Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got

Every once in a while I like to do something a bit artsy fartsy for a change, and so it was a few months ago that I found myself at Monkey Town in Williamsburg to see an exhibit called “We Are So Much Better Than This.”

The exhibit was recommended by Time Out New York which described it as an evening of short form media, and singled out a piece called ‘More Than Meets The Eye: Remaking Jane Fonda’ by the artist Scott Stark in which he re-enacts one Jane’s exercise videos starring himself as the performer. I thought it sounded like a bit of a laugh, and truth be told I’d been dying to check it out Monkey Town ever since I read a review of it in
The Times. Unfortunately I’d yet to coerce anyone to join me, so when Francesca was equally enthusiastic about doing something different for a change I couldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, and called to make a reservation for that night’s 10pm show.

The thing that most appealed to me about Monkey Town was the space, specifically the back dining room which serves as a performance space/screening room and has seating and tables around the edge of the room for drinking/dining/reclining and large screens on each of the four walls, so wherever you sit you have an unobstructed view of the show.

Photo credit: Noah Kalina

A great idea right? Isn't it fabulous? I love it, although I think they are missing a trick by sticking to artsy stuff and not screening indie movies every once in a while. The seating is actually much lower to the ground than it looks in the photo and quite futon like, so you can't help but slouch. It’s very comfy, but tricky to get out of easily when you need to nip to the loo. I kind of had to roll to the side and push myself up to standing. It’s not quite as hard as getting out of a beanbag chair, but it’s a close second.

The screening room has a $10 minimum per person, but since we'd already eaten - at fab bistro,
Juliette, which was thronged with good looking men eating together in groups. This is such a rare sight in New York we naturally assumed what any self respecting single NY woman would when faced with a plethora of attractive, well dressed men; we assumed Williamsburg must have a more vibrant gay scene than we were previously aware of. I’ve never seen so many men eating together outside of Chelsea - we made up our minimum with drinks and olives. Super spicy olives as it turned out. They completely overdid it with the chilli stuffing and I nearly choked on the first one I tasted. Fortunately the tamarind mojitos were delicious and definitely worthy of a return visit. Mmmm!!!

The show was interesting, a series of short films with the theme “We are so much better than this” (performing the truth/Perusing a lie”), a fairly arbitrary theme I think since it didn’t entirely correspond to a lot of the work shown. I was also disappointed to find much of the show to be a little on the dull side. Even the Time Out recommended Jane Fonda one wasn’t as amusing as I’d hoped, apparently intended to underscore “a sense of supposed embarrassment I as a male might feel by inhabiting what is essentially a feminine landscape. By overlaying the diligent exercise imagery with provocative and pointed quotations from Jane Fonda's activist days, as well as her thoughtful ruminations from her recent autobiography on war, political transformation, female anxiety and the 'need to be perfect,' the remake gives voice to my own feelings about the criminality of contemporary war-making and our own complicity in a world that gives rise to a kind of cultural bulimia" so sayeth artist, Scott Stark.


I wasn’t sure I got all THAT from the piece, but he did sport humorously ill-fitting sweat pants that were mildly entertaining.

The videos were also quite long and by the time we got to the last one, the pièce de résistance if you will, some two plus hours later, I’d already nodded off a couple of times, so when I noticed in the program that it lasted 29minutes I gave Francesca a nudge to see if she wanted to leave before it started. She shrugged and suggested we stay for at least the first 10minutes, so I settled myself back down to enjoy.

The theme of the last video was "Anthology of an American Folk Song", described as ‘a twisted journey into American mythology and broken dreams’, twisted is right since what exactly a guy flipping through dozens of Polaroids of erect penises (or is the plural peni?) while caterwauling to J. Lo’s “Jenny from the block” has to do with American folk I'll never know. Any ideas? Or how about the bloke who was completely and utterly starkers, spread-eagled on a bed and vigorously bashing his bishop? Do you spot any folk connection to that one? Anyone? Answers on a postcard please. I'm not afraid to admit it, the artistic vision was totally lost on me and it wasn’t exactly what I needed to see on a full stomach.

Avoiding the screen I turned and raised my eyebrows at Francesca, who it must be said was looking a bit startled, to suggest we should leave, but surprisingly she shook her head and leaned towards me.

“We can’t leave now”, she whispered furiously, “we’ll look like complete prudes if we leave mid-masturbation scene.”

Dammit, she was right. There was only one thing for it, to wait for more innocuous subject matter to be shown before making our move for the exit. (Aside: I’m not entirely why I cared that the other people in the room might think me a prude for leaving while the guy on screen was spanking his monkey, since it’s unlikely I’d ever see them again after all, but for some reason that night I cared immensely. Maybe it was the mojitos.)

Thankfully we didn’t have long to wait before a baby or a puppy or some such appeared on the screen and we seized our opportunity to roll to the right and off the futons – in synch I might add, Esther Williams would have been proud of our perfectly synchronised futon rolling skills - swiftly gathered our belongings and left.

I checked my program on the way out to see if I'd read the wrong description, but no, the penis one was the journey into folk mythology. Puzzling!! Maybe I should email the artist, as I'm clearly not at one with his vision, but then that happens to me a lot, since I really don’t get why so many artists are quite so fixated on shoving explicit sexual imagery in our faces. I find it a bit puerile; like they're still in the mindset of 12year old boys. It strikes me as taking the easy way out, aiming for shock value rather than something more intelligent and thought provoking; however it seems to be rampant in the art world. Only a few months prior to the Monkey Town experience I was on a gallery tour of Chelsea with Sara, the both of us closely examining a collage made from photos and old newspapers when the tour guide announced that the artist used his own cum as the glue. We jumped back about three feet on hearing that!! Ugh! Minger! And quite honestly, why bother going to all that trouble when Prit Stick is so easily attainable??

The following day I Googled the penis artist, Steve Reinke, and was surprised to find he’s an award winning Canadian film maker who won a $10,000 art prize from the Canadian Council of Arts, been called "one of the most influential artists currently working in video" and is an "associate professor of art theory and practice at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. I still don't get the folk mythology angle, but apparently we were in the presence of greatness. Nevertheless I shall think twice before paying another visit to Monkey Town.

The worst of it was though…I couldn’t get “Jenny from the block” out of my head for an entire week. Ugh!!

Monday, 30 July 2007

Dreaming of Yorkshire puddings

British Nigel: What do you miss the most about England?

Me (not hesitating for a second): Marks & Spencer and British chocolate, oh and Boots. The chemist not the footwear.

British Nigel: Duhh!! WRONG ANSWER!! You are SUPPOSED to say you miss your friends and family.

Me: Well OF COURSE I miss my friends and family you big numpty, that goes without saying, but I also miss M&S and Boots, oh and Yorkshire puddings, I really miss those. Mmmm, a Yorkshire pudding with gravy would go down a treat right now.

British Nigel: Why don’t you just make some?

Me: Have you ever tasted my cooking?

British Nigel: No, you never cook.

Me: No and there’s a good reason for that. I suppose I could try making Yorkshire puddings, although I’d have to go and buy a muffin pan, and all the ingredients. Oh and the flour’s different here too y’know

British Nigel: Is it?

Me: Oh yes, it’s not plain or self-raising like it is at home, it’s all multi-purpose this and that and it didn’t exactly work out well the one time I tried to make scones over here. They were a disaster and if there’s one thing I’m good at in the kitchen, it’s a scone. It would be much easier if I could just buy some Yorkshires from a Marks and Spencer. An M&S food hall would go down a storm in Manhattan. New Yorkers would be gagging for their ready meals

British Nigel: If you say so.

Me: I do

Mmmmm mmmmm mmmmmmm. I love a Yorkshire pudding!! What do you miss the most from home readers? Excluding friends and family of course :-)

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Blonde Redhead - 23

Blonde Redhead are probably my favourite group at the moment. I'm hoping to see them when they play a free gig at McCarron Park pool in Brooklyn on Aug 5th. If you've never heard of them, enjoy.

What the....

About a month ago I tagged my blog with Google Analytics so that I could see what types of traffic was coming to my site. Today I had a browse through the search terms driving traffic to my blog.

Now search only drives 9-10% of traffic to my site overall, but readers I was shocked - and slightly amused - to see the following....

I realize it's quite difficult to read in the above screen shot - sorry, I couldn’t make it bigger without the font getting all blurry - but those of you with keen eyesight will be able to spot the following search terms:

8. British female bums
9. Comparison of female arses
13. Lovely damp knickers

Ahem!! WHAT???? How are people searching on the above terms reaching my blog?? Oh and the less said about the term ranked at #4 the better.

Thankfully they are disappointed as none of them stay, but still...I shall continue to monitor the situation via Google Analytics. Beware perv searchers, I've got my beady eye on you!!

Still knackered

Phoooweee it's been a tough week. Only 3weeks after starting to work with a particular client and I was asked to provide an analysis to prove that the advertising they spend a few million on each year is actually having an impact on the bottom line.

This came about because my client has to defend her budget to the board of directors next week and they’re threatening her with a significant reduction. Not good news, since if that happens, it’s potentially curtains for the agency, we’ll be $6million out of pocket and a dozen staff could be looking for work.

No pressure.

Unsurprisingly it’s weighed heavily on my mind all week and I’ve had a hard time switching off from work, which is typically not a problem for me. As soon as I’m through that revolving door and onto the street the office is but a dim and distant memory. I’m definitely a ‘work to live’ type, not a ‘live to work’. Unfortunately this week thoughts and ideas have been springing to mind at the oddest of hours and I’ve been jumping out of bed in the middle of the night to Blackberry them to myself before losing the thread, although whether my sleep deprived notions make any sense in the cold light of day is debatable, however the client is thrilled with what she’s seen so far, so that’s good news. At least this week she loves me.

After 5plus days of sporadic sleep I’ve been looking decidedly hag like. I was so exhausted I went to bed at 8.30pm last night after a cursory clean of my apartment. That was my Friday night. I'm a single 30-something woman living in Manhattan and I'm spending my Friday night cleaning my apartment and going to bed earlier than Grandma. How rock ‘n’ roll of me. Don’t tell me I don’t know how to take full advantage of that New York party lifestyle ;-)

Wednesday, 25 July 2007


Urk...what the hell is that noise??? I wish it would go away!! Hang on!! Is it coming from outside? No, no...erm....oh bugger, its the alarm clock. Why on earth did I set the alarm for 6am on a Saturday? I'm an idiot. Wait.....is it Saturday? I'm not sure. What did I do last night? Think think....Pilates class with Tracy. Groan...that means yesterday was Tuesday so today must be Wednesday...I'm not even close to Saturday, I have 3 more days to go. Ugh!!! I have to get up for work...fuck fuck fuck...

The day has only got progressively worse from there. It's going to be a looonnnnnnnggggg week. Sigh!!

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Subway seething

A lovely day in New York today, warm and sunny, with low humidity and a light breeze, which thankfully meant I could walk to work for the first time in a few weeks. I love to walk the couple of miles to and from work if I can – more exercise = more cake – but unfortunately the weather has been so humid lately that walking would mean arriving at the office a perspiration soaked mess, so for the last couple of weeks I’ve been forced to descend into the bowels of Manhattan and take the subway.

I’m not a huge fan of the subway during rush hour. Admittedly it is my preference to live in a city of 8million people, most of whom need to get to work of a morning, and I’ll give you that I’m easily aggravated before coffee, but there are certain subway behaviours that drive me up the wall…

1. Elephantitis suffers: There’s clearly an epidemic of elephantitis of the nuts among a significant portion of the male population of New York. How else to explain why so many of them feel the need to spread their legs so wide while seated, so as to take up enough room for 2-3 people?

2. Stair obstructers: I completely understand that people might need to take a little break after huffing and puffing their way up the subway stairs to change trains, but is it really necessary for them to stop quite so suddenly at the top of the stairs to catch their breath, thus causing a 12 person pile up behind them? Would it kill them to take just one more step to the side and MOVE OUT OF THE WAY!!!!

3. The shovers: The ones who don’t give you the slightest chance to get out at your stop before they are barging inside the carriage before the doors have fully opened. Its rush hour, it’s not like you’re going to bag yourself a seat. It may sound draconian, but there are days when I would champion the introduction of a system to deliver an electric shock to anyone who aggressively shoulders their way onto the carriage within 2seconds of the door opening.

4. Pole hogs: Those who feel they are perfectly entitled to lean their entire body against the pole in the centre of a crowded subway carriage whilst other commuters struggle to hold on by their fingertips? Selfish bastards!!!

5. Backpackers: Commuters surgically attached to their gym packs and seemingly oblivious, or not caring, that aforementioned item sticks out a foot behind their bodies and takes out 4people every time they move. TAKE IT OFF AND PUT IT AT YOUR FEET FOR CHRISSAKES!!!

Here’s hoping for more days of low humidity so that I can happily walk to the office. That Satre bloke certainly knew what he was talking about, Hell is indeed other people, at least on the subway.

I’m going to yoga now. I think I need it.

Photo: Design_Database @ Flickr.com

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Surprising style inspiration

Crossing 50th street this morning there was a rather rotund woman walking towards me wearing bright yellow crocs and white pants. This made me laugh as, at a glance, it looked like she had duck feet. Then I looked up and saw she was wearing a royal blue top. That's a familiar look I thought. Where have I seen that before? Ahhh yes......

I wonder if this is part of an overall fashion trend inspired by Disney characters. Maybe tomorrow she'll be wearing a polka dot dress and sport a big bow in her hair.

To each her own I suppose.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

I'm rather partial to this band at the moment...

...although I was shocked when I saw the video that they look as if they're about 12years old!! Even younger than the Artic Monkeys. The kids I used to babysit for when I was 16 are now older than this band. Urgle!!

Monday, 16 July 2007

It's just a dress for God's sake

I’m wearing a dress to work today. Admittedly not something I typically wear to the office, I’m usually the trousers and a top type when it comes to work wear, but I’m going out tonight - on a 4hour jazz cruise along the Hudson, I’m praying I have not succumbed to any sea sickness in my advancing years – however from the reactions I've had to my wearing a dress to work you'd think I'd arrived at the office in nothing but my underwear. Jose even told me I am "a little bit too dressed up." A comment I thought was a bit too cheeky quite frankly, but what can you expect from colleagues who don't bat an eyelid at the wearing tracksuits to the office.

It's a wrap dress, so I'll give you it could be slightly more cleavage-y than they're used to me wearing and the addition of a tank top might have been sensible now that I come to think of it, but it's a perfectly decent below the knee casual rayon wrap dress from Banana Republic, it's not THAT tits out, so I’m really not sure what all the fuss is about. However after all the comments I was feeling a bit self conscious, so I've frumped it up a bit with the addition of a cardigan and a strategically placed safety pin to bring up the neckline an extra ½ inch. I had a stash of safety pins in my office drawer for such an emergency - can you tell I was a girl guide?

In other news, I was surprised to receive a call last night from one of the guys who asked for my number at the wine tasting a few weeks back - 2 weeks and 2 days ago to be exact -where despite the odds not being in favour of my gender - 80% women, 20% men as is typical for such events in New York - I was asked for my number by, not one, but TWO men. I was so shocked at this unusual turn of events that my friends had to practically peel me off the floor!! Of course I didn't hear a peep from either man until last night, but quite frankly I cared not a jot as I wasn’t that enamoured of either of them at first meeting, but was willing to at least go for a quick drink and see if we had any chemistry. I was a bit flummoxed though that both these guys would actually ask for my number, but then not bother calling, until now of course. I mean, what’s that about? Why bother asking in the first place?

However, surprise surprise, one of the men – let’s call him Harry - called me on Sunday evening. I'm not sure what I think about that to be honest. I'm not one for games, or following ‘the rules’, but I'm thinking that waiting 2weeks and 1day to call me displays a distinct lack of enthusiasm don't you? Waiting a week wouldn’t have been so bad, but anything longer than that is not so great. Nevertheless I called him back for a chat and thought I may as well see about going out for a drink with the boy if nothing else. Nothing ventured, nothing gained right.

Unfortunately our phone conversation turned out to be quite stilted and I couldn't wait to get back to watching CSI to be frank, a repeat episode at that, so it doesn't bode well for a future meeting, however I’m not even sure we’ll make it to an actual date, as even though he did ask, after a few brief pleasantries about our respective weekends, if I’d be interested in meeting him for an after work drink sometime, when I said I would, he responded he was very busy this week and told me to call him at the weekend to plan something for the following week. Um...what!!! I should call HIM???

I gently refused and said ‘Why don’t you give me a call instead.’ He said he would, but I’m not expecting to hear from him, but who knows, he may prove me wrong.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Translation please!

Having lived in the New York for a fair while now I’m occasionally called upon by my American colleagues for my transatlantic translation services.

Today a thoroughly confused and bemused Jose stopped by my cube after a newly transplanted British co-worker sent him an email asking “how are you fixed?”

“I’m assuming he’s not asking me personal questions about whether I'm circumcised?” Jose queried with a smile.

Ha!! Love it. “No, Jose, he’s asking whether you have time in your schedule for a meeting.”

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Getting my groove back

I haven’t been quite so enamoured with salsa dancing recently, I think partly because I just needed a break for a few weeks after over a year of multiple classes per week, and partly because the female instructor I take classes with has become extremely intense since I moved up to her intermediate class a few months ago. She was always bossy, but now she’s turned into a bit of a salsa psycho and it’s putting me off dancing. Not exactly the mark of a good teacher in my opinion, deterring your students, and quite frankly there are enough people at work who shout and throw tantrums; I don’t need it in my spare time, especially not when I’m paying to be there. I took a couple of weeks off from her class to give it some thought and I doubt I’ll go back.

Otherwise I’ve been sticking with lessons with the male instructor, D, who’s much more of a perfectionist than the woman, but has an incredibly laid back and encouraging manner. He doesn’t race through demonstrating the moves and then scream that you’re doing it wrong; instead he teaches us a few steps and then comes around the class as we practice, giving pointers individually. He’s all about quality over quantity and with his mellow attitude it’s a joy to take his class, although I’m having more than a little trouble with some of the styling moves, the flourishes that add a little extra flair to your dancing. I’m especially bad at the body roll which we practiced last Thursday. It just does NOT come naturally to me and I was complaining to my salsa buddy, Leon that my clumsy attempts at styling make me feel like such a rhythmically challenged white girl. I had to laugh when he turned to me and said “girl, you move better than I do and I’m Dominican. People don’t expect YOU to have rhythm, but me, I’m Latin; I got a reputation to live up to, I’m letting my people down.”

“And there is NO WAY I am ever doing THAT in public” he continued, pointing to our instructor who was demonstrating travelling hip circles at the front of the class.

Personally I can’t get enough of a travelling hip circle; it’s the one sexy Shakira style move I’m fairly good at. You simply move your hips in circles like you’re hula hooping while stepping clockwise in a tight circle. The men aren’t so keen on doing it though and when demonstrated in class it’s a move that’s guaranteed to send them all scurrying to hide in the back of the studio. Too feminine a move for them I think, although somehow our instructor manages to make it look masculine.

No hip circles this weekend, although I did take the plunge and join the Salsa Fiesta Meetup Group for some outdoor salsa dancing at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing on Saturday night. I love the salsa at Lincoln Center, it’s a great beautiful setting, especially after the sun goes down and they always attract fantastic live bands and an eclectic crowd, from parents with their kids to experienced salseros showing off their dance skills and older Hispanic guys resplendent in their guayabera shirts who look as if they’ve been freshly plucked from the streets of Cuba.

A mere $15 will secure you a ticket for the dance floor, erected in the middle of Josie Robertson Plaza, and includes a 45minute lesson of whichever flavour of dance is the focus of the evening...salsa, tango, swing, funk, disco, soul...,you name it, however if you’ve no need of the lesson – which is basic even by the standards of those who’ve only managed a few studio classes - you can dance for free on the surrounding plaza, which is what we did.

I had a fantastic time and it went a long way to helping renew my enthusiasm for dancing, especially as I bumped into a few old friends who I haven’t seen in class for months. I even managed to brave a few spins on the ‘dance floor’, despite initially feeling a bit shy in front of the crowds of onlookers, including a dance with Reuben, an advanced dancer I’ve occasionally come across in dance class, but who I’ve never actually danced with. He’s...well, he’s an interesting dancer. He has a lot of confidence in himself and frankly seems to think he’s sex on legs if the lascivious facial expressions he was throwing my way were anything to go by. This would be sex on very short stubby legs, since he can only be about 5ft 3 and b
eing so short he was disconcertingly eye-to-eye with me as we danced – I'm only 5ft 1 myself so I’m used to having to look up at my dance partners – and stared at me very intently while pouting and wiggling his eyebrows. As a follower I had no choice but to look at him, to pay attention to his lead, but it was very off putting to watch his facial expressions and I had to bite my buttom lip to keep from laughing. While dancing with Reuben I also realised there’s such a thing as too much styling, since he used so many flourishes I had a hard time recognising where his styling ended and the lead began and the wiggling....my God he doesn't half wiggle, I mean I know it's salsa, but there are limits. It was like dancing opposite a goldfish that had jumped out of its tank. Yes, it was an interesting experience, but not one which I care to repeat too soon, maybe when I'm a more experienced dancer myself, but this time I thanked my lucky stars we danced to a fairly brief song, 3minutes was more than enough.

All in all it was a fun night, although my knees ached a bit on Sunday from dancing on concrete in flat shoes. I’m getting old!

Sunday, 8 July 2007


Can you believe an old man actually growled at me not an hour ago? I'm not kidding, he literally growled like a dog as I was crossing the street. As I passed him he leered at me and told me I was 'ohhhh so hot'. It didn't feel like a compliment!!

He was right about one thing, I am hot, in fact I'm chuffing roasting, it feels like its about 200degrees in New York today. This is what it must be like to live on the sun. I went out to run an errand and managed to walk only 10blocks before turning around and heading back to the bliss of my air conditioned apartment. Scorchio!!

Saturday, 7 July 2007

The odds are stacked

So, can you believe that there are 185,000 more single straight women than single straight men in New York City? That’s according to last week’s issue of Time Out anyway. Crazy eh? Well okay, admittedly not JUST New York, technically we’re talking the urban areas of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, so the tri-state area, but I’d be willing the bet the highest ratio of women to men is in the city. It certainly feels as if that’s the case.

The article’s been a bit of a talking point among the single women I know recently, although not because they’re surprised, but because now they can put a number to what they already knew; there just aren’t enough single men to go around in New York.

As part of the piece Time Out also took to the streets and asked 50, supposedly random, women whether they were happy being single. Forty-six of the fifty women – that’s 92% kids – claimed they were happy; three were on the fence, checking both yes and no, and just one women indicated she wasn’t so thrilled with her single status.

The thought of so many happily single women freely roaming the streets of New York was clearly too much to bear for a few TONY readers who wrote in to the magazine about the article. A smattering of responses were published on the letters page of this week’s issue and were mostly of the ‘these women are liars if they say they’re happily single’ variety.

Liars are we?? Well, as a happily single woman I beg to differ. WTF!! Why is it that so many people think it’s impossible for a woman to be both single AND happy? The two aren’t mutually exclusive you know. We’re not saying it wouldn’t be absolutely brilliant to meet a nice guy with whom to spend the rest of our lives, but seriously people, let’s face facts; there just aren’t enough single men to go around in New York. Even if you were able to come along and match up every single straight man with a lovely single straight woman there would still apparently be 185,000 single women left over, which leaves us single girls with 2 options:

1. Move away from New York, say to the west coast where there are supposedly more single straight men
2. Make the best of the situation and get out and enjoy life

Addressing the options in the traditional order…

…leave New York? Are you CRAZY?? Completely out of the question, wash your mouth out with soap and water for even suggesting such a thing.

…which leaves us with option 2; making the best of the situation. It is what it is folks and this is exactly what those 46 women interviewed by TONY are doing. Short of kidnapping a 185,000 eligible bachelors from the more plentiful states there isn’t a lot we single NY gals can do to change the situation. So what are we supposed to do, stay at home watching Grey’s Anatomy while sobbing into our cushions? I think not!! No, we get up off the sofa, shake off the cobwebs and shimmy on out into the world to enjoy life and if we meet someone while doing so, then great, but if we don't, then so be it. We're not going to fall apart if Mr. Right doesn’t walk into our lives, sure there will be some disappointments, but aren't there always, how can you appreciate the good without the bad? When I’m at death’s door I don’t want to look back on my life and realise I wasted opportunities to be happy just because I was walking around depressed and dour faced about being single.

Btw: Update on the two guys I met at the wine tasting last weekend…neither of 'em called!! Tsk!!

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Happy 4th. Keep on dancing!!

My cable is still broken, so when at home I’m still doing a LOT of dancing around my bedroom. Today I am mostly grooving to the fabulous Feist. Please enjoy a personal favourite, ‘My Moon My Man’, with my compliments.

Fortunately someone is coming to fix the cable tomorrow thank God. It’s been a week. I once lived without TV for a year; I’m not quite sure how I coped. At least I’m not missing much with it being summer. American TV is seasonal you see, series – or shows – for the most part start in the autumn and finish in spring. During the summer it’s mostly reality shows and repeats, but unlike British TV, which is terribly sorry and generally a bit embarrassed and ashamed by repeats, US TV practically boasts about them and touts them as “another chance to see.” Do you see what they did there? It fools no-one of course, everyone still complains, but you have to admire them for their cheek.

No work today, it’s the Fourth of July, Independence Day, a national holiday in the US commemorating the anniversary of US Independence from Great Britain. These days America celebrates the birth of their nation with barbeques, picnics and, in New York, a hot dog eating contest sponsored by Nathan’s of Coney Island – how many hotdogs can YOU eat in 12minutes? Joey Chestnut can eat 66!!! He ate all the pies!! And fireworks, but no ordinary fireworks, this is the Macy’s Fourth of July firework spectacular no less. Admittedly they are spectacular, I once watched them from the roof of a building in DUMBO – that’s Brooklyn kids, Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass – and they were VERY impressive, although not so impressive that I could ever be arsed to battle the crowds of tourists to see them from Manhattan.

It’s been a good day so far. No-one I’ve spoken to on my travels – to Starbucks, the gym and to MoMA to see the Richard Serra and Picasso exhibits - has asked me, on finding out I’m British, how I’m feeling about today, this being the anniversary of them chucking us out and all.

I’m not kidding; every year at least one person has asked me this question. It’s always men that ask, never women. If the men that ask are accompanied by women the females roll their eyes and look at me sympathetically as if to say “I’m so sorry about stupid here, please just humor him.”

Seriously, do I LOOK like I am over 231years old? The declaration was signed in 1776 for God’s sake, 195years before I was born. Why on earth would I care? Give me a day off work and I’ll celebrate anything.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

You talking to me?

It's great having a British accent in New York. It can be an excellent conversation starter and generally gets me lots of compliments of the ‘I love your accent’ variety. However it can be exasperating when people have difficulty understanding me and look at me like I'm speaking martian, it's the same language for chrissakes!! This happens to me all the time when I order a sandwich at the deli…

Me: Could I have tuna and tomato on whole-wheat please

Deli Guy: What was that on whole-wheat?

Me: Tuna and tomato.

Deli Guy: What?

Me: Tuna, tuna...(continue to receive blank looks from deli guy). Oh for god’s sake....

Me (Adopting appalling imitation of American accent): Too-na!! Too-na and tom-ay-to on whole-wheat please.

Deli Guy: Ohhh tooooo-na!! Sure. You wanna pickle?

From now on I’m only going to order ham and cheese.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Well wouldn't you know it...

So after writing a post about never being asked out, I went to a wine tasting last night with Emily, Jacqui and Emily’s friend Alison, and was asked for my number by, not one, but TWO men. Result! I'm still reeling from the shock. I shall report back if anything comes of it.

After the wine tasting Alison suggested going for a drink at ‘230 Fifth’, a popular rooftop bar housed on the 20th floor an office building located at, can you guess the address….why yes, 230 Fifth Avenue (at 27th Street).

I’m not much of a fan of places where you have to queue for bouncer approval before you’re allowed in, I'm too old for that crap, but Alison was keen to go and it was a beautiful night to drink outside, the allure of the 230 Fifth being its huge terrace with phenomenal views of the Empire State building and surrounding skyscrapers. It also has some interesting people watching and if you are looking to fulfill your Sex & the City lifestyle fantasy then 230 Fifth is the place to be, at least this week anyway. I’ve never seen so many clusters of women - all wearing cute little dresses with strappy high heels - sipping cosmopolitans; a drink request which these days will apparently get you laughed out of many of the city’s hipper bars. It was a bit surreal, like going back in time to the late nineties.

After an overpriced mojito ($13) we were in need of sustenance and hopped in a cab to Kyotofu in Hells Kitchen for dessert and sake. Have to admit that after my run of luck at the wine tasting I was hoping for the trifecta with the delicious Michael – co-owner of Kyotofu - who once showed slight interest in me when I met him a couple of months ago at Café Grumpy.

Unfortunately I was out of luck, since even though he was there – and looking lovely at that - he was run off his feet with the restaurant and barely cast a glance in our direction. Instead I compensated for the lack of attention with the deliciousness of the Black Sesame Sweet Tofu with hoji-cha roasted green tea syrup. I know, I know, right now you are thinking ‘Tofu? Tofu? A dessert made from tofu’, but trust me, it’s divine! Creamy and delicious, plus you can pretend its healthy, tofu being a good source of protein and all. Its practically diet food.

After the wine, the mojito, and the sake I am feeling slightly hung over this morning, better go work it off at the gym.