Friday, 25 May 2012


So I've been talking to anyone who will listen about my mid-life crisis. Haven't managed to buy a flashy sports car yet but have been advised to go to a agency and get placed in a better job with more, different challenges. I have taken every opportunity to go out - drank cocktails at Browns made by a funny Irish barman and watched the sunbathers on Islington Green who stayed until the dark was truly fallen, next day went with the ceramics crowd to our favourite place and sat outside in the balmy evening pretending we were in some exotic neighbourhood abroad. Been persuaded by some tres cute pictures to get two kittens who will be great mousers (can get them at 10 weeks when their mother will have trained them up fully). So there's some inkling of change - not sure it's dramatic enough yet...

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Sun's Out

Sun is out
Park is full
Office workers and tourists stretch out to catch some rays
Dog walkers can't play ball and stand on the pavement bemused
Hippy yoga guy isn't out
Doesn't feel quite hot enough for strapless maxi dresses but that hasn't stopped anyone

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Yayoi Kusama at Tate Modern

Started with paintings that were like deep voids - I liked them - reminded me of some drawings I did once where the blackness is space. Then some works om paper. Intricate and obsessional paintings using small identical brushstrokes built up. Beautiful. Almost like optical illusions. A sign on the wall warned that the film inside had some explicit content. Inside Self Obliteration was showing - towards the end, hippy soundtrack, images overlaid, orgy of naked people painting dots on each other and smearing paint in a disco with flashing lights, mad expressionist dancing like some kind of explicit roll-in-the-mud festival. Hands everywhere but no hard-ons. A simulation of sex? Guess which was the most crowded gallery...

Installations came next. Shoes, clothes, boats, chairs, rooms covered in sewn phalluses. Then the room of fluorescent dots with ultraviolet light making them and anyone wearing white shine. I tried not to smile - remembering clubs where you look freaky with your white teeth catching the ultraviolet. And everyone has white dust. And finally some amazingly zingy paintings with eyes and faces, followed by the fabulous Infinity Mirrored Room filled with the brilliance of life - which was us and lots a coloured lights reflected back through the mirrors and the floor. Hippy trippy. Makes me want to embrace the altered mind-state...

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Friday night

Gigging with Bails and Paul in Camden Town. Reminiscent of our youth. Crowded into Barfly with a stamp on your hand so you can come and go but doesn't wash off for a couple of days. Jayce Lewis leapt around the stage flinging his hair around singing loudly to loud electronic music played at slightly less than ear splitting volume. There were a load of Belgian teenagers on who didn't seem to get it as much as the ageing rockers who seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. There was one goth exhibitionist wearing only pants and a basque. Reminds me of the days in the late 80s when I liked those kind of boys with dyed black hair cut sharply with shaven sides and there would be drag queens in the ladies loo. And there would be one night bus an hour which would get greatly overcrowded with a raucous party atmosphere upstairs.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Itchy Feet

I've suddenly noticed that it is light at 9pm. Summer evenings are creeping up on us. I'm having a serious case of itchy feet - it started about 2 weeks ago - need for change that is driving me to distraction. It's only getting worse. It's transferring itself to a need for perpetual motion - can't sit still and focus for too long, concentration span is decreasing and boredom threshold has shrunk to minuscule proportions. I'm currently sitting in the pub trying to take the edge off with some hard liquor. I'm reading the paper, listening to a new playlist very loudly to drown out the pub's sounds, and writing this post. I wonder if I'm having a mid-life crisis. Maybe I should buy a fast car and exercise the need for speed. I could realise my ambition of being a jerk in a Merc.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

39 and 36 months

So the birthday came again - while I like the parties I don't like adding up the numbers. A few years ago I started having BBQs to celebrate. May in London is slightly early for cooking outside and mostly I BBQ in the rain. This year it was glorious sunshine which considering the downpour that was April was a minor miracle.

I was cutting up tomatoes and managed to slice into my left thumb - strangely similar in texture (they were firm salad tomatoes) and I forgot to stop cutting. Fingers bleed. A lot. And it's hard to administer first aid to oneself while holding your thumb over your head wrapped in a cloth, opening a plaster with the other hand and your teeth.

Later we chucked some logs on the fire pit and smoke-burned our eyes as the dusk drew in - smoke gets in your eyes, yes it does drifting all over the place. Next day I felt that smoke had permeated my skin even after bathing a washing hair. Nice for a mountain man not so good in a London open plan office.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Nom nom nom (as it says in that dog-treat ad)

Bails cooked up a heap of yummy root spinach. (Not my idea of delicious but this isn't my story). Piled it up on the plate. Dug the fork in and raised it to her mouth, opened wide and then a massive caterpillar dropped out. (Cooked caterpillar - not sure whether that made it swell up or whether it was enormous before cooking). At least it wasn't half a caterpillar, or something more disgusting like a slug or cockroach...

Saturday, 5 May 2012


At Pizzadelique after ceramics this week we were talking about words that were invented by writers which are such common usage now that it's surprising they weren't always in usage. Specifically that Lewis Carroll invented the word chortle - a combination of chuckle and snort. This is a word that just sounds like a word from old English. Googling (first used July 1998, added to OED June 2006) this I came across a no-longer updating blog, Heredotus Wept, that had posted about this.
Words invented by Milton
Words invented by Shakespeare

Words that Shakespeare invented
What did we used to call eyeballs before Shakespeare coined the term, when we undressed did we have to say "I am taking my clothes off or was it unrobe or something"? And were ladybirds just red beetles with black spots?

Without Milton nothing could be terrific, and there would be no fragrance.

It's the glory of language. Love it.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Turd Taboo

Since I don't have children or a dog I have never overcome my aversion to discussing this taboo (no nappy changing, or poopy scooping for me, apart from when I visit my sister for whom it all features quite prominently with two young children and a dog). I still believe in trying to maintain a sense of mystery and don't like passing wind in front of people. And what I am about to tell you is far from any actual real live events.

So I had this dream that was very vivid.
Waiting for a 341 bus in the middle of the night. There was no one around and it was dark. I needed a poo (sorry if this forthrightness is grossing you out), so I did it by the side of the bus stop. Me and the turd carried on waiting. The bus took hours before arriving and I was still waiting in daylight when my sister, her kids and dog met me at the bus stop. We waited together. My sister told me off for not getting rid of the turd. I didn't think anyone would know it was me. She thought they would definitely know. Gradually the bus stop became more crowded and the turd was noticed. When the bus came we ran and jumped onto it. I never owned up.

Even though this was about a gross subject I didn't feel guilty about the act or disgusted. I only felt like I should have but didn't want to get rid of it. Who knows what it all means but perhaps we should gamble on the turd man for the Turner Prize this year (it may be that only the Metro thinks of Paul Noble this way).