Sunday, 26 October 2014

Waves and ripples

I'm in Brother Edward and Sascha's sitting room, listening to the waves from the Thames lapping below us, looking across to the O2 where Lady Gaga is singing tonight.

We've actually just been watching footage on You Tube of the Mini-pops, that ghastly early 80s troop of lipstick-bedecked, helium-fuelled children who used to perform cover versions of songs written for adults. The Mini-pops were controversial even at the time. Viewers were horrified by the sexualisation of children, and newspapers described them as the "mini-whores." The show was subsequently axed after one series. It is brutally awful. We watched with terror as two children gyrated their way through "You're the One That I Want." I remember thinking the 'Pops were rubbish at the time. In retrospect, they were also deeply sinister. Apparently, they were better accepted outside of the UK in countries like Canada who have a better-established tradition of child stars.

Our You Tube fest took us on a search for more old school gems, and we ended up watching about thirty Eurovision songs; winners, losers and never-selecteds from every decade of the competition. It's charming viewing. We saw the only entry ever from Morocco, listened to Cypriot and German ballads from 1983, a surreal 1969-winning tune from Spain (the disastrous year when four songs won) and half a tonne of Schlage from Scandinavia.

As I sit here, I find my eye periodically distracted by a boat lit up like an enormous Christmas tree, drifting along the pitch black Thames outside. In it's wake, a series of waves ripple in an ever-growing triangular shape through the water, before crashing against the river bank.

I have to leave fairly soon as I'm heading back to Highgate by public transport, and it feels a long way away at this time on a Sunday, when the transport network in this part of town goes to sleep. The Isle of Dogs is a funny old place, full of dead ends created by building works. The whole area is now a massive building site, littered with cranes and hastily erected tower blocks pointing towards the stars. It's as though the recession never happened. It would seem developers are making up for lost time! Within a year, the view from Edward and Sascha's flat will have changed out of all proportion. Change is a funny thing. It doesn't happen at all up in my North London gaff, but Edward's part of the world is as transient as fame.

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