I just HAD to post this. The video is just so sweet!
What a delightful little dog...
I just cannot believe it!
Just when I had scheduled some nice writing days, it has all collapsed because I have too much (paid) work. Oh, to be a full-time writer!
Two days ago, I managed to spend around one hour and a half reading through the last few pages of The Book of Thoth I wrote back in November, and I found it quite entertaining... I was actually rather pleased with myself, which is a pretty rare occurrence. So I have been stopped in my tracks and it feels... aargh! So what I am going to do if I find 30 minutes somewhere is that I will post some new extracts on The Book of Thoth page to change things around a little.
I know I am incredibly lucky I have had two years during which I have been able to write so much, but when everything grinds to a halt just when it was getting really fun, it feels incredibly frustrating. So yeah, in a way, I am frustrated (the creative juices are not flowing, so it's not surprising, is it?). Or maybe disappointed (just an excuse to post random picture of cute kitten...)
I am hoping to go back to writing in February... Wishful thinking?
I cannot wait for January 19th.
First, it will be The Artist at the Curzon Soho.
Then, we will make our way to Foyles on Charing Cross Road to see Christopher Fowler in conversation with Solaris' editor-in-chief, Jonathan Oliver.
I am hoping to buy Mr Fowler's new book Hell Train and get it signed! It is going to be a hell of a read (ha ha).
Today I've done something that I have been meaning to do for months: sit down and order a National Art Pass (a double one, so two people get the full advantages of the pass!).
I am stupidly excited by it all.
We didn't do it on time for John Martin and it was a big mistake, because the Pass gets you into most exhibitions at 50% of the price!
Also, you get in for free at several amazing places around the country, such as a big favourite of ours, the wonderful Art Deco Eltham Palace in South-East London... I can feel a visit (or two!) coming in the Spring. They sometimes have vintage/antiques fairs, so it would be wonderful to combine another visit of the house with one of those events!
The John Martin exhibition at Tate Britain, aptly named "Apocalypse", is ending on January 15th... I urge you to go, because it is a real feast for the eyes; some of those paintings look staggeringly beautiful in all their apocalyptic glory. These are works on a scale never encountered anywhere else.
I am someone who is extremely sensitive to dark imagery; I was entirely, completely seduced by the sumptuous, chaotic, pulsating, majestic red and black miasma portrayed in John Martin's masterpieces.
An all-time favourite of mine, The Great Day of His Wrath - part of The Last Judgement triptych - makes you gasp with awe as you feel sucked into the cataclysmic scene in front of you. You can almost feel the heat on your face and you can smell the sulphuric, acrid smell of Hell as you stand in front of it...
Pandemonium is yet another scene of burning devastation and hellish inferno that will leave you speechless.
John Martin's work has been a source of inspiration for countless artists: films, science fiction, manga comics, video games, musicians, visual artists... His highly theatrical, cinematic work is truly unique.
Going through the different rooms, you get a sense of an incredibly talented craftsman, who carried on with his vision regardless of all the criticism and bitchiness of the critics of the time.
He also seem to have been quite unable to really cash-in and revel in his own fame and the recognition of his talent: he was deemed too populist and commercial, and it is mainly other people who have gained from his popularity.
But behind the fantasy, the fantastical, the mythological and the grandiose, one can sense the very human traits of fanaticism, hope, fear, terror, blind faith, cruelty, sadism, an equal lust for beauty and an irrepressible love of destruction...
John Martin's images reflect the sumptuousness of nature, the ambition and the arrogance of Man, all this in exquisitely detailed Black and White prints or larger than life fantastical landscape scenery ...
A truly exceptional experience...
Then it was up to Mayfair and the Curzon Mayfair, a fabulous little cinema - I have only been to the Curzon Soho, a glitzier affair entirely - to see Terence Davies' wonderfully understated The Deep Blue Sea (from the Terence Rattigan play). 1950s Britain, with all its moral stuffiness and greyness, is lovingly reconstructed, but it is the incredibly nuanced acting - Rachel Weisz, whom I was aware of but had never seen in a movie before and is quite simply splendid - the scarce dialogue and the lines that often ring so true that make The Deep Blue Sea such a gripping movie. I am never one for a romantic story, but this goes beyond the romance and questions what it is that make us be and stay alive, take the decisions we take, make us who we are as individuals...
I am not feeling very voluble today and therefore, here is a little pictorial résumé of our visit to Whitstable over the holidays. It is lovely to see a thriving high street full of small independent shops and no empty premises! But then, Whitstable is popular with well-to-do Londoners...
If you want a more "in-depth" article (and more photos) about why Whitstable is worth a visit, here's an article from the New York Times of all newspapers... They even mention the lovely Tea and Times photographed below!
All photos © Matt ArtPix
Matt has written his own Whitstable blog, much more informative than mine...
Can we trust those people for running a train service? They make THREE mistakes on ONE board. The worrying thing is that this picture has been chosen by the BBC - alongside others - to illustrate the bad weather we are having today, and they didn't make any comment about the errors. Bet they haven't even spotted them, because nobody can spell anymore. Customer service at its (and NOT it's) best!
I think therefore I write.
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