Monday, May 02, 2005

Bank Holiday drifting

The long and humid Bank Holiday weekend began for us on Friday evening with drinks at Two Floors and Alphabet Bar in Soho, then dinner at the lively and packed Tex-Mex restaurant Cafe Pacifico in Covent Garden. We drank mescal and rosemary cocktails and devoured comfortingly cheesy ground beef burritos and quesadillas. The band Travis also sauntered in to eat, but I seemed the only diner to notice them.

On a hot and listless Saturday, I dragged us down to Bethnal Green and Bow for a disastrous few hours of "non-shopping", after which we had little energy but to sprawl across the grass in Green Park, along with the rest of London it seemed, and read the Saturday papers and people-watch. Rejeuvenated, we then wandered around Soho enjoying the summer evening, before devouring oysters, lobster and king prawns at the fabulous seafood restaurant Randall & Aubin on Brewer Street. We sat at the front of the restaurant by the open window, and as seafood juice dripped down our fingers we watched the very camp waiters air-kiss their friends who were passing by, and tried to work out whether the apartment opposite with the red light in the window and heavy drawn curtains was a brothel or not. We were nearly convinced when five or six Indian men leapt excitedly up the adjoining staircase, but then began to doubt when they leapt back down laughing a few minutes later.

Sunday was another chilled day, but this time largely spent working and surfing the net. In the evening, however, we headed back into Covent Garden to watch the fabulously witty Melinda And Melinda -- Woody Allen's return-to-form movie that convinced us to re-watch Manhattan, Annie Hall, Hannah And Her Sisters, and Crimes And Misdemeanors on DVD some time soon. This was followed by a filling but average Thai dinner back in Soho surrounded by male gay couples and a "suit" on a first date unsuccessfully trying to convince his female guest that affirmative action is a bad idea. Somehow I don't think she'll be putting his telephone number on speed-dial.

Today (Monday) we lazed around all morning reading the Sunday papers (bought the night before), then headed out to the V&A in South Kensington for Iranian filmmaker and artist Abbas Kiarostami's haunting and ethereal installation Forest Without Leaves and exquisite photographic exhibition Trees In Snow, more of which tomorrow. We also meandered through my favourite room in the V&A, the dank and decrepit Cast Courts cluttered with monumental and intricate Victorian plaster cast statues, altars, door frames and columns.

Afterwards, we headed back to the West End to watch the hilariously crude A Dirty Shame -- "Pope of trash" John Waters' new movie about sex addicts in the Baltimore suburbs, with Tracey Ullman, Johnny Knoxville, Chris Isaak, Selma Blair (complete with eye-knocking triple-Z cups) and Patty Hearst (yes, the one and only). Apparently, according to IMDb trivia, "When the MPAA were asked what would needed to be cut to obtain an R rating, they replied that if everything the MPAA objected to were to be removed, the movie would only be 10 minutes long." After 90 minutes of much-welcome cheap laughs, we ventured back out into the early evening sunshine to loll around the grass at St James' Park and plan our long weekend trip to Seville in a couple of days -- hurrah!

My God, when did April slip in to May?

My body senses summer approaching faster than my mind because it starts craving ice cream: anything from a cheap synthetic generic vanilla through Häagen-Dazs cookies and cream to Green and Blacks dark chocolate. So long as it's ice cream. Today at the cinema it was Häagen-Dazs panna cotta and raspberry. Bliss.

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