01 June 2014

Titus Andronicus at the Globe

Yesterday I went to see Titus Andronicus at the Globe theatre. I wasn't sure what to expect, as this was my first time at the Globe, but it was amazing.

The smoke and black cloth on the stage and above created a gloomy atmosphere.

There had been several reports of people fainting during the play because of the violence and blood, but honestly I think they may have seen a different version or then my stomach is strangely strong. There was very little visible blood and violence compared to any tv show or movie of the past year. In addition, the production had several very (dark) humorous bits where the audience burst out laughing. Apart from great acting, they really used the space very well: part of the action took place among the standing places and the spectators were addressed as "Romans" in the speeches. Confetti, black and white, marked happy or dark events, and the space was occasionally filled with smoke and smell of incence.

Our tickets were £5 standing tickets, and if you remember to wear comfortable shoes this is the way to do it.

22 May 2014

Elections in London

Today my borough had  the local elections along with the UK elections for the EU parliament. I have registered for the electoral roll so a few weeks ago I received my poll card.

In the EU elections you can choose which country to vote for if you live abroad, and for various reasons I decided to vote for Finland. So today I intended to only vote in the local elections.

As I walked in to the small building that served as the polling station, a man sitting on a chair by the door asked for my name and the individual number printed on the poll card. I read it to him from the card and he wrote it down on some sort of list.

Then I went in and saw a group of people sitting by a desk. I went there with my poll card and a man asked for my register number and my address. Then a woman asked for my poll card and after I gave it to her, she asked me to repeat my name. I did.

After they had ticked some boxes in their lists, they started explaining that today I can vote in the EU elections and the local ones. I told them that I had already voted for Finland, which caused some confusion, but the woman then proceeded to only give me one of the voting papers. She then asked if I wanted to keep my poll card or if they should throw it away. (I preferred to keep it as a souvenir of my first local elections here). Then I went to tick a few boxes on the sheet of paper I was given to cast my vote, and finally dropped it into a box. And that was it.

You might wonder why the long, detailed description. Well, as I walked out I realized that anyone could have given my vote had they had the poll card in their hand. At no point did anyone ask for my id. I could even have skipped memorizing most of the information they asked for, as I was holding the poll card most of the time and could have just read the information from there.

Also, nothing today would have prevented me from voting in the EU elections for the second time.

Depending on what you are used to, this might seem pretty usual practice. But I'm used to showing my id every single time I vote in Finland or at the embassy, from local to presidential elections. So today was the most bizarre voting experience I've had in my whole life, but I guess this is how things work here.

Edit: a friend informed me that id checks are becoming mandatory from 2015 onwards.

08 May 2014

Hello my name is Vladimir!

In preparation of my upcoming trip to Finland, I went to Borough Market to get something Lotta asked me to bring. With that ticked off the to do -list, I popped in to Utobeer to look at all the beers.

On one shelf was this lonely bottle, which I've been meaning to buy for a while now but haven't seen anywhere: Hello my name is Vladimir by Brewdog. One of the best things about this is that half the profits go to charities representing oppressed minorities!

Here is some information about this from the Brewdog blog:

"Hello, my name is Vladimir. I am a beer for uber hetero men who ride horses while topless and carrying knives. I am a beer to mark the 2014 Winter Olympics. But I am not for gays. Love wrestling burly men on the Judo mat or fishing in your Speedos? Then this is the beer for you!

The sick, twisted legislation brought about in Russia that prevents people from living their true lives is something we didn't want to just sit back and not have an opinion on. Our core beliefs are freedom of expression, freedom of speech and a dogged (no pun intended) passion for doing what we love. Thus, we are donating 50% of the profits from this beer to charitable organisations that support like minded individuals wishing to express themselves freely without prejudice.

This beer is a double IPA brewed with Limonnik berries. We heard they're great for improving sexual performance, so we've sent a case to the Kremlin as we suspect there is someone there who would appreciate a little helping hand."

07 May 2014

UKIP flyer

As the election day gets closer, the amount of flyers increases. Today this UKIP one made me laugh - being an immigrant and hugely appreciative of how easy it was to move to London.

It's one thing being critical of immigration and the EU, but you want immigrants you don't want here to vote for you? Hah!

05 May 2014

More from Marimekko and Banana Republic

Finally more news about the Marimekko and Banana Republic collaboration!

The US site gives a launch date of 22nd of May, but I don't know what to think of the lack of mention on the UK site. Surely they will be available here, right? Right?

The US site has some information about the designers behind the patterns for the collection and this short video:

Edit: The UK website now displays the same information about the collection as the US one, with the same launch date. Yay!

04 May 2014

Ted on death

I suppose the only sign I've noticed of me approaching 30 years is that I've been thinking about my own death quite a bit. Not in a kind of depressing way, but with curiosity. Wonder how it'll happen? Will I know it's my time? Will I become frightened? Who else will be there?

By a coincidence, this Ted talk appeared on my facebook newsfeed.

Construction pattern

Today I was sitting at home by my desk, trying to concentrate on my writing. I kept getting distracted by this construction yard right outside. Today they were pouring concrete on the first floor, which is on level with mine. It's about 30 men (today three of them were wearing turbans instead of hard hats), and it's absolutely fascinating to watch them slowly get this hospital wing done.

Anyway, as I was looking outside I noticed that one of the cranes' shadow was hitting a wall of another part of the hospital. Generally speaking, I don't find cranes to be particularly interesting. But this shadow was.

As the sun continued on its path that afternoon, the shadow slowly disappeared from view. It felt beautiful somehow.

01 May 2014

Game of Thrones abridged - the Oathkeeper

Possibly the worst episode of the whole show, I hope that up is the only way from this low point. Next episode, let's have more people do more stuff rather than just explain where they are and have slightly boring and irrelevant conversations, ok?

If you missed it, here's a recap by Matt Lees to keep you on track for next week!

29 April 2014

Tube strike the sequel

Despite having a slight feeling of stress over getting my brother to Heathrow, today's strike day has been surprisingly painless. Took the Jubilee line around 11am and 16pm, and both times only had to wait about 4 minutes for the train. I also took a bus around 3pm and it was the usual London traffic on Oxford street.

Plan for tomorrow: leave for the library after 10am to avoid this scene at London bridge from the morning rush hour.

Photo from BBC.