Last night was Wicked down at the Apollo Victoria Theatre with the rest of my mates. I cringe to say it, but it was…pretty wicked. The singing was good, G(ah)linda was fabulous in every sense of the word (the best dumb blonde I have ever seen), and they had an incredible set. It was all cogs and lights and gear-bubbles, topped by a giant mechanical dragon. And, hey, if it’s got a mechanical dragon, it has to be be good.

Other than that, it’s been a bit chilly. It isn’t nearly as cold as it is back home, so walking is quite nice. However, since most buildings aren’t heated, it is usually the same temperature inside and out. Fortunately I’ve gotten used to it, but still the way that bone-chilling wetness of the cold here creeps up on you is beginning to make me understand why the British pioneered things like mulled wine. There is practical observation behind the expression “frozen to the marrow,” and it only gets worse when the fog comes in off the Thames. Especially in winter, when the days are so brief that it’s dark when you get to work and even darker when you leave, a bit of fire in your chest probably makes life seem a whole lot less bleak. All of the office workers from the city make straight for the nearest pub as soon as they get off work here, and the black tide (or 5:00 funeral, as I think of it) crashes quickly on this side of the river. By the time it reaches the residential districts, it has evaporated to just a few scattered people. The streets will be fairly empty by 6, with lots of light coming from the windows, but very little noise and few people until around 7, when the workers start coming out and the students going in. Everything is closed by 11, though, except for a few seedy newsagents and a club or two. All in all, it’s a very tidy system.

While which pub knows your usual seems to be important to British culture, I still haven’t seen the inside of one since our orientation. It’s a shame, perhaps, but I still prefer tea and the absence of inebriated accommodations officers. I do realize that tea is less hip* , and hipness is everything to British youth. Sucks to be them.

*even matcha, apparently. And no, I didn’t realize the pun until after I’d already edited this.