Friday, 19 December 2008
Thursday, 18 December 2008
I teamed it with a black merino wool wrap dress for my interview, I decided that the black leather jacket smacked too much of 'rock chick' so amazingly I managed to still fit into a very old Chanelesque tweed boxy jacket that I have had since before Leyla was born. I had originally bought it to wear with jeans, I loved it and wore it a lot, but as with all that we love it started to feel dated, but unusually for me I was reluctant to part with it so I dry cleaned it and put it away. I realised it would look perfect with the dress, and I was right. What cheered me up the most was that it still fitted, I did not even have to squeeze into it, it hung as beautifully as it had all those years ago.
My next sartorial challenge apart from packing, is to put together an outfit for New Year, which will be spent at a very posh dinner dance in Istanbul. This requires a ball gown or at least a proper posh long frock, but I just do not 'do' long, If I had realised earlierI could have borrowed a beautiful tiered Jaegar skirt from my mother, sadly it is too late. So I am going to wear trousers, either a pegged wool pair from Toast or an almost vintage pair of wide legged velvet ones. I have bought this
to wear with it, I have a very light sequined cardie to wear over the top and a beautiful sequined bag, but shoes..... oh God what am I going to put on my bloody feet!
"Is this the most inappropriate – or unfair – naming of children you have heard of? There was, of course, the case in July this year of a nine-year-old girl from New Zealand whose parents called her Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii. A lawyer acting for the girl claimed she was so embarrassed she told friends her name was "K" instead.
She was placed into court guardianship so her name could be changed after judge Rob Murfit ruled it had set her up with a "social disability and handicap".
He went on to signal his concern about other names given to children, including Violence, Midnight Chardonnay and Number 16 Bus Shelter. There was a set of twins named Benson and Hedges."
This made me LOL, I thought I was bad, although my cousin is worse calling his girls India followed by twins Masie and Minnie. (yep even more girls) what is it with us and names.
In stark contrast Emin's family rotate a handful of names over and over again, first and last names are interchangeable and in some case repeated, it is quite possible in Cyprus to have a child called Mehmet Mehmet! Emin recently spent 3 days obtaining his ID card over in Cyprus they refused to allow him to have Hassan insisting it was a corrupted form of Hasan so his name is now different there from here.
To get the card he had to track down his parents birth certificates and marriage certificate, not easy as the first question he was asked was his parents DOB, he did not know his mothers! eventually they tracked her down, she was born in 1928 only 6 years after my Gran, how weird is that? He has skipped a whole generation. Which is more understandable when you know that he was from his fathers second marriage.
His father walked away from his first marriage and refused all contact with them again, leaving some very confused and damaged children behind, he went back to his village and married Emin's mother telling her they were going to England for their Honeymoon, they never went back. Not the foundations for the happiest of relationships, or childhoods I suspect.
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
A rather bizarre side effect of reading so many blogs is that I no longer buy magazines, neither do I get that horrible grass is greener lifestyle envy syndrome, because the more you read and write the more you realise that where there is something you desire, it inevitably comes at a price and so my lot has become more content over the last 18 months.
Before I had Daisy I became very green fingered almost to the point of obsession, I visited all the great gardens, including Great Dixter and Beth Chattos place. I would devour gardening journals, buy plants, plan and dig and create my Eden. Then Daisy arrived demanding and difficult, I tried so hard to carry on and get her to fit in with what I wanted do but to no avail. One of the small pleasures I had was to visit peoples gardens under the National Garden Scheme, I remember as if it were yesterday trying to take in the beauty of this women’s garden all the while Daisy ran around like a banshee, whilst Kitty screamed and yelled, finally throwing up all over me. On the way out I obviously must have seemed at the end of my tether and I complained at how hard it was to carry on creating my own Eden whilst raising two small children. She told me that you only get one shot at bringing up children, the garden can wait, enjoy them while you can, they do not stay for children for long, whereas the garden is going nowhere. I took her at her word; I stopped trying to juggle everything and became a mother. It was the best advice I could have. They have now grown older and the garden is still there.
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
The Tenby Document
"In these photographs Edith Maybin investigates the space between mother and daughter. She takes portraits in a home environment where she and her daughter enact secret stories together whist wearing Marks and Spencer undergarments, a gesture towards Maybin’s own mother and an investigation into female rituals and sentimental inheritance".
"Maybin digitally places her five-year-old daughter’s head on her own body; the photograph resolving the dichotomy of the relationship. In closing the gap between mother and daughter these images,"
"Inspired by Lady Clementina Hawarden’s photographic tableaux of her daughters, Maybin and daughter paradoxically elude the gaze by way of imaginative abstraction into a place, like Vermeer’s women, intangible.
Although not such an obvious comparison with the past Maybin's work forms part of an increasing trend for photographers to look to the past for inspiration. I find her images not only very beautiful but also very unsettling. See many more images at her website
Betsie van der Meer Another brilliant photographer I saw at the NPG, was Betsie van der Meer, her images are more literal but no less complex and beautifully lit and printed visit her website
Emma Critchley and Sophie Lewis
The Fear of Falling
Finally, these photographs are over 8ft high, they are very imposing, standing like those amazing Tudor portraits you see in stately homes across England. At first I was struck by how beautiful and subtle the colours were as well as the traditionally referenced poses. Then when I read this, I looked again and finally realised just how incredible they really are.
Can you imagine how hard it must be to create such stillness underwater? the only thing that gives a clue to this is the sitters hair and the way the fabric appears to float, but the expressions are so calm, I would be flapping around like a fish out of water if this were me!
Monday, 15 December 2008
The new Photographers Gallery is a fabulous space which creates a far more intergrated unit for seeing the photographs It is very tucked away yet just a stones throw from Oxford Street, well worth a visit, as is the Taylor Wessing prize which was the best it has been for a long time. In common were the images from Vanessa Winship,
"One enduring image that had always struck me wherever I travelled was the schoolgirls in their little blue dresses, the same in every town, city or village.These dresses with their lace collars and sweet messages embroidered on the bodices, were the symbol of the Turkish state, but the girls who wore them were simply little girls".
The images are very beautiful and the bonus of visiting Vanessa Winship's website is this blog
I do think it is important to live with the people you want to photograph, it is what makes these images so intimate rather than the voyeuristic nature of images you sometimes get with Diane Arbus and August Sander.
I spent 4 consecutive summer holidays in the village of Avtepe in Northern Cyprus and whilst I became very involved in the landscape, I was never accepted by the villagers.
Yet with the increasing acceptance of Northern Cyprus as a country the villagers and their homes are in danger of disappearing unrecorded. Whilst Cuba and many other countries have their poverty romanticised by countless photographers, Northern Cyprus has never been on the radar. The beach we used to visit now has two large hotel complexes, rather than the two local beach shacks. The steady march of tourism brings wealth and infrastructure ( they now have their first ambulance!) but also takes away the soul of this amazing part of the island.
I would love to try and record it and may try to go with Emin sometime in 2010 to photograph the area where he lives.
The history of Northern Cyprus is long and complex and not without blame on the British who's' game of divide and conquer ruined the country. A superb book to read is Bitter Lemons of Cyprus by Lawrence Durrell written just before it all went wrong.
One of the stories that attracted me to Emin was that of his flight from the war in 1974 as a boy of 6, he has continued to remain attached to his mother house that she built just before she died and it was this house that he recently stayed at. On my recommendation he is planting a garden so that when he retires he will have a large shady paradise to stay in, he has just relined the incredibly deep well, which will now provide all the water he needs to realise his vision.
"She describes herself as cynical; she knows what people really think and what they are - whatever they say"
"She says she doesn't actually like people, but "I'm interested in them. And I'm nosy, very nosy. I want to know everything about everyone. When I was a waitress, what was so fantastic was hearing snippets of people's conversations."
These are quotes from an interview with Nigella Lawson I read at the weekend, it was like reading some thing I would have written, I would not have guessed anyone else was like this, but we appear to share common ground in our rather frosty childhood.
My mother rather shockingly confessed to me some time ago that she could not recall giving me a cuddle after the age of 5, which is when my sisters arrived back to back in less than 2 years.
I think this goes a long way in explaining why I hate the physical touch of people including my family. I will only let Emin and my Daughters close enough cuddle, anyone else makes me reel. I too also shun the mirror, my reflection never lives up to expectation. I am not at all maudlin about any of this It has given me a waspish sense of humour and an ability to be almost pathologically self contained. I have however made sure that each one of my girls has had a very cuddly childhood with not a day going by without them being told how beautiful, bright and clever they are. Such things build our self esteem , it has taken me 40 years to find mine, so the girls should now have a head start.
This weekend I watched the last Wallander and the last Little Dorrit both were very sad but visually stunning in every which way. I am officially bereft!
Friday, 12 December 2008
Thursday, 11 December 2008
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Picture from here
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
The idea was that we would drive up Saturday morning, have a leisurely walk around and then have an early pub meal and a few pints before bed time.
The reality was that mother had suggested we meet up with some relatives from the other side of the Pennines, she then stressed for TWO effing hours because she thought we would be late, just because we stopped for breakfast. Sister 1 took this to mean that she had to drive extra quick and in the end we got to York before they did. Of course now we had to have lunch, not easy on the biggest shopping day of the year. We settled down in a rather impersonal bar and had a long and animated chat. We checked into the hideously expensive hotel. The rooms were tiny and over heated. We then exchanged presents before waving them goodbye. Sister 2 lives in a village just outside York, sadly she lives in such utter squalor she refuses to let anyone visit let alone stay. This means that when we visit we end up paying a fortune, as hotels are obviously expensive in York, but this cuts little ice with her. Because of this I asked if we could just have a bar meal for dinner, but God only knows what went through my mothers head but she decided we should eat here,
My mother does this all the bloody time, she then martyrs herself by insisting she will pay, but when we got the bill I could have wept. It was so bad we had to divide it into four, the food tried too hard, the service was ad hoc, but what I resented the most was the complete lack of ambiance. To cap it all sister 2's daughter was her usual teenage moody self, she sat texting her boyfriend (psycho gun toting teenager from Finland, as found via some dodgy Internet chat room) She then said the food was rubbish and went home before the meal was over, it transpired an hour before we ate, she bought a bag of 12 donuts and ate 11 of them giving one to Daisy and Kitty to share. I was so angry I could not sleep, well that and the heat and the noise in the hotel.
Sunday morning I had an hour to myself and wandered around taking photographs. Daisy and Kitty then took it upon themselves to fleece me for every penny they could before blaming me for all the ills of their upbringing. The cherry on top of my utterly crap weekend was sister 2 sulking because I did not buy her anything for Christmas. In fact I bought her vile daughter vouchers, but because we were tied up for lunch I could not collect them until Sunday, and since she had asked for a present I decided she could go without. how rude..
Tey next time I want to fritter away £300 I am going to Selfridges! at least I get to enjoy it.
P.S Did not get the job, feeling even more pissed off.
Friday, 5 December 2008
Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Monday, 1 December 2008
So I tried to go back to sleep, only for spawn of the devil to reek havoc, in the end I give up and get up. Unbeknownst to me she has been snapping away with my camera.
As I load up the images today I find this little self portrait. Do not be deceived she was WIDE AWAKE when she took this, both she and Kitty just love nothing better than to snap away at themselves for hours on end, both of them are quite the little actresses as this just proves.
Friday, 28 November 2008
I was here to take the students to see the 2 exhibitions below, Emin had just finished his meeting so we hooked up for a coffee. I love the yellow stripe in the image above.
"The Hayward presents a major exhibition that brings a fresh perspective to his work, showing works from the 1950s through to the 1980s"
Although the exhibition has had a very lukewarm press, it hit the spot with the students, as it is displayed with a great deal of flair and imagination.
"Berlin-based South African artist Robin Rhode (born 1976) is a major new talent on the international art scene. He has developed a growing reputation for brilliantly inventive performances, photographs and drawings. Rhode combines large-scale charcoal drawings with charming and sharp-witted performances, often acted out on the street. In his video animations"
Of course this was brilliant, even Emin stopped checking his emails to take a look! rare praise indeed. Later the students saw Rhode's giving an interview so they were plucking up courage to go back an get his autograph.
Talking of autographs how random is this? My teenage daughter Daisy went to Bluewater and queued up to get John Barrowmans autograph!! on his new CD. She was over the moon as both her and her friends had their photo taken with him, and even more, bless, they asked him if he would like to see a play they had written, a spoof on Dr Who, he said he may be on holiday which I thought was very sweet of him, since he could have just laughed "do I look like I've got time to spare watching a bunch of adolescents performing?"
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
Friday, 21 November 2008
I really hope Une femme d'un certain age will forgive me, but I thought her recent post on 'class' would be an interesting point of discussion for my Tutor group, a group of 15-16 year old girls. So I copied and pasted the bullet points and handed them round for discussion. Where to start? I forgot that Americans use the English language in a very different way to girls from 'The Medway towns' so I spent quite a long time translating!
#1 Honouring your obligations. (showing up on time, following through with what you've promised.) most of the girls decided it was not their fault if they were late, things just 'happen' #2 Taking responsibility for your actions and mistakes. most did agree with this although one modest soul declared she never did any thing wrong and so should not ever need to say sorry!
#3 Keeping your cool under pressure. very few could see what was wrong with with exploding with anger every 5 min, better out than in, was their reasoning.. I gave them a few scenarios, including how they would feel if I let off steam as and when I felt like it, and very, very slowly they began to see my point of view, if not heed it.
#4 Graciously accepting a compliment without a qualifying statement after "thank you." This caused a huge outcry first they found they whole idea just plain wrong, a complement to these girls has to be debated ad infinitum, and often they believe a complement has to be laced with sarcasm, so they refuse to believe it anyway.
#5 Giving honest and heartfelt compliments. if we do this they cried, people will think we've lost the plot, they think were taking the piss!!
#6 Being conscious of the people around you. (Holding doors for those behind you, offering to help someone struggling with packages, not cutting right across another's path.) Universally accepted as a given, although many said it was too stressful to be so vigilant, sometimes they just might not think, one girl said she was happy to let an old lady sit down "cos they're sweet" but few felt pregnant women deserved any sympathy!
This was as far as we got, interestingly one girl crossed out all references to God, she announced that "she does not believe in God", that she was God and I quote " You don't have to wait for a miracle, you have to make a miracle with your own hands" "Believe and try harder rather than praying for your God" Wow, wise words indeed.
Many girls when asked to write anything they felt had been missed wrote "Don't be racist" or "rasics" as one girl spelt it, and quite a few thought not eating smelly food in public and keeping MP3 players quiet was important too. I am now looking forward to part 2 especially the discussion on how short is too short for a skirt....
#7Treating clerks, cashiers, janitors, bus drivers, waitresses, postal workers, the people on the other end of the 800# customer service line, and your annoying co-workers with courtesy and respect, and remembering that they're people too, not just robots serving your needs. (Also, not talking on your cell phone while conducting a transaction!)
#8 Dressing in a way that shows respect for yourself and those around you.
#7 Neither hiding your intelligence nor wielding it as a club.
#8 Standing up for yourself without resorting to abuse.
#9 Delighting in others' joys, not in their misfortunes.
#10 Being mindful that "there for the grace of God go I." While I believe in personal responsibility and that choices have consequences, it helps to remember that the playing field isn't level and that life throws curve balls at all of us; even those who make all of the "right" decisions can fall on hard times.
#11 Rather than complaining endlessly about circumstances, looking for solutions.
#12 Helping when you can: volunteer, donate.