Some thoughts in the weeks before the 2012 Olympics

Another piece from the early days of The Phraser. This one is my impression of London and the ‘mood’ before the 2012 Olympics. I’ve tidied it slightly but only to shorten a few of sentences.

The Phraser

London Olympics 2012 London Olympics 2012

London’s high performance summer is about to begin. A Henman Hill mood carpets the capital…surprise at having got this far and anxiety about what happens next.

The weather is damp and dreadful – an oppression of rain – a familiar blanket for a public keeping its chin up, and disregarding all logistical odds. This is what Londoners understand – how to create miracles on a soggy island.

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Fresh Food in Camden Lock Market’s West Yard

Here’s another piece on Camden Lock Market’s West Yard. It was written in 2012 after a visit to the food stalls. I’d love to know if anyone has fresh news of the food there. There was such a great atmosphere when I visited.

The Phraser

Fresh food in Camden Lock Market's West Yard Fresh food in Camden Lock Market’s West Yard

The food stalls in the West Yard of Camden Lock Market last Friday were all sunshine and service. It was a world food experience – a gap year in a lunch-hour…minus the alcohol.

If you have a London ‘to-do’ list that burst with parks, palaces, museums and big stores perhaps you might add Camden Market. It’s a day out to stretch the senses – a break from the big brands.

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Film Review: Angels’ Share – rich with real laughter

Do you remember this film? I found this review back in the early pages of The Phraser so I’ve dusted it off, and am showing it again. The film made me smile so much the first time.

The Phraser

Angels' Share - a film directed by Ken Loach Angels’ Share – a film directed by Ken Loach

Angels’ Share introduces us to a group of Glasgow’s young offenders as they spiral down into nowhere…and then it adds hope, urgent, illogical hope.

It’s a ninety minute diamond of a film, with an age-restriction of 15, some on-your-nose violence, and great publicity for whisky and Irn-Bru. It also shows the meaning of useful compassion, and it feels real.

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Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking jump with parachute

Here’s something with fright attached. I remember Felix Baumgartner’s jump so well…we listened to the live broadcast whilst driving into rain on an English motorway.

The Phraser

Garnerin parachutes into London - 1802 Garnerin parachutes into London -1802

That was 1802 – a decade over two centuries later the following happens: a huge gossamer balloon floats into the nothing of the stratosphere. Beneath it clings the tiny dot of a capsule, and inside it is an Austrian, Felix Baumgartner, aged 43.

When the balloon reaches 128,000 feet (24 miles) above the Earth, he will step out and drop into the deep.

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Visit to the food stalls in Camden Lock Market’s West Yard

My first visit to the food stalls in Camden Lock Market’s West Yard was in 2012. I loved it and a few articles followed. This is one of them.

The Phraser

Camden Lock Market, London Camden Lock Market, London

Camden’s markets attract some 15 million visitors every year. This summer we joined the crowd.

Once through the curiosity and distraction of the general stalls and the shoppers, we made our way to the West Yard for food.

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The identity question – Zimbabwean?

Why are we who we are? This is an old thought remastered, that takes me straight back to where I began.

The Phraser

Zimbabwe's children - what next? Zimbabwe

A young man, a stranger, asked me about identity, about my identity as a Zimbabwean. His question made me think…am I Zimbabwean?

The further I travel the more elusive the idea of ‘belonging’ becomes, and the more urgent the need for ‘identity’.

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Baristi and stress on the caffeine front

It’s winter again and I’m back in the UK so I thought I’d give this coffee post another shot of thanks.

The Phraser

Coffee - a pleasure in life Coffee – a pleasure in life

Coffee and I are well-acquainted. We meet often, frequently in a motorway services. The setting is big, like a strange spaceship, but the point is the caffeine – especially in winter.

Winter in the UK is sock damp and everywhere, smudged beyond the windowpane into a world that hides in its own armpit – head down, surviving.

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