Tag Archives: hyde park

Pimm’s, Parks and Singing Beards.

I had promised myself this trip to London would be different. I had promised myself I wouldn’t do what I always did in London. That I would try new things, meet new people, go to new places. And it would seem I have failed miserably.

I didn’t venture out of Kensington and Chelsea once. I remained within the confines of the royal borough, that bastion of poshness and crassness in equal measure.

I saw them all.

I saw the Russians and the Kazakhs. Stepping out of Rolls Royces with tinted windows, looking like caricatures of themselves. Pencil-thin women decked out in the lifeless skin of every animal. Men with faces that seemed like the product of time and erosion rather than birth. You couldn’t tell the bodyguards from the oligarchs. I saw the Arabs, in their ill-fitting Armani outfits and outdated Ed Hardy caps. I saw them with the earphones to their mobiles wrapped around their face, calling their friends to meet them at Rouge by Harrods. I saw their Swarovski-encrusted matt black Lamborghni Overcompensatos.

I saw the statuesque Norwegian guys with blonde quiffs no one else could pull off. Decked out in outfits that would make the preppiest of New England croquet players hug their trust fund in fear. I actually saw one guy in blue suede loafers, green shorts, a pink polo and a salmon blazer and Wayfarers. And he actually looked cool. “Damn you Scandinavians!”, I thought to myself, as I shook my fist skywards. I could never wear that. I’d look like I’d fallen through the closet at a Ralph Lauren outlet store. And failed to get out.

I saw the Frenchies around South Ken station, which is undoubtedly the most French part of the world outside of Saint Germain. Each one of them impeccably dressed and carrying a scooter helmet under their arm. Their Gallic accents making everyone swoon. The picture ruined only by the fact that they’re all derivatives traders.

I saw the locals. The few remaining Brits who still populate the area…

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Life in Beirut: Public Parks, Dolph Lundgren, Greek Mythology and Misleading Titles.

Anyone who’s ever met me knows I’m pretty obsessive compulsive. I arrange everything in a neat grid system on my desk in what can only be described as a veritable orgy of parallels and perpendiculars. I fluff up the cushions on my couch the second someone gets off it, much to the dismay of my houseguests. I have even been spotted at the supermarket rearranging unkempt aisles of cereal boxes or sloppy magazine displays, making sure the spacing is just right. I basically love the sight of things neatly organized. I guess you could say I’m OCD Light.

One thing I have lovingly organized is the bookmarks in my web browser. Besides the intricate folders and subfolders assorted by theme and region, I have a tab in my bookmark bar simply called “Morning”. It’s the first thing I click when I wake up and it basically opens up the world in 20 convenient websites. Facebook, Twitter, The Guardian, fffffound, Metro UK, Le Monde, Arts & Culture Daily, The Onion, Not Cot and so on. My morning dose of news, design, gossip, culture and escapism.

But once in a while I like to supplement this daily routine with something a bit meatier. Something that’s a throwback to my days studying politics and doing internships at the UN. So, a couple of weeks ago, I dug my teeth into an article in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. IJURR to its friends.
As with all academic papers, reading the title of the journal took me the better part of a week. Then there’s always the cryptic title of the article to look forward to. When I was studying for a masters in international politics at SOAS, I always used to give my papers unnecessarily complicated names casually sprinkled with words I didn’t understand and semi columns and subtitles. Things like “Pseudo Dualistic Dychotomies in Post-War Glasgow: How Factory Workers Overcame the Unicornification of Labour and Triumphed Over Plethorism”. Obviously, this was mostly to overcompensate for the fact that I’d done very little to no research and the essay itself was unreadable.

I glanced at the title of the IJURR article I had in front of me: Towards a Phenomenology of Civil War: Hobbes Meets Benjamin in Beirut.
Big words: Check. Semi colon: Check. Obscure academic reference: check. “This is going to be fun,” I thought to myself as I settled into my chair.

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