Category Archives: holidays

All Is Quiet on New Year’s Day

Thought it would be nice to show how London celebrates the New Year. I spent last night at home watching this on tv as well as the fireworks in the local playground, it was surprisingly good.

A Right Royal Knees Up

I’m sure that you’re aware that last weekend was the Diamond Jubilee. Since I  am a staunch Republican (in the anti-monarchist sense, not the Conservative sense), I avoided most of the pomp and ceremony that engulfed the city and did my best to stay grumpy about all the transport delays. That aside, I took a few pictures to record the occasion in my local area . Despite the terrible weather, people did try their best to celebrate Liz, and I’m certain that there were  street parties like this all over the country. It’s quite fun to see street parties, they remind me of grander versions of the block parties I used to enjoy as a child in New York. It is also a rare occasion to see everyone in the local community in one place. It is a perfect example of the sheer variety of people that can be found in London, as well as a continuing and pervasive sense of traditional Britishness that remains whether you are 1st or 10th generation.

The invitation to the street party that arrived two months ago.

The queen taking in the view from a terrace, surrounded by omnipresent bunting.

In a storefront.

The street party stretched all the way down the road, the lane was packed with food, tables, Pimms and other drinks from the local pub. Despite the ominous clouds and rain, people seemed in high spirits.

 

Hanwell is very much a community that supports the creative endeavors of ‘the youth’. There’s always a band of 12 year old boys at these sort of events, yelping the lyrics of the Buzzcocks and the Ramones, slightly missing the joyfully ramshackle air of both groups with voices that are a bit too proper and a bit too practised.

Now, all I have to dread is the Olympics.

Turkey Day Reflections

Thanksgiving has come and gone, my third in England. Since most of my expat friends have returned to their former homes, I am now continuing the good fight and hosting my very first Thanksgiving dinner. It has become a synthesis of different cultures and traditions where sweet potato pie sits easily next to Yorkshire pudding and curry. My Thanksgivings have become a reflection of the multiple identities I feel as a traveller. My homes have been numerous, bits of my heart and memories remain in New York, DC, Maryland, Philadelphia, London. In a talk at the New York Public Library, one of my favourite writers, Zadie Smith, discusses the multiple voices that individuals gain as they move through different spheres and environments. I feel this sense of multiple consciousness (perhaps an expansion of double consciousness) grow the longer I am here. America has become a land both innately familiar and abstract; I have become used to discovering news in English broadsheets and American blogs, which sometimes creates a strange dissonance of voices and understandings. I realise that despite my stubborn urge to stay on top of American pop culture (especially much of black American pop culture), I am becoming less aware of what happens there and more immersed in the minutiae of pointless and interesting pop culture of Britain. My voice is changing the longer I am here, American idioms and slang that once reflected my background as a black sub/urban Northerner with Southern parents are slowly melding with English phrases and European mannerisms. Even the way that I approach words have changed as my mind is jostled by American and English pronunciations. Sometimes it’s as if I’m straddling two worlds, that of my past and my present as marked by different semantic landscapes. The longer I live in London, my lovely new home where memories are constantly being composed in the nooks and quiet corners of the city, the more I come to appreciate this cacophony of voices and paths that have led me here.