Saturday, March 31, 2007

Barefoot Doctor Who

I've just very much enjoyed the start of the of the new Doctor Who series on BBC this evening. The new assistant Martha Jones is rather lovely and I do like David Tennant as the doctor. But what really tickled me pink was seeing the Doctor barefoot! Is my influence spreading that quickly?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Barefoot At Jongleurs, Camden Town

Friday 16th March

Were you at Jongleurs in Camden Town last Friday? Well I am that very barefoot Nick. If you weren't then here's the story.

It was Ben and Rachael's birthday this last weekend and as a treat some free tickets to Jongleurs were secured for free, so a night out in London was organised. Ben, Luke and I caught the train up from Southampton in the afternoon and we all convened at the End of the World pub in Camden Town (thought I stopped off at China Town to pick up some wok lids).

We then pottered along to a Miso Soup bar and enjoyed a very lovely noodle meal (though unfortunately no miso soup). Afterwards we then went along to the comedy club, and I was pleased that they let me in without shoes on. Unfortunetly the table thay gave us was right benieth the microphone.

When the compare started he did a very funny introduction which involved picking out some likely candidates for picking on by the upcoming comedians. First there was this guy Bob, who was a little posh. This provided some amusement, but then he looked over, spotted me and found out I was a research student - a great compromise for a start. Then he noticed that I wasn't wearing any shoes, and that was it. What better a comedy subject than a barefoot student. Comedy gold.

So throughout the night I was used as the butt of many jokes. It was truly brilliant, I loved it. I was continually thankful that I am able to laugh at myself and that I wasn't one of those Americans who seem to have had the sarcasm gene removed. After the acts ended I had a number of people come up to me and say hello (the night had been dedicated to me) and get their picture taken with me. All very good fun, and all in a very nice spirit.

This is perhaps the most enjoyable thing about being barefoot, being already different from the crowd it seems to take away some of the unease or fear that people have about talking to strangers. Just brilliant.

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Running Barefoot Across London

After my night of comedy last Friday I had a little adventure running through the streets of London. I guess I stayed a tad late in the comedy club and it was 11:30 when I made to leave. I had a little walk through Camden Town to the train station and then got onto the Northern line heading south towards Waterloo. Annoyingly I picked up the wrong branch of the Northern (I'm sure it was not totally clear, but the slight inepriation might have had a little to do with it).

I'd heard rumours that the underground stopped at about half twelve but didn't really want to check my phone to see what the time was. I checked the underground map and noted that the Jubilee line connects London Bridge to Waterloo so I got of there and nipped down the escalators to the platform just as a train left. Unfortunately, to my horror, the announcement then came on the tannoy informing us that that was the last westbound train. Mistake!

So I ran back up the escalators - I love running up escalators in bare feet, especially the really long ones leaping up two steps at a time, quite an skill - picked up my bearings outside and then headed for Waterloo running along Southwark Street and then Stamford Street. The distance was about one and a half miles and I reached the station with 15 minutes before the train left (I had only sketchy info regarding the time of the last train back to Southampton being at about 1 am).

This was definitely a good example of the beer scooter as my friend calls it - that uncanny knack to get home when slightly under the influence. I was well surprised to find that it still worked with out shoes on, and what's more my feet survived intact. Though the heals were a little sore the following day, and my calves ached the day after that, but otherwise unscathed. Result.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Walking With My Feet

On the way home from town this afternoon I came across a father and son walking home from school. He was of the age where you walk about 5 meters behind your dad, just experimenting with being a little independent. He was also on a secret mission to shoot lots of things as he went, so as I passed home I was shot and a gruesome death followed.

As I walked on he exclaimed to me about my shoelessness with the rather lovely phrase "your walking with your feet". We chatted a little about this and he told me he thought it was disgusting, but then went on to recall that he did it when he goes on holiday in India.

A lovely little chap. The sort you really pray won't get screwed up and turned into a chav.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Barefoot in the Nation's Capital

My feet own Washington DC. I've come to DC for the Planetary Defence Conference to present my research. While at the conference I've been shod in some rather uncomfortable smart shoes. But come home time I've been loosing the feet prisons and getting some fresh air round my toes. And boy has the air been fresh!

On Tuesday I walked from the GW University in Foggy Bottom to Chinatown. It was a long way and I survived unscathed despite crossing a glass strewn carpark. The temperature significantly dropped that evening and on Wednesday it snowed all day. Sad to say when I went out that evening I did wear my sandals.

But yesrterday I decided to explore Gorgetown with the prospect of finding some shops. And find them I did. On the way there I was able to experiment with snow footing for the first time. Bloody cold! But a few steps afterwards the snow had falled off and my feet regained conciousness. One guy walked past and enquired how long it had taken me to get used to barefoot in the cold. I said I'd only been going 6 months, though this was my first time in the snow.

Then I went into the Patagonia shop and was met with much interest, love and respect for being a little odd. All that I'd heard about Patagoina was right, they rock! Just as I was leaving two guys walked in leotards and definitely trumped my oddity. I then got sent out of the small mall next door for this No Shirt No Shoes No Service bollocks. I then met some homeless guys who offered me their shoes, a guy from a Pensilvania commune that I'd met in Chinatown on Sunday and a nice guy who offered to pray for me (though I was able to reassure him I was already a brother in Christ).

Much coolness. So I'm out again today to enjoy the warm sunshine and let my feet do the walking.

My feet after an evening walking Washington DC in the snow

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