Archive for the ‘simple pleasures’ Category

Simple Pleasures – It happened in Monterey without thinking twice

Castro Canyon, Big Sur

Castro Canyon, Big Sur

Watching hummingbirds. Learning about nature. The way sea otters lie on their back (favour backstroke). Second-hand bookshops. Record stores in the USA. 60s book cover designs. Clam chowder. The sound of streams. Being naked in nature. Wood fires. Travelling as a family. Hippies. 70s American cars. Sandals when covered in dust. Eucalyptus trees. Strawberries. Watching waves. Watching surfers. God Only Knows. 

Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson

LA LA Simple Pleasures

Some Simple Pleasures from LA…

A Bigger Splash (1967)

A Bigger Splash (1967)

Diner breakfasts. US bookstores. Vinyl LPs. Back in Black. People-watching in Beverly Hills. Weird shit. Juke boxes. God Only Knows. Ghosts of The Doors. Sunset Marquis hotel. Backless dresses. Smoking on the beach. Automobiles of the 50s and 60s. Short shorts. The colours of swimming pools.

Placeres Simples Quatro

Watching/photos of diving. Flowers. Roof top views (Mediterranean). Chicas with black hair. Sea breeze. Church bells. Tortilla. Long lunches (Mediterranean). Generosity by children. Records. Record shops. Tranquility. Fountains and water in gardens. Watching movies with the Enfants Terribles. Saracens. D’s laugh. Sparrows. Playing Top 3s en famille. Handstands under water. Community.

Chris Wyles scores

Chris Wyles scores as Saracens win the Premiership final

Placeres Simples Tres

Blues guitar. Cafe con leche. The Sagrada Familia (especially the coloured interior light). Sitar at sunset. Crema Catalana. Back in Black (memories of driving to school with JRT). Dappled sunlight in Spanish squares. Flamenco singing in real-life. Parrots (especially escapees in London). Sharing Peking crispy duck. Curvy architecture.

Basilica Of The Sagrada Familia interior

Placeres Simples Dos

Palm trees. Browsing flea markets. Rum’n’Raisin ice cream (especially in South of France, seriously alcohol-soaked). Waves. Working away quietly with someone sleeping in the room. Chalky old-school mineral (Vichy) water. Collecting things. Collections. Traditional shops. Fresh sheets. Beautifully designed playing cards. Harbours. Breasts. Siestas. Playing backgammon in the shade after lunch. Strolling the city at sundown. Teaching your children stuff. Deep sleep.

bicycle playing cards civil war design

Placeres Simples

Learning. Ensaladilla Rusa. Doing handstands under water. Watching action movies with sons. Sunshine. My wedding ring. Wearing shorts. Sitting under a palm tree. Afternoon coffee outdoors. Backgammon. Giving good advice. Cold beer on a hot day. Laughing together.

Lounging Under a Palm Tree

Simple Pleasures inspired by Barcelona

Water. Being in your child’s dreams. Campari & soda on ice. The rhythm of the train. Cool showers in hot places. 3 minute films. Kicking back in hotel rooms. Guacamole. Warm nights in Spanish cities. Being a flaneur.

campari-soda on ice

Reasons to be Cheerful

I’ve decided to revisit the original intention of Simple Pleasures and on a fairly regular basis simply publish some of the simple pleasures which occur to me or cross my path…

The smell of cut grass. The dappled shade of a eucalyptus. Reading in a deckchair. Coffee with cardamom. Lunches as a family. The satisfaction of tidying a drawer. Running in the cemetery (St Pancras & Islington). Being the first one up while the whole house sleeps. Picking out a word for the day. The Robert Elms Show (on BBC Radio London). Reconnecting with old friends. Working out which book(s) to take on a trip. Travelling with one or other son. Baths. Shorts. Taking photos. Pencils. Comic books.


Fuck 9/11

Enjoy the craic, man

Enjoy the craic, man

Another year, another day reclaiming my birth date.

I kicked off the day with a jog round St Pancras & Islington cemetery (at this juncture I’m the world expert on that place) listening to David Crosby on BBC Radio 4’s Master Tapes, great stories from late 60s LAlaLand. I bought a copy of If I Could Only Remember My Name when I got back to the house, struck once again by the odd pricing of music these days – £7 for the MP3 album, £5 for the CD with free MP3s. I hope the Great Digital Rip-Off on books and music gets addressed before too long – you corporate feckers, you’ve got no manufacturing or distribution costs these days, do the right thing.

First food of the day – a blackberry off the bush on our fence.

First work of the day – looking at rough cut of Episode 2 of the short form series I’ve commissioned about Bez, Happy Monday and aspiring politician. This episode was shot in Portmeirion, famed for The Prisoner and suppression of freedom. They probably would have had fracking there if it had been invented. Needless to say this episode is called: I am not a Number.

Next a meeting at Temple tube with Steve Moore, former Channel 4 colleague and always good for a great chat. And this one was a humdinger! Better than a novel…

We went on to visit the Temple to discuss an interesting project of his for 2015. I got a private tour of the Temple Church, a location made popular in recent years thanks to Dan Brown, conducted by the very expert Robin Griffith-Jones, Master of the church, who explained the essence of the Magna Carta to me. I hadn’t grasped he was the Master/some kind of vicar and took him at first as a trendy lawyer with a taste for round-collared shirts.

In the tradition of Video Arts (where are my royalties?) and other such learning there are a convenient three points to grasp:

  1. no taxation without representation
  2. equality in the face of the law / fair trials
  3. constitutional restraint / the monarch is not above the law

Pretty civilised – especially in contrast to the 9/11 fuckers and their ‘values’.

The barons negotiated with King John (was not a bad man, he had his funny ways) in the safety of the church (Joe Public was keen to lynch KJ), a tough week of negotiations guided by William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, evidently the hero of the day. They then all went up West and signed the mother (of all bills of rights).

Then into Channel 4 HQ for a meeting about Don’t Stop the Music (“Give us yer focking instruments!” – Bob Geldof) (“petition donations here” – Stephen Fry) – no, we mean it, give that old unused instrument of yours here and now.

Followed by a meeting with cake kindly provided by the gals at Antidote Media, a new indie (cake monetary value technically below declarable levels but sentimentally worthy of an entry on declaration of gifts).

In the evening went en famille to The Bald Headed Stag. That was a tip of the hat to my grandmother Rita who used it as the orientation point for all her car journeys regardless of where she was going. Nice drop of green gazpacho, a pint of Normandy cider, then back to ours for a family viewing of Educating the East End.

No nutters in the sky. A flawless day.

in memoriam Rita Harris

in memoriam Rita Harris

Such is life (Day 79)

Highgate near Kenwood London

Slow start – weather was sunny so began with a jog around St Pancras Cemetery and some faffing with computers (having completely forgotten my work email password) and by the time that was all done the moment had arrived to head across town to The Masons Arms in Kensal Green to watch my nephew drumming with a band. I was planning to pop round to see Ossie Clark’s grave in the cemetery behind but the parking meter got the better of me.) From there headed back homewards and stopped at Kenwood where I sat on a bench overlooking the city and did a little writing as the sun sunk behind the trees. Popped into the caff and did some more marginal research for the Music chapter to do with the Sex Pistols’ landmark gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester in June 1976 which ignited Joy Division among other bands.

Back home I moved on from the Music chapter, which I’ll park up now, back to writing the Theatre chapter which I hope to largely complete before Christmas. Straight after Christmas I’ll be focusing on polishing the chapters I’ve written to date, starting with the Literature one which is to serve as my sample chapter. Not my most productive day but WTF, stuff happened, simple pleasures were enjoyed.

boy drumming

text by Jerome K Jerome

text by Jerome K Jerome


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