Sunday, January 18, 2009


"You know you're living a proxy existence," Colin, the Irishman, taunted Deni, the German-Italian. I still don't know entirely what he meant, but I loosely translated the conversation as an argument between two people who have been reading Chuck Palahniuk and thus have temporarily re-worked world views. However, this is a drastic understatement and an insulting answer; for both of them are 25 and are architecture grad students in their final term.

The conversation, in variable forms, occurred in the very early hours of this morning as I sat atop a wardrobe and drank Strongbow pounders (sort of an oxymoron, wouldn't you say). I had just gotten back from O'Neill's, the hyper-American four story bar in Picadilly where everyone feels at home, because, well, it's the least British place in England. But that's another story. I was in a daze and reading about Obama's train ride to the White House and was invited to the British girl's room next door for drinks to finish off the night. I spent the next several hours hearing about why George Bush made the world hate America, how curry is the national food of England despite its Indian origins, that the UK educational system is slowly and subtly beginning to mimic that of the United States, that the only good music is Icelandic and that there's such thing as a salty beef bagel. When I was teased for having baggy pants (relative to the standard men's pants over here), I asked Deni where he got his Chuck's. Completely blank stares. I pointed to his tattered black Converse All-Stars and explained the name, to which he replied, "Who is Chuck Taylor?"

Needless to say it was a great period of much-needed culture shock, which more or less wore off after the first few days.

Today a few of us went to the British Museum and wandered around Bloomsbury. Here's a few highlights, as well as some overdue pics of my own neighborhood, Hoxton, which Tim and I pub-crawled at greater length tonight.

Find of the week: sub-3 pound pints at The Foundry, which has seemingly endless rooms with second-hand couches and a massive turnstile in the concrete basement, which you are encouraged to spin atop.