Friday, 29 October 2004

Gorgeous Weirdos

Double jointed fingers, while a thing to be admired when young due to the rare nature of the skill, in an adult man manages to look just deformed (apologies for my total lack of PC-ness). He was a nice looking man with flecks of grey in his full head of black wavy hair, brave enough to wear a pink shirt and tie with his black suit. But on seeing him finger the pages of his book and the knuckles bend backwards I was repulsed and couldn't see him in the same light again. I noticed he was reading a computer manual (on the way home on friday evening) and was carrying a Sainsbury's carrier bag with food shopping for one and was slightly over-weight in that sits-at-a-desk-all-day kind of way. He changed from being nice looking to a computer nerd with weird fingers in a flash. Angel came, I got off.

Tuesday, 26 October 2004

The Timetable Bodies

Theres a set of three timetables on poles that stretch across the platform. Behind the timetables two pairs of legs wander around, facing one another, standing very close. The female legs belong to a tiny body, in skin-tight jeans and a cream cord jacket. They are bumping their pelvis against the male in a sort of I'm trying to keep warm and tease you at the same time kind of a way. He has his hands in his pockets and while not exactly participating isn't retreating either. I'd hazard a guess that those were young people, early 20s and enjoying every minute of it.
Tube People Individuals

A very long time ago I began a couple of pieces of writing - one was called Tube People Stereotypes, the other was called Tube People Individuals. Tube People Stereotypes had many entries, Tube People Individuals however only had one. Today I found another.

Red head. Long Plait curled up into a top knot with a black jet clasp holding back the fringe. Two long curls descend from beside her ears onto her ample bussom. A ruffled shirt and a long string chain interspersed with beads. Fishnet stockings and long-pointy-toed shoes. She is reading Digital Fortress by Dan Brown through rectangle clear-plastic-framed specs. Full makeup bluey grey eyeshadow and thick black eyelashes, red lips. Now this is the 21st century personification of Toulouse Lautrec's brothel darlings (and I only recently wrote about them - she is this post, or at least she could be!).

Monday, 25 October 2004

Hello World!

New job is keeping me from blogging - its funny not having my own PC yet, funnier still that they put VERY strict controls on the internet access and therefore my blog updating is less frequent due to overtiredness as I get used to getting up at 7.00am (not long until thats actually before dawn - my body clock has never been keen on the up-before-dawn thing). I will soon be used to it and my life/work balance will be back to normal. But I'm still here and I still love you all. Lovey darhlink kisses all round. Mwaw mwaw.
Monday's Life Class

Trying to get to a point where I actually like the end result of the ink. They still look better in the flesh than in the photos. But I think I need to start being braver and getting more tone on, darker.

Candid Arts Trust: open access sessions and more formal taught courses in both life drawing and painting. Behind Angel tube, Islington - first left down City Road. Contact: The Candid Arts Trust, 3 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ, Tel: 020 7837 4237.
Peckham Yellow

Escape from the stuffy confines of the overheated building walk down to the station past the tree with yellow leaves bright against the dusk sky captured sunshine. Sun catches the top of the reformed cristian church of god building. Up the stairs with yellow painted risers to platform 2 where the rooftops of peckham stretch out towards a pale blue sky with silver lined clouds

Thursday, 21 October 2004

Train View

Beside some flats some youths play basket ball in an enclosed court. Next door a little boy stands at the edge of a puddle formed in the middle of an empty playground, uninterested in the play equipment around him, he stares at his reflection.

Wednesday, 20 October 2004

Train Person No.1

Blond girl gets on with a man who could look like an anti-road protester in his olive green canvas jacket, apart from the fact that his sidies are gently gel'd into curls and his face is covered in glitter.

Monday, 18 October 2004

Monday's Life Class

Having missed a week I came back to some quick fire drawings. Top row: 10 mins and 5 mins. Second row: 2 mins. Third Row: 30 seconds. Final longer drawing.

Candid Arts Trust: open access sessions and more formal taught courses in both life drawing and painting. Behind Angel tube, Islington - first left down City Road. Contact: The Candid Arts Trust, 3 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ, Tel: 020 7837 4237.
Office Decor

I have to choose how I would like my office decorated. Its a hell of a decision - I'll have to live with it for the whole of my stay, its a divided space in one of those victorian schools with the window set up high so you can't stare out the window. I was thinking very pale grey or perhaps lilac. Oh the pressure. Its enormous.
End of the First Day

Slam door train from Peckham Rye to London Bridge over-head lines. A view of the rooftops over the south of London, golden sun shining as it goes down.

Canary Wharf and the gaggle of skyscapers around it catch the sun. Millwall Football Stadium. Gherkin and Nat West Tower. On the right hand side. London Eye, Post Office Tower and lots of posh flats painted bright colours on the left hand side. As we come into the station Tower Bridge, London Assembly and a sparkling new Southern Train painted white and green.

Today I stood in the Peckham Library looking out of the Children's Library windows at the best panoramic view of London ever, well maybe.
On the eve of my new job i worry that i will over-sleep and not get in on time. This is keeping me awake!

Saturday, 16 October 2004

Train Journey Home

Extended train journey over to the West to Carlisle in order to avoid works at Berwick. Much less industrial scene. The green and pleasant land that is the british countryside. Rolling hills, trees growing in that windswept way - in rows the shortest one against the prevailing wind and each subsequent one managing a little more height. Country houses looking out over valleys. Flock of sheep run from the passing train, two black ones amongst them. Heather covered swell of a mountain disappears into the mist. The land of flaring pettycoats, black lace-up boots and capes. Ladies who needlepoint and write letters. Falling in love with dashing and brave farmer's sons who ride around on chesnut horses doing good deeds whilst wearing troubled expressions. Poor cousins in printed cottons of richer London families whose girls wear taffetta.

A £15 upgrade to first class gives a wide seat and silence, blissful journey home punctuated only by the very tall man coming round asking if I would like any more tea or a biscuit (complimentary of course). Well worth it.

Friday, 15 October 2004

Dundee Stroll

Pushing the buggy around the town in the rain, little person poking their head out through the plastic cover sheilding them from the rain. Around the shops until we were bored and then strolling home up to Hilltown. Walking along the wet roads, empty apart from small gaggles of students, past big buildings of dark grey stone blackened by rain. Passing a cemetery, a quiet tumble of graves with trees, on the turn golden with autumn colour.

Cobbles shiny. Pushing up Constitution Hill, past the patches of grass and college buildings. Standing to catch our breath waiting to cross the street three drunk dundonians pass, one comes back to pat the head of the wee 'un, "how ya doin' pal?" Wide-eyed shock stares after them.
Walk on Kinshaldy Beach

A fog hung over the River Tay halfway across the Tay Bridge. The sun was weak in the sky but bright. Sand sea and misty air bounced sun glare around. Jets boomed across the sky, loud but not always visible. Waves broke high on the beach dragging sand back across obstacles, leaving a wake behind all objects strewn by the receeding water. Sand was wet from the tide being higher already and our feet sunk into it leaving deep tracks. We followed occasional footsteps, people, dogs and birds, leaving behind our own for others to follow. The sun in our faces was welcome, the view across towards the blue hills and on and on beyond what is possible to see in everyday life, the smell of clean fresh air filled our lungs. Joy of days away. And that sudden descent of tiredness from salty sea air. Walking back along the forest path eating the few last remaining blackberries from passed brambles, heavenly melting black juicy sweet morsels. And finally standing in the stripy forest, tall pines, sun streaking through. Driving back along the lane through trees with leaves thin enough to dapple light in glorious green and yellow. Back to a mug of hot chocolate and a scone.

Thursday, 14 October 2004

All day on the train

Kings Cross Station
Cows in a field - park with cycle track - misty valley - ear popping tunnel - horse and rider - rookery - pylons - flock of birds sitting on telephone cables - white horse & brown horse heads entwined like lovers.

Wetlands reeds and geese - Melbeau beauty - big sky little house on a hill - pleasure vessels on a waterway - flat farmland interspersed with woods - ploughed field - straw bales seagulls.

"..few minutes late into Peterborough due to engineering work between Huntingdon and Peterborough. We hope this doesn't inconvenience your journey today.."

Dark red brick town tall spire clock tower - hazy day bright sky no sun - stripy fields - crab apples by the side of the track - C.R.O.P.W.I.S.E at Newark Northgate - 3 teenage boys sit in the station waiting for a different train.

Two elderly ladies in blue sweaters struggle to open their kitkat cubes packets. "...we are experiencing lots of red signals in the Newark area.."

Chimney spews out white smoke - wood yard - 5 big chimneys of a powerstation in the distance over the flat farmland - bird of prey soars - brown, green, gold (layers of fields) - into cutting high hedges on either side - sun catches a field of long grass, lightness shines through and brightens the green - woods of silver birch white trunks, peeling bark - water tower.

Doncaster St Georges gothic small and lovely - cemetery through trees past paddock with an auburn horse - level crossing - blue tractor ploughing - mossy roofs on the way into York - Victorian ironwork station - glimpse of York Minster with big tower and double turrets in blond stone - clouds darken laiden with rain - distant hills - rolling farmland - horses grazing in jackets - sheep. sheep with big blue dots on their rumps. white sheep with black faces - terraced houses allotments - leaves in the woods change with autumn - steep street group of young people walk down - fancy building of stone with green dome - Durham Station - red leafed trees - garden centre - sun rays - fisherman at a pond - red houses back to back terrace - River Tyne - Newcastle, blinking eye bridge, tyne bridge - St Nicholas Cathedral grey stone arched spire and gold weather vanes.

Flock of gulls stand in brown field - river in a valley edged by trees - a deer alone in a field - the ocean, a town on a peninsula, a row of houses painted green, blue, pink and cream - trees line the horizon - ruin of a house, stone surrounds and gable ends, no roof - blue sky breaking - smoke rises slowly off a burning field, drifts across surrounding land - free-range chicken farm - static dunes with coarse grasses, slate grey sea crashing into the beach, hazy horizon between sea and sky - high stone railway bridge with arches - orange roofed houses - tiny house on an island in the middle of a river - ruins on the cliff face - dry stone wall snaking down the hillside - rich red soil - rock outcrops - fast running brook forest behind a dry stone wall - late afternoon autumn sunshine hangs low in the sky - white geometric power station on the side of the ocean, dark blue ocean, pale yellow fields of cut wheat - quarry scar on the landscape - football team warms up, men in a line, press-ups then jogging with high knees almost synchronised blue jerseys and red socks - Thistly Cross Roundabout road sign.

Stone built city big hills behind with heather and fir trees - Edinburgh Waverly station - lady with a green Fenwick's hat box - turrets of Edinburgh, green domes, castle, mossy cliffs with ruins at the bottom - stepped gable ends like children's castles - football stadium - Jenners depository - Scottish castle (house with turrets) - wind sock, airport, small plane on the landing strip - Forth Bridge, river current swirling - cemetery tiered up a hill - car scrap yard, cars crushed and piled high - blue water dark blue hills one patch of brightly lit water where the sun hits before dropping behind a hill - brown new build estate huddling in a valley - smugglers inn hotel - huge derelict warehouses - mole hills in a golf course - tree felling in a managed forest - sweeping valley high on both sides patchwork fields between - way in the distance the sun hits the tops of the hills for the last time this evening - big country house looking out over a valley - stone bridge over a stream - house with a walled garden - red haired woman whose hair shows the kink of yesterday's ponytail alights at Lucas Leuchars - 4 men play golf - fighter jet launches into the sky visible speed - swans on a glassy pond - bridge over the river tay.

Friday, 8 October 2004

Star Buck

He lives in Balham, has studied music and works only four days a week to give himself time to himself. He used to work in Sainsbury's in Balham but clearly is now working in Starbucks just off Oxford Street near St Christophers Place. He's using this time working in prime downtown to make contacts with local workers, preferably in shops, who can benefit him with their staff discounts (in exchange for his charm and extra wide smile). I have learned all this about him by earwigging his chat with a young man who popped in for a latte and recognised the server from his days in Sainsbury's in Balham. They both live in Balham, our man lives on some road near a garage (petrol station).

"I've got one in HMV, a store manager, and remember that cute japanese girl with glasses? She works in Gap, and now this guy works in Footlocker. Shame I don't shop in Footlocker. Probably haven't been in there since I was 12 years old! All I really need now is a contact in H&M. Cos I spend half my wages in there."

He then disappears down a staff-only private doorway and turns up the music. Comes back does a little dance move and gets back behind the counter.

His serving buddy shakes his head in a you-stress-me-out kinda way, shoots him a withering look and goes back into the private doorway to turn the music down again - Starbucks rules - someone's gotta keep to them.
Faust - The Opera

From Flashmob The Opera to Faust the Opera. Off to the Royal Opera House where people still dress to attend - many glam outfits were brought out of mothballs even in the Upper Audatorium where I managed to get cheap seats. I followed one woman up the escalator in a 20's style tassled dress that had an opening down to her waist on the back (in hind sight I suspect she'd have been covered in goosepimples by the end of the evening due to the air-con - I had to wear my coat for the second half).

So I thought we wouldn't be able to see anything other than some singing ants running about on a stage way in the distance but actually we had a good view, even if we felt like we would topple off the cliff face at a moment's awkward movement. The lights dimmed and the coughing began. I don't know maybe its the weather and the slightly older crowd but everyone had a cold. Ripples of stiffled coughing through the overture which is quiet. Some shushes. Followed by rustling of cough sweets. One word of advice - strepsils are too noisy for the theatre - you really need something which unwraps rather than something that has to be popped out of tin foil - you won't be able to do this quietly, and doing it slowly only prolongs the agony.

I didn't know the story and hadn't enough change for a programme but managed to follow along anyway.

It goes something like this: Dr Faust is old and dying and sells his soul to the devil for a brief spell of youthfulness so he can find and woo this woman (the devil showed her to him, she was washing - Dr Faust fell for it - you know it can only lead to trouble). The devil's terms are that he will serve Dr Faust in his youth while they are on the earth but thereafter Dr Faust must serve him in Hell. Dr Faust drinks a cup of something and his youth is restored.

Some soldiers are going off to war, one of their sister's is called Margarite and is a virginal beauty and gives her brother a lucky medallion to wear (she wears the other half).

A young man is in love with Margarite and puts posey's of flowers on her step everyday as a sign. Dr Faust with the aid of the devil leaves her a casket full of jewels. She falls for him (partly because the devil has given her a vision and partly because of the wealth). He then appears and seduces her, she resists at first but it is hopeless. They sleep together. The devil's work is done.

Many months go by, Dr Faust has abaondoned Margarite (bad man) and become a heroin addict (I blame the devil), she is pregnant. She goes to the church to pray and the unmerciful God (he looks like the devil but has long waving gray hair rather than straight) refuses to hear her pleas and tells her she will rot in hell. She is shunned by her village. AND THEN her brother comes home and finds her in an advanced state of pregnancy and is in despair at her lack of virtue and the shame she has brought on him (so much weight the poor woman carries on her shoulders). The brother and Dr Faust argue (Dr Faust being the cause of this disrepute brought on his sister) and with the aid of the devil Dr Faust kills the brother. He doesn't forgive his sister even in his dying seconds.

Then the devil commands Dr Faust to come to Hell with him. In Hell, the devil rules the roost and he gets to wear a very stunning sparkly dress and preside over a performance by some ballerinas who on first glance look charming and lovely and frail but soon show their licentious sides and end up in an orgy with the devil's cronies. And during this performance they taunt a pregnant ballerina and run around screaming.

Back in life (as opposed to the afterlife) the poor Margarite has gone mad with the shunning and shame of childbirth out of wedlock and abandonment and has killed her baby and been sent to prison awaiting hanging. The devil sees this as a fitting time for Dr Faust to go back, rescue her and bring her to Hell. She refuses to come despite her love for him. And finally, God shows mercy to her, and Dr Faust (who rapidly becomes old again) banishing the Devil back to Hell.
Apologies, it was a long opera!

Thursday, 7 October 2004

Good Bye Office

Today will be my last day.

And I think I might miss the skyview.

Wednesday, 6 October 2004

Flashmob - The Opera

Having been invited and then uninvited I turned on morning news to discover that it was actually occuring so I re-invited myself via the BBC. So as far as I knew when I re-invited myself there was something to do with Paddington Station, some popular opera and a flashmob.

"BBC Three premières a new opera, staged live amongst commuters in one of Britain’s busiest railway stations, with the aid of a spontaneous flashmob."

My emailed instructions said: Wednesday October 6th come to Paddington Station at 20.34. Surnames A to D at Eastbourne Terrace entrace by Sainsburys. We came in through that entrance and wandered onto the concourse, saw the orchestra, found a couple of opera singers duetting and ending in a kiss. Then found someone holding a flash-mob pamphlet and went in search of the 'lady with the music'. Found the flashmob being held in the 'wings', was given a copy of the music. We were to join in with the chorus of Nessun Dorma from Puccini's Turandot. We waited, a small group, with anticipation.

And then our entrance was made, sweeping in, to stand around a Tenor in a red football shirt who was singing the Nessun Dorma. On our cue (the tenor kissing the girl in the red coat) we sang, some of us loudly with pride and others quietly sort of hiding,
'O love for all et-ern-it-y!
Love is the torch that burns for ev-er and in love we ex-ult
in grat-it-tude for safe-ty and hap-pin-ess!
Ev-er more!
Ev er more!

The policemen who appeared to have come straight from Zed Cars (in the original uniforms with the original actors in them), and some non-too convincing chelsea supporters joined in. The cameras swung round the crowd. There was applause and cheering and we were gone. Back to the wet streets of Paddington.

It felt chaotic, with frantic orchestration by people with clipboards and headsets, the flashmob was a mixed group older and odder than ususal. And I can't imagine it sounded too great or looked particularly spontaneous. But we had a good time. Roll on next time!

Tuesday, 5 October 2004


Its a good thing when a traffic warden calls you gorgeous first thing in the morning, right?

Monday, 4 October 2004

The Syrup of Figs

Apart from your toupe you look smart. Nice suit, white shirt, polished shoes, briefcase. But the toupe! The dark brown matted and balding toupe! Perched on top of your head, not blending with your now grey back and side hair, it is failing you badly. To just ditch it, and be bald with your remaining hair cut short, would shave years off you. But I'm too shy to say. So I leave you alone to scribble figures in your notebook thinking you're getting away with it, and get on the bus and go home.
Monday's Life Class

So with the comments conversation I had with LaP resonating in my head I went back to class determined to try to make a less 'cold' drawing. She had commented that the drawings last week appeared so - I thought about this and thought it had something to do with the medium. Charcoal is a sympathetic drawing material - its held in the hand and rubbed in with the fingertips, its warm and maniupulable. The ink I've started drawing with by contrast is wet, and permanent and dark. Once a line is on the paper, its on the paper. Can't rub it out or lessen its power, it has to be disguised somehow. This week I carefully built up the drawings from a light watered down line gradually working up to the darker. Working with the brush inbetween and going over lines to firm them up. I thought it was working well until the last one when the blackest lines became too dark. But the model liked this one so I gave it to her.

Candid Arts Trust: open access sessions and more formal taught courses in both life drawing and painting. Behind Angel tube, Islington - first left down City Road. Contact: The Candid Arts Trust, 3 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ, Tel: 020 7837 4237.