So I’m in London, land of blitz spirit and denial, greed and disaster. Hunkered down in England’s plague-pit, I promise you all, everything is going to be absolutely fine.
Mood: Sort of itchy and news-obsessed. Waiting for doom to knock on the door.
Weather: Sunny, blue sky, little fluffy clouds. Distinctly inappropriate weather for a global catastrophe. Anyone would think nature was fine about our impending ending.
Word of the day: Impest – to infest with plague or pestilence.
“Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.”
The Year Of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion
It’s been a while since I posted. I just finished writing my book yesterday (woohoo!) I’ve got my head to a somewhat settled place, and a huge disaster is sweeping through everywhere except Botswana and Yemen. The UK government is doing a great job of making a plan up as they go along, London may soon go into lockdown, but I’m still working. Working is actually pretty nice, it feels like we’re a lifetime away from danger when we’re out with the flowers and the robins.
How about all of you? (going to have a look in a minute) Are you isolated? Healthy? Scared or complacent?
Note: for anyone isolating and bored, the above picture was made using the website http://weavesilk.com/ If, like me, you like making beautiful and impressive pictures, but don’t really have any talent or skills, then this is the website for you. Click and drag ineptly as you like and the results will be delightful. The controls in the left hand top corner give you enough variety to keep it interesting. A seriously soothing site.
Alien Resort was asking about the picture I put up yesterday. It was one of the sculptures from the outdoor art Frieze at Regent’s Park (I turned the picture upside down because I liked the way it messed with perspective). Anyway, I thought I’d put up the other pictures from there, since it was an interesting exhibition.
Quite annoying though, despite cordons around most of the art and signs saying Please don’t touch, people were lifting their kids over the ropes and letting them climb all over the art. I like that the public feel less intimidated by art and rules now, but it seems like only the intimidation was stopping us from trashing everything.
^ This is part of the sculpture that I used in yesterday’s photo, there were four of these bridge-like structures with words that didn’t make much sense on them.
Jaume Plensa – Laura Asia’s Dream
I thought this was beautiful, so peaceful ^
^ I’m not usually keen on Tracey Emin’s art, but I thought this captured a feeling well. And I liked the way she was just lying on the grass, as if she’d collapsed there and didn’t want to get up.
^ A rabbit, leaping through the air on the back of four elephants. This looked like the penultimate scene in a kid’s book.
Well, this disturbing hunk of chunk looked like it would step down and start thumping people. Just looked up the artist, and she’s great. May do a blog about some of her art soon, it’s the stuff of creepy dreams.
There were other sculptures too, which I’ll probably post up at some time. I hope you enjoyed these!
“I have lost my rhythm.
I can’t sleep.
I can’t eat.
I have been robbed of
― Charles Bukowski, Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit
Word of the day: Cryptadia– things to be kept hidden
I didn’t really sleep last night, by four thirty am I’d given up completely. By seven I was on a bus going to Victoria – turns out TFL decided to switch off transport for my town today and a bus going to Victoria was the only way out. However, it was time to release the cats.
I ended up at Westminster Cathedral. Inside was praying and sermons, outside were small crowds of the homeless.
Anyone who’s been following will know that I recently found a stone cat in the gardens at work, and then I made a few of my own. Today I spread them out around the Cathedral, glad it was early before people were about wondering what the fuck I was doing.
Collective nouns for cats: Clowder, Clutter, Pounce, Nuisance, Glorying, Glare
Some of you might remember I found a stone cat in the railing at work with a message on the back to contact Facebook and re-hide the cat. Well, I have now added a few new cats to the collection and I need to work out where to put them.
I’m thinking the story is that original cat has been missing for a week because she’s been playing around with other cats, and now she has a family of cats with her (her own babies? a cat cult? a Top Cat gang?) .
I’ve been trying to work out where to put them. Any ideas? It has to be somewhere secluded enough for me to not be noticed putting them out, but not so secluded no one finds them. Another park railing might be good or under a bush. Although neither is very inspired.
Oh and I found this important letter today, sadly no one was around to return it to, but I feel its message will resonate with younger sisters everywhere.
‘I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.’
Word of the day: Dealate– insect divested of its wings
One mystery is solved! The encyclopedia of all important knowledge, Calmgrove, knew why buildings in the UK have so many stone babies and small children scattered around them. Here is his brilliant explanation.
‘Fat winged babies: these are called putti, Italian for ‘male children’. They were originally a pagan figure, a representation of Aphrodite’s child Eros, better known to us as Cupid, but substituted for cherubs in Christian iconography. Cherubs themselves derive from Hebrew cherubim, fearsome angelic beings but over time tamed down to podgy infants with ridiculously inadequate wings.
As to the St Paul’s putti, I suspect some of them are a reflection of London’s poor — the orphans, beggars, climbing boys, young pedlars — a reproach to passers-by and an encouragement to engage in some charitable work.’
I love the idea of pudgy infants with only vestigial wings so that they can no longer fly, dodo angels.
The alien space tank on the roof of a building has not been so clearly explained. An air conditioning unit (thank you Boo) and overhead Gantry Crane (thank you Darnell) are two excellent suggestions. I’m not going to spin this into a drama, but all I’m saying is, keep an eye out for inexplicable alien space tanks appearing on top of buildings in your town.
Weather: bitter winds that cut through the scowling clouds.
Mood: clearly melodramatic
Word of the day: mazy– dizzy; confused; labyrinthine; convoluted
So after hiding in my room for the last two days, I thought I should face whatever music is playing, whatever trouble is brewing. I could hear somebody in the kitchen and so I steeled myself.
It was Hamoudi listening to Joan Armatrading and shimmying about the lino while cooking soup, which is as nonthreatening as it gets. We did the usual hey-how-you-doing? and then moved onto what had happened while I was away. Well, not much. Neville went into hiding, to the extent that Hamoudi was convinced at one point he was dead.
‘Except, then I would have seen him,’ explained Hamoudi, (Hamoudi has talked about seeing dead people before, for anyone who hasn’t been following.) ‘So nothing is sorted,’ he said, and shrugged. Then I told him about the mysterious perfume smell and asked if he knew where the cat picture came from. He knew nothing.
Finally, we agreed we need to properly sit down, the four of us together, and talk it over. When Neville gets back tonight, we’ll do it. Not sure how late it will be, so I’ll probably save writing about it until tomorrow.
Anyway, this feels like a dull blog, so I’ll put up some photos from my trip.
It will be hard not to make this post too personal, but I’ll try. Keith Haring was an inspiring artist at a time when graffiti was still considered an eyesore and not an art form, a time that I have a lot of nostalgia for. I’m guessing that I might well have run into Keith Haring either on a dance floor (gay clubs were the only ones to play even remotely good dance music in the early 80s, and as Cameo says “we don’t have the time for psychological romance”) or in a mosh pit, and those desperate and proud moments were key formative times for a young suburban kid who wanted to know what all the fuss was about when it came to the energy of the big city and the attitude of contemporary art. That said, I visited Haring’s exhibit (along with Paolo Buggiani‘s work) in Firenze…
Siddiebowtie is running a competition way more exciting than all those ‘nominate a hundred blogs and get them all to write an essay about what they did on their holidays’ competitions.
This competition has unknown rules!
– you have to make up your own and whoever gets it right wins.
It has unknown prizes!
– possible prizes include a wooden testicle, an egg and an evil book.
You may never know if you’ve actually won it or not…
Although you might win a crafty object of delight!
And the post is really funny in the kind of delightful and ridiculous way that can only brighten your day.
Now I appreciate you’re busy, you have commitments, you just remembered you have to feed the goldfish and cut your toenails and put the Roomba out for the night. However, the significance of those things pale into comparison with this competition.
Created by Terry Jones (yes, that one) and Brian Froud, I discovered this book back when I worked in a pokey remainder bookshop on Charing Cross Road (I’m being dismissive, but I loved that shop). It is as the title suggests, a book of fairies, their images preserved like pressed flowers, squashed between the pages. It’s based loosely on the Cottingley fairies, which were photographs of fairies taken by two young children in the early nineteen hundreds, although in contrast to Lady Cottington’s fairies, those photos eventually turned out to be fake.
The text that accompanies the squashed fairies, is the handwritten diary entries of Lady Cottington, starting in childhood as she squashes the poor fairies between the pages of her notebook. The fairies (and goblins too) get their own back occasionally by taunting her, but sometimes it seems they actually want to be caught. The notes continue into her adulthood as the fairies continue to visit her and she struggles with being disbelieved by her family.
I wanted to write a post about this book, even though it was published over twenty years ago, because there really isn’t anything else like it. The paintings of the fairies are delicate and bizarre; the writing is entertaining, and although it is difficult to like Lady Cottington, we get caught up in her adventures.