All entries for January 2006

January 29, 2006

Stories from the City

A to ZMy day of culture (best intentions) turned into a day of mooching, shopping, eating and drinking. Met Rhi and her friend Julia for lunch in Notting Hill, wandered around Portobello road, then met Thomas, Phil and Helen for a drink late afternoon. Got myself very lost through my premature confidence, dodgy sense of direction and belief that the time had come to cut the umbilical cord to my trusty A-Z. Have now realised the error of my ways, and understand that there is a long way to go until I can go out in the big bad city and trust to pure instinct alone.

Love being in the city at weekends – there's so much potential and possibility. It reminds me of those lazy, slightly hungover Sundays in Taipei having brunch in Grandma Nittis with the other EFL teachers, followed by a wander in the park or a spot of shopping in Shi-da or in the flower/jade market. I only have to listen to PJ Harvey's Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea and I feel myself transported back there – the curious soundtrack to my last few months living in Taiwan.

Now I have that Sunday night feeling, even though I'm quite looking forward to tomorrow's task (writing a 3000 word speech for a conference). It's funny the way that I got myself into a complete state over my essays at Warwick and fretted about them for weeks before they were due, but the thought of throwing together a ministerial speech in a day doesn't really daunt me. Well not till 9am tomorrow anyway. Rise and shine


Rise and shine

Whatever happened to a pot of freshly brewed coffee, some warm buttered toast and leisurely perusal of the best of the morning papers before facing the day ahead…?

These days it appears to take pre-packaged sandwiches, the latest Daily Mail shock headline, a futile attempt at nutrition in the form of a pint of full-fat milk, and an 'energy' drink akin to battery acid to jolt our sleep-deprived brains into such a state that we can face another day of existence in the 21st century.

Rise and shine


manky

London tap water is manky.

January 20, 2006

Quarter of a century

My birthday tomorrow – I will have been alive for quarter of a century and so, according to Andrew S, am about to enter my LATE twenties. This doesn’t please me but it doesn’t do to dwell on it – in my mind I am a perpetual teenager, certainly no older than 20. Haven’t blogged for ages, partly because I’ve been really busy but mostly because it took ages to sort out my WGA login post-Warwick.

Good news is that I got a distinction in my MA! Bad news is I didn’t particularly care (not being snotty about it, just had enough of academia for one lifetime)...

The novelty of being in London is definitely starting to wear off. I had a wonderful three months before xmas – it was exciting and busy and bustling – such a contrast to the monotony of my MA year! But now reality is seeping back in and I’ve been feeling strangely vulnerable, lonely, sad… Having said that, I took myself off to the Tate Modern this evening after work and enjoyed wandering round by myself for a couple of hours. It was nice to be alone but not lonely, and to not NEED other people in the desperate, anxious way I sometimes do.

I spent quite a lot of time roaming in and around the fantastic new sculpture in the main hall – “Embankment” by Rachel Whiteread. It consists of hundreds of plaster casts of boxes heaped up into a sprawling landscape that is both urban and organic, ordered and disordered, impersonal and intimate, not to mention strangely mystical and pure – the “ghosts of interior space” piled up into an immense monumental structure in the Turbine Hall. The scale of it is quite deceptive. From the bridge above, the sculpture appears solid and reassuring, self-contained, almost neat (if that’s not too trite a description), but once immersed within the labyrinthine passages and spaces of the structure itself the boxes start to loom precariously, threatening to smash down and engulf you at any moment.

I also went into a couple of the other galleries and spent a while revisiting some of my favourite pictures – most memorably Matisse’s Snail, Dali’s Persistance of Memory and a whole roomful of Rothko – and watched Un Chien Andalou as well as a couple of other Surrealist films. I then started feeling dizzy (possibly at the prospect of someone getting their eyeball sliced open with a razor), so my visit to the Tate Modern had an abrupt finish and I rushed home immediately to cook lemon prawns and mange tout.

Tomorrow I’m going bowling in Lewisham (ooh the glamour!) followed by dinner at Zizzis on the Strand – part two of my three-week-long series of birthday celebrations! I’m really looking forward to it, especially seeing my out-of-London friends. Martin is coming from Oxford, Naomi from Rugby, Rebecca and David from Birmingham. And then of course there’s all my friends who live in London – friends from school, Oxford and Warwick. Then it’s off to Warwick in the evening to see Adam. I feel so very lucky to know them all. I love weekends, especially birthday weekends!

Oh god. Quarter of a century. Happy birthday to me.


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