Just Jack asked me to list my five favourite places in London, so I decided, what with it being Saturnalia Superman time and all, I'd make it a festive special. And it went a lil something like this:
I have lived in London now for 12 years, which is plenty of time to get to an awareness for the highlights and intricacies of a city, although it would take a life time to truly know them. London is like cities in Terry Pratchet novels, in that it never seems to stay still – shops pop up and disappear as if by magic, and whole roads seem to move and morph, as if sculpted by the ever changing will and mood of the populace. Never is this so true as at Christmas time, or Saturnalia, or WInterval, or whatever you wish to call it. Now time – when the snow threatens to fall and fairy lights adorn the rooftops and poor people swarm the town’s twin Westfields to spend fake money auto-generated by loan forms and little rectangular plastic cards on useless tat they’ll be filling Chinese landfills with by this time next year. And so, without further ado, let me list for you my five favourite festive places in London.
Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park: If there is one thing guaranteed to put me in the correct frame of mind for this time of year, to fill me with the requisite Christmas Spirit, it is a visit to the traveling German Winter Carnival that posts up at Hyde Park for the December month every year, bringing with it a myriad of rides, stalls, giant snowmen, and a cubic acre of fine beers. Ride a roller coaster with a jug of ale in your be-gloved paw! Take hilarious photos with giant Santa statues! Dance frenziedly to German Euro Techno as DJed by pot bellied 47 year old bald men! Wet your drawers with mirth at the giant joke-telling tree! Last year a squirrel jumped on my lap while I was sat down having a drink. If that ain’t Christmassy I don’t know what is.
The ice skating rink, The National History Museum: The National History Museum is awesome all year round, but add the glorious wintery wonder of an ICE SKATING RINK and you have yourself a bonafide saturnalian city essential.
Southern Hospitality Boxing Day special, The Westbury: What could be more festive than going apeshit with a room full of the dopest and happiest humans on earth to contempi-rap anthems like AKA Frank’s My Dick Aint Racist and MGK and Waka FLoka’s Wild Boy? Nothing, that’s what. The Southern Hospitality crew consistently host the most glorious and crunk rap parties in the world, and the Christmas one looks set to cap a year of mighty and AWK-esque Hard Partying in a truly bacchanalian fashion.
Stratford Picture House, Stratford: I am a massive fan of the Picture House as an institution, and became a member this year, one of my better decisions. For under £50 you get a fistful of tickets, which pays for the price in itself, and then for the rest of the year your cinema tickets cost £4 and under AND you get money off your popcorn and soft drinks and whiskey. Add to that the friendly and educated staff, the great selection of movies, that you can happily swig back all the booze you like from the comfort of your seat in front of their five big old screens, AND the free mulled wine they give to members at Christmas and you have yourself the ultimate cinema, all year round, but especially at Christmas.
Victoria Park, Hackney Wick: One of the Christmassiest and cost effective things a person can do these in these so-called days of austerity is post up in one of London’s vast and beauteous parks with another sexy human and a bag of mushrooms. This is how me and my woman plan to spend New Years Eve, anyway, and we will be choosing Victoria Park, as it is vast and multifaceted and has a great big fuck off slide in the middle, is surrounded by the emerging Olympic Stadia/alien landing sites for next year’s planned fake-alien invasion , and is also handily right by our house, so we can flee indoors and watch It’s A Wonderful Life on the projector if it gets too gnarly/cold.
Go see the fine folks at Just Jack here.
That's me doing dead prez's Hip-Hop at Southern Hospitality's Hip Hop Karaoke at the Camden Crawl yesterday. Don't I look happy? The arm belongs to my dear old friend Dipod, who was good enough to hold the words up for me, as I didn't know them all. I know most of them. Pretty much 92% of stic.man's verse, anyway. About 60% of M1's. I wonder why that is? Anyway, I have respolved to learn the whole thing, 100%, so I can do it at parties, cos it is superior swag.
Speaking which, the mighty DJ Rob Pursey dropped Wonton Soup straight after my performance, and it kicked the fuck off. And when the whole thing was over, at the criminally early hour of 6pm, he dropped 4 Lex Luger productions in the space of about 2 and a half minutes, and my GOD if that isn't the most hardcore workout I have ever come across. Serious. I thought I was gonna have a seisure. Waka Flocka must be fit.
By the way, if you don't have a clue what I'm on about, Lex Luger is a producer who makes mental apocalyptic beats on Fruity Loops that all sound like the X-Men theme.
He's so awesome.
About 6 hours later I was getting trolled by some funny posh kid in London Fields, who come over to ask for a cigarette in exchange for an invitation to an "excellent party" he and some of his chums were having upstiars. I didn't have a cigarette, but worse, I had not watched any television yesterday.
He was all like, "how could you not have watched it? It was the greatest moment in our country's modern history!"
Oh, I was laughing like a donkey. Haw haw!
"Aren't you proud?" he cried. "Don't you care who represents you?"
"Don't no weird inbred lizard people represent me, brother!" I told him. "I represent me!" He did a very good aghast face. He kept it going for ages.
"He's your KING! She's your QUEEN!" he wailed.
Oh how I LOLed. "I have no KING, you funny boy!" I said, through the pain of my aching ribs. "I have no QUEEN! I bow to no man or woman or vegetable! Why would I want to do something crazy like that? I'd put my back out!"
"Dude, he's so trolling you," said my new Northern friend, who'd upset the boy already by telling him he'd gone fishing all day yesterday.
"I don't know what you mean," the posh boy sniffed, sadly.
"Damn G, you're gonna tell me you voted Tory next. You're gonna tell me you read The Times," I said, through tears of laughter.
"Yes I did! And yes I do read The Times!" he exclaimed, sorrowfully. Then he turned on his heels and stropped off upstairs to his excellent party.
All in all, it was a lovely day.
No, really. I did. Oh You Tee. In Old Street. Many reunions. And a mission to NOT GET DRUNK AND WRITE OFF THE WEEKEND. Could it be done?
Well, it started with the gym. Actually, it started with me rushing out the house late for the gym, then getting upset cos I hadn't had time to put Jackie Chain's Haze on my Z Phone, and that was what I wanted in my ears. Then I was like, HANG ON, I AM IN THE FUTURE, so I pulled it up on Youtube on my phone while I waited for the train to come. Then I downloaded it on the bus. It took less time to download than it took to write a tweet about how I was downloading it.
LIVING IN THE FUTURE
Yes. So I was in a good mood when I met Jeres outside the gym, and we did 300 reps on The Machines and 100 sit ups on the big bouncy balls, then we went back to Jeres' gaff, where he made me fried haloumi baguette and I schooled John Doran from The Quietus on Lil B, swag, cooking, and Alabama hip-hop. I know my shit. He was appreciative, and I felt like a fountain of knowledge, which is a good feeling. Henrik Palmgen must feel great all day, that dude is like a little Swedish encyclopedia.
Oh, and Jeres has, typically for Jeres, become a filthy gym addict. He's a member of two gyms now, and goes at lunchtime and in the evening. He is on some three month quest to become a HENCH MAN. Not a henchman, that wouldn't suit him. He's more supervillain material really.
Anyway. Serendipitous synchronicity occurred in the Old Blue Last, when I bumped into one of my new PR dudes after just finalising the deal with his boss a few hours earlier. We were in the Old Blue Last to see my old buddy Nik Moore, himself a press officer, one of the first people who kinda took me under his wing a bit and gave me advice and stuff when I came to London. He used to look after Motorhead, and always PRed mental rawk bands called things like Powerhawk. On this particular occasion the band he had playing was called Turbowolf. You couldn't make it up. Or maybe you could. I sometimes think Nik Moore creates these outfits by sheer will. This lot were a swirling frenzy of tie-dyed eyeball vests and 70s moustaches. Their amp kept blowing up, but they crowdsurfed regardless. And this was the top room of a pub, one must doff one's cap in such instances.
Never mind that though, guess who's back?
Mister Lacey. Back. From his 4 year adventure in Los Angeles after a spectacular clusterfuck of a breakdown of the life he'd built for himself. He met us outside the pub with his trusty steed JCB in tow, and it was like he'd never left, bless his heart. He was wide eyed, head spinning like a top. "Where are all the hot Mexican chicks?" he kept stammering. "This is weird!"
Down the road, at Camp, the Southern Hospitality boys where hosting the second Player's Ball, and they'd promised me they'd play that Jackie Chain record if I came. So off we went. Pixel was in Camden celebrating his birthday, so we hollered at that lot and lo they came too. So there was a big ass mob of us hanging out by the cloakroom, going apeshit every time a banger came on, which was roughly every 3 minutes.
The Players' Ball is the club night I've been wanting in London as long as I can remember. They play those great big down South ANTHEMS I love so dearly. They play relatively obscure mixtape tracks. They play Waka Flocka Flame and Rick Ross and Cam'ron and UGK. Hell, they even dropped a lil' Lil B in the early part of the night. I was in swag heaven. I spent a great deal of the night stood on a chair so I could talk to ten foot mountain beast Tego Seigel about rap music while I did my Don Dance (I shall have make one of those instructional videos for Don Dancing one of these days, but it basically involves working your elbows and your shoulders and rocking what Pixel calls "and edgy pout"). I did a lil' bit of cooking too.
Yeah, we had a grand ole time. And guess what?
Two whiskey and cokes and one shot of something aniseedey.
I DID NOT GET DRUNK.
I did miss my stop reading about a Ja Rule video on my Z Phone (yeah, I know), necessitating a half hour walk home in the drizzle. But I enjoyed that.
Saturday I spent working my ass off till 5 am and listening to the new Yelawolf/Trae Tha Truth record on repeat.
Sunday saw the musical reunion of me, Lace, and Pix.
Looks like ATD25 is go. I wasn't planning on that just yet, to tell you the truth. But according to this text file I've got on my desktop, I'm 5 songs deep already. DAMN!
PS: OK, you eagle eyed winners can buy that incredible and legendary ATD1 T shirt. YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!