Thursday, 22 July 2010

This used to be my playground...

My first time in Shepherd's Bush was when I was about eleven years old. My family and I lived a long way outside of London at that time but my parents are Saaaf Lan-daners "froo and froo" so we often made trips to the big smoke to see family and for my mother to increase emotional pressure on my father to move back "daan saaf" (she was successful by the time I turned 14). On one of these trips we spent a day visiting my mother's good friend who lives in Lena Gardens.

I distinctly remember that trip for a number of reasons. My Mum's friend is a successful businesswoman, single, without children and even then as she served seafood paella that my brothers and I were scathing of and selective with, it was obvious to me that she was both horrified and intimidated with my mother's growing mob. What I also recall is, that we all talked about her living in Notting Hill. I remember it because of hearing about the Carnival and I was very excited by this. Now I know that this is not Notting Hill, nor is it really Carnival cruising close. In fact I think you'd be hard pushed to even call it Hammersmith. It's Brook Green, I suppose. But it could also be proudly called Shepherd's Bush. Now with 4 years residential authority on the subject, I've discussed this with my parents since who now have less contact with Hyacinth (not her real name, just one I pulled out the Bucket) and we all laugh that she (and admittedly us) called it Notting Hill.

It's even more laughable because as us junior mob members grew restless and impatient in her stunning, all-white minimalist town house (that's probably quadrupled in value since) with no toys to play with or even things to break, Hyacinth suggested we all took a walk to the nearby playground. So we headed off to a nearby park - not to au-pair and hybrid push chair full Brook Green, but to the comparatively scarce and exposed children's area on Shepherd's Bush Green.

I remember walking down the road (Shepherd's Bush Road - which I now live off) and seeing all the colours and sensing all the activity and as I tried to shake off my Mum's hand as it anxiously grasped mine, I remember thinking "This is London.". Unlike my Grandma's suburban 1930s semi detached, or the Croydon flyover that ashamedly still excites me today, when I met the noise, the chaos and the smell of Shepherd's Bush, it was the first time I really met and fell in love with London. I'd love to say that from that moment on it was my sole and soul's desire to live in Shepherd's Bush. It wasn't - instead at that time I was convinced Joey McIntyre from New Kids on The Block and I would live in a cliff top mansion in LA.

Yet life doesn't turn out how you always imagine it will and sadly Joey and I are not an item (it ended badly) and I am not sunning myself in the Hollywood Hills, here I am in Shepherd's Bush. As I pushed swings at my brother, it never crossed my mind that I would one day be living there. I think on that day I was much more concerned with the unconventional but dominant feature in the playground:

What is it? I couldn't really explain it on my first visit to Shepherd's Bush and I certainly can't explain it now. I think this in itself was an omen to what living in Shepherd's Bush would be like. You see, sometimes in Shepherd's Bush, as in life, you have to be happy with not knowing precisely what's going or or what something is. Furthermore perhaps this is where Hyacinth misses the point about Shepherd's Bush so she pretends she lived somewhere else, somewhere "better". And that's why I'll not get too hung up about not knowing what this odd playground feature is. I would much rather not know what something is than pretend it is something it is not, especially, Dear Hyacinth, if it's where I live.

Monday, 12 July 2010

These are my confessions...

For me summertime in London means more walking and running. More walking and running inevitably means more time thinking and more time thinking means more self revelations that I have an unhealthy urge to share with other people, anonymously of course.

Here are some realisations about myself I recalled today on a walk from Oxford Street to Shepherd's Bush, which I feel the need to confess to my readers.

1. The last time I did that journey was on a run on my way home from work near Bank...via a pit-stop at Marble Arch McDonalds for a cheeseburger en route.

2. I fancy girls. Particularly toned and tanned girls who run fast through Hyde Park.

3. I flirted outrageously with my friend's boyfriend this weekend.

4. I told said friend that her boyfriend wasn't an outrageous flirt at all.

5. I informed my new boss today that I had some great new clients to bring to the company. I don't.

6. I would estimate that over half of the presents I received for my last birthday are now in the fine charity shops of Shepherd's Bush.

7. Comments on this blog (good, bad or ugly) make me truly happy.

8. I have eaten the same £2 Tesco lunch deal (FYI prawn sandwich, salt and vinegar crisps and tropical juice) for the last three weeks every day that I've been at work and I will probably have it again tomorrow.

9. I am happier with NewMan than I have been with a man in many, many years. And I am scared shitless about that.

And I think you'd better sit down...

10. I don't actually live in W12. I have a W6 postcode. Yet I am less than 2 minutes walk away from the Green, can see the Empire from my lounge window and every night I fall asleep to the sound of the hustle, bustle and other odd noises of Shepherd's Bush). Talk about postcode lottery.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours...

Recently I was a bit poorly sick and as with most things I shouldn't really share, I tweeted about it. My 140 character laments focused on my pain, anguish and suffering and the fact I couldn't get a doctor's appointment for love nor money nor begging.

Almost immediately I had several Followers tweeting me sympathy and even one charming guy offered up his doctor's appointment if my need was greater than his. I even have had people check in with me since to see how I am - my own mother has showed less concern! It made me realise that despite being a local little voice in the community with this blog I don't actually know or socialise with that many people in the immediate vicinity. Add that to the fact that I barely communicate with my flat mate, the sympathy (tw'ympathy?) I received online did go someway to soothing the pain.

As the summer sun continues to shine on Shepherd's Bush and more people venture out on to the Green I have been feeling occasionally sad I don't really actually know any of them, though this should potentially be seen as a positive bearing in mind the Green's regulars. Furthermore it's pretty accurate to say that recently not many of my friends have eagerly flocked (get it?) to Shepherd's Bush to soak up the sun and beer outside the Goldhawk or on the Stinging Nettle's roof terrace. And if I'm honest with myself I know that the NewMan wouldn't be making regular trips to W12 if I wasn't having sex with him.Instead more often than not I'm pulled away to various other corners of London's Zones 1 and 2 to enjoy the sunshine and miss the Bush.

This isn't a begging post for friends as many of my Tw'amily (Twitter family, duh!) have suggested meet-ups and pub quizes and on one uncomfortable occasion much, much more, all of which I have politely declined at the fear that the real Bird will disappoint. This is more just an observation that I find it sad that I don't have regular face-to-face catch ups or cups of tea with someone or a few someones who live locally. I think this is a classic symptom of young London living when you live where you can afford and you make the wrong assumption that if a friend lives in London too that's local enough even though it actually means an hour on bus or few tubes to get there, which makes it more of a massive mission meet-up than a quick casual catch up.

I know I can't force friendship on local people nor can I force my friendships to become more local. (I certainly can't keep having sex with everyone just so they visit me.) So instead I will stick with my Tw'amily and maybe I will take up one or two of their tw'offers of a tw'eet up. How do you take your tea Shepherd's Bush?

Friday, 2 July 2010

Off she went with a trumpety-trump...

Many people have blogged, tweeted and flickr'ed about the Elephant Parade in London, including myself. Last week it was time to say goodbye to the circus, I mean elephants from their posts all over town and there were a few events to mark the occasion. Part of the climax was the indoor parade in Westfield, which I popped to in to see and to use as an opportunity to say goodbye because as much as I'd love to have bought the above Matthew Williamson design but I lack the necessary spatial and financial requirements.

Goodbye elephants. You have been expressive, colourful and intriguing - which are all reasons why I love London.