Thursday, 30 July 2009

The view quite soon to be from here

Originally uploaded by theviewfromhere indigo16
So once more we are packing, well Leyla is packed, my clothes are on the bedroom floor a sea of tasteful faded denim with a few stripes, mixed with some grey.
And the eldest two? AWOL. Kitty returns tonight with all her washing. Thank you Kitty, perfect weather to try and dry clothes in...not.
Leyla quite rightly queried as to when, if ever I was going to use the packet of hair dye that has languished unloved collecting dust on the bathroom floor for the last 6 weeks. I have what can only be described as halo of white pubic hair that frames my face. A sort of Cruella de Ville meets hobo.
Ironically the rest of my hair is not grey, but as it is always up in a pony tail I need to dye it so finally I did.
Now it is far too dark. seriously I never choose the right colour, I either go too dark or too light. Trust me I have never met a hairdresser that can get it right either.
I always feel slightly melancholic before I leave for a holiday, the rather erratic and changeable weather has meant packing for 5 different weather fronts. I have packed my water colours, just in case i get 5 consecutive minutes to my self ever the optimist. Last year I neither cooked or cleaned, we just chilled by the pool and swam in the sea.
This year swimming in the sea is a no no and I will be doing nothing but cooking and cleaning up. Yet It will be just as lovely only in a different way. I will be attempting YET AGAIN to photograph Babara Hepworth's garden. 4 times I have tried and 4 times I have failed to capture the spirit of that place, but now I am ready.
The Tate also will be calling me as will countless smaller galleries around the back streets. This years holiday will be colder but more visually stimulating. So see you in 2 weeks time, unless Daisy can hack into some one's broadband!

Monday, 27 July 2009

How to dress in your sixties

This piece by Lisa Armstrong

from the Times here

One of the accusations frequently laid at fashion’s sometimes gaudy door is that it’s frivolous. It’s like criticising cats for sleeping during the day, or curries for smelling of spices. Frivolity, inter many alia, is what fashion does. And what if it does? Frivolity gets a bad rap. What about being overly serious and boring everyone around you to death? An element of frivolity keeps a soul from atrophying.
I was reminded of this the other day when a friend, well into her sixties, turned up in an immaculate white shirt she’d bought in Dover Street Market, a pair of high-waisted Margaret Howell wide trousers and a tangle of neon-ended diamanté necklaces from Topshop.
Without the necklaces, the outfit was chic enough – too many sixtysomethings succumb to the elasticated waistband, the shapeless top and the given-up-all-hope underwear.
But the neon added an unexpected dash of verve. Make that nerve. Not dressing like a sixtysomething takes confidence and courage.
The forty and fiftysomethings have it easy. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing 45-year-olds in great shape and wearing Elle Macpherson-inspired wardrobes; we’ve accepted that Madonna, aged 50¾, is not giving up on summer’s short lease any time soon (satin horns and AstroTurf miniskirt, anyone?). But sixtysomethings? No one’s making clothes for them. No one wants their money. That’s the perception. No wonder many sixtysomethings loathe shopping and have nothing to wear........

If not, Topshop (yes, really), Zara (sizes are on the small side, though), M&S (tailored separates, swimwear), Karen Millen, Ted Baker, Banana Republic and Gap. And keep an eye on Alexon and Precis – they’ve modernised for autumn.
Sixtysomethings are still not visible enough in fashion shoots, but if stylists have any grasp of shifting demographics, that surely has to change. The only rules: more shape, less naked flesh – and a healthy injection of frivolity.

I agree very much with the main gist of this piece especially keeping it simple but wearing a great piece of jewellery

BUT, and there is always a but with me,

a) I am sick of having Madonna rammed down my throat as an example of positive aging. That lady is HIGH maintenance. I know for a fact she has a full body wax once a week, I think her body image is extreme and not a realistic one for anyone approaching 50 to hope or want to emulate. If you still think she is a role model you have SO got to check out this image of her

b)The list of places Ms Armstrong recommends to shop is dire, seriously Zara WAS cut on the small size, but is now far more generous with trousers up to a size 46. Top Shop is just a jumble sale and I know not one sixty year old that can tolerate the music or layout of that place for more than 5 minutes. M&S DULL, DULL, DULL, Banana Republic, oh, that is on every high street..not

What happened to Jigsaw? A very popular shop with all ages, as is it's sister Kew, which offers a huge range online.

This brings me to my final gripe (or two) This article comes from a national newspaper, why not emphasise the mail order companies such as The White Company or Toast? Both are excellent and hugely popular with this age group. I would also throw into the mix Pure, Great Plains and Saltwater. Oh go on then, COS too oh and Muji too, last years favourite of mine

More importantly I would have thought the best shop to recommend is the local boutique, the one that stocks more esoteric, quirky pieces. Why not build up a relationship with the buyer who can source from a huge range.

I have been in some amazing shops from Narberth in Wales to Dulwich in London. They are fantastic at what they do and in this climate deserve better from the fashion press.
Buy some fold-up flatties (jewelled, preferably) that can slip into a bag so that you have no excuse not to wear a pair of heels now and again.


If I catch my mother so much as sniff at a pair of heels I will be knocking on Ms Armstrong's door to help me nurse her through her broken hip.
Jesus, my mother is half blind, I do NOT need her toppling over like a house of cards as well.


I arrived early last Friday to meet my sister, she was stuck in a meeting and was running late so I went round the Saatchi Gallery. It is big enough to always feel contemplative, a place to stop, look and take stock.
There is always something to like, and plenty not to like, but that is the nature of curating. Best of all you can snap away with impunity. I get a lot more from looking through a lens. It may seem an irreverent way to view someones work but I promise you fragmenting a piece can give you a whole new perspective, especially Kristin Bakers work. Close up you can really appreciate the layering and richness of colours that gets lost from a distance.

The view from here

I love the textures of this piece

Mark Bradford

Kristin Baker

My favourite of the show, very beautifully constructed

Jacob Hashimoto

Baker Overstreet

The best name!

Amy Sillman

Saturday, 25 July 2009

The ramblings of a teacher who may have chilled out just a little too much

I do have pictures, but they are as yet not even downloaded let alone scythed to the bone by the editing of a ruthless maniac.
I could have named this post
I Went To Mother and Lived To Tell the Tale
Yes it is true, neither Kitty nor She Who Must Be Obeyed Leyla, managed to bring me to my knees.
I am still standing tall.
We talked, we drank, we ate out...a lot. I spent a lot of money, mostly on clothes for Kitty. Leyla blagged yet another pair of pumps. Kitty and Leyla finally after countless visits over a number of years, swam in the lido. It was very quiet and they did get bored, but it was still 'an event' a box ticked.
My mother was as always, tricky, sadly the house that she made an offer on was so unbelievably duff she withdrew, so now she exists in a semi hysterical bubble of indecision. I did take enough photographs of her house to create a memory book for her, despite her attempts to direct
I watched two films last week. The good Vicky Christina Barcelona. Fantastic. Burn After Reading WTF. Laughed only once at the word clusterfuck, now that I must slip into my erudite repertoire at some point this year.
Currently watching Frost Nixon, I did not fancy this at the cinema, but I love Toby Jones, and that Rebecca Hall keeps sneaking into far too much. It is riveting.
I have eaten out too often this week; a delicious meal at Jamie's Italian Delicious food, truly brilliantly cooked and sourced ingredients, sadly the ambiance lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. The girls demanded we have a final meal at Quad They love this restaurant and despite a few dodgy meals, it has the ambiance in buckets. The final meal was delicious, a simple steak with Bearnaise sauce. The girls went for their usual burger/pizza combo, topped by an overly chocolaty ice cream before running like wild banshee's around the car park just for old times sake, only this time they came back sans gravel ingrained knees.
To top off a rather splendid week, I took my sister to see Jerusalem for her birthday treat. Brilliant, seriously, it is so good you must go.
Once I have a duff meal I rarely return to a restaurant. So oriel was off, and the bar down stairs at the Royal Court was in. Trust me the best chicken salad I have EVER eaten. The night was a triumph.
P.S Just finished watching the film, amazing. Way better than the reviews implied.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

That was the week that was

The image has nothing what so ever to do with this post, it is just a scan of a very old photograph I took of what was my favourite hellebore, needless to say Emin killed it.
I quote "it was an accident"
I just could not face posting yet another imageless post.

But where did it go?
It was my last week at work so I beavered away in a last ditch attempt to get everything prepared for the next academic year.
Tuesday we received an emotional call from our new Au pair who had been kicked out onto the street by her current host family. It speaks volumes that to poach her we offered less money and a smaller room and still she jumped ship. We would not normally do this but the wonderful British government has put a stop to new Turkish Au pairs entering the country, so we were reduced to stealing someone else's. She bunked up with the current pair as they had become friends. Our current Au pair has now left and her replacement leaves on Tuesday coming back for a year in September. She is brighter older and more intelligent. Whether Leyla is as appalling with here as the previous ones we shall see, but she has spent enough time here to get the measure of her.(Leyla that is)

Daisy celebrated her 17th birthday on Thursday as well as Friday and a party on Saturday. She had wanted it here but Emin was so stressed he gave her £100 to have it else where! So she crashed at her Nan's house supervised by her father.

Friday my sister took Daisy and I to the Regents Park open air theatre to see The Importance of Being Earnest. Because of a number of unbelievably stressful issues that arose at work on Friday afternoon my best laid plans waved me goodbye. Instead of a leisurely stroll home to change and get ready, Kitty had to meet me at the station to hand over a bag of stuff for Daisy, (who had gone AWOL to a friends barbecue) and my rain coat. Daisy finally met us at Baker Street station having gone via West Hampstead and then Oxford Circus. She had got so lost she nearly broke down and cried. Somehow she kept her cool and found us. We had ordered her food so she could hit the deck munching. It transpired she had missed her stop and had she not jumped off at Hampstead would have ended up at Luton!

The play was great, BUT a tardy drunken group of American girls spoilt it by talking and fooling around all the way through. I did say some thing once but I know Daisy hates me making a fuss so I did try to ignore them, but when you have to put up with that kind of behaviour all day it really really pisses me off, especially as they were old enough to know better.
That irritation however pales into insignificance when you factor in a bitterly cold wind on top of a thinly clad body. All I had on was some skimpy summer clothes plus my rain coat. I was so bloody cold and the play was so long as well as starting at 8pm rather than the usual 7.30pm. So what should have been the perfect end to a long term sadly ended up bordering on purgatory.

My mother has sold her house in Oxford she is moving to York and luckily found a house that ticks her boxes and is vacant. Although a similar size it has enabled her to release a third of her equity thus keeping her in some style for the foreseeable future. So tomorrow I am going to Oxford for probably the last time. I can't say I will miss it, I much prefer Cambridge.
I do feel however that I should grab some photographs before she leaves, although the weather is vile.
I will take my favourite combo' Kitty and Leyla, so no rest for me then, but mother can take the strain of cooking which will soften the rather bitter pill.

All this is a round about way of saying all will be 'posti lite' for a while.

Rant of the day

Last week Syma Tariq wrote about the new all-female art exhibition at the Pompidou centre in Paris. We asked you whether female artists have been ignored by the art world and to name your favourite female artist. Here are some of your responses:

As a teacher and writer of art education materials I have struggled for 20 years to show our learners any reproductions of art made by women. I don't stop trying, but so often the books and postcard collections available in schools, and even, surprisingly, Internet image banks, concentrate on what I jokingly refer to as the Ks: O'Keeffe, Cassatt and Kahlo. There is a lot more to see through different times and across cultures.

Alex Mackenzie

After 30 years teaching in schools and art colleges I have yet to find an exceptional female painter; I do not understand why. There have been good, skilful women painters in the past – Rosa Bonheur, Angelica Kauffmann, Mary Cassatt and more. However in sculpture there is Barbara Hepworth (less bombastic but surely subtler than Henry Moore?), Elisabeth Frink (erratic but occasionally brilliant and surely a "great" artist), and Germaine Richier (my own personal hero). Sorry ladies – stick to wood and clay.

Godfrey Jones

Female artists have been ignored by the art world for centuries: five and six hundred years ago male artists routinely signed their names to work by the wives, sisters or daughters who worked with them (some of Van Eyck's masterpieces are probably by his sister). Later, unscrupulous dealers forged men's signatures on female artists' work because they would fetch higher prices (Judith Leyster passed off as Frans Hals, for example). We owe a huge debt to the feminist art historians who have been quietly restoring the attribution of these works to their real creators. My favourite female artist? Artemisia Gentileschi – a genius.

Ishvara d'Angelo, Devon

I wrote the following response/ riposte

What saddens me the most, is that the most narrow minded and in my opinion outrageously sexist comments were written not by men but by teachers. It breaks my heart that this profession is still so utterly entrenched with attitudes that would not be out of place in an episode of Mad Men.

Maybe if episodes from that series were shown to today’s students, they would understand why even after 30 years Godfrey Jones has made so little progress from when he first started teaching. He appears to be clinging to the coat tails of yesteryear.

This ignorance will no doubt now permeate our current generation of students, because I am sure the opinions of both Godfrey Jones and Alex Mackenzie shine through their teaching practice. This attitude that even today, female artists are second best is so outmoded and dangerously perpetuates the notion of women as second class citizens, in not just the art world but in all walks of life is just plain wrong.

The reasons for the lack of representation in galleries by female artists is excellently described in Ishvara d'Angelo’s letter which just touches on the obstacles women had to overcome to become recognised.

Women nurture, it is innate in all we do, so of course behind an acknowledged male genius will often be the love, stability and talent of a woman.

Godfrey Jones and Alex Mackenzie also fail to take into account the rich and varied art produced by women from other cultures. The female painters of Madhubani, to aboriginal artists such as Roslyn Karedada.

Further thought led me to think that if Sorry ladies – stick to wood and clay. is to be taken literally, it implies that form and function are the domain of women (and I can imagine such fripperies as decorative art would be included in that jibe) then men are master only of illusion. Hardly something to crow about.

Rant over

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Flower power and other scrap book love

I could not wear such girly stuff now but this page from American Elle is so perfect for a sultry day in July. I guess a flowery tote would be fun.

I recently spent many happy hours sifting through some old American Elle magazines. I prefer the American version because of the styling and that many of the shoots are done in such sunny places. Not sunny like English sunny, but that gorgeous crystal clear sun that creates rich vibrant colours from nothing.

I love the combination of shape and colour in the image above. I have a couple of cardies that colour but have yet to brave a yellow skirt.

I covet this jacket so much.

The colours in above and below are stunning. I am way past this clash to match but many images like this influence my painting. Not that I have painted all year. How depressing is that?
It has been the first year for a long time that I failed to produce anything creative. I realise of course that I am not including my photography in that statement, and in fact that has improved in leaps and bounds. I am also so pleased that i have finally got to grips with the scanner, so the outlook is not so blue.
I will make more effort next academic year to complete a small project. I realised to day that I have a bad habit of thinking that I need to clear my paper work before painting, but today I had an epiphany moment and realised that I would have to timetable it into my schedule just like a lesson that way I will develop the discipline to do something.

My favourite 'look' I covet this tunic but would struggle to find an occasion to wear it.
I confess to spending money last weekend. Guess where? yep COS again, now officially my favourite shop. Unbelievably I bought a dress! shock horror, I never fit into dresses, they had my size and it was half price. It is my Audrey Hepburn moment.
Yes you guessed it I also bought ANOTHER grey cardie, boxy charcoal with cute pockets.
Also a lovely navy t-shirt.
That place is sartorial gold at the moment.
Cruising the blogs I was directed to the J Crew web site which has named my favourite style of trousers as' tooth-pick' how cute is that? Over here they are called ankle grazers, not so cute.
What is less cute was the price! how on earth do you afford the stuff from that shop? Our weak pound makes them VERY pricey.
Hence my love of all things COS and Uniqlo.
Oh Oh Oh guess who is coming to design for them then? answer here
My tent is pitched.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Dear Mother

Dear Mother

I think it would be a good idea for future reference to avoid any discussion what so ever anywhere of the calorific value of anything within a 3 mile radius of your youngest daughter.

She is fat deal with it, she makes occasional efforts to lose weight, but quite clearly it is not coming off at quite the astonishing speed she put it on.

I realise that none of what you say is in any way remotely or directly related to what she is holding in her hand as a prospective purchase or thinking of choosing from the menu. But again I implore you just think it, do not say it. Politics would be a less volatile subject.

And what ever you do, it is pointless trying to couch it as a joke. You do not do humour, I agree you have the capacity to laugh, but the day you say something even remotely amusing I will put the bunting out. It is, I am sad to say mother, your misfortune to have the inability to say anything that does not sound like cruel and barbarous criticism. This is probably based on the fact that we grew up with that cruel and barbarous tongue of your and so that is what we are programmed to expect.

Ha, I hear you say, if that was the case, why is your youngest daughter so ridiculously sensitive to what you say? Well it is because she is an over sensitive stroppy cow who has not had her patience gene honed like myself by 3 demanding children and a Neanderthal moron who passes himself off as my partner.

Years of solitary confinement have inevitably led to her sadly taking most of what we say at face value. She’s YOUR daughter, learn to zip it up and behave.

Yours (the one with endless patience and slightly less overweight than the others)

Your eldest

Friday, 10 July 2009


How perfect is this look. I love the proportions and the colour of her bag.This look was indicative of many I saw on a sunny afternoon as I stepped out of Hampstead tube station. I had managed to clear all my paperwork. I taught my lessons and then rushed to get a train to the far flung Northern climes of this city.
I need not have rushed. I got their far too quickly and so had an couple of hours to kill before the place I wanted to see opened.
So I did what any self respecting adventurera would do. I bought a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel and a rich chocolate truffle from the Hungarian bakery and walked to the top of the hill for a picnic.
As I walked up the hill I went past this stunning house. I LOVE this style of architecture. Inside a couple in their late seventies were getting ready to go out, they looked so comfortable and the house looked so lived in. Just perfect, I started to play that game, you know the one where you imaging what it would be like to live this life?

I then saw a stunning house through the bars of this gate. It opened in half an hour and better still sold a combined ticket to the other place I was waiting to open. Outside were another couple of octogenarians (no different ones) snoozing on a bench, they too were waiting for the place to open, so I wandered some more.

I saw this house, once lived in by Constable. he described his paintings as Skying "That landscape painter who does not make his skies a very material part of his composition, neglects to avail himself of one of his greatest aids"

Round the corner, The Admirals House, a real monster.

As I finally walked round the corner to visit Fenton House I spied this gorgeous building. I peeked over the wall to see a stunning view and a very clipped and manicure topiary garden.
Once inside Fenton House one of the wardens conspiratorially told me it belonged to Ridley Scott. "He's a film director you know, they say he's made lots of films including one called Gladiator, not that I've seen it. He's never there," Talk about dammed with feint praise!
Still it is a stunning house.

So here we are, whilst I waited for 2 Willow Road to open, I went round this oasis of calm and tranquility.
Complete with sunken gardens and an orchard.

With deep flowering boarders.

Even the toilet had a touch of class.

I was very lucky that quite a few other people were looking around too. They provided an excellent distraction, so that I could take these guerrilla photographs.
I overheard a couple ask if they could take photographs, they were told no. Apparently "the Japanese always ask, and even when told no they then try to take photographs from the window" Scandalous I say. Ha, I set my camera on sneaky silent and papped away.
Seriously though what harm does it do?

I had to work quickly and with stealth, hence the lack of composition.

You must admit it is a lovely house and to think I found it by accident.

Two icons of beauty, that is the ubiquitous Holly Bush Pub on the left and on the right "Yellow Car" do your kids slap each other when they see a yellow car? mine do. This one was cute though.
And so to 2 Willow Road.
  • Designed by Modernist architect Ernö Goldfinger for himself and his family
  • Complete with original contents including furniture designed by Goldfinger
I have had somewhere a small pamphlet about this place for what seems like years. I knew little about the background, but my memory was jogged after seeing those photographs by Veronica Bailey at the V&A.
Walking inside the house it felt as if the owners had just walked out to buy a pint of milk.
It has the patina of age and yet still feels contemporary. All the rooms seamlessly meld together to create a unified space, a large balcony overlooks a stunning garden. It is much smaller and shabbier than I expected and yet the intimacy makes it feel like it was a much loved home rather than like so many contemporary houses today, which to me, lack the human touch.
I could happily have moved in, sadly it is north of the river which is beyond my remit.
Oh and of course it is owned by the National Trust and therefore not for sale.
My ire was irked by the DO NOT Take Photo stance. Again I ask why? What is so bad. This time the eagle eyed guides were younger and wholly sussed to my ways, and so not one photograph did I get to take. Criminal.
If you are ever in the area I urge you to go it maybe small be it evokes such an amazing life fully and richly lived.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Mad Men

Like an expensive box of chocolates I tried to savour series 1 of Mad Men. Having become completely addicted after a few episodes of series 2 I was looking forward to filling in some of the missing pieces.
At first I rationed myself to a couple of episodes at a time. Then just like a box of chocolates thought "sod it" and gorged myself senseless, only the law of diminishing returns kicked in.
So once more I paced myself, until faced with the penultimate episode, I am now going to wait and savour the last two during the holiday, that is of course if the rest of the gang allow it. Meanwhile I hear you lucky American cousins will begin your fix with series 3 mid August.


I love the clothes, and spent a happy hour reading about how they are sourced and remade. I had not realise they were all vintage or just how much thought went into the style and colour of the men's suits.
My absolute favourite part of the whole series is the sound. Especially if you listen to it on a computer with headphones. The sound is so utterly perfect, the chink of ice in a glass, the noise of traffic outside. It is all perfect.
I struggled with the smoking and drinking, until I opened up a deep memory and realised that it was not so long ago people smoked on trains and buses and lunchtime drinking was de rigeur
The sexism is more painful to watch, and I guess in a way we should marvel that it is not more
prevalent today, or is it just less obvious?

Image from here

This and the top image from here

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

If there is one thing all teachers over 40 are good at, and I mean gold medal championship winning bloody brilliant at. It is harking back to the good old days.
We stand arms folded like Rigsby in his kitchen, "yes do you remember when..."
The R.E teacher in the room next door started the day with a mug of tea laced with whisky from a bottle he kept in his filing cabinet? (Ha now you know what those filing cabinets are used for!)
When you pushed in front of the kids in the queue.. at the bar of the local pub?
Do you remember when you forgot to go back to work and teach the last lesson?
When you left students behind on a school trip because they were late?
When all the male invigilators of the GCSE exam went to the back of the hall and mooned the kids?
You could thwack the arse of a child with a ruler, simply because he was leaning out of the window instead of working? When you could flick their ears for being rude?
Obviously this is just idle chit chat that I have over heard. Absolutely none of this was me.
Even so my life is just so full of bloody data analysis, self evaluation , risk assessment forward planning, etc, etc, etc Boring boring navel introspective crapola.
What happened to this profession?
Do we really have to be, well professional all the time?

I am currently liking the fact that;
The Apple Mac does not recognise arse or crapola as real words.
That Daisy left her Apple mac behind whilst she wades through gallons of water in some ditch in Wales.
That I am double booked on Sunday, so sadly will miss seeing Leyla getting her butt kicked in, again.

Monday, 6 July 2009

From the sublime to the ridiculous

On Friday I went to a beautifully staged production of All's Well That Ends Well at The National. The design lent heavily on the illustration we see for the brothers Grimm fairy tales, very magical. Sadly my theatre partner had high tailed it to Wales on an activity week so my sister came instead, she normally won’t stick her generous arse on a seat costing less than £40 but she was pleasantly surprised at how good the view was for £10, and she bought me supper. Mmm maybe this trade could be permanent!

The following day I was coerced into going to Thorpe Park. Dear God I am way too old for this kind of day out now. I used to take coach loads of students to any number of theme parks and whoop it up on the rides, but now my idea of fun is a gentle stroll round an art gallery.

Emin decided we MUST go as a day out for the au pair before she goes back to Turkey. She absolutely was not keen on the idea, but just as a man will buy his child a remote control car then play with it himself, so this day was really about Emin. The side benefit was Leyla had a wonderful day.

I however got bloody whiplash on the first ride. I will never understand what the pleasure is in queuing for 2 bloody hours, to then be thrown around like a rag doll for 20seconds with my eyes shut. I am all for big swings and sudden drops but this ride was horrible.

I luckily managed to look after Leyla for the next 3 hours whilst he tortured the au pair. I then got to go on lots of more sedate affairs before hooking up for lunch. Sadly I over did it, and fell quite queasy by 5pm!

I did remind him when we got home, as I crawled into bed, that I am pushing 50, and really that will be the last time I do it.

I am now sat nursing a sore neck

Masao Yamamoto

Currently really loving the random nature of these images. I will add more tonight.
Finally found some on the Hackel Bury Fine Art
I just love the random nature of these images as well as the way they are displayed. Yet another photographer that makes me want to hit the dark room again.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Northern Cyprus 2002

This post has been bubbling under for a while. These images were taken in Northern Cyprus, I think during the summer of 2002. It was the last time I was there both Emin and I vowed that I would never return, for a range of reasons.
Not least from my part that I was so tired of holidaying in the same place over and over again. I wanted to try new places, and I have.
My first time in Northern Cyprus was just after I had met Emin, He spun such an amazing tale about his childhood holidays, his evacuation during the war of 1973 by the British Army. I was enthralled and enraptured.
The reality of this place was soooo different. The house is a hideous concrete box this image below is of the kitchen. that first day was such a shock, I had never seen so much formica and as you can see, that is who buys those utterly vile tiles. I promise you the bathroom is grim too.

You also need to remember the country is not recognised, by the international community so the only trade comes via Turkey, everything has to be reused and recycled. If we use the washing machine we collect the water to flush the toilet, all plastic has to be washed and reused. There is refuse collection apart from central location in the city. During my first year we had to pasturised the milk, the water arrived every other evening which is piped into a tank on each property. Water is heated via pipes on the roof, electricity was sporadic. No supermarkets, poor roads. Most people are aware of Cuba but Cyprus was in a much worse state physically and economically. Now it has all changed. Saudi Arabia has paid for new roads. A new hospital is being built, they have a number of supermarkets, and they now have their first ambulance!

You can, as one of his cousin's did furnish your house beautifully, however as you see ,the house is at best spartan. When they were young the girls were so good, they shared a bed when temperatures would stay in there 20's during the night. They had no luxuries only a small fan to cool them, yet they kept themselves occupied. We would go to the beach about 3ish when it cooled.

And what a beach, Bafra. We found it via some friends of his who were staying nearby. It is hidden down very pot holed road, past some semi derelict villages. Only a few locals know or knew of its location. Now the beach has been carved up by conglomerates into grotesque hotels and casinos. It is heartbreaking when it was such a beautiful sheltered place, perfect for families, with two local beach cafes. Some families even lived here during the summer, it was so idyllic. Now locals are not even allowed in the hotels.

His cousins house, very rural, my girls have even threaded tobacco leaves here. Not all houses are like this, another cousin lives in a small palace up the road. He made million servicing black cabs.
Therein lies what has changed here. Thousands fled during the war settled in London and else where and made there fortune doing all the jobs the English hate. cafes, dry cleaners, fish and chip shops. All this money has been plowed back into their homeland, sadly many are in too ill health to return, like his mother and father who both died in England. But thousands are returning. Amazingly I will too, probably this Christmas. I have a project i want to complete whilst his village remains untainted by tourism.
These photographs were taken on a second hand twin lens reflex camera I have. The negatives have aged badly and so I have had to tweak them a lot on Photoshop. I have kind of gone for a retro feel, in keeping with the place. There are not many. Leyla was still a toddler and barely walking, so I had my hands full with her as well as the other two angels. The rest of the set are on Flickr

His cousin preparing dinner.
In the background are her sons fatigues. Every man has to complete two years national service. You have to pay your way out or do it even if you carry a British passport. Emin is allowed to stay for just 90 days a year before they make him do it even when he is 50 plus!
I have hundred more stories to tell. The size of the cockroaches... The state of his cousins fridge, their obsession with plastic flowers and bad taste decor. next time perhaps, the tennis is on and I am willing Federer to win.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The view from here

I have had this Kettles Yard private view invitation on my mood board for years. I have never tired of it. It seems as fresh an image today as when it first arrived.
The image is by Frances Kearney
It s such a calm still image in stark contrast to the reality of living with children of this age.

This is a page from an old Habitat catalogue. I love the composition, but look closely and the reality is a draughty leaky barn! but I love the lifestyle envy it tries to sell.

This is another Kettles Yard Private view invitation this time for the architect Serge Chermayer. Again I love the whole look, but again on closer inspection that sofa looks like a classic square arse killer. But I would love to live in the house for the art work alone.

I cut this picture from a very old Casa Vogue I have not got a clue who this woman is, but she epitomises everything I want to be.
I just LOVE that whole look of stripy top and boyfriend jeans. Real life style envy and I just wish I had made a note of her name.

Lastly a page from American Elle. I have always liked the way this magazine is edited by Giles Bensimon and I also love many of the photo shoots he has done for Elle over the years.
This little mood board is lovely, and I can now thank Disney Roller Girl for pointing me in the direction of the most fantastic stripy top mail order website
I have been salivating over which colour combination I want all week. I still cannot decide, they are all too lovely.
Back at the chalk face I have been dividing most of my time between getting to grips with the scanner and rewriting all the bloody curriculum's the government seems to enjoy changing.
My job seems to be a never ending circle of planning. But images like these keep me going.