When I was in high school (longer ago than I care to remember) a brand new American sit-com came to Friday night’s Channel 4. Friends shaped by teenage years. I recorded episodes (on VHS!) as I always had Ballet classes on Fridays and then watched them over and over again all week, until the next episode came out.
I literally could quote Friends all day. I was and remain obsessed. When Comedy Central took over the rights to show Friends, and our TV package didn’t cover the cost of the channel I was both devastated, and a little bit relieved. If an episode of Friends is on, I canNOT ignore it. It can never just be playing in the background whilst I carry on with other tasks. I am drawn in every time. I have literally whiled away DAYS of my life, days of pure joy, watching and laughing at episodes I have seen HUNDREDS of times.
It’s the small character details that I love. Nobody stops acting for a second, the nuances and the quirks are superb, and sometimes the best moments are with characters who are not even speaking, they are just reacting.
So it’s no surprise that when Friends Fest came to London I was desperate to go. We were so lucky to get tickets. And whilst I know these weren’t the original sets, just having the opportunity to sit on that famous sofa, has made me so happy.
We walked the genuinely wonderful Parkland Walk from Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace, in search of one of London’s lost railways. I was really surprised to see so many traces of the railway, sleepers, bridges, building and cable holders (from when the line was electrified) dotted all along the path.
The most spectacular moment was certainly happening upon the abandoned platforms at what was once Crouch End Station. The concrete platforms themselves are almost completely intact, albeit overgrown.
The end of the line, was also extremely picturesque. Alexandra Palace, a place I had never been before but had always wanted to go. And I would be keen to go back, as by the time we got there the museum to the original BBC studios was closed.
Carnegie Library, Herne Hill. Is not my local library. It’s not even, the next local, local library. My friend visits the library (or should I say used to visit) every week with her daughter (who is two years old). It’s a place that means a lot to them, and they mean a lot to me. That’s why I am supporting the #savelambethlibraries campaign.
I don’t have any children. I don’t know what it’s like to give yourself up to raising another human being. I don’t know how it feels to change your life so dramatically, from one day living and doing everything for yourself to the next day thinking only about the life you’ve bought into the world. I imagine it can feel overwhelming, so overwhelming that you panic a little everyday, you feel uncertain where you once felt assured, your breath gets shorter when it was once languid and steady, your mind gets more tired when it once had the reserves to keep going, your body aches with the life it’s just grown and the energy it is expressing to keep that being alive, you are weighed down by the responsibility and the strain.
To find solace in a place where for a few hours a day or even just a week, none of these things consume who you are – must be a paradise.
Where you are welcomed by kind and reassuring faces. Where you might meet other families who are experiencing the same emotions, or older children who show you what is on the road ahead, or wise elders who smile in that knowing way that gives you hope that maybe you are doing just fine. Where the magic of the written word takes you and your baby out of the challenges of the everyday and gives your imaginations time to soar and revive. Where you can share this joy with others and exchange favourite stories, learn about new worlds, characters and cultures. Or on some days be given the space to just immerse yourself and sit, to just be.
This is a library. And this sounds like something worth fighting for.
I was prompted this morning to dust off my copy of Henslowe’s Diary. I was keen to see if I could find what play might have been listed on this date, sometime in the 1590’s / 1600’s.
I came across an entry for Easter 1593. What peaked my interest was not what play was on, but instead how it was spelt.
It would of course not been at all funny at the time (as their was no such thing as standardised spelling, or indeed people who fried things – or at least would have been called such?!) but retrospectively the spelling of ‘Frier Bacone’ caused me tremendous mirth.
I realise I may be alone in this pleasure. But still … Happy Easter y’all.
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Sometimes bus tours of London are commercial, over priced and quite frankly you’d be better off picking up a free leaflet at the Tourist Information and walking round London all on your own. However, if anyone mentions going on a … Continue reading →
London. The city I live in. The city that 8 million other people live in too. Each day on the tube I sit next to (or more likely stand) (or even more likely squashed unwillingly against) complete strangers. I see … Continue reading →