From Soho Down to Soho

by chris cunningham

Chris Cunningham

Well well well, England is certainly living up to its reputation for crap weather. Every storm that is laying down snow on the US east coast basically picks up steam across the Atlantic and becomes biblical in proportion. 120 mile an hour winds in Liverpool this week. Zoiks’, hurricane force winds. The whole south west in Cornwall is a flooded disaster, and they’ve even closed the Thames barrier. London would be like Venice right now if they hadn’t put that in. They’ve now closed the Thames barrier more in the last few months than they have in the previous 20 years. 25% of the total amount of times they’ve ever closed it has happened in the last few months. Noahs’ Ark stock just hit an all time high. It’s nar nar as they say on ViceTV.

Winter in London has certainly made me appreciate a few things. The sun. I was walking down the street this week and the sun broke through and shined right in my eyes. I actually stopped and just stood there. It paralyzed my brain.

It’s also nice to reflect on how good Mexican food is in L.A. Even a chain like Chipotle is slightly off here, so it’s disappointing. It’s like the worst day at Chipotle in U.S. is the best day at Chipotle in the U.K. I had a burrito at some place this week that tasted like they took a can of Dennison’s chili and put it in a tortilla. Sure, you could do that, but you probably shouldn’t.

An amazing thing about London though is the staggering amount of the things to look at. Look at that, ooh, look at that, whoa, look at that. It’s super intense. I went to Selfridges department store this week to have a look and spent 25 minutes just in the neon sign section. Not the “OPEN” neon sign type that you get at Costco, but full blown artistic neon signs. That’s an actual section in the store. What?! £6000 for a sign if you’re interested.

It’s weird how L.A. has lousy coverage when it comes to public transport, but it generally works and is efficient. That is, if it’s going to where you want to go. London has tons and tons of transport, and it is definitely going where you want to go. Which in turn seems to make it snarl and everything runs late, or runs really late. Oh how I appreciate you 720 express bus on Wilshire. There are no express buses in London. That just made me laugh by the way. An express bus in London would arrive at the same time as a, well, a bus.

Since I’m traveling back and forth to Liverpool on the weekends I haven’t done much sight seeing. I usually take a lunchtime walk around Soho, but I can’t really get very far and then also have lunch. Local areas are all very touristy so it’s not much fun. Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, etc.

I’m leaving the hotel behind this weekend and heading to a hostel that’s nearer to work. This will save some money on transport costs at the very least. George is also staying there so maybe we can share one of the shared rooms at some point. I need a few pay checks to be able to get a flat in London. It’s incredibly expensive and since Liza and Xavier are up north I can handle the hostel on my own. Work is busy enough and I’ve just been going straight to the hotel and watching some TV anyway. I skipped watching any of the Olympics in Sochi this year for lack of interest really. Most of time I fell asleep with the BBC on.

On Valentine’s Day I picked up some nice fairy cakes for Liza from Selfridges. Seen above all decked out in Valentine red. Of course by the time I arrived in Liverpool the cup cakes were smashed. Boo. They were made by the same people who made the wedding cake or something for William and Kate. Shrug. I dunno. I also picked up a Baby Bullet for making Xavier’s food. It’s quite cute and of course kitchen appliances always make a romantic Valentine’s Day gift. It wasn’t really for Valentine’s Day, that’s what smashed cakes are for.

I arrived into Liverpool fairly late Friday and a taxi was waiting for me. The last two weeks Mersey Rail has been doing improvements so it’s been shut down from Liverpool and Formby. All the roads are windy in that area so by the time I get to the house I’m really car sick. Every time. Xavier had woken up just before I arrived so I got to see him and he smiled big even in his sleepy state. Saturday we had a few errands to do but didn’t get to the main one which was to change some money before the banks closed. We did get Xavier’s passport pictures done, which are incredibly cute. Also got the paperwork for his British passport and will try to get that sorted this week. We also went and looked into the local Formby pool. It’s really nice and will be a great place to take Xavier to continue getting him used to water.

It’s Sunday and I took the train back to London. Liza packed a lunch for me and I ate most of it on the train. I had a first class seat today and got a little snack box. First class on a plane is radically different than a first class seat on a train but there is more room and less people than the plebes in the other coaches. See how quickly you become snobby? I’ll be back with my second class citizens on Friday. I shot some video out the window to get an idea of Liverpool.

I’m starting to miss home a little more now. I knew there would come a time where I felt like this. The “Okay, vacation is over let’s go home” feeling. But we aren’t on vacation and someone else lives in our house. So, to combat some of those feelings I have to keep making plans for fun things to do. This Thursday I’m playing laser tag with the lighting team at work. In North Greenwich somewhere. I’ve never played but I’m glad it doesn’t involve paint.

Another thing coming up is in a few months. I have a very exciting once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Studio 2 at Abbey Road Studios. I also get to meet the authors of Recording the Beatles, a massive box set book I bought a few years ago. All the Beatles albums, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, the Star Wars scores, Kate Bush were all recorded here. Amazing. Every trip to London I’ve always visited the outside of the studio. This time I will get to go in. That. Is. Amazing.

I got into London right at 4pm and went straight to the hotel to check in. I met up with George at the hotel! There’s no place to hang out in the room so we headed down to Costa Coffee and sat for a few hours and then went to a Thai restaurant for a meal and sat there for another few hours.

We usually put Xavier to sleep with the Eagles, so tonight it’s my turn. Take it Easy…