Thursday, 28 May 2015
My Pops tells stories of meeting my mother, invited to make up a party of 6, at dinner while he was on a business trip from America. They were dining at a restraurant on Rupert Street with Irma Kurtz (who is writing about her search for bohemia in the 1960s in soho). I'm not doing his story any justice but the crux of it is that they met in May at this dinner and four weeks later got married and she went to join him in Chicago. Without this meeting there would be no me, so I guess I am indebted.
My mother always went back there on and off but I didn't realise its significance until very recently (new man asking questions about the love at first sight thing elicited much information from my father - very interesting how we don't question our parents enough when we have the opportunity). She used to take me to Maison Bertaux when we went shopping in Oxford Street. Very good french patisserie. Looks like it hasn't been renovated since the 1950s - still cream shiny satin paint on the walls, uplighters, glass shelves in the windows and marble tops to keep the cream cakes cool. We would have a coffee and a chocolate eclair (long been my favourite) and squeeze in somewhere upstairs ususally. My sister hated it - feeling it was too pretentious for its own good (bah humbug her). Michele Wade writing about her cafe in the observer is always there, and always was as I remember. Posh but not rich seeming, eccentric, hairdo from a bygone era. It's quiet, cramped and slightly uncomfortable but worth it for the eclair. When I was at college I used to go there with Georgia. Lately I haven't been.
Georgia and I used to spend an in ordinate amount of time in the Spice of Life pub (Cambridge Circus). Having recently met at Middlesex Poly's art foundation I bumped into her properly in the Spice of Life one Saturday (can't remember who brought me there). She was wearing tortoise shell glasses with no glass and was with a friend called Tracey. We hit it off from then. Drawn to its fantastic punk juke box downstairs. Liked the fact that it was in the Sex Pistol's film. We played Pretty Vacant, White Riot and I've got a silver machine (forgotten the name) and sang along at the tops of our lungs (always thought they were singing we're so pretty, oh so pretty, vain cunts until I realised one day it was pretty vacant). I only drank coke but seemed to be drunk on sugar. Georgia drank as much beer as she could get. There was a barman who served in the basement who gave me free drinks. He was a film student and gave me his number on the same day as I met my first boyfriend, sadly I never rang him. We also used to go to the Dive Bar under the The King's Head on Gerrard Street until it shut down. And when they renovated the Spice of Life, sucking all its great old history out of it we moved on to the Intrepid Fox where we fitted in just fine because we had started dying our hair pink and orange and felt an affinity with the old punks that hung out there. Once Georgia went to Brighton to a degree and I stayed on at Middlesex Uni I brought my next great buddy Bails there and we continued hanging and revelling in the dark music.
Bails and I also came to Berrick Street a lot - I liked buying cloth - the Cloth House being one of the greatest for unusual and exciting fabric - a shop on Royal College Street in Camden (that my mother first took me to) and on Berrick Street. We would get a box of food at Beetroot - vegetarian, wholesome, cheap, stuffed! And then go do whatever it was Saturday held for us (watching arthouse dirty movies often - In the Realm of the Senses in a cinema near the Trocodero - sitting next to a businessman who couldn't quite get over the film all the way through, "she's not going to do that, oh my god she is", watching through his fingers). Eating supper at Garlic and Shot (roasted garlic - yum, breath - deadly).
There was the great Going Out Fridays of Lewisham College (staff reliving our youths) where more than once I ended up after a long night of alcohol and dancing in dodgy underground nightclubs drinking coffee outside all night cafes on Old Compton Street with Martin watching the gays and the drag queens waiting for the tube to open so we could go our separate ways. Wet Saturday mornings 6am.
More recently I do less of that but do like to go to the Algerian Coffee Company for ground beans in a mild roast, and buy violet tea. Sometimes join the drunk and disorderlies for a Sunday drink in Rupert Street, visit Fopp on the way to Seven Dials. Its an area like no other and a criminal shame to shape it into something like everywhere else, with chains and all the uniqueness kicked out of it.
Wednesday, 13 May 2015
Tuesday, 12 May 2015
Friday, 8 May 2015
Thursday, 7 May 2015
Saturday, 2 May 2015
Friday, 24 April 2015
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
Tuesday, 7 April 2015
Wednesday, 1 April 2015
Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Ode to City and Islington College Thursday Evening (and one yearofWednesday evenings) Ceramics Class
I have attended this class since academic year 2006/07 which is an astonishing 9 years (I always think its more like 6).
The first term I attended there was an influx of us - a couple working in regeneration, an architect, a couple of secondary school teachers. Large personalities, talkative. The class was lively, friendly, we learned from each other as well as from our tutor.
The second term had quite a few of us returning but also some other new people. It kind of reverted back to what a traditional pottery class is like - lots of people into their individual endeavour, rarely looking up from the clay, little interaction. We practised our skill. I missed the camaraderie of the previous term. With the tutor we invented the "5 minute exercise" - a short slot in the middle of the class where we did a group activity which was designed like 30 second life drawing exercises to loosen us up, meet one another and do something less navel gazing for the briefest period of time. Some of them gave me ideas that I expanded - make 10 things in 10 minutes, coil as high as you can in 5 minutes - others were just silly but fun - throw a pot with a partner - one hand each, in a group without looking at each other, one makes a head, one makes a torso and the other makes the legs, then join it all together. We even made a minute version of Antony Gormley's field using the instructions he gave for making the little gorms. We also started a blog - first a flickr page, later a blogger blog when the college system banned flickr. It grew into a valuable community of practice where each member of the class could load up their own pictures, describe the making and glazing process (if they chose to) and get feedback. These additional activities brought back the fun of the first term and made the class less cliquey. The blog also charts the progress and achievement made by the individuals in the class (if they chose to upload their work) over time.
In the last term I decided to round off the work by going back to where I began to truly like ceramics. The first pot I thought was pretty successful was the first naked lady pot. I used life drawings from the previous class I did to make motifs for pots - I used them over and over refining across a number of different objects. This term I made a naked man pot. A full circle.
|Naked Lady Pot|
|Wavy Stalked Urn|
|Frozen Planet Pot|
|Hour - 60 things made in 60 minutes|
|salt firing - pinch pots|
Monday, 16 March 2015
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Monday, 23 February 2015
So I read the first book. It was on the shelf of a lovely house in France where I was staying and we laid by the pool sunbathing for hours and I read all my books before the end of the holiday. So I read this just to see what it was like. I thought the writing was poor, the sex scenes were pretty repetitive and used some irritating terminology over and over. And in essence it was a love story where a virgin falls for a man and they eventually get it together. With some lightweight sado-mascicism thrown in - all be it in a female clichéd fantasy of red velvet 'play-rooms', leather horses and mechanical winching devices. I had no desire to find out what happened next.
I'm upset that women are falling into this trap of thinking that its such a risqué fantasy to play a submissive to this powerful rich man. Isn't that just an old rehashed 1950s female desire (marry a man who will look after you, have children, be chained to the kitchen sink). Aren't there any more exciting, nay modern female fantasies we could explore?
Sunday, 15 February 2015
It turns out that this is indeed one of the perils of cleaning the cooker. Normality restored by morning when it had dried.
Tuesday, 10 February 2015
Tuesday, 3 February 2015
Saturday, 31 January 2015
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Monday, 26 January 2015
I wanted to answer to some of these assumptions. Starting with the one about achievement and progress.
Friday, 23 January 2015
Thursday, 8 January 2015
Monday, 5 January 2015
Wednesday, 31 December 2014
Thursday, 25 December 2014
Tuesday, 23 December 2014
Monday, 22 December 2014
Friday, 5 December 2014
I’ve always known open plan hot-desking is bad for me because I can clearly recognise the impact it has on concentration and increased irritation. Other people’s phonecalls at the top of their lungs, desk-side meetings, talking (well, sort of talking – not quite shouting) to colleagues across the space rather than going over to them, uncontrollable temperatures – blasting air conditioning or way too hot, and the need of the window-seat-hoggers to close the blinds on a sunny day to the detriment of those working further inside the building (if they don’t like the light why do they insist on sitting by the window?).
http://stevemaslin.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/place-working-vs-open-plan/ - interesting article by an architect and access consultant (access consultant – no idea what that means) which says
“Our needs vary – but are significantly influenced by:
· Physical comfort,
· Our ability (or not) to cut out extraneous noise,
· Preferences for access to daylight
· Our commonly held preference for access to views of the natural world, and…
Our need to:
· Adjust artificial lighting intensity, position and colour,
· Adjust what is in our visual field and to reinforce a sense of familiarity and recollection to aid our memory”
Its not so much the need for privacy I don’t think but I had never considered that in addition the reduction in concentration there might be an impact on recollection, memory and productivity due to not being able to see a view that includes vegetation or have natural daylight. Our office rules include not eating at the desk (you are allowed a drink and maximum two biscuits, otherwise you are supposed to eat in the designated areas), no plants, no clutter, nothing left on the desk overnight, no fixed positions, no storing things on top of the lockers. This makes it look nice and clean, reduces likelihood of mice infestation (although we have had visits coming up the cabling of the computers from the floor to have a peek at the working desk situation, but not regularly), and enables people to sit wherever is available when they get in.
On top of which I found a marvellous quote from Einstein (and who can argue with him…) which is a fantastic retort to the clear-desk police (to which we had to convert when we started open plan hot-desking), “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” Touche.