I drove through the Ferrier Estate yesterday - or what's left of it. Large amounts have now been pulled down and the remaining blocks have huge notices on announcing their imminent destruction (presumably to discourage squatters). There are vast heaps of rubble everywhere. It's all very strange. After all, I watched them build the thing - you could see it from the train by which I commuted to school - and I didn't suppose I'd live to see its destruction.
I have to rejoice. The Ferrier was a monument to two mistaken ideas: that a house is a machine for living in, and that common ground belongs to everybody. Actually, putting people in identical boxes robs them of any feeling of home, and common ground belongs to those who are strong enough to take it (the Ferrier became one of London's most dangerous hotbeds of gang culture). Still, when I saw a half-demolished block, looking like bomb damage, the wallpaper on the still-standing walls, I couldn't help thinking that that was somebody's home.
Again to Islington, for Fanciulla del West, or West End Girl - Puccini/Belasco transplanted to a seedy internet café populated by East European immigrants. I thought it worked really well - verismo, after all, should be set in the world we know, and as someone most of whose friends are immigrants, it got it pretty well. Our illustrious maestro played the villain, which I've not seen him do before; fortunately his upper lip curls naturally. To me the most surprising thing was that this was directed by Robert Chevara, who directed a Dido in which I appeared about 22 years ago, at which time he had a bad case of Brecht. Who'd have thought he'd have grown up like this?
We had a good meal in Angelo's - they were so pleased to see us again they gave us prosecco and dessert on the house. Do go there if you're in Islington.
segh: You look nice in V-necked jumpers.
G.: And they conceal the fact that my ironing skills leave something to be desired.
1. Wear a skirt. Or leggings, or trousers you can roll up.
2. Do not shop in Luo Wo unless you can screen touts out. Or are not visibly European.
3. Snake and turtle are much nicer than you might think.
4. Have your passport readily available and be ready to be minutely scrutinised. Even if you are the world's most unlikely terrorist.
5. Plain silk can be had for less than £6/m, but it is probably as well to take a Cantonese speaker with you.
6. Avoid taxis unless you are exceptionally brave.
7. Have a shower when you get back.
I witnessed a domestic on the train today. I really didn't want to, but the man was shouting so loudly into his phone that the only way I could have avoided it was by going into another carriage. His vocabulary of vituperation was exceedingly limited, and after twenty minutes we had all heard every one of his insults many times. (Although I was surprised to hear 'trollop' once - I thought that one had dropped out of vernacular use.)
As we were getting off the train an elegantly dressed young woman turned to me and said, "He really needs to let Jesus into his life." I said that I couldn't agree more.
Your job is now your Time Lord name. The last digit of your phone number is the current regeneration you are in. The nearest clothing item to your right is now the most notable item in your current wardrobe. The last person you texted is your current companion. Your favorite word is now your catchphrase.
I am the eighth Harper. I am known for the pashminas, in a bewildering variety of shades, with which I drape myself (eat your heart out, 4th Doctor!). My companion is the lovely Kit, whose charm, practicality and ability to crochet a hypertropic transponder out of two bits of electric cable and an old bow tie make her invaluable to me. My catchphrase is the word "Excessively!", which, thanks to my enthusiastic advocacy, is now threatening "really" as the nation's qualifier of choice.
My birthday was on Saturday and began with driving to Finsbury Park, which is never a good idea. On the other hand, the purpose of the drive was to pick up a chamber organ for our concert, and the owner of the chamber organ turned out to know the awesome Andrew Lawrence King, so that was good. After that it was all fun. We rehearsed in the afternoon and in the break Tom conducted a Happy Birthday (in four parts, with descant) for me and I produced nibbles for all. I went home to find that Kit and her husband, Rick, his girlfriend Andrea, and Peter had all arrived, shortly to be joined by my best friend Bradshaw. We had dinner and went to the concert (arriving by the skin of our teeth, but Tom was very forgiving) and the concert went spectacularly well. We returned home for cake, fizz and present-opening. I had some wonderful things, including a book on the geology of Hong Kong, a scarf handmade by my daughter, a combined jigsaw/crossword puzzle, a set of miniature Doctor figures, and a mug showing the TARDIS making an appearance in the Bayeaux Tapestry. I always seem to get lovely presents, I have such a nice family.