Fat Hands

she used to sit in this cafe, and just face the wall. And it wasn’t coffee she was drinking

Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana cupcakes

Posted by Alix on 29 September 2008

I ate this.

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Clapton is Good graffiti

Posted by Alix on 21 September 2008

This is nearby the Millfields Road bus stop. I much prefer it to this.

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I’m a cuckoo…?

Posted by Alix on 20 September 2008

I’ve been cultivating windowboxes for a while, and had grown some mint from seed, which despite a slow start has in recent weeks grown rapidly, anyway the other day I took a closer look at it, and tasted a leaf and it was distintly un-minty. Plus it doesn’t look like mint. I’m pretty ready to conclude that it isn’t in fact, mint.  But what is it? And can I eat it? Shall I have to create a brand new strain of mojito?

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Chingford strolling and foraging

Posted by Alix on 16 September 2008

We went up to Chingford on Sunday for a nice wholesome walk. It was really very nice – an unexpectedly sunny day, and some lovely views from the higher points, followed by a meander down the Lea until we got to, er, Edmonton. That bit wasn’t really planned – we’d envisaged the setting for the end of the day being somewhere slightly more cheering than the 341 bus stop outside Ikea, but nevermind, we made it to the Pembury after a few years wait for various buses, where happily they were serving very delicious steak for us to make short work of.

I also got a decent score of blackberries, haws, rowans and rosehips, which I shall be putting to good use at some point. Here’s some pictures:

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PieChArt 01

Posted by Alix on 3 September 2008

PieChArt 01, originally uploaded by stevem78.

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In Dorset? I certainly do.

Posted by Alix on 16 August 2008

I’ve decided not to write about Paris. For one thing it was a while ago now, and for another I think I can sum it up as dusty, expensive and hot. Instead let’s think about Swanage – I went there for a spot of camping the other weekend and it was lovely. Terrible weather of course, but it’s a very sweet town. Our campsite was up a forbiddingly steep hill, but with smashing views as a result (captured during the traditional ‘weather has suddenly improved now that we are leaving’ window):

It was too rainy to spend any time on the beach but we had a wander about there anyway, as beaches in the rain are appealing in their own way. Plenty of boats, and the pier is decorated with hundreds of metal plaques (which I assume you can buy and get engraved in a kind of pier sponsorship scheme). They bear a range of messages from the frivolous to touching memorials:

The subtle differences between growing up near the sea and growing up inland were highlighted on the Saturday evening during the RNLI fundraising fireworks display where there was a type of firework which showered down into the sea and then upon touching the water set off into a whole new firework! I was very impressed; I’d never seen anything like it before. I have to say, that was the best bit of the trip.

They have a particularly charming weather noticeboard as well:

So. Go to Swanage, but aim for better weather than this..

(more photos here)

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I’m a Tumblr

Posted by Alix on 28 July 2008

Take a look at these hands.
Take a look at these hands.
The hand speaks. The hand of a government man.
Well I’m a tumbler. Born under punches.
I’m so thin.

All I want is to breathe [I’m too thin]
Won’t you breathe with me?
Find a little space, so we move in-between [In-Between it]
And keep on step ahead, of yourself.

Don’t you miss it, don’t you miss it.
Some ‘a you people just about missed it!
Last time to make plans!
And I’m a tumbler…
I’m a Government Man.

Never seen anything like that before
Falling bodies tumble ‘cross the floor [Well I’m a tumbler!]
When you get to where you wanna be [Thank you! Thank you!]
When you get to where you wanna be [Well, Don’t even mention it!]

Oh, Take a look at these hands. They’re passing in-between us.
Take a look at these hands
Take a look at these hands. You don’t have to mention it.
No thanks. I’m a Government Man.

And the heat goes on…And the (Wheeeep!) heat goes on
And the heat goes on [heeh heeh]…And the heat goes on
And the heat goes on [brbbrbbrb]…Where the hand has been [chtktktktk]
And the heat goes on…And the heat goes on [aaaaaiiiigh!]

And the heat goes on… [I got time!] And the heat goes on
And the heat goes on…And the heat goes on
And the heat goes on…Where the hand (Oooip!) has been
And the heat goes on…And the heat (hehuh hehuh hehuh hehuh) goes on…

I’m not a drowning man!
And I’m not a burning building! I’m a tumbler!
Drowning cannot hurt a man!
Fire cannot hurt a man. Not the Government Man.

All I want is to breathe [Thank you. Thank you.]
Won’t you breathe with me?
Find a little space…So we move in-between [I’m so thin]
And keep one step ahead of yourself. [I’m catching up with myself]

All I want is to breathe [brehuh ehuh]
Won’t you breathe with me [Hands of a Government Man]
Find a little space so we move in-between
And keep one step ahead of yourself. [Don’t you miss it! Don’t you
miss it!]

And the heat goes on…And the heat goes on…And the heat goes on…
And the heat goes on…And the heat goes on…And the heat goes on…
And the heat goes on…And the heat goes on…And the heat goes on…
Where the hands has been…And the heat goes on…And the heat goes
on…And the heat goes on…

There’s something about looking up song lyrics on the web that seems ever so embarassing. Anyway the point of this post is to a) express my love for Talking Heads, and b) announce that I’ve signed up to Tumblr. Follow me, do.

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A tiny tiny snail

Posted by Alix on 21 July 2008

Micro Snail (Helix aspersa), originally uploaded by Islip Flyer.

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Still here

Posted by Alix on 13 July 2008

I’m back! Finally. At the end of May the internet and tv stopped working at home, because Tiscali Home-Choice is shit, so I spent a few weeks making essentially pointless yet angering phone calls to Tiscali Home-Choice where they misinformed me and were generally absolutely terrible in terms of customer service* – fair enough,  I am not named on the account, but just tell me outright that you won’t deal with me rather than taking me round the houses trying to locate the fault and then saying ‘well we’d like to send an engineer out…but we can’t because you’re not the account holder. Can the account holder contact us?’. Well no, he is somewhere in Europe for the next few weeks, and I don’t think he’ll be able to reach the switches when you ask him to turn the set top box off and on again.

I think I could handle their so-called customer ‘service’ if the actual service provision was any good, but it wasn’t, and never was – we were on our 3rd (I think) replacement set top box, the picture was prone to bizarre episodes of becoming suddely polarised in shades of neon and parts of the picture would freeze whilst the rest of the picture carried on as normal – a frankly terrifying habit. That was on good days – on bad days the service would just stop working and say it was unavailable. Plus their new music videos channel was about 75% thrash metal, hardly worth the £6 a month extra.

So, we’ve ditched Tiscali Home-Choice and fixed up Freeview, and got an new internet provider, and so far things are going very well. The month I spent not watching TV has been great – after the initial cold turkey wore off I found myself feeling much happier and less distracted, and more focused, and now that I have access to TV again I’ve barely been watching it. It’s mostly crap that I can do without. I admit I had to make elaborate plans during the TV drought to get to see Dr Who and the Apprentice, but aside from those there was nothing I missed. If I was feeling charitable I could say that Tiscali Home-Choice did me a favour. But I’m not.

Hopefully I’ll get back into the swing (if I was ever in it) of blogging – I went to Paris, so I need to write that up at least. Everything else I’ve missed might get written off as Dark Ages.

*one call I made to them involved a mumbling woman putting me on hold after every sentence she said, without letting me know she was doing so, and as there was no hold music/ noise I was in the dark as to whether we’d been cut off, or if she was waiting for a response or what, and about the tenth time it happened I realised about 5 minutes into being on ‘hold’ that I had in fact been cut off.

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Artabout

Posted by Alix on 15 May 2008

Last Saturday I and Elly went on another art jaunt round the galleries of East London. We had a good day, on balance. Here’s the run-down, in order of visiting:

1. Alex Baggaley’s I Cycle Fatal Path at Alma Enterprises – a small selection of rather lovely pencil and ink drawings of landscapes under moonlight, very evocative of moonbathed nights, and very nicely done shading.

2. Stefan Saffer at Kate MacGarry – I was underwhelmed by this selection of modern abstract sculpture – it felt a little pointless – I think we both felt the pieces would have been redeemed if they had actually done something, moved in some way or produced an effect. As it was they felt a little blank. They were neither beautiful nor useful. The press release from the show highlights my uneasiness around such pieces of writing – they are rarely a good fit with the reality of seeing the art in person, which in my experience usually doesn’t communicate the ideas found in the writing. I always feel a bit guilty for passing over the spiel that goes with many exhibitions, as if I am somehow missing something vital to help me understand the work. It’s only a small amount of guilt though – on the whole I believe art should not need lengthy explanations – it should be appealing or apparent without supporting evidence. I feel, perhaps if some work needs additional explanation in this way, perhaps the sentiment the artist is trying to express would be better done using a different medium.

3. Charley Woolley’s I Built My House On Sand at David Risley – this exhibition seemed to consist of rather unconnected pieces, there was nothing drawing the parts together and it felt unsatisfying. Nothing really stood out about this one, so I shall stop talking about it now.

4. Also on Vyner Street (possibly at the Vyner Street Gallery) was the most enjoyable on the street – can’t remember the artists name, or find anything on the web, but it was a range of mocked up industrial/ broadcasting equipment, things that looked a bit like control panels from signal boxes, with very funny captions under the various switches and sockets. I thoroughly recommend this exhibition, and I’ll update when I know the artist. It was at the place opposite Nettie Horn (we didn’t go in Nettie Horn this time round. It was a bit rubbish last time, and the poster outside didn’t look promising).

5. Next up was Joan Jonas Infernal Paradise/ The Juniper Tree at Wilkinson – I liked these videos, they were rambling without being dull. I feel odd about watching videos in galleries though – unless they’re short I don’t usually feel like sticking around for the whole thing, so my judgment is based on excerpts rather than the whole thing.

6. Then onto Cell Project Space – they’ve transformed it into a very convincing surf shack, but I got the impression it was more for the benefit of the curators than the visitors! It was also phenomenally hot in there, and given that Saturday was already pretty warm we scarpered after a cursory nose round.

7. Then Gone Tomorrow where there was a small room at the top of a building that was very reminiscent of the art block at secondary school (all 1960s stairwells and heavy wooden doors, that sort of thing). The small room contained woodblock prints by David Stewart – these were good, their appeal lay, for me in the untraditional subject matter – for example, adverts from local papers for double glazing, reproduced in stark woodblock.

8. The Alexandre da Cunha exhibition at Vilma Gold was our next stop – this was 10 minutes of my life I’m not getting back. There was nothing here I liked, and we dissolved into laughter at how shitty it was after we left the gallery. Sculpture made from domestic items, was its summary, I believe. It was some mop heads*, some copper piping and a Rastafarian wallhanging. Very poor show. Her press release alludes to Duchamp’s readymades, that these new pieces are not classic readymades, but altered, evolved ones. The allusion seems pointless to me – surely the appeal of the readymade lies in its rawness – a readymade that is altered is something else. I’m not art scholar though, and this notion is embryonic at best, so feel free to pull it to bits.

*are mop heads a thing at the moment? This is the second time I’ve seen some in an exhibition. The other time was better!

9. Gallery Primo Alonso was ok – a group show called Icon, some mildly diverting paintings, and a video that actually did look like what Teletubbies on acid would look like. I know that’s a lazy trope, but it was like that. Well, kind of.

10. Along Columbia Road we popped into StART Space to see some Christopher Campbell paintings – rather grandly entitled Beauty and Apocalypse on the North Circular Road. Again, not a hit with me – billed as realist paintings of suburban houses, the pictures were realistic indeed, but charmless. I found myself wondering why anyone would bother painting them, or why anyone would want to have them on their walls. A photo could have captured the detail better, and probably imparted more atmosphere whilst it was at it. I’m not sure I really like Columbia Road shops much either, they are far too far up their own arses for my liking.

11. Next, after a sandwich in Hoxton Square we visited the Old Shoreditch Station bar where there are currently some Chrissie Abbott (as mentioned on Birdyblog recently) pieces in residence. I liked these – bright colours, plus birds and animals pleases me.

12. Then off to the Tea Building – firstly Hales for the Bob and Roberta Smith I Am A Living Sign. This was great, a wonderful mix of typographic chaos, traditional signwriting and sad/ funny diary extracts.

13. FINALLY next door to the Rocket Gallery which has Danish geometric paintings from 1950-2000 – lovely array of pieces which has whetted my curiosity to find out more about this area of work.

We finished off the day with a slap-up meal at Green Papaya, where I ate far too much tasty food.

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