This had such rave reviews I though it was the new Breaking Bad or something. I watched the first season and really bought into it, but at the back of my mind there were niggling doubts. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t up to the hype. I had a number of problems with it.

Damian Lewis is no doubt a decent actor, but I never bought into his accent (in fact his whole speaking voice) or really believed he was the character he was portraying.

Claire Danes, also no doubt a decent actress, has a tendency to overdo it in my opinion. I had trouble believing she ever worked for the CIA being such a basket case. All the drama and tension of her scenes started to feel silly as she turned everything up to 11.

In fact I started to find them both silly people, as opposed to conflicted or damaged. This is probably in large part due to the thin script which doesn’t really live up to the hype in my opinion. I have to be honest, now halfway through the second season, I’ve given up because I find myself hoping they both get wiped out.

So undone by high expectations this one, for me. If It had just been billed as some cobblers TV show to have on in the background I might have stuck with it. I’ve watched an enormous amount of those over the years, But I can’t bear any more Ho-humland.

You’ve got to get yourself back to the Garden…

I was out with mum today, having a look around Central London. We passed through Covent Garden and I took a picture of these Christmas decorations. I think they’re lovely and even a Christmas cynic like me felt a bit of festive spirit stirring in my heart.

We had lunch at a place called Bistro 1 on Southampton Street. The food isn’t all that great, canteen standard, and even though it’s cheapish it could have been better. I had the mixed meze platter for a starter which was nice enough. The vegetarian moussaka was a bit disappointing and mum’s goat cheese pancake was worse if anything. Still, it  has a traditional bistro decor which makes it an intimate environment in which to have meal and you can be sat among the interesting variety of people you’d expect to find in Covent Garden.

Tales of a Gypsy Caravan

This is Muriel’s Caravan. I had to help her move it today…by hand. Luckily it’s not that heavy. Muriel is an artist and musician I used to live with when I was busking around London. She’s completely in her own, scary world but has a determination and spirit that it’s impossible not to be inspired by. She managed to buy this caravan and lived in it for a while parked on a regular residential street in Shepherds Bush. Rather her than me. This caravan can currently be seen brightening up one of the dreariest streets in London, Western Avenue…

Great Shakes

I love this track by the Alabama Shakes. I think I first heard it on a free download from Noisetrade and it’s right up my alley. Bluesy rock with a full-throated vocal, it reminds me a little of Creedence.

Then there’s this from Reignwolf. I first hear about him on TBTL, where he performed a great cover of Jealous Guy. It’s the commitment from both these acts that I love.

Brasserie Birthday

It was my friend Sue’s birthday this week and, together with our mutual friend Asa, we decided to have a meal at the Electric Brasserie on Portobello Road.


The Electric is another of those local haunts that I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never visited in the six or more years I’ve lived in the area. Maybe in another six years I’ll finally go and watch a film at the Electric Cinema.

The food was delicious. I had broad bean hummus with pitta bread and a simple buffalo mozzarrella and tomato starter together as my main meal and it was lovely. Asa managed to let the waiter know we were celebrating a birthday and, sure enough, we got a free glass of bubbly and a nice message on the sticky toffee pudding dessert.


So a word of thanks for the staff there, in particular our waiter Lukas who was a funny one, for a really nice night. The Sticky Toffee pudding was incredible. I mean incredible.


Today’s the day I found out my dear friend Payal passed away. An unspeakable tragedy. God rest her beautiful soul.

Thanks mum…

I was going through some of my old files and I found this poem from my mum that she must have sent me at Uni.

To Duncan

Sat up there in London town
We send this gift of cash
To supply his needs and replenish his stocks
and provide him with bangers and mash!

To buy a treat when feeling low
and perhaps a trip to the pictures
Cos we know that sometimes things get tough
with the reading and writing and lectures.

With his will and wit and determination
We reckon he’s going to get far
cos he’ll straddle the swamps and climb the peaks
No matter where they are

So we wish him well in all that he does
Because we know he’s got what it takes
To sally forth and forge ahead
No matter what the stakes.

And so I wish a fond goodnight
And wish you luck with your studies
With lots and lots of love and luck
From an old pair of fuddie duddies!


Cats are funny…

Okay, here’s a little clip of a cat fighting it’s way through the snow. The funniest bit is at the end as it swims through it. I hope the people shooting the video gave it some nice food afterwards.

Holy Guacamole!

I had a few friends over for lunch today and it was very nice indeed. I made Guacamole for the first time properly. I’d mashed up the odd avocado before but I went the whole way this time. Avocado’s are pretty good value down Portobello market. Anyway this is the recipe I used and it seemed to work out pretty well.

Also good to see my old friend Ephrem back from his travels. Lots of funny stories, including trying in vain to persuade a Japanese guy to cross a road on a red light when it was completely clear in both directions. Very law-abiding people apparently.

Cycle Route

I had a day off today so took the bike out for a ride, along with my new phone, a Samsung Tocco Icon. I really needed and wanted it for the camera, both for work and pleasure. Taking pictures of my walks and explorations is a real pleasure for me, as well as the only way I can remember what I’ve done. I also needed a phone with access to email, which the backup phone I’ve being using doesn’t have.
I’m not sure if I chose the right one. I liked my old phone because it had a dedicated camera button on the side of the frame, whereas this uses the touch screen. We’ll see how it goes but I wonder whether I should have gone with the Sony Ericsson Mix Walkman which had such a button. I just didn’t take to the user interface on the Sony.
Here’s some snaps from my journey today. I started by going to Kilburn to buy some secondhand army socks. Unfortunately the shop had closed down which is a shame. They were £2 a pair and last for ages. Essential on cold working days too. From Kilburn I went down through Maida Vale, across towards Westbourne Grove where I got onto the Grand Union Canal towpath. I followed the canal up to Willesden Junction, down through Acton to Chiswick and back up through Hammersmith to Shepherd’s Bush.
An interesting building on the corner of the curiously named  Henchman Street