17 Feb 2008


In the eighties, the years of Thatcher, we had an image of the UK as a country full of poor looking British lads. When we think of London now, we think of the hippest place on earth. But if you are walking around here, you see plenty of people who are run away of the eighties. It is all a matter of perception.

14 Feb 2008

Warm water

One of the nice habits of London:
Once you wash your hands after going to the loo, you get warm water. Don't know why. I think it must have something to do with the medieval knights, they must have washed their hands with warm water.

11 Feb 2008

The wrong side of the road

Someone explained me why the British are driving at the wrong side of the road:
In the time there were no cars and roads were used by knights on horses, they drove at the left hand side. Doing so, they could take there sword, with their right hand, and defend themselves when somebody came from the other direction.

That sounds so great that one almost wonders why on the continent they didn't do so.

Fashion week

It is fashion week in London. Not that I have a lot to do with it. But I went to an opening party in New Oxford Street. I have noticed there that blond Amy Winehouse-wigs are fashionable now. I saw three people with one, one was male. In the Lot 55 Club there is a nice living room were you can almost relax.

4 Feb 2008

Catalogue retailer

Today I was out for a computer headset. I first entered a shop run by an old Pakistani couple. When I asked the man if he had what I needed, he said: "I think so but I wouldn't know where, it is quite a mess in here." I looked around me and realised I had to rest my case.

I ended up in Argos, a catalogue retailer. I have never seen something alike on the continent, but here in London, yes. A catalogue retailer has shops with catalogues where customers can look at. Each item in the catalogue has a code and next to each catalogue there is an old machine where you enter the code of the product you are interested in. The machine answers you if the item is currently in stock. If so, you can write the code on a paper and go to pay. Once you have paid, you can receive your stuff.

If this system is really more efficient than a normal shop? I have my doubts.

3 Feb 2008

Hackney Carriage

Yesterday, I took for the first time a London Cab. They should call it London Crab. The car I got into was recent but technologically spoken, it feels like a car from the seventies. The real name of a London cab is Hackney Carriage, I found out:

Most hackney-carriage operators in the United Kingdom use conventional four-door saloon cars, but in London and several other large cities, specially-designed hackney carriages, manufactured by just one company — LTI are used. These vehicles normally allow up to five passengers in the back, but some are rebuilt and licensed to carry six. Luggage usually goes in the passenger compartment or travels in the front next to the driver — these vehicles have no front passenger-seat. A door has replaced the original open side. All models can also accommodate wheelchairs in the back.

1 Feb 2008

Merit Awards Night

Yesterday evening at the Merit Awards Night for the ad industry. Very tired now.

30 Jan 2008


I am moving to London and the first place where I have to go on business trip is ... my hometown.

29 Jan 2008


Finally I found a room that meets my standards. I am moving to the lovely district Fulham. Don't know if I will stay there a long time. It is quite expensive: £150pw. We'll see!

27 Jan 2008


The Russian (see contribution: Russian feudalism) passed me the book After Liberalism of politologist Immanuel Wallerstein (I didn't know him). I have read chapter What hope Africa?. Pass you the last paragraph:

"I do not say Africa will inevitably succeed as it tries. Africa has - we all have - at best a fifty-fifty chanse of coming out of this transition with something better. History is not necessarily on our side, and if we think it is, this belief will work against us. But we are all very much an important and integral part of this process. And if we engage in it in the right way, we may indeed achieve the kind of world-system we want. It is around this realization that we must organize our collectie efforts, though the road is hard and the outcome uncertain, the struggle is worth it."

This is almost poetry!

26 Jan 2008

Warmth of the winter sun

What beautiful days I have lived! It now even feels like the winter sun is giving warmth.

It started on Thursday. A wonderful Spanish connection got me to an art exhib in Hayward. Of course I should have taken pictures but I forgot. In my language, we say: it happens to the best. One artist was shaken hands while his hand was full of white paint. I didn't give him my hand, no. One presentation I didn't understand at first: it seemed a fragment of Gladiator. What was the sense of it. Well, the artist had removed all the audience; you just saw Gladiator in an empty theater. I still don't know what the significance might be. But it keeps me thinking. And that's good.

Yesterday evening I have seen No country for old men of the Coen brothers in Kensington Odeon. The movie is very good, the psychopath is extremely well casted, but the script could be a less more polished to me - there were some lose ends.

Afterwards I had champaign in the flat of a friend.

I have cycled too much last days. I'm tired.

24 Jan 2008

Hooray for Cargo

Yesterday's clubbing was definately good. I went to the Cargo, where the entrance and the drinks were for free (the Cargo celebrated it's seventh birthday). The gig was fine, and I enjoyed the words on the background: "in us we trust". I had a nice chat with a Londoner and his American friend. There were lots of French too. French young professionals became the last years more and more keen to leave their country; Sarkozy didn't fall out of the air!

On my way back home, I had for the first time a chat while cycling. I spoke to a girl who headed in the same direction as I did. She is a theater producer and she loves nightcycling as well.

Now I have to write some Google ads. It would be nice that one day a Google ad I have written appears on the right hand side of this blog (don't forget to click on them!).

I like the Google ad on my website:

Erebuni - Russian Cuisine
Erebuni Russian/Armenian Restaurant and Bar in the heart of London

I wrote that Hyde Park should more reassemble the parks in Yerevan, and Google brings an ad of an Armenian restaurant very close to Hyde Park. Do not underestimate artificial intelligence!

23 Jan 2008

The Guardian

I have already chosen a newspaper here, The Guardian. Today I enjoyed this article:

For those too young to remember, this is what a recession looks like

Wednesday January 23, 2008

World markets plunge! Newspapers full of down-pointing graphs and City traders with their heads in their hands. Some of us have been here before, specifically from 1989 to 1992, but for those who are in their 20s and unsure of what to expect, here's a beginner's guide to recession ...

Those weekly shopping sessions will seem like a distant memory, and the merits or otherwise of organic food will suddenly appear less pressing. The empty shop on your high street will no longer be automatically taken over by bouffant-haired estate agents who install a latte-making machine and a 6ft-wide TV as a matter of priority. Instead, nothing will happen to it.

That voice on your mobile answerphone that says, "You have ... no new messages" will begin to sound rather sadistic, and your boss will suddenly seem less like David Brent, and more like the angel of death. You won't know where he'll strike next with the fatal words, "Could you just step into my office, I'd like a quick word ..."

Pop-ups won't pop-up so often; newspapers will become thinner. The "50 different ways to brighten up your garden this spring" by a star horticulturalist will become a small article on daffodils written by a subeditor. Your property begins to seem less like a lifeboat and more like a millstone, and a lot of chickens come home to roost. That mate of yours who played guitar in a band - but not very well - suddenly takes up teacher training.

On the brighter side, though, you will no longer be welcomed into people's houses with the dreaded words, "Do you want the guided tour?", and if you are, you can simply ask, "And how much less is it worth now than when you bought it?"

In a recession, it won't be the people who have got the latest "must-have" gadget who do all the talking. Rather, people who know about root vegetables will come into their own; people who know what to do with a scrag end of lamb or how to fix a broken toaster. Triumphalism will be quelled. Interviewers might cut Victoria Beckham off when she starts talking about the latest additions to her wardrobe, and ask instead whether she leaves the bath water in for David.

Recessions encourage imaginative business ideas, novel-reading, cinema-going, and foster music more akin to the blues than the stridency of Madonna. The last one gave us Wagamama, loft living and Every Day is Like Sunday by Morrissey. Fear not, kids. You have nothing to lose but your credit cards.

22 Jan 2008

Russian feudalism

Yesterday evening I had a talk with a Russian who speaks German, English and French. I tried for a little while to continue the conv in Russian but that was way too ambitious. He prefered French, I suppose because the others couldn't understand us. He talked loudly, like Russians do.

He just has finished his PhD about the Russian system and it is strange: his opinions are totally different from what we read in the western newspapers. We read something like Poetin is kind of a dictator. He says no. He says it is the system who rules. The system of the KGB. It is stalinist inside, and it tries to pretend being democratic towards Europe, its main market of oil and gaz. That is his point. The Russian system would now, to please it's clients, say to Putin: go, and enjoy your 40 billion of dollars.

There is no state in Russia, he says. A state is something based on abstract principles of a functional differentiation. The state is separated from the economy. Not in Russia. Politics, military power and economy always have been strengled, just until today. It is a feudal village. It is like a dog with a long neck, that let himself call a giraffe, but it remains a dog. The feudal system pretends to be a state.

I didn't agree with him. I think some tsars, I think Stalin, I think Putin as personalities emerge above the "feudal system". And I think the sovjet system was more a state than feudalism. The Russian was a Hegel-adept (see picture). I am not. I couldn't remember when it was the last time I have been discussing philosophy.

20 Jan 2008


This afternoon I visited Upmarket, in the east of Central London, a part of the town I fancy. They sell strange stuff, like movies from the Balkan, or 70s underwear. The food over there really looks gorgeous.

Most of the things are artisanal clothes. I have spoken to a friendly Dutchman who attaches capes to suit vests, the combination looks special. As soon as he has a website, I will make a link.

Yesterday evening I tried to club in the After Skool Klub. It took me four minutes to realise I was the only one over there without a face piercing and then I was gone. I considered another club - somebody I know was yesterday as well in No 5 as in Chinawhite - but it was queuing everywhere and I am not born for that. I absorbed the uncomparable saterday night energy that was out on the streets and cycled around. The more I cycle, the more I appreciate this city.

Cyclers are a kind of subculture in London. Some wear short pants in the month of Jan. And they go way too fast for considering it as a means of transport. Two days ago, I was pacing nicely along the Thames when somebody showed up a lot quicker. On a mountainbike! I could not let this happen, so i shifted towards my biggest gear, I put my arms on my triatlon handset and I passed him so fast he couldn't even smell my ass.

My Blackberry doesn't find GPS-satellites any longer (there is still the maps application). The good thing is: in Central London I find my way already. But the problem obviously needs to be fixed.

19 Jan 2008

Blogging friend

Yesterday I have met another London blogger (Strange Maps) with a weblog way more interesting than this one. Certainly because I have a map-love myself.

17 Jan 2008

The Horn

I am a little bit ashamed. Normally I follow what is happening in Africa, but yesterday I passed an African manifestation without knowing what was going on. It was at the same time in favor of the people of Ethiopia as of Somalia. The horn of Africa. If a visitor of this blog can inform me?

In the morning I see the sun arising above London. At the other side, I see the city-skyline.

Chinatown looks stupid to me. The houses are too English to put Chinese constructions in between.

16 Jan 2008

First time clubbing

I went to Notting Hill (the rich and would be trendy region) yesterday evening. Last time I was there, it was with Madonna. She asked me: Max, do you pass the night with me? I said: No Madonna, you are too old now!

But yesterday, in the Notting Hill Arts Club, she wasn't there. I've met 4 Finnish photography students - didn't know that Scandinavian ladies could dance so well - and had a great time. They learned me to curse in Finnish, something like Bergele, but you have to say it with the right intonation.

The young and hip London-Indians were well presented in the club. Logic, it was a Bombay-Bronx evening. Lot's of hip-hop and now and then something that sounded Indian. The place wasn't overcrowded; it was pleasant.

On my way home I discovered how gorgious nightcycling is in London. I could think of only three things in life that are better. You can guess in the comments.