Sunday, 29 April 2012

London- Missed Out Bits

One of the iconic things about our trip down to the Old Smoke was the tube. The tube did amuse me from time to time. The first being the 'Mind The Gap' motto they have started using since we were last down here (I think, as I don't remember it before). They say 'Mind The (Bloody) Gap' every time the doors open and close at every sodding stop, which means it gets said about 300 hundred times every tube journey you take.

Now, as an Arsenal fan I know that Tottenham fans have adopted this local phrase to brag about being above Arsenal in the table to us Gooners during the season, as in the gap between Tottenham and Arsenal in the table. However, since Tottenham crumbled and Arsenal's form surged, hence leading them to over- take Tottenham, Arsenal fans have rather ironically also adopted it to brag back to the over cocky Tottenham fans about being back above them as per usual. For instance, the Arsenal fans at Wolves the other week sang 'Tottenham, Tottenham, mind the gap' which was music to my ears. It's just a phrase that looks to be ending up as a very funny, ironic one for Arsenal fans this season, so it made me smile every time I heard it on the tube. It was also written on the platform edges in white spray paint, it was everywhere, (much to my Dad's annoyance, easily irritated that man ((yes, I know- pot kettle black))).

Another thing that amused me about the tube was 'tube etiquette'. All Londoners seem to have started a certain unspoken code of how to behave when on the tube. And it goes like this:

  1. There will be no looking at any other passenger for any longer than a split second.
  2. There will be no eye contact with other passengers
  3. There will be no speaking, whatsoever.

(Please note the 'tube etiquette' taking place in this picture, apart from the woman in green, she must be an out- of- towner who hasn't got used to the laws of the tube yet. 'Stop smiling! And stop looking at me! Don't you know the code of the tube woman?!')

Everybody's silent! Nobody talks, nobody smiles or even breaks their hostile facial expression. Often, away fans in football sing 'Is this a library?' to the home fans when the stadiums quiet. Instead it should be 'Is this the tube?'. Another funny thing that happened on the tube was on the Saturday night I think when our tube carriage was virtually empty as we made our way back to the hotel at about 9 or 10 o'clock at night. Dad and I were sat opposite each other and this bloke got on and could have sat almost anywhere, he had an avalanche of seats to choose from and he rather wierdly decided to park his backside right next to Dad. It was quite creepy, as Dad's creeped out facial expression conveyed. They were both snuggled up together on the end of the row as I sat there trying to keep my face straight. Slipping Dad the tongue was where the bloke went a bit overboard (I'm joking again, of course... or am I?)

Anyway, what else did I forget to mention? Oh yeah, Friday's shopping experience. We went into Lilywhites, which is a sports shop like JJB right opposite the iconic Piccadilly advertising thing and right next to the Piccadilly Circus tube station entrance/ exit and an iconic statue (all pictured above, apart from the tube station entrance/ exit). I, with my eye for a bargain (I'm from Yorkshire remember), spotted some nice looking trainers on the cheap, so went to try them on. However, I had to make my way through the barrage of people just stood around with shopping bags not shopping, just getting in the way. People also leave shopping bags on the chairs where you try shoes on! Get them off there you morons! That's where people sit to try on footwear,it's not a place for bag storage. Bloody Londoners, no etiquette (apart from on the tube, of course).

After I tried them on, I went to find Dad. I couldn't find him as the place was packed and I was confused as to which floor he was on. I eventually found him and bought the trainers. £10 they were, pretty good as they're very trendy in my opinion. It's quite ironic it's called 'Lilywhites' as that's Tottenham's nickname, yet it's filled with Arsenal stuff. A big picture of Theo Walcott decorates the staircase, a signed Jack Wilshere boot is also there I think and there's a load of good Arsenal gear on the 2nd floor. Good for Gooners.

Earlier in the day, we went for a spot of lunch at Bella Italia, one of the 5,460 Bella Italia restaurants there. There were almost as many of them as there were 'Pret A Manger's'. This was a nice surprise for me as I'm not used to having this sort of meal for lunch, it's more of a tea thing usually. Lunch is more usually some fruit and sweets or a plate of oven chips with something chicken- orientated, but this was delicious Italian cuisine, yummy yum yums. We went to the back of the room and sat down. We were innocently looking at our menu's when a door next to us flew open and a tall Italian* man looked down at us and aggressively said 'what do you want?'. We both jumped. 'Yipes' I thought, 'where did this guy come from?' 'Some food would be nice' I said. No I didn't really, in fact, I can't remember what we said. My mind's hazing from him tieing us to chairs and shining a torch light in our eyes and electricuting us until we told him what we wanted.

*I say 'Italian', he was probably as Cockney as they come, but put on an Italian accent when serving the customers. But then when he goes 'backstage' into the kitchen, it's all 'Oy Tony, there's a capple o' geezers wonting sam o' that pasta nosh, taybew faw'.

(He looks a bit more feminine in this picture, but you get the point- bloody Goggle Images didn't have an aggressive looking male waiter.)

The meal was very nice when it came, 'Polpette Americano' for me (Spaghetti and Meatballs). We then went and did the Covent Garden things I mentioned in the 'Day 1' blog, we also walked round Hyde Park Corner, lovely park, and walked past the Hard Rock cafe. My Dad told me that Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone were responsible for it being there and that they owned it. I had the amusing image of Bruce Willis behind the counter in an apron serving people coffee and scones. '£3.75 please' he'd say in his John McLane voice, (customer gives him the money) 'Yippi Ki Yay Mother F****r' he'd reply. It turns out he was wrong about that anyway, they own 'Planet Hollywood'.

Another place we went browsing in was Harrods. To be honest, I think that shop is filled with people like us all the time, just people going in there and saying 'bloody hell, look at how expensive that is! You can get a buy one get one free offer on them at Tesco's and they're £3.00 cheaper there.' We went round the food section first, I got myself a cookie, which I had later on that night in the hotel room watching a stand- up comedy show hosted by the guy that plays 'Thermo Man' in 'My Hero', the Irish dude. It wasn't that expensive either, everything else was mind you. The clothes, the gym and sports gear, most of the other food. I was looking around the gym gear and they had this new, small water thing that looked quite good, but not extraordinary. It was in the £100,000's I think. What a rip off. You could get treadmill's for thousands of pounds as well. Why wouldn't you just run yourself on a pathway or field and save yourself a few thousand bob? Beats me.

(Here's 'Harrods', looking an awful lot like The Plaza Hotel in New York City- or at least this is how I remember it looking in 'Home Alone 2' when Kevin's checking in.)

Another thing that caught my eye with 'Harrods' is that you apparently have to be a super hot woman in your mid- twenties to work there as a shop assistant. I was minding my own business looking through the men's clothes section when a young blonde woman appeared and asked me if I needed any help. 'No thanks' I said, although it might have squeaked out of my voice as I stood there like an in- awe dog of this beautiful woman. Of course, being a male, I'd already noticed the attractiveness of the female workers there, but this one just highlighted it with shininess and flourescentness.

You don't get that in 'Next' in Wakefield do you? You get spotty, fat teenagers grumpily asking you if you want any help and then scowling at you merely because of your presence in the shop. I'd like blonde Goddess woman thanks, not acne- suffering miserable fat git boy that looks hungover. That's the difference between 'Harrods' in London and shops in downtown 'Wakey'.

Anyway, that's it, for now at least. I hope you enjoyed my words. I've still probably missed out the odd detail, but nothing huge I hope. If I realise over the coming days or weeks that I have, I'll put it in here if it's worth telling. Overall, it was a great weekend with much to write about (as you can probably tell). Thanks for reading and good night (or day, depending on what time of day you're reading this at). ;)

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