I AM X, yesterday evening, Heaven, London...
Berlin-based Chris Corner is one of those people who make the world a more beautiful place to live - and that's saying something.
He is a mysterious individual endowed with magical powers, the ones that conjure up breathtakingly beautiful music, stunning lyrics and raw energy, one that gives you perma-goosebumps.
What a soaringly overwhelming set he and his band gave yesterday. All members are accomplished instrumentalists and gave a stupendously good performance.
Come back quick, please. We miss you already!
I AM X WEBSITE
This really made me laugh, because it's exactly where I'm at with The Book of Thoth... It's bloody complicated and the background story took me a good month to write! Yesterday, I re-read it and thought I was completely mad for having thought out something like that.
Today is my last day on the book for quite a while.
I am going away to a place where there is no computer, Internet, etc. This is entirely voluntary, you understand. I NEED NATURE.
Dorset, here I come!
Then when I come back, I will be working on several assignments for my (freelance) day job all at the same time; as usual, after some months of not having a lot of work - which is completely fine as it allows me to get on with the book at the detriment of my forlorn looking bank account - they all come in in quick succession, all to be completed at the same time. So it will be long days and weekends without writing one line... I will still try and scribble bits and pieces here and there as prompts/ideas...
Thank you to Christopher Fowler for posting this video on his blog (www.christopherfowler.co.uk)
Food for thought, unless our brains are already dead.
This is very scary stuff in a society in which being your own person is already extremely difficult.
We need to be vigilant, now more than ever before.
Isn't it marvellous?
Just the day you need to get to London and, to be more precise, to Fulham, National Express East Anglia decide to have one of those “improvement” engineering works they come up with from time to time to try and justify the extortionate ticket prices they inflict on us year in year out. Then, to add to the fun, the bit of the District Line we need is shut for yet some MORE engineering works.
Three hours in, three hours out, train-bus replacement service-tube-tube-bus replacement service, and then we do it all over again the other way round…
These days, you really need to be extremely motivated to do anything in London at the weekend.
But thankfully, it was all worth it.
This week was the second Fulham Palace Art Fair at - you’ve guessed it – Fulham Palace. I have lived in London for 12 years and didn’t even know this place, shame on me!
A real oasis of calm in the heart of London, it is located just a few minutes from Putney Bridge and Fulham Palace Road.
For more information about the Palace, go to their website: FULHAM PALACE.
(Note: The photos below are not mine)
For history buffs, here’s quite an exhaustive one of Fulham and Fulham Palace: HERE
If you are using the Putney Bridge entrance, do not miss the remarkable Sir William
Powell’s almshouses on Church Lane.
This Art Fair was the best I have been to in ages.
Usually, you manage to spot one or two artists you kind of like, lost in the middle of an array of not so interesting, trying too hard to be trendy works. If there is something I really loathe, it is contemporary art, the type of thing that would show a white square with 4 sheets of A4 paper full of a waffly “artist statement” explaining how incredibly amazing their take on social problems is or something (usually using jargon and psychobabble) - all this to hide the fact that they lack talent.
There weren't any video installations either, wow!
Call me traditionalist, but I need to respond to the narrative of the image itself, the colours, the subject, the shapes. I also like beauty, silly me. And people with genuine talent, you know, who really CAN paint, draw, have an eye for beautiful photography.
This event was absolutely full of such artworks. I can count on one hand the artists whose work I didn’t like that much. But none of them made me think “Hang on, someone is actually taking the piss, here.” Not ONE, can you imagine?
So we had everything from traditional oil painting to ceramics, sculpture, illustration, mixed media collages, woodcuts, screenprinting, photography, textile.
The atmosphere was relaxed, friendly, not at all intimidating or snooty “arty-farty”, as they say. I have done a little selection of some of the artists who have made an impact on us, but this list is not at all exhaustive.
To have a little preview of the art fair exhibitors and their work, go HERE.
All the names below link to the artists’ or galleries’ websites.
THE ANTLERS GALLERY deals with fantasy and imagination. Special mentions go to Anouk
Mercier for her ethereal, romantic, dreamy worlds and Mr Mead for his wonderfully humourous and dark illustrations – he has created his very own species called the “British Bio-mechanical Anthropomorphism”. I actually regret now not having bought the set of "Dark Suits" playing cards that was for sale...
We were incredibly impressed by Maria Rivans’ intricate vintage-inspired collages. She told us that she had been pretty successful so far at the fair, and she seemed really pleased when we talked to her. The amount of work that goes into each piece is absolutely staggering: from sourcing the ephemera she will then cut up and glue by hand in order to create amazingly colourful, action packed tableaux and characters… Simply wonderful!
If you like collages, you will also be impressed by the LIBERTY GALLERY’s Alexander Korzer-Robinson. His book sculptures are so intriguing.
Samantha Bryan’s pieces are in a league of their own. Her “brainsfairies” series is simply marvellous and made of adorable creations you just want to take home with you. All of them. Do go and have a look at her very own universe, one in which fairies are accident-prone too! Her little fairies characters are real little individuals! Her contraptions and early 20th century look and feel reminded me of W. Heath Robinson’s illustrations. So utterly charming and quite touching!
Samantha also has a blog: www.studio-number8.blogspot.com
Another special favourite of ours was Flora McLachlan’s otherworldly etchings and paintings, full of the beauty of nature and its mysteries. Unfortunately, Flora hasn’t got a website, but you can go and see some of her works here: NORTON WAY GALLERY
Tony Laverick’s ceramics have a dark, rich beauty to them. He specializes in black porcelain and his pieces are very nicely textured. Gorgeous work.
We stopped off to say hi to Karen Jones from the Hive Artists Studio in Chelmsford (see previous blog HERE). Karen’s stall was packed full of her wonderful illustrations that had won us over a few months ago at her “Painted Words” solo exhibition in Westcliff. The fact that she is such a laidback, friendly and approachable person makes things even better… She had completed a new work especially for the Fulham fair, a perky, sassy image of Hollywood film star Mae West. I have fallen in love with the artwork and no one is allowed to buy it, it’s mine! (err… It will be when I have the money for it! ;-))
Mark Wilson’s photography work looks amazing as large prints. He has a mean eye for colours,
light and atmosphere. He is a very successful commercial photographer – we didn’t know how much when we met him, and he is a friendly guy; we had a nice chat with him about his latest – and ongoing– personal project, “The Last Stand”:
“Being shot between 2010 and 2012, this set of images documents an aspect of the physical legacy of war in 20th century Britain and Western Europe. Centred around coastal areas, these man-made objects of defence now sit silent in the landscape, imbued with the history of our recent past. Some remain proud and strong, some gently decaying through the effects of the passing years, others lying prone on the shore, far below the now distant cliffs where they once stood, all of the becoming part of the fabric of the changing landscape that surrounds them.”
More about this project on his website.
There were so many more artists I could have included in here, but this blog is already far too long… Once again, go to the Palace Art Fair list of exhibitors and have a look at the artists’ websites… You will discover a wealth of incredible talent, far away from the overhyped and rather sinister celebrity artists of this world…
Last but not least, special mention to the Teapigs company, whose teas are served in the Fulham Palace café…
Yummy yummy teas, so much needed after three hours on public transports!
I hope you've enjoyed this long, long post!
In the meantime, allow me to return to my book...
I really enjoyed watching "The Real Jane Austen" yesterday evening (on... BBC4! Again!).
The programme was a repeat from 2002, but I didn't have TV back then! :-)
It is presented by the wonderful actress Anna Chancellor, herself a descendant of the writer.
It always pisses me off when people dismiss Jane Austen's novels as mere romantic "Chick Lit" fodder.
One, the books are well written and entertaining.
Two, they are an engaging, witty, unflinchingly detailed description of a certain section of English society at the end of the 18th / early 19th Century. Therefore they are as good as historical novels as any other book.
Three - she gets human nature so very well, and her observations are still relevant now, still make us wince, laugh and - for some people - cry.
Four - and this is made very clear in the programme - Jane Austen was a pioneer, a courageous and intelligent woman with a very modern outlook for her times and strong opinions on the position of women in society and the "marriage market". I often found myself nodding and smiling in approval. The way she was allowed to pick any book from her father's library when she was a child reminded me of my younger self - she even read books "unsuitable for young ladies" like Tom Jones!
Then the writer in me felt for her as she courageously carried on writing, then stopped due depression and loss of stability, picked it up again and then wrote through illness; I really understand that, as I have only been able to settle down to write novels once I had found some security and stability in my personal life. To write well, I need a certain amount of quiet, a high degree of inner peace - otherwise my brain is full of parasitic interferences - self-reflection and the ability to be reclusive for several hours a day.
The Austenonly website talks about the programme really well, and therefore I refer you to it HERE.
... 56,000 words of the first draft of The Book of Thoth have now been written, and I haven't reached the end of the first half yet.
This manuscript has started to look like a seriously bloated monster. I can already think about one thousand things to review, amend, research, tweak, improve, move, scrap, add...
My first novel "I Am a Muse" was just child's play compared to this one!
I now have a (signed!) copy of Syd Moore's "The Drowning Pool" and I will be starting it today. I am hoping to finish it and to post a short review on here before my one-week Internet break.
I am looking forward to reading this because I am a fan of traditional ghost stories and Gothic Novels and also because I have always had a strong interest in witches.
I refer you to an earlier blog on this website: SHE'S A WITCH!
There is a short interview with Ms Moore on the Creative Capital website too: SYD MOORE
I think therefore I write.
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