Monday 30th January, 2023

A return to Brixton Rec for a Monday morning swim. My tattoo healing hibernation is up. My spiritual home of swimming was the ideal place to put in the lengths once again.

I’d forgotten that I still had some credit on my account at the Rec. This should see me through the rest of the week.

Free swimming for every resident, etc. Stick that in your poxy election manifesto, Comrades.

The short bicycle ride down Stockwell Road was an eye opener at 7am. I’ve only been away for a fortnight, yet a new shopfront has appeared. It’s a proper refurbishment job with some smart exterior brick work. I’ve no idea what’s about to open up. Betcha it ‘ain’t a Pie ‘n’ Mash place.

There was a queue for the unlikely yoga studio along Stockwell Road. I took the wise decision to keep on cycling on to Brixton.

Change was also happening at the Rec. The indoor football pitch in the basement looks almost set to reopen after a complete refit. I’ve really missed the Wednesday night football sessions.

I was warned during the online booking for the swim of ‘pool and shower temperature issues.’

Oh dear.

Nothing has changed in 28 years of swimming at the Rec. But I rocked up and Reception had a sign saying: pool temperature – 25 degrees. That’s bloody tropical.

I’ve been out of swimming action for almost two months. I wasn’t sure how my body would handle the reintroduction. I needn’t have worried. Duck to water, etc.

There was plenty of space in the fast lane. I put in 1km in a time that is more or less where I was pre-tattoo.

As usual, I was buzzing off me tits when I got back from the Rec. I had the random urge to play VERY LOUDLY Clint Boon’s White With No Sugar. It was a reminder of my own ageing process, hearing a song about the modern interweb that was recorded a quarter of a Century ago.

Album of the Day – Elastica – Elastica

One of those albums that I never bought back in the day, but I pretty much know it inside out. It was EVERYWHERE around ’95. The Evening Session had it on rotation each week. I finally bought a cheapo CD copy last year. It still stacks up, I still love it. The influences are clear to hear. Line Up, Connection, Waking Up, Stutter – all snarling BANGERS. Elastica were great at being a slightly more angry band compared to the other Britpop runners and riders. I preferred their post punk influences compared to the 60’s sources.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Some Ivy Wars action followed. I’m seeking a solution. It’s the exact same solution that I suggested some six months ago before the un-neighbourly Ivy Wars first broke out.

A Twitter DM from a Hackney Wick player dropped. Oh. Odd. He was a sub in the game against WTFC on Saturday. We had a brief chat. He was a friendly fella. He’s requested any photos I might have of him. I felt a little guilty in not capturing his absolute WORLDIE that led to the equaliser for the away team.

Some errands around Sunny Stockwell followed. The garden wall along South Lambeth Road that has been graffitied since the year dot has had a whitewash. That’s not going to end well.

My Apple Watch and iPhone then started to ring constantly from different unknown callers for the next 15 minutes. That’s the last time I put my details on a tradesperson site to try and find a resolution to Ivy Wars. I never answer my phone.

A day of art around town was planned as part of my holiday by mistake. I cycled into town, crossing at Vauxhall and then through Westminster.

OH HAI Cllr M. One of my fave local Councillors back in Weird Wiv was walking through Parliament Square. I made some joke about a job interview. Cllr M gave me a glare and explained he was supervising a school trip as part of his day job. He then looked back and gave me a cheeky smile once his students were out of his eyeline.

The first stop on the art holiday was the National Gallery. I wanted to see the Turner on Tour exhibition. Art can often be overwhelming. I resisted the urge to take in the other exhibitions and headed straight to Mr T’s fancy work.

Some Constable was also thrown in for good measure. The Hay Wain was underwhelming. I’ve stood at that exact same spot many times now as part of the CTC Club Run that regularly drops in over the border at Suffolk. My 2023 internal picture is far removed from the Turner original.

I carried on cycling. I stopped off at a Covent Garden Oxfam, hopeful of rich CD pickings. I clocked a Malcolm McLaren. My heart raced for a second as I thought it was Duck Rock for £1.99. Nope. It was the tedious Fans album.

The next stop was the old Post Building at Holborn that has recently been refurbished. Part of the developer deal is to open up a FREEBIE rooftop garden for the public. I love a good London FREEBIE rooftop garden.

It was a blue sky clear day – the ideal conditions for looking down from above and trying to see my flat. I had the whole rooftop on the 9th floor to myself. The city was eerily quiet from my vantage point.

Nine floors doesn’t seem that high. But the building regulations around Holborn mean that there isn’t anything higher in the local neighbourhood. It means you have an unobstructed view for all four points of the compass.

The nearby British Museum looked rather handsome from this vantage point. St Paul’s appeared to have been mysteriously moved into the heart of the City. I couldn’t see my flat. The best it got was some of the new developments around the Elephant. I snapped away and then had something of a London moment.

Time and light were both fading. The Guildhall followed on the art holiday. I bloody LOVE The Guildhall. There’s even a bloody Roman amphitheatre in the basement.

Once you get past all the Renaissance bollocks art on the ground floor, there are some ACE London social history representations in the undercroft. In particular a painting of a block of flats in Camberwell is a BEAUT.

I wanted to get back to the flat before it was dark. There was a major water leak along Kennington Road. I actually got off my bicycle and walked it for a while. I seem to have spent a large part of the day waiting at traffic lights.

I caught up online. I had a Twitter DM form an old work pal who now lives in Spain. When I say old, I mean OLD. We last worked together in 1998.

My work mantra use to be: (i) make friends who will stick with you once the working relationship has ended and (ii) undermine management at all times.

(i) has been achieved – not just with the pal in Spain, but also others from the old ITN basement. (ii) was long since forgotten. I’ve had bloody good bosses over the past two decades.

To Battersea! …early evening. I was going to walk it, but time was tight. I wanted to take a look at the Festival of Light that is running throughout the month. I was wearing my flashing cycling vest.

“Are you part of the immersive light experience?”

…asked a stupid tourist as I rocked up.


There wasn’t a lot to see tbh. I headed inside for my first look around the Power Station come retail hell emporium. There was an an awful lot of Coming Soon billboards. The malls appeared quiet and empty.

I had a brief look at history of Battersea Power Station exhibition. It was brief because the exhibition was so shit. It was buried away in a corner of the basement, no doubt another condition of the planning development.

There was little mention about why all the previous attempts to regenerate the Power Station failed. I started to read one information card that mentioned ‘Steam punk aesthetic .’ It was time to walk away. You would do a lot better reading Peter Watts’ excellent Battersea book.

In eBay News: I lost out on Alabama 3’s Revolver Soul; I finally managed to snaffle a cheapo copy of Uncle Joe’s Streetcore for a cheeky £2.

D***y were shit, YEAH?

Links for Monday 30th January, 2023

NHS Physios on Strike: ‘F**ck praise, we need a raise’

“Dulwich Hamlet have never been afraid to do things their own way.”

Londonist on Ldn football