Tuesday, September 06, 2005

London city

Tube into Goodge Street tube station this morning - it has elevators, making it easy for Bondi to get out of the station. While David mingles at a convention, Bondi and I run a few errands.

We stop in at Harold Moore's Record shop on Gt Marlborough St - Bondi is instantly recognised from an earlier visit and staff quickly split into two groups to water Bondi and CD me. I listen to some new Hyperion discs: the Janacek is unexceptional repertoire, the Schwantner is well-orchestrated but devoid of personality. I take MacMillan's Seven Words on the Cross, and take a chance on the Pet Shop Boys' belated soundtrack to Battleship Potemkin.

Landing at Foyle's bookstore in the West End, Bondi plonks himself down on the lino in the centre of the store. The staff fuss over him while I forage. I'm very happy with my catch:
  • Salman Rushdie: "Shalimar the Clown"
  • China Mieville: "Looking for Jake" (collected stories)
  • Alan Snow: "Ratbridge Chronicles Vol 1". (signed)

Back at the London Gateway, the Welcome Break cafeteria staff are only barely capable of serving a meal. On an earlier visit, the cashier was mystified by my selection of one menu item (there's only 7 items on it) and scrutinized the menu carefully to familiarize herself with it. Tonight she's still having trouble figuring out how to enter one of the meals on the register. Eventually a plate arrives with half of my order. Apparently they're out of half of the menu, and half of the ingredients of the remaining items. It doesn't occur to them to inform me of this prior to ordering. I leave them to their provisioning mess and settle for some pieces of fruit and a lemonade priced as if it had just been released from Napoleon's private stocks.

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