Friday, 26 October 2007


I’m on a bus crossing Westminster Bridge and find myself noticing anomalous CCTV cameras everywhere. As the faux-gothic splendour of the Houses of Parliament gives way to the fine gothic splendour of Westminster Abbey, I reflect on this. An increasing number of people take umbrage at the ubiquity of surveillance and data gathering in our society. They talk of totalitarianism, and erosion of our civil rights, but it dawns on me that I feel my freedom to be far more circumscribed and curtailed by debt than by the state. The ideology of capitalism has enslaved me, made me tame, and this knowledge strengthens my intent to be free of my financial shackles.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007


A large, grinning Red Setter dog marches across Chesham Place, dragging a far less cheerful bottle-blonde 'woman of a certain age' behind him. His evident enthusiasm contrasts starkly with the sour expression on the lady's face. Clearly, he is much happier to be going for a walk than she is. Clearly, he's the one in charge. And because she's a Belgravia type (more money than sense), this rather pleases me.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007


Two women are jogging along the pavement. Two men are walking in the opposite direction. The women cross the road. One of the men follows them with his gaze, and calls their retreating backsides to the attention of his friend. Looking up, he catches me catching him checking out the cheeks. A moment of realisation; busted.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Overheard II

Two old boys on the bus home:
‘Ooh dear me. Bad news, bad news.’
‘What’s that?’
‘Posh Spice has got spots. Ooh dear.’
‘Spotty Spice. Why’s she got spots then?’
‘Well, she’s got to get in news somehow. Ooh, terrible, tsk, spots.’
‘You know what that is? No proper food.’

Thursday, 4 October 2007


A friend calls and we end up discussing poetry. She reminds me of a reading we went to where the poet came on stage with her handbag, placed it at her feet and began to recite - an ordinary woman with extraordinary words. 'That was Carol Ann Duffy wasn't it?' she asks. No, I strain my memory, knowing it wasn't her, but not able to remember who it was. 'You used to keep one of her poems on your 'phone.' my friend says, and this is the prompt I need; Wendy Cope. It was Wendy Cope, and she was fabulous.

A few days later, I search out the poem, remembering nothing about it except that it exactly summed up how I felt for a good long while, and that it brought me so much comfort at a very difficult time. I find it. I read it. I still think it is brilliant, and reading it again feels like finding an old friend.

Defining the Problem

I can't forgive you. Even if I could,
You wouldn't pardon me for seeing through you
And yet I cannot cure myself of love
For what I thought you were before I knew you.


Feeling miserable, I leave the office to buy lunch. It is a glorious day, warm sunshine cascades down my back, lifted through my hair by a light breeze. I seek respite, looking for something to cheer myself up, chastising myself for seeking solace in the material, especially when I can't afford to spend any money. I leave a fragrant row of ‘bath bombs’ untouched and keep walking. Craving vegetables, I find a tub of crudities with tzatziki in a small shop in the station, which I buy. Sitting at my desk, dunking a rainbow in the cool, unctuous dip, my spirits climb. Red peppers, yellow peppers, carrots, cucumber, and celery instil a sense of well-being as I crunch my way through.