Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The Boyfriend's London

On a recent Saturday we set out to buy The Boyfriend some jeans (you'll see why shortly) and to visit the Tate Modern, which I keep harping on about because our annual membership is going to expire shortly. To be honest the Tate is never that appealing on a Saturday afternoon as it's packed to the rafters with people, mostly families, and the Members' Room is a stroller/pram/frazzled parent obstacle course instead of the calm refuge with bar I always hope for.

So after we'd braved the ludicrous crowds on Oxford Street, we decided to walk down to the Tate. However, we got distracted by the shops on Carnaby Street and then Soho, and never actually managed to make it to the art. I suspect this was a ploy of The Boyfriend's to avoid the Tate, because I've never seen him so interested in shopping as he was that afternoon.

Carnaby Street's Christmas lights this year are comprised of giant, white, obese men lit from inside who float above the arcade amongst white snowflakes.

The Oxford Street lights seem to be the same ones as last year - is this normal? I thought they changed each year?

We followed up a fruitless quest for new shoes for The Boyfriend with lunch at Cha Cha Moon in Kingly Court, which was a revelation as it keeps getting terrible reviews from all the snobby food critics in the UK papers. Now I think about it, the negative reviews seemed to based mostly on either the acoustics, which really seemed to offend one particular reviewer, or the fact that the food isn't authentically Chinese enough, a sentiment I find pretentious and annoying - the mains are £3.50 each for goodness' sake. We had awesomely cheap (for Central London), delicious crispy duck and jasmine tea-smoked chicken liao mian in completely inoffensive ambient conditions and I'm sorry we didn't discover it earlier in our London stay.

After a few hours wandering in Soho, we inevitably we found ourselves at Forbidden Planet, the flagship of the famous comic book/sci-fi pop culture store. This is probably The Boyfriend's favourite place in London, except perhaps the street with all the guitar shops near Charing Cross Road.

Here is The Boyfriend checking out the merchandise.

As you can see, his unfashionably saggy jeans prevent me checking out any of his merchandise. We purchased two more snug fitting pairs at Gap this same afternoon which are much more flattering, although The Boyfriend's friend back in Australia heard he'd bought some tight jeans and warned The Boyfriend in no uncertain terms not to come back wearing some crazy European wardrobe like their mutual friend who returned from his London stint sporting some lovely lederhosen-style short shorts. And not in a humorous or ironic way.

There are a lot of puzzling and or amusing things to find in Forbidden Planet, which has two enormous floors of comics, graphic novels, figurines, costumes, books, DVDs, toys, collectibles, etc devoted to every feature of pop culture with even the most tenuous connection to science fiction you can imagine, and probably much more. This particular shelf caught my eye though. That's a fairly specific category.

Finally, we ended up at the Intrepid Fox, a goth bar near Tottenham Court Road station.

This bar is adorned with the usual gargoyles, headstones, headless creatures etc but it plays a pretty good selection of metal and rock music (which means The Boyfriend will tolerate being there - pubs that play top 40 pop music bring out his petulant side) and the crowd is definitely more interesting to watch than the tourist and hen night crowds in most of the watering holes in the area.

White Docs: they do go with everything, don't they?

Of course, after an afternoon of retail and cider, we were rather jolly on the way home and recorded some aspects of our journey back into West London.

The Boyfriend and friends

This is me with the Paolazzi mosaics in Tottenham Court Road tube station. As you can see I was not really suitably attired for the goth bar (although I suppose the font on the front of my hoodie could be described as Gothic). If only we'd known where the afternoon would take us, I would have gotten my white Doc Martens out. If I had any.

1 comment:

marmitelover said...

Poor Ted, saggy jeans!
I know the Intrepid Fox. Once had a date with a vampire there. Who took me to Garlic and shots nearby afterwards where every course and drink has garlic in it, including the desserts. Strange place for a vampire?
I really like seeing your take on London...
I love the paolozzi mosaics at Tottenham court road station too...I love creating mosaics.
Also opposite the Tate Modern is a good little chain called Leon, where you can get very nice food, including sweet potato falafel (which I tried to recreate at home but did'nt quite succeed).