This was the first big shopping centre to come to the UK, located near the A41 Brent cross flyover and the North circular road that encircles the city. I think it was in the sixties. They plonked it down right amongst all these houses, it’s the suburbs out here. And apparantly the thing they didnt think about is, is that in America they really put them more on the freeway, like not so close to residential neighbourhoods at all, and you have this big sign on the road, you build a big box and you decorated the inside of the mall really sparkling and nice. You make the sign big and bold so everyone can see it from the road, but you dont really bother decorating the box on the outside as much itself. And they basically copied that formula and did that here, but its reight amongst all these homes, it just doesnt make so much sense.
I had no idea that Muzak, the term that people use to describe elevator music, is actually a brand name, in the way Hoover, that hoover has become synonymous with vaccuum cleaners and sellotape with sticky tape. It’s a generalized trademark. I think its funny and appropriate somehow, the company that makes music that I suppose is designed in a way to sound generic and to sink into the background - that their name has done something similar or something, become genericized, they’ve sunk in.
What is a theatre organ? I dont know if i have seen one in the flesh but maybe I can visualize it. They are the sparkly embelished keyboards that would be visible to the audience, in the orchestra pit of a traditionally setup theatre. They might even rise up at certain points of the performance, at the end of an act for instance, or for the applause or an encore. But thats not the only part of the organ, theres the pipes too. What is special and distinct about a theatre organ is that the pipes dont have to be physically plumbed in with the keyboard, they are conected together electrically with wires, which means where you place the keyboard part is more flexible. But what I really like about organs, both theatre organs and the more traditional church ones, is the way that the pipes are displayed on the wall, or on a few walls, they really wrap around the space, and they create a space. They latch on to a building in a way that the whole room becomes the instrument
I actually used to work for this company and it was really great! They opened their first ever smaller style, city centre store in my home town and it was one of the first jobs I had working there. Opposite to the new style small supermarket they had a big John Lewis department store which is part of the same whole business, they operate both these supermarkets and then these departments stores, they are all under this John Lewis umbrella. And everyone who works for this business has a stake in it and gets a share of the profits which is calculated each year as a percentage of your salary. So for instance iI got 13%, we all did, we all got 13% that year based one how well the business had performed. So the people at the top get 13% of their bigger salary et cetera, it worked out to like £600 cause I was part time.
The Gauntlet started in this private home of a guy named Jim Ward, it was in LA. And he was a really good friend of Doug Malloy who actually really encouraged him with the body piercing business. Doug Malloy was quite a wealthy entrepreneur and talented enthusiast for things, and it was him that really worked to foster a tradition and he sort of invented this slightly fictitious history for body piercing and wrote this book called ‘Piecing Freak’. It’s this semi-autobiographical story where he claims to have met scandinavian deep sea divers who would pierce their penis with a ring to attach it to some weeing contraption as part of their diving suit, which somehow meant they could wee but it wouldnt go in their suit and cause chaffing. The myth that Prince Albert, the husband of of Queen Victoria, had his penis pierced I think might have even been cultivated by him You can sort of jumpstart a tradition, a culture, with these tales, maybe that’s always necessary, to have this iconic tale which alludes to function or something that legitimises a tradition, like why do people hang wreaths on their doors, i dont know why they do and maybe people dont even know why they do but there is a legitimacy in it that is based on history or something. But sometimes I think that history isnt even real, or doesnt have to be, or it just doesnt matter whether its real or not, the poetry of it is bigger.
Wetherspoon is this big chain of pubs in the UK that takes over struggling pubs or like old cinemas, hotels, banks and stuff that are now empty. Iif you need the toilet when you are out and about i reckon that is your best bet. Noone notices or cares if you go in to use their toilets and I think in fact a lot of them are linked up with the local council as part of these access to public toilet schemes. But that’s the vibe that I like about the pubs, you can kind of just use it like a lounge, it’s a public living room, and that’s the purpose of a pub cause its a public house isnt it.
The other side of the carpark you will see the Brent reservoir which actually has at different stages of its life extended right up to where we are standing. It’s a leftover from the canal age. They built this big reservoir to feed the the canals thats ran across the city moving goods. Then later there was a pub which was highly popular towards the end of the Victorian era, there alway was a coaching in cause we’re near an ancient roman road here that ran all the way to Wales, the owner lucratised over having this huge body of water in front of his pub and there were water sports, boating, pidgeon and duck shooting, all this stuff that made it really popular. People still use this area around the man made, lake if you like, lake or reservoir, for leisure, walking dogs and jogging but its not a destination the way it was. And the pubs obviously gone now, under the motorway.
Greyhounds are really happy sleeping in crates cause they sort of were bred to be kept like that, or their used it to it. So alot of people when they adopt ex-racing greyhounds still have them sleep in cages or crates cause they find it cosy. Theyre actually really good city dogs, unlike most bigger dogs, cause they are quite content with a fast intense sprint once a day and dont need lots and lots of walking. And the grey in the word grey hound actually doesnt literally mean the colour necessarily, it was an old norse word, the G R E part, it has evolved from meaning fast, bright, or lightfooted, but they dont really know there could be multiple definitions.