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Zoe Mulford: Postcards (Blog)

Every now and then, just for giggles, B and I stop into the basement of Selfridge's department store, possibly the singlemost surreal retail environment we have encountered outside Japan.Things you can find there:1) Service counters offering conveyer-belt sushi, Krispy Kreme donuts, high-end international and prepared foods, and British-raised buffalo jerky.2) The unfortunately named Vomfass line of specialty oils and flavored vinegars, sold in bulk with fancy bottles to put them in. Usually there's a little tasting station where you can dip a chunk of bread into pistachio oil and mango balsamic vinaigrette.3) An assortment of housewares so extensively designed it's impossible to tell what they are.
4) Novelty foodstuffs clearly meant to be given as gifts. Should you ever feel the need to give someone a marshmallow hamburger, coffee beans pre-digested by a civet (inaccurately marketed as “weasel coffee”), or an Easter egg costing as much as a train ticket to London, this is [...]
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I’m sure Britain is a much more round-the-clock culture than it used to be, but it is still much less so than the US. Here are the opening hours at our local Asda (a supermarket chain owned by Wal-Mart).

We think this is due to the Sunday trading act of 1994, which allows retail establishments in England and Wales (above a certain number of square feet) to open on Sunday for a maximum of six hours, between 10am and 6pm only. Before that, they couldn’t open for business at all on Sunday.

A journal entry soon after arriving in England:
Anywhere there are people providing services at the end of a queue - the railway station, the bank, the post office, the doctor’s office - there tends to be a sign mentioning the consequences of being verbally or physically abusive to the people behind the counter.I wonder if this says something about the usual length of the queues and the quality of the services provided at the end of them. Alternately, it could be indicative of some optimistic British belief that if someone is minded to assault a public servant, a sign on the wall will keep them from doing it.

Manchester has a lot of interesting graffitti art. One of my favorite pieces was a wall near the Oxford Road train station. Sadly, it has been painted over.Here are some bits of it.

I do not have a picture of the text:“It seems the raccoons from next door are up to their old tricks again. Most of their day seems evenly divided between shopping at a budget hardware store and mimicking old zombie films. They appear to have been resting for the past couple of weeks. The raccoons surround my house with their moaning. I begin my generous countdown before I set fire to them. Zombie Raccoons are not to be encouraged.”
Does anyone know who created this work?

I heard about the February Album Writing Month (FAWM) from Vermont songwriter Phil Henry. It’s an online community of songwriters who challenge each other to write an entire album’s worth of songs during the shortest month of the year - 14 songs in 28 days.It seemed like a good way either to set myself up for disappointment or to enable myself to spend a lot of time writing when I should be doing other work - but I signed on anyway.I bought a new notebook. (Most endeavors start with a new notebook.) I set myself the task of exploring one hook every day. I decided I would try to depart from my usual patterns and write some things that I wouldn’t normally write. I envisioned hours spent cheerfully noodling with my keyboard, turning out skewed, wispy pop songs to be intoned by breathy-voiced little girls in dark eyeliner.The notebook has an entry every day through February 9. This was a very nice string of days - I would start the day with creative play, develop ideas during [...]
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