Archive | April, 2012

Bomb Threat, Tottenham Court Road

30 Apr

On Friday afternoon, I was sitting in the remainders section of Waterstones on Torrington Place, waiting for the rain to stop and a revision class to start. Flickbooking my way through a copy of The Europeans- I swear!- I for some tenuous reason started thinking about the Siege of Markham Square, the afternoon long standoff between the police and a heavily-armed barrister called Mark Saunders that had taken place almost five years ago to the day. I remembered how this one apparently well-off professional had brought the whole of West London to a complete standstill, how surveillance helicopters had buzzed so close to the roof of the building where my friend Eliza was working that she had tinnitus for days afterwards. Saunders, by all accounts in the throes of a nervous breakdown, was after five-hours shot dead by police snipers, and the “story” made it out just in time to scandalise the rush-hour freesheets.

I sat on a stool, paying even less attention to Henry James than I would normally do, trying to remember what I’d been doing that afternoon when my phone buzzed: it was my friend Alisa, asking if I was alright.

‘Yeah, fine…’ I said, irrationally fearing my undignified book-rifling had made it onto the lunchtime news, ‘…why?’

‘We were just on Tottenham Court Road and the police forced us off the street! Apparently there’s been some kind of bomb attack…’

My phone chose that precise moment to run out of battery. So engrossed in thinking about civil disturbances past that an explosion a hundred yards away wouldn’t even have made me flinch. I sprang up, and attempted to replace The Europeans in the place I’d found it; this took some time.

I ran out onto Torrington Place and on seeing the cordon, I immediately took this photo. It took several moments to register that nobody else was panicking. ‘Really fucked up my Starbucks panini’, I heard one student say as he, erm, “bantered” his way past. Within minutes I was just as bored with London’s most lethal failed HGV driver as everybody else.


Hammersmith Belongs to Me

27 Apr

So long, Derek…

25 Apr

You know that newsagent smell? Pick’n’mix, dust and tabloid print- I’ve known it in little shops from Paris to Pencaitland, and there’s truly nothing quite like it. The smaller the shop, the more comfortingly intense the aroma was, and walking into Derek’s News on Walham Grove, SW6, was always a slightly proustian experience. A copy of the Guardian and a two-fingered KitKat- glorious!

En route to Fulham Broadway yesterday, I took a detour via Derek’s to pick up the paper, and saw to my horror that it had shut up shop for good. It seems I must now look elsewhere for my 15p chocolate fix.

Off the Map

7 Apr

And so it is that after 366 days of routine visits, Tescoinferno bids farewell to its favourite daily internet distraction. Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great regret that I inform you of The Daily Map‘s last transmission.

The project of a mysterious individual known as The Cine-Tourist (or to his students, Roland-François Lack, translation instructor nonpareil), The Daily Map has for the past year been doing precisely what its title suggests- that is, posting stills of maps in films, from Algeria to Zenda, from Billion Dollar Brain to Blowup, often with a short explanation of how the featured map works in relation to the structure of the movie in question. The posts on the blog present both a fascinating way of analysing film and, more often than not, some really rather lovely images. Reading my daily map has become an integral part  of my post-breakfast routine, and as such will be greatly missed.

For anyone in the least interested in mapping film or indeed cinema in general, the Cine-Tourist is still adding material to his main site, on which he tackles films including Melville’s Le Samourai, Rivette’s Le pont du nord and the work of RW Paul in much greater detail. Take my word for it and have a browse- internet procrastination is very seldom more interesting.

Incidentally, how did Rome get so far North?