard stare (just in case I didn't get it with ALL THE STARING). He takes off in a fug of petulance and I cycle on home.

I've been seething quietly ever since.

You want to know who acts like they own the road, Mr. 40-carat cufflinks? DRIVERS, THAT'S WHO. Drivers who turn left in front of me. Drivers who get impatient if I delay their journey by all of two seconds who then scream past me with a whisker to spare. Drivers who nearly run me off the road twelve times a day. Drivers who pull out without checking for cyclists (the cause of all the accidents I and other friends have ever been involved in). Drivers who refuse to give way to me at roundabouts. Drivers whose short-sightedness and lack of care and general recklessness I am CONSTANTLY compensating for. And don't even get me started on white van men!

And yes, I reserve the right to feel slightly superior to fat car-driving types like yourself.

Friday, April 16, 2010

North London // South London

Boogaloo // Bugaboo
skinny jeans // rugby thighs
hi-top trainers // personal trainers
muggers // chuggers
hipsters // nippers
Tracey Emin quilts // Cath Kidston quilts
vintage // antiques
Pearly kings and queens // pearls and twinset
Cockney geezers // Wide boys
Camden goths // Croydon yobs

* * * * *
Any contributions?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Hit grrls and beautiful geeks

You know those super-cool, highly stylised movies that completely glorify violence, that you come out of thinking "yeah, I could totally be an assassin!" and you're picturing yourself skulking around the city after dark, kicking in doors and giving bad guys the death stare before cooly dispatching their asses one by one?

No? Just me then.

Movies that fall into the category of making-you-want-to-be-an-assassin: Kill Bill, Charlie's Angels, Nikita, Pulp Fiction, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Zatôichi, the Bourne series.

But before I saw any of these there was Leon (or The Professional, as it was known in Australia), starring babe-in-the-making Natalie Portman as an orphan child who takes up with her loner neighbour after her family are slaughtered by a maniacal drug lord. Leon is possibly my most favourite film ever; and not just because I was a little in love with Jean Reno and the soundtrack featured Björk. I remember stumbling out of the arthouse cinema at the top end of Bourke street, blinking in the still-bright daylight, feeling different somehow. Indestructable. Cool. A little bit...goth.

And now there is Kick-Ass, the story of a high school geek who decides to become a self-made superhero, kitted out in a green wetsuit, Timberland boots and home-made ninja sticks.

The movie has blown away a whole load of comic book conventions, not least by introducing a 12 year old hit girl called, you guessed it, Hit-Girl. She reminded me a lot of Mathilda in Leon:


There's been a lot of hoo-ha about her use of the c-word in this film. I am not sure if it is my almost complete desensitisation to such language or testimony to Chloe Moretz's pitch perfect performance that it barely registered on my shock-scale.

Pre-teen killing machine uses a few bad words? Whatevs.

Controversy aside, Kick-Ass is great big colourful fun with a dark streak, and treads a fine line between highly stylised action flick and low-fi geekdom. Oh, and he helped:

beautiful geek
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