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.
Thursday, 20 November 2008
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Last year wandering round some random Berlin department store I happened across a whole wall of the most beautiful leather gloves. Normally I would not have been that interested In England I have never been able to fit inside ladies gloves and so I always end up with a pair of knitted ones stretched beyond their endurance. Even my green ones were ill fitting but were as near as I would get to a pair that I could squeeze on. I refuse to wear men's gloves which only enhance the gorillas paw effect, I have a hand span of 8 and 1/2 inches. My fingers are really long making most gloves very uncomfortable. On a whim I went into T.K.Maxx and they had a wonderful selection of gloves from? you guessed it Germany. I did not avail myself in Berlin last year, because despite the beauty of fit and suppleness of leather they were £70! so I reluctantly did not indulge, because as you know I do a have an irritating propensity to loose things. Now these beautiful red gloves are all mine.
And what of this years travel fest I hear you say, well I do have one niggle with this blog and that is I sometimes feel it is just one long bragathon, but hey if the cap fits....
This years itinerary is as follows;
- Eurostar to Brussels, 2 nights
- Train to Cologne, 2 nights
- Train to Berlin, 4 nights
- Flight to Istanbul, 4 nights
I must admit I am getting quite excited now, especially when Emin had the foresight to book us in to see the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra on Christmas Day.
Istanbul will definitely fullfill a dream wish, and after Emin stumbled over last years stinging criticism that I found him unadventurous it is the one place where we will be staying in a boutique hotel rather than the usual Marriott, Hilton & Raddisson Hotels, not that I am complaining, I am one very lucky girl.
We did struggle this year to come up with an itinerary I wanted to go to Norway by train but in the end as Emin has project managed it, this was a pretty good compromise. Plus we will be able to go apartment hunting in Potsdam. Yes Despite the big problems with the Euro and the recession Emin has decided to buy an apartment in Potsdam.
I will of course take thousands of photos not least from this amazing hotel and send you a postcard.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Monday, 17 November 2008
Of the series, Vuokola writes: 'The Seventh Wave consists of pairs of images with precisely the same cropping and angle of view...Two seconds or six hours can pass between the moments of taking the pictures. In some of the pairs, the difference can be seen easily, while in others it is less obvious. Even the blink of an eye is time enough for many atoms to revolve, grasshoppers to leap and glimmers of light to change places.' (Artist statement, 2007)
Of her series The New Landscapes, Hänninen states: 'The urban landscapes are basically drawings of my body movements that can be seen on photographic material as rhythmical light lines where subject and the scenery melt into a single image. Pictorial motifs divide into different surfaces -- the abstract and the actual. The human presence (breathing, heartbeat, laughter, talking, and walking during the exposure time) merge into the medium of photography, resulting in a process akin to painting. The subject is still strongly presented, whereas the object -- the scenery -- is estranged and thus becomes easier to deal with -- even safer than the actual place.' (Artist statement, 2007)
'My project Museum of Nature,' Halso says, 'is based on a pessimistic vision of what is happening on earth. I am looking into the future and I am not very happy about it. I am considering these pictures more as visual pamphlets than aesthetical images.' (Artist statement, 2004) Combining analogue and digital processes, Halso painstakingly constructs powerful fictional tableaux that question the state of our relationship with nature.
Friday, 14 November 2008
Moi, still loving my red bag, which conspired with my skirt to humiliate me every 5 minutes by riding up the side of my leg exposing my modesty to all who cared to look. This was kindly pointed out to me by a passing builder, oh Joy.
I did make it to Paul Smith, a small sparse collection of photos by Norman Parkinson, but the water lily one was worth the journey alone.
Then late in the afternoon, more out of curiosity than design, I went to H&M. The much hyped collaboration was more Rei Kawakubo than H&M. Very good quality fabrics beautifully cut. Sadly they were designed for someone shorter and younger than me, I tried on the trench coat which was gorgeous but the belt even on the size bigger was under my arm pit. I the nearly bought the spotty cardie but her clothes have a tendency to wear you, rather than the other way round, so reluctantly I walked away with nothing. I considered this a triumph of dignity over desire, a lesson I should have learnt when I was sixteen. If I was 10 years younger and 4 inches shorter I would have bought a lot. There was plenty left to go round even late afternoon so H&M have learnt a lesson on quantity.
And so I have achieved little in the way of picture filing this week. The lack of Emin also means that I have had no exercise, as no one can control the Leyla-monster I have had to stay in . He returns today and I feel not a little sad that my quiet routine and peaceful life will once again degenerate into pointless squabbling and bickering.
One ray of sunshine this last week has been the BBC production of Little Dorrit, one of the few Dickens storiesI have not read. The adaptation has been just fantastic, we are 6 episodes in and already tears have been shed. If I ever had to write a thesis on an author I would choose Dickens, I love his stories, I know little about him as a person but I have often thought he must have had very positive relationships with women, as he writes the female characters so well, and gives them so much personal strength. I just wish it was on every night.
Have a wonderful weekend, think of me back in the gym....
Thursday, 13 November 2008
My favourite too, I love the colours.
– and says he doesn’t have a favourite because it changes according to how he feels (though he admits to loving the shot of the model in the lily pond).
Sublime images by Norman Parkinson
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
It is one of those shops where you want to buy everything. I particularly loved this range of clothes perfect for the very chilly November winds that have hit town this week.
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
This is a photo, of a B&W photo of a painting of my Great Grandfather.
It was painted whilst he was serving in the Home Guard during the second world war. After he died my Gran remembered that he had his portrait painted by an artist, doing a series on men serving in the home guard, you can just see his uniform in the background. This was a long time before the Internet and so she spent many years writing letters, doggedly trying to trace the painting. It took many many letters and many more years until finally she found it. It was stored in the vaults of a museum in Manchester. The museum kindly got it out for her, it is quite a large painting approx 3ft x 4ft. My uncle, a photographer took a photograph of the painting and I received a B&W copy. I have grown to love the painting in B&W, it always comes as a bit of a shock to see the colour version.
My Great Grandfather died when I was about 12, I did not go to his funeral as I was the designated babysitter for all my cousins. My memories of him are very sparse, he spent a lot of time living at my Grans house, of his 3 children I think he preferred it there the most. He did not change much from the painting, a trim wiry man of few words. When we came to go home though, we would be summonsed to say goodbye, plant a brief kiss on his dry very prickly cheek and he would give me a sixpence.
That my Great Grandfather was alive at all, is it seems to me a miracle. He fought in the battle for the Somme and came home, my Gran was born soon after. My mother tells me that he never ever spoke about the war, would not, could not. All that she remembers is very very occasionally he would lapse into crude humour. Such repressed memories must have made for a very hard life.
Today Kitty is helping to organise a party to celebrate Armistice Day at a local community center, she and a small group of other students have spent the last 5 Thursdays working with and talking with the old people about what life was like during the war and helping to plan a celebratory party, she has loved it. She has even bought a black and red outfit to wear. I am so pleased that she is helping to preserve the memory's of others so we can never forget.
Monday, 10 November 2008
My favourite photograph from the night, not easy on a digital camera with a small 7 year old insisting she needs the toilet NOW...having spent 20 mins trying to light sparklers in gusty winds.
Friday, 7 November 2008
Last year they stuck to neutral colours, black, grey, green and a brown marle. This year, ugh,, a moss green marle and a really gruesome pink. To compound the misery the colours were repeated in stripes on another style.
One small beacon of sanity hung below the monstrosities, a beautiful pale grey kimono style cardie. So, yes, I know another bloody grey cardie, but it was soooo lovely and soft. I get so frustrated, the style and cut and quality of cashmere is excellent, why ruin it by using such hideous colours?
I realised many years ago that although I have a rough idea of what I like from a clothing store, I would struggle to be 'a buyer' because my taste is so narrow. But there is one thing I do know very well, and that is the colours that work. The average size of Asda customers must be around 14 - 16. Pale stripes are surely not the most flattering. Why not do a range of darker colours? Plums Navy's a Deep Bottle Green, so few shops get the colours right.
Two that do it for me are COS and Jigsaw, they always have deep rich colours and even their paler colours have a depth that so many other stores fail to achieve. Just imagine what a great job it would be to choose the colours for a season, I would be in heaven.
A very uplifting article in the Guardian today praising the great style that women of over 40 posses, we all knew that didn't we? But it is nice to see it in writing. I particularly liked the following...
"I did have a sexy little fashion moment in London yesterday, though. Popping out to get a sandwich in Soho, my eyes locked with 60s heartthrob Terence Stamp across Broadwick Street. He ran his steely blue eyes down my well-wrapped-up body to the fabulous flat patent boots I was wearing, then looked me full in the face and smiled. It was bliss. When I did the same thing to him, though, I discovered he was wearing purple Crocs. Perhaps it is our male contemporaries who need to learn to grow old gracefully".
I am a bit 'posti lite' for a couple of weeks whilst I set up a project that has niggled away at me for some time. My photos need some serious filing and it has done me a lot of good to start to categorise and theme them. It is good to reflect sometimes so we can move on. Also my mother is visiting, the one bloody weekend I get without Emin and I end up entertaining..So a trip to Dulwich Picture Gallery should keep her happy.
Thursday, 6 November 2008
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
It maybe a photograph not taken but It will forever remain in my mind.