jims - Column for 8/9

Well, I am in London. I have to say that there are some good aspects of the city -- a very international mix of people. However, I can't help but say that the place sucks a lot. Well, I don't know if it is London itself, or what. Why am I so down on things? I could probably rant awhile, but lets just examine a couple of things.

First off, they do not seem to understand the concept of refridgeration. Want a cold coke? Good luck. You would thing that an area that had to deal with the squalor and problems of the medieval period would appreciate advances in food storage technology. They don't appear to. Most beverages are at best to be found at just below room temperatures. Those old Tarzan movies where you have the prim and proper brits extolling upon the problems of uncivilized society. Well, they seem to be a bit in the dark ages themselves.

It is not just common to Europe, but being that I live in that nice haven known as California, the amount of smoking that goes on over here is insane. For a long time, I wondered why London did not get off of it's butt and replace the noxious buses, improve car emissions, etc. It must just be that people are accustomed to breathing foul air. It is not just the fact that they indulge in the activity, but they are down right rude about it. In a restaurant, no one else is smoking, two old ladies are seated in the middle of people eating, and they light up. The article in the now defunct magazine Mondo 2000 suggesting that smokers be used in place of lab rats really does have a lot of appeal.

The night scene in London is pretty hopping, with clubs, shows, theater, etc. However, the infrastructure to support it is seriously broken. The tube (one of the more convenient transport methods) shuts down around 11:30pm. Pubs have to stop serving between 11 and midnight. For anything later, you have to find afterhours clubs. Some are nice, some are not. In many cases they are open well into the morning and serve alcohol. The problem is that there is no consistency of hours, quality varies quite a bit, and getting a cab afterward can be difficult (unless you opt for the 'unofficial cabs', which can be sketchy).

Food here can be quite good. The mix of cultures produces quite a breadth of cuisine available. However, again, you must be a bit careful as quality varies quite a bit. English cooking, in itself, is not something to write home about.

To continue the slightly positive tone, the two highlights of this trip have been an afterhours club and a meditteranean restaurant. The club, Kashmir, had a great little venue with some good live music. Ayoush, the restaurant, is pricey but well worth sitting in the 'private dining club' which is situated downstairs.

Anyway, back to my meetings and dealings with this most uncivilized colony of the US.

Columns by jims