Monthly Archives: June 2005

G8 Deal on Debt Relief

At last, some good news for the World’s poorest countries: The G8 group of the World’s richest nations has reached a deal to write off 100% of the debt owed by 18 countries, a sum of $40bn.

It’s about time.

It’s also pleasing to note that it was Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer in Tony Blair’s Labour government in the UK (who is also widely tipped to take over from Tony Blair as the next Prime Minister), who was instrumental in brokering the deal. I voted for Labour somewhat reluctantly in the UK elections last month in view of the Iraq debacle, so it’s good to see them doing something unarguably good in the World.

Six Years in the U.S.A.

Six years ago today, I got off a ‘plane in California, drove a rented car to a shared apartment at 20th & Folsom in San Francisco’s Mission District, and started a new chapter of my life in the United States.

A lot has happened since then; I’ve moved house 3 times, moved jobs twice, made new friends and stayed in touch with old friends, had a 3-year relationship, travelled extensively, become a godfather, owned a classic American muscle car and re-located from the west coast to New York on the east coast.

People sometimes ask me if I’ll ever go back to the U.K., or whether I’m in the U.S. for good. After being here for six years, I’m still no closer to being able to answer that question; I’ll stay here for as long as it suits me to stay here. Of course I still have a lot of family and friends in the UK (not to mention a small storage locker in Hackney that has cost me almost 2000 pounds over the last 6 years!), but I also have a lot of connections here in the U.S. too.

Oracle Night

I just finished a great book by Paul Auster, one of my all-time favourite authors. It’s the first book I’ve read in years that I literally couldn’t put down at times; the other day I was reading it while walking back to work after lunch.

Oracle Night is a story about an author recovering from a serious illness who discovers a semi-magical notebook in a stationery store that sends him on a journey of the imagination that has serious repurcussions in his real life. Plus, like the two Jonathan Lethem novels I read recently (see blog passim), it’s all set in my neighbourhood of Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens (apparently Auster also lives around here).

Here’s the filthy lucre link:

Fun Times in NYC

I’ve been doing lots of fun activities recently here in NYC…

Last Tuesday (24th May), I had dinner with my pal Zoë Keating at Apartment 138, a new-ish bar/restaurant on Smith Street that I can highly recommend for top grub and a mellow atmosphere, then the following day (Wed 25th) I had dinner with Peter B.(visiting from Chicago, and coincidentally staying at a B&B two doors from me!) and Kelly R. at Al di La in Park Slope (which was also great), before seeing Zoë playing with Rasputina at Southpaw, in an end-of-tour gig that was, for me at least, their best and most powerful performance to date.

On Thursday, I rented a Zipcar for an hour to take Jonas’ deck and mixer back to his place in the city, and then brought him back to Brooklyn for fish and chips at Apartment 138 and a “Crap-A-Copia” at Floyd; a Crap-A-Copia is a selection of six cans of crap beer from Milwaukee, such as Schlitz and PBR. The hangover the next day was pretty crap too.

On Friday I had dinner with Jamie at Faan (always reliable for asian fusion food) before a few beers at the Brooklyn Inn and pool at the Brooklyn Social.

On Saturday I went to see the Basquiat exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum with R., which was very good, plus I was able to get us both in for free with my ICOM card. After the museum we went to a fun wine tasting class about “The 8 Noble Grapes” hosted by the owner of the Smith & Vine wine shop, before getting drenched in a torrential summer storm. Sunday was a beautiful sunny day too, so R. and I had a lazy day lying out in the sun in Prospect Park before a late supper at Pacifico.

On the holiday Monday (Memorial Day) I did some shopping and worked out before heading over to Scyld & Helen’s to play with a very lively Oscar and have some dinner, and then yesterday I took the day off work to see England beat Colombia 3-2 in a friendly international match at the Giant’s Stadium, courtesy of R. (who got the tickets) and Scyld (who got us seats on his football team’s minibus).

What a fun week!