beesknees: (Watchmen - Dan & Laurie)
Yesterday, I took my first full vacation day…in order to meet with the agency at the old flat for inspection and key handover. Boo. Got there a couple hours early, because I don’t know. Raccoons might have gotten in and I’d have to frantically clear away all evidence of their advanced civilization. I brought a book, and figured, if there were no raccoons, I’d hang out with our now-former neighbour for a while. Not five minutes in, keys rattled in the lock. Open the door to find two polish guys intent on removing the furniture.

Had an exceedingly polite standoff: “We’re to take all furniture.”

“’Fraid I can’t letcha, not before 2:30 when it’s scheduled to be inspected. Says right here: ‘You will be charged for all damaged or missing furniture.’ So that’s not happening.”

We both tried to call the agency, which had all its phones turned off for lunch, and made polite conversation. They told me they didn’t live around here; bad neighbourhood, they wouldn’t live in it. We waved goodbye like friends as they retreated to regroup.

Ten minutes later, ratting at the lock again. Flung open the door, shocking the hell out of another blueshirt with a box of tools. “This place is supposed to be vacant!”

He was there to install a fire alarm. I pointed at the hardwired alarm over the stove. He looked at his fresh new fire alarm in its plastiform cradle and decided, since they were damn well paying him for the work ticket, he’d hang and shoot the shit a while. He told me he lives in West London, that this neighborhood’s shit and he’d never live here.

He bid adieu and I paced for a decade or so and the agency called about a minute before inspection was due, finally responding to my voicemail demanding some ‘splaining and right quick. Mr Oily, oh it was just a mistake, they’d thought we were fully moved out, just a misunderstanding, no harm meant, of course we won’t be charged for the unrelated maintenance they still hadn’t completed, did I think they were some fly-by-night place?

The rep showed up ten minutes late, an Irish woman who spat out an unending stream of half-formed sentences as if she didn’t want anyone else to get a word in edgewise. No, we’d left it so clean, well they had to get it professionally cleaned, it’s in the contract they do that, but since we’d left it so spic and span they’d only take £70 out of the deposit instead of the full cost, and we’d have it right in our account in a week’s time! Because we’re so great! And they’re so great! And no one tried to lumber anyone with a massive furniture charge!

She babbled that it must be a lovely flat in the winter, close and warm and cozy as it was this airless June afternoon. Tho as a woman she’d hate that scary back entrance, past that bar and its "beer garden" with the punching machine. And really, the whole neighbourhood was pretty bad. She certainly wouldn’t live here. It broke her heart to see the way people lived, in her agency’s flats. She took my keys and I left, looking back once, annoyed Washington hadn't answered my knock to say goodbye, his bike's right there.

That's that, I guess. We're southies now.

(And it's so much better.)
beesknees: (bathing suit (by waywardgaze))
Yesterday, we saw Cabin in the Woods - very Buffy Season 4, yes/no?

willesden green

I never post much when things are going well. Don’t taunt the gods of irony, and all that. Here we are, both in temp work, his “guaranteed” to turn permanent, and mine, I interviewed for last week. Neither paycheck is much to write home about, but both are better than we’ve been getting, especially in Scotland. And both jobs come with nice co-workers.

We’re hoping, if my job comes through and my newly renewed passport comes back without any hitches (crossing fingers), to put in our two months’ notice for our flat and move before the Olympics. We’d planned to wait until after, but then we’ll be wrestling with college students for anywhere reasonably priced. Plus, this neighbourhood is rapidly sliding from sketchy to slummy.

At the moment, you literally can’t get through the entrance to our place without stepping in and brushing against the entire neighborhood’s flytipped garbage and human waste from barflies and potheads. That horrible bar next door has a new manager, one that likes to crank the music until 2 or 3 in the morning, and the feral ghouls who sit in their miniscule “beer garden,” seemingly immune to the stench of all that garbage…ugh. They’re worse to walk past than the physical filth. The neighbours and I have made complaints to the council, which tells us they’re too busy to take on any new issues.

the garden

So, see? Our lives are mostly good, and I’m still complaining. It’s a gift.

We’ve started exploring south of the river, closer to R’s job. The flats advertised there are about the same price as our hole up north, but in much better repair, and more purpose-built rather than chopped-up rowhouses. If we could eat £900 a month in rent, we could probably even pull off a smallish two-bedroom flat in a proper apartment building, with a longer commute. There’s still one rental agency in the NW we plan on giving a try, but the SE possibilities are making our eyes go all heart-shaped.


Apr. 8th, 2012 05:22 pm
beesknees: (Watchmen - Dan & Laurie)

On Friday, meandering toward Moorgate Station, we happened upon the current Occupy London site, in Finsbury Square. Our first reaction: oh, this is still a thing? Huh.

We had a look at their movie screen and literature, and the only person who spoke to us quite nicely said we could take anything we wanted. Still, after a minute: “You wanna go in and look around?” “Do you?” “…nah.” “Me neither.”

15-year-old me would have chopped off a finger for the opportunity to meet real crusty hippies doing the protest/commune thing. The Greening of America was probably my first tentative step into semi-contemporary critical theory (in a town where visibly reading Plato or Descartes would be seen as dangerously subversive), and I believed every crazy word…aside from questioning how the counterculture’s supposed embrace of mass-produced clothing (in opposition to the square world’s fetishising of the imported handmade, doncha know) fit with their utter rejection of holding down something so regimented and dehumanising as factory work.

But in real life that counterculture vibe wasn't enticing. Adam Curtis has a much more interesting, if glass-half-empty, exploration of counterculture commune systems, how whatever lofty goals get subsumed into the mundane, the struggles of dominant personalities to stay that way opposed to the simple human needs for food and hygiene and who exactly is going to provide that. And if you’re going to have self-important wankers ordering you around and worry about Maslow's wide bottom, you may as well get a 9-5 and exercise your protesting bone leaving angry comments below Guardian articles and your asshole libertarian cousin’s facebook posts.

Hell, look at that sign. Even for idealistic crusties, injustice is a third-tier priority, below hygiene and regular meals.

I'm old and insecurely employed, and all I care about is that the people who clean bathrooms and produce food should get a good wage for doing it and be protected against the spiritual children of Gordon Gecko...not waste time and effort arguing over who is allowed to camp where under what circumstances in order to vaguely irritate the financial district. Somewhen, retro-adolescent-me is dreading who she'll grow into. Sorry, kiddo.
beesknees: (sanguine (by waywardgaze))
Six years on, it’s less workable to share an email address. At least while both of us are jobsearching and every agency demands a unique address. And I still have the old fivecups one, but it’s spam central after ten years (which, hells bells, a decade?) and I hate hotmail a whole bunch, so tonight I have spent a solid twenty minutes first trying to come up a with a professional-sounding gmail username not already taken, and then any name at all not already taken. Why are there so many people with my exact name? And they all use gmail? We should have conventions!

Btw, [personal profile] commonpeople, thanks for the reccy – I had a nice chat with one of that agency’s reps on Friday and am coming in to see them later this week. Crossing fingers.

Had a big two days’ work this week, which were productive in that they confirmed that I do not want anything to do with medical admin work ever again, thank ya kindly. Because we are responsible people with bills to pay, that entire paycheck has already been eaten up by an order of beer kits and dinner out with awesome friends-of-friends. Woo hoo!

Along with more fruitless applications than I’d prefer, it has been a week of reading library books and watching (mostly B-, C-, and D-grade) films, since we took an anti-Tesco stand and switched our dvd service to Lovefilm. I love it when political grandstanding comes with streaming video! So this week we’ve revisited the nightmare-inducing traumas of our childhoods (Return of the Living Dead and The Blob, respectively), discovering that one of them holds up surprisingly well, and one of us was a very, very silly 10 year-old for sleeping between her mattresses so the heavy metal zombies couldn’t find her.

About the time I got that hotmail address, a goth-king lent me his copy of the first Transmetropolitan, insisting it would change my life. Unfortunately, I was moving, and also very careless in general, and it probably got mixed in with my goth-princeling boyfriend’s comics, never to be found or returned. The husband found it in the library and brought it home to me last week…left me wishing I’d read it that first time, or ten years before that. His intro story I actually really liked; it captured the whole point of the 90s anti-hero: the world is horrible, and only someone even more horrible can navigate it to find the potential for decency that the less corrupt could save and nurture. Y’know, the trope the Operative is riffing on…he (and it’s nearly always gendered he) tries to bring about the better world he can have no part of.

Except I’m old, and I’ve dated and been these guys, and they want the horrible, horrible world they see to stay just the way it is, to keep their oddly privileged place in it secure, and thus I was annoyed by the rest of the comic where Spider Jerusalem mostly got high and watched tv and had bodily functions on bystanders. Oh, to have read this at 13 rather than 33…would have been the only riotgrrl in Lanco.
beesknees: (Default)
Finally got a decent shot of the wild parrots in Dollis Hill Park. )

Also, saw the new Muppet movie, which was a satisfying slice of nostalgia pie, but for exactly that reason I wonder how it would appeal to anyone born after 2000.


beesknees: (Default)

June 2012

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