Yesterday, we spent the whole day in London - I had missed my favourite city! The sky was blue and the sun was shining hard, so everyone was out and about - Londoners as much as the tourists...
Argh, the tourists!
I can therefore confirm that the big trend around the world is cut off denim shorts.
Oh, the horror!
So to try and alleviate the pain, we trotted up to the National Portrait Gallery to see the Glamour of the Gods exhibition.
Needless to say, we were in for an injection of high quality, extra strength cinematic glamour, from times when actors had personality and didn't try and be "normal" (normal? Who on earth is silly enough to want to be normal?).
The quality of the photos - all in Black and White apart from a few exceptions - was exceptional, showing off the incredible talent of the photographers. The light, the shadows, the curves, the angles, the textures!
Unfortunately, as one could have guessed, such an exhibition was bound to attract people only interested in Fame (with a capital or lower case "F"). Hence a few groups of twenty and thirty something people not exactly knowing any of the subjects apart from the usual suspects - Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, although I would bet that they haven't seen any of their movies! - going through the exhibition at high speed without bothering to read any of the captions. One group (one guy, three girls) kept making stupid comments quite loudly and giggling; or this other group of women who were only looking at the female subjects and bitched about their appearance - figure, make up, grooming - JUST WEIRD!
Luckily, these people never hang around too long and go around exhibitions under 20mn, therefore leaving the rest of us to quietly enjoy the photos without the idiotic soundtrack.
The book of the exhibition is dear (£25, ouch!) but wonderful, with full biographies of the photographers, and of course, the unforgettable images they took...
In keeping with the theme of glamour and golden eras, we then strolled down to the South Bank centre for the Festival of Britain festivities and the Vintage Festival. We didn't have tickets for the paid for events but wanted to have a look at the Vintage Market. And we weren't disappointed! We found a plethora of fantastic stalls (too many to name them!) and the sheer amount of them was simply staggering. I wasn't in a clothes-browsing mood and therefore didn't have a closer look at all the wonderful clothes rails on display... We spotted a few interesting designers and makers of handmade vintage inspired goods (nobody makes the same kind of products as Matt ArtPix, so that's good news! ;-)) and came back with several handfuls of business cards and flyers... A lot of Internet browsing to do.
Because this was London, the crowd was ecclectic and colourful, all styles and ages mixed. Such demonstration of originality, vitality and inventiveness can only be applauded, and we hope that London (and maybe Southend, as Jude Kelly, the MD of The South Bank Centre, is also the director of Chalkwell Park based Metal) will be encouraged by this roaring success and develop the idea...
Also at South Bank is The Seaside Land at the Festival of Britain, which is a lovely little marketing effort in favour of Southend! Next weekend will see Southend go over to the South Bank Centre, for more details on this see: http://www.metalculture.com/southend-on-sea/ and scroll down to "Festival of Britain festivities" section.
Now it is back to the desk and to the book...
Aaah, the 2CV, or "Deux Chevaux" as they say in French.
Apparently, the annual international rally has just taken place in Salbris, France...
My mum used to have a 2CV, and it lasted years and years. It was all red, then got four cream coloured doors when the original ones threatened to collapse. We adored it and were really sad when time came to get rid of it... They are really nice little cars. The best thing about them is their simplicity: none of the electronic nonsense you find in the vile-looking cars nowadays... and so much more personality!
The Independent have covered the event and the article is here: Je t'aime la 2CV
This will not please a lot of people, but at least it removes the crass layer of sentimentality to reveal the brutal truth.
I do agree with him one hundred per cent... The human condition is pathetic enough without our sad little (self-serving) conscience adding to the misery.
One of the most talented, beautiful people in the WHOLE WORLD.
True talent, real independence and creativity. Not a fake, manufactured rebel for an apathetic and shallow generation.
In these days of obsession with finding role models for girls, I think Ms Guðmundsdóttir might be the best qualified to fill in that position.
I like Will Self a lot. Yes, he can come across as arrogant and know-it-all, but maybe we would all do if we were so fluent and intelligent. We should be thankful we still have people like him who are beyond being just "nice".
I like the way he ruffles feathers and doesn't shut up.
In this video, he tells it like it is about the London Olympics. I think there's nothing to add, really...
Will Self on the Olympics
I am just passing by my website as I have been neglecting it lately. The website and my fiction writing... But that's life, isn't it?
I am resuming writing today at last!
In the meantime, I would like to introduce one of the authors who was speaking at the Shorelines festival and who is the one who has made the biggest impression on me.
Sjon is a real original, a passionate person who has been writing since forever. He is also a poet and has been one of Bjork's oldest collaborators (and he has written the lyrics to some of my favourite songs ever!). Hearing him speak about his latest book, "From the Mouth of the Whale" (which I intend to read as soon as I can get my hands on one, as they had sold out at the festival and I was unable to buy one copy then) was captivating.
I managed to buy "The Blue Fox" though and got it signed!
Sjon has also written the lyrics of Lars Von Triers'"Dancer in the Dark", a deeply moving movie in which Bjork had the main role and was simply stupendous. I can't stand musicals, but somehow, thanks to the talent of the people involved, it worked for me.
I felt a connection with his ideas, with his influences and way of thinking. As someone who's always wanted to be a writer, Sjon stands as the embodiment of success: a long, successful, meaningful career spent writing and being involved in literature and the arts.
Moreover, Sjon is a youthful, warm, friendly man whom I wouldn't mind spending a few hours with in a cafe. Or have as a neighbour.
I have a passion for Scandinavia and have always associated Iceland with it somehow. Here are incredibly intriguing countries full of legends and stories, whose relationship with Nature is miles away from ours. I crave the bleak empty spaces and the long never ending night of the Scandinavian winter. Their world view is closer to mine than the terribly consumerist society that surrounds me.
I wish I could speak Icelandic so I could read Sjon's oeuvre as he has written it...
Anyhow, here's a link to Sjon's wikipedia page: Sjon
Here's Sjon's page on Bjork's website: Sjon Page
A fascinating interview with Sjon on Fabulous Iceland: Sjon interview
And here's a link to a lengthy review of "From the Mouth of the Whale":
From the Mouth of the Whale
The media can't believe their luck, these days: a phone-hacking scandal involving very rich people, politicians and celebrities (oh, and a few "normal people" thrown in for good measure); a massacre with some religion(s) and racism and anti-multiculturalism involved, enough to get everyone chattering for, like, weeks on end.
Thankfully, the guy was not wearing black, didn't have a few piercings and tattoos and it hasn't been said (yet) that he had been listening to some electro/industrial/goth music (which, of course, would have explained everything!). He was blue-eyed, blond and did some management course or something. He probably liked wooly jumpers and listened to classical music...
This one horrified me as I adore Scandinavia and see it as a haven from the horror of the rest of the world... The landscape, the splendour of Nature...
Oh, and some celebrity died as well. I am not commenting on this as I really don't care about that one at all. I've got better things to do than waste my time on that one. Only that you will probably soon see the "devastated family" fight over her money.
Tomorrow it is End of Term, organised by the ever dynamic Metal.
I still need to write a little blog about Metal's Shorelines festival that took place last week, but I haven't got much time these days... So it will be a quick one that I am hoping to put together over the weekend...
So. Back to End of Term...
I will be taking a break away from my desk to help Matt ArtPix at his stall. He will be selling his wonderful range of vintage inspired collages, retro football - framed images, posters and colourful cards! You will also find his very own tribute to the seaside: the Seaside Specials! We hope the weather will be as nice as it is today...
End of Term takes place from 11am to 6pm in Chalkwell park, Southend ...
The whole programme is on the Metal's website:
Some stuff drives me nuts.
People can't spell anymore, and don't have one iota of grammatical knowledge in them, which makes them write paragraphs full of mistakes. Nowadays, there are mistakes in every newspapers, magazines, websites and shops. I think I am going to start advertising my services as English proofreader for businesses, I'm sure I'd make loads of money...
People should really try and make an effort, though:
The reason it drives me crazy is that I am actually what you'd call a foreigner, one of those creatures reviled in some quarters. I'll always remember when I was a teacher in East Ham, and I was asked to teach a weekly class in English language in addition to my normal French lessons. The kids kept saying that I couldn't teach them English because they were English (well, barely 20% of the class, actually) and I was only a foreigner (ha!). Imagine their faces when they realised they didn't know anything about their own language and I did.
It didn't make them study any harder, though.
It's a beautiful day. It is a beautiful day = IT = subject, IS = verb
The bird is beautiful. Its feathers are blue. ITS = possessive = the bird's feathers.
There's a house at the bottom of the road = There is a house at the bottom of the road.
The dogs are brown. Their fur is brown = possessive, the dogs' fur or the fur of the dogs.
and finally: PLURAL is not "apostrophe s". The possessive is "apostrophe s". You say "I love books" and NOT "I love book's".
I think therefore I write.
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