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Archive for the ‘LONDON’ Category

I went to see “Speed the Plow” the other day. There are only 2 actors and 1 actress on the stage for continuous 90 minutes performance. The plot of the play is simple. A Hollywood producers Charlie and his old mate -Bobby- spend most of their time arguing about Money vs Art, the beautiful secretary, and a controversial book. A book is simply a piece of Art, no Violence, no Sex, no Race, so no catchy script for a Hollywood movie. For the new movie, Charlie is pulled between the two – Bobby, his old mate and Karen, the hot secretary.

Given that there were only 3 of them on the stage, I have to say that their performance was good. Especially, Kevin Spacey (Bobby) was stunning. Eventhough it’s a bit more expensive than I had expected from a £50 ticket (i.e more than €65 or $100 or ¥10,000). But that’s not what I want to talk about.

After the show, some of us were waiting for them to appraise their hard work. Jeff Goldblum (Charlie) went out first with his smile, giving his signatures and talking to people.

About 20 minutes waiting in the cold and wind, Kevin Spacey appeared at the door. Literally, he was behind the door. To me, a cage wouldn’t look too different! (!?)

Suddenly, all my admiration, inspiration, and my sympathy for the guy disappeared. I feel like I’m one those curious people going to the zoo to see a rare species? That was not my idea, I thought I would like to pay my respect to his hard work. I know maybe it’s just another day for him, but I would reckon if he was a celebrity, he should try to be a proper one?

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How was your weekend? “My weekend was quiet” is not a “Kool” answer. Surely I need something like “hammered”, “hangover”, “party”…That’s what is expected or otherwise, people would tell you “Get a life, mate!”.

Well, one should not be surprised to see that Britain is a boozy country. Their statistics show that 60% of the population drink more than 5 units a day regularly… Surely, their livers would like to party!

The last thing I want to see is my boss being drunk, although that could be an entertaining event. The contrast between the black suit and a loose tie, messy hair and red cheeks. The contrast between my professional boss and the “wild – drunken – hitting on – random – girls” guy in the pub.

The classic story that has happened “for real” was when 2 guys in gray suit talking and boozing in Dixie Queen – the famous boat bar on the Thames – often hired by big firms for their employees event. After several rounds, we heard their voices. Suddenly, “Slap”, the old guy fell on the floor. The next day, the young guy had an “urgent” meeting with HR, and his disappearance after that was explained by an HR note “due to poor performance… immediate effect… “.

Morale of the story? I think you can figure it out yourself.

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Londoners are very proud of London Eye, the biggest Ferris wheel around the world.

It might look impressive especially on a foggy night.

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On the other hand, the view would be amazing on a clear sunset. I’ve got the chance to be on London Eye more than once (quite touristic, aren’t I? :-). And these are some new pix I took tonight from one of those capsules:

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Busy life

Busy life means you´re living your life in full.

Busy life means you´re useful.

Busy life means you´re not wasting any minutes of your life.

But busy life also means it’s hard for you to be in touch with friends.

Busy life means you can’t update your blog and it looks poor and sad.

Busy life is good but it also means you’ve got no time for romance…

I’ve got a busy life 😦

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For me, lavender is a special kind of plant. It’s hard for me to tell enough how much I feel about them. I love looking at their flowers. They are shining modestly in the sun, they are wild and cute, their smell is sweet and divine, their purple colour is just beautiful, especially in the sun and there are bees buzzing about… There’s nothing better than that relax feeling in such a lavender garden, sun glasses on, a cold drink, and a good companion…

I’ve got a tiny pot of lavender in the most sunny spot in my terrace. I’ve been given so much care and love. But sadly, it just won’t bloom…

Why why why???

Of course, I’m living in London. And now it’s end of August. The real summer ended in April… Since then, it has not been sunny long enough, despite my care and its healthy grow, it just can’t release the divine smell or cast a flowery spell… 😦

What else should I do now to save my lavender?

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I’m doing Martial Art with some of my friends. One day, we were discussing about some techniques (purely techniques) for our grading the next week. Another guy sitting nearby was ‘disgusted‘ by our talk (his word).

He told us how brutal and evil we were for being excited and talking about “fighting”. His argument was we would become aggressive if we learn about martial art – for him, it’s just punching and kicking.

My argument would be completely different. I guess because he’s never done such a thing. The point is it would depend on the learner’s attitude. Before joining the course, you are asked why do you want it?
My answer is very clear “Self – defense“.

Before and after each session, (that’s twice every 2 hours), we have to speak out loud our principles when we learn Martial Art. In brief, it’s “to defend”, “to respect”, “to help others”, “to self-control”… not “to fight”!!!
And as it’s said, when you say it enough, you’ll believe in it. The idea is very clear, you fight, yes, but that’s genuinely protection, you’re prepared when you are attacked.
Again, this could be different in other people’s attitude. But please, don’t put all of us in a bunch of “Brutal and Violent Fighters“, that’s insulting!

P/S: You would know how useful martial art if you were a small girl!

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The free London business newspaper City A. M. published last Tuesday that the consulting firm Ernst & Young is to implement a scheme so its employees can take as many holidays as they want. Forget about 20 working days. If you want to take 30, do so. 40? No problem. That’s a good place to work.

The objective is ending the “attendance culture”. That is, in spite of being eight hours at the office, you might actually be working less than somebody else who is there just six hours. The aim is changing the concept of “going to work” by “doing work”. It is not about being in the office, but doing your duties and doing them well.

This brings me memories of when at school the teachers told us that we were not having compulsory homework anymore, but optional. Great! No more homework. But at the end of the term, the students who had been doing homework had better marks, and the teachers would help them more. Anyway, that wasn’t a big problem, because it was enough with a “pass”, and we weren’t there to make friends with the teachers.

As far as I know, working Saturdays and even Sundays is quite common in big consultancy firms such as Ernst & Young, or getting to the end of the year with some holidays still remaining. They have a pyramidal structure, with many junior employees and fewer seniors. That means when promotion time comes (so called Round Table), it is not enough with a pass. You have to be better than the rest. I am sure knowing that, you are going to take many holidays (!?!)

And while you are lying on the beach, sipping your Caipirinha, you will be thinking about Smith and Johns sitting in their chairs at the office, working like little ants, working six days a week, receiving taps on their back by your managers, covering your duties, talking to the clients assigned to you. And when the promotion comes, guess who is going to get promoted and who is going to get permanent holidays.

When I started my work at a smaller consulting company my manager informed me that they started at 9 AM in the morning. Naively, I asked “and what time do you leave?”, to which he replied with a wide smile. Clearly, this scheme of taking as many holidays as you want is a great idea… but I do not know for who.

 

(Sirventes is the author of the blog Un mundo perplejo (in Spanish), who is joining us from time to time to share his experience in London)

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