Amazon wishlist

August 31, 2006

Paul has encouraged me to make a wishlist on Amazon so people can see things I want and ‘buy them for me’. Yeah, right? Anyway, I have had fun adding a heap of books I would like to my wish list.

So, if you want to get me a birthday present, or just want to see what I’m into, go to….

Carmen’s wishlist

The reason I only want 6 of the 8 books of Buddha by Osamu Tezuka, is because I picked up Books 3 and 4 for cheap second hand.

Anyhoo, the list will probably continue to grow… Do I really need all this stuff? No! If I get it, how will I get it back to Australia when I go? I don’t know. It’s fun to dream!

Carmen

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Brighton Pride

August 31, 2006

I forgot to post that after getting my photo taken a couple of times at Brighton Queer Pride, one of the photos made it onto the Real Brighton website (they take photos at lots of queer events in Brighton). The photo is (left to right) me, Beth and Beth’s boyf, Grant. They were really lovely people.


Art, books, clothes and remixes

August 31, 2006

Yesterday I finally got along to the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) on the Mall. I went to see an exhibition called Surprise Surprise which featured a range of really well-known artists but with art by them that is different to what they are known for. Unfortunately they didn’t put any labels on the art so you wandered through wondering who did what. Being the kind of person I am, I wandered around with the accompanying catalogue open so I could see who did what. I must say that a lot of the art did nothing for me (but then I am pretty fussy about art anyway) but I did like the stuff by Kara Walker, Barbara Kruger (whose art was still text-based), Matthew Barney, Nan Goldin (it was still a photograph), Larry Clark, Damien Hirst, Cindy Sherman. I found it interesting how many of the artists I hadn’t heard of (well over half), as they were all apparently well-known, but I had still heard of quite a lot of them. I want to go check out a lot of them now to see what they are known for. I thought some of the art was pretty crap. E.g. Jake and Dinos Chapman might be famous for some scary sculptures of children with genitalia on their faces and sculptures that seem to have popped right out of Goya’s paintings but I wasn’t that impressed with the papier mache pig and penguin that I think they did when they were children! But maybe that’s just part of the fun.

On the weekend I bought a couple of shirts for work. One of them came with a belt. Now I’m not too keen on clothes that come with decorative belts at the best of times – especially when there are loops the belt has to go through (they are just so rarely in the right spot to fit my body) but the skinny little red belt on my new shirt with thin red and white stripes seems to fit ok around my waist and so I’m wearing this really trendy little shirt and feel kinda ok about it. Paul says it looks ‘hot’ but sometimes I think he’d say I look hot if I was wearing a sack. Bless him.

On Tuesday afternoon I bought a book by Aaron Cometbus who is a bit of a famous ziner from the USA. I have never seen or read his zine, Cometbus but I have read a lot about it. I was so thrilled to find some stuff by him in the graphic novel section (!!!) at Foyles in Tottenham Court Road. Unfortunately I didn’t realise that of the two books of his I was looking at, only one of them was extracts from his zine. I bought the cheaper one (£5 as opposed to £5.99), I Wish There Was Something I Could Quit, which is not from his zines. Oh well, I’m still really enjoying it!

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I’ve really gotta get out of this habit of regular consuming. So much of it is to make me feel better and acquiring things is not the answer. The problem is, I don’t know what is the answer.

Yesterday I bought a CD, Remixes of Le Tigre’s ‘This Island’ Album. It’s cool and everything but I didn’t need it. I was on my lunch break and I also bought a heap of junk food, also part of the whole ‘to make me feel better’ theme. I often end up feeling guilty and worrying about putting on weight and being unhealthy, especially as I’m not doing enough exercise at the moment. I have started pricing gyms though! Some of my punk-music-lovin’-pals probably wouldn’t be that into the Le Tigre remixes, but I love my dancin’ techno and think the remixes are gRRReat.

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Long weekend of lazing around joy.

August 29, 2006

On Friday night I met up with Justine and Lucy and others and we had drinks at a nice pub and then went to dinner at a Vietnamese Restaurant. Justine is leaving the country today (I think) and she is going to Vietnam to stay with her friend Mikey who is getting her work on the English-language newspaper he works for. It’s such a shame that Justine has to leave when I feel I have only just arrived but she has used up her one year of work allowed on a working holidaymaker visa and her employer isn’t willing to sponsor her to stay in the job. This could happen to me but I may have an out with my partner being a UK citizen!

The evening was also a farewell of sorts for Lucy who is moving from Brighton (so close to London) to Edinburgh on September 1. I think she is a little worried about having to start up again in a new place. I have faith in her ability to find and become friends with like-minded people. She did ask a few times how soon I was booking a flight to Edinburgh to visit!

I also got to talk to a woman called Natalie who I knew years ago when we were both involved with the University of Queensland Student Union back in 1998-1999.

On Saturday Paul and I went into town and bought books. We really should stop with all the book-buying but we are total book-lovers. I bought a great comic by Julie Doucet called My New York Diary and have finished it already. She is cool. I will have to check out more of her stuff. I also ordered a book (McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern Issue 13) that I just can’t wait to get. A hardcover book with a selection of the latest and greatest in American comics, the book jacket is a poster designed by Chris Ware who wrote and illustrated Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth which was an incredibly moving and sad and funny look at the dysfunctional relationships of three men – father, son and grandfather. The McSweeney periodicals were started by and edited by Dave Eggers and they’re a collection of writing he thinks is good and literature-like. But I think Chris Ware and Dave Eggers both edited this edition. I can’t wait to get it. But everytime I buy a new book I think about how I’ll have to ship it back to Australia when I go.

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On Sunday I indulged my nesting instinct and went to Ikea for reading lamps and Argos for bed linen. It’s so nice to not have to be sleeping between sleeping bags now!

Monday was a bank holiday in the UK (I’ve no idea what that means but it’s a public holiday). I went back to Ikea as I didn’t realise that my lamps didn’t come with bulbs and my brother Steve and his girlfriend Sophie came to visit, as they had not yet seen our new place in Ealing.

Another thing we did over the long weekend was watching season 2 of Lost. Paul and I only started watching on TV halfway through season 2 and have since watched all of season 1 by getting it from the library. Our new flatmates have season 2 so we got into that from the beginning. It’s such a great soap opera. It sucks you in. The only problem is it can be quite slow-moving which is frustrating at times. But it’s been great to catch up on all the stuff we’ve missed.

Last night I had some upsetting dreams. In one of them I was really depressed and couldn’t do much. I’ve had a number of dreams like that. Because in the past I have been incapacitated from depression, I often worry about getting depressed again. I guess I just gotta do what I know is right for keeping me healthy – mentally and physically. I’m actually thinking of joining a gym. I gotta price them to see if I can afford it.

Anyway, better get going.

Carmen


August 15, 2006

What a busy couple of weeks I’ve had. I have found a new house in Ealing which is on the Western side of London (public transport zone 3!) and will be sleeping there from tonight. It’s quite exciting to have our own room after two months. We’ll be living in a 3-bedroom flat with two other women in a rather large, lovely-looking old house (it has 6 flats altogether). There is a park, and lots of shops close by and hopefully I won’t feel too far away from things after living in Islington (which is inner North in London).

I spent a bit of time going around estate agents looking at flats because Paul and I were thinking of getting our own place – a one- or two-bedroom flat – but they charge so many exhorbitant, nonrefundable fees. They charge you money to “draw up” the lease. Now, surely they just have a form they can fill in! I think it’s a total rort! So after realising we really couldn’t afford to do that we decided to find a share house. It’s close to Paul’s work so let’s just hope that I get a job soon.

Last Friday, I had a job interview with an organisation that would have been really cool to work for. Unfortunately they gave the job to someone with more experience. I was one of only three people interviewed and they gave the recruitment agency good feedback about me.

A couple of weekends ago I went to Brighton for (Queer) Pride which was fun. There was a parade with lots of floats and heaps of people obviously had come to town for the weekend. I told Paul I wanted to go without him and he took it quite well. It was good to get away and meet some new people (since being here for two months, Paul and I have spent nearly all our time together).

Lately I’ve been having an Alan Moore bonanza reading three of his books/graphic novels/comics/whatever you want to call them. I am halfway through the Watchman which he did with Dave Gibbons and have really had to persevere with it. It is about retired superheroes (well, people who used to dress up in costumes and fight crime). I’m not sure if I’ll finish it because it just isn’t doing much for me. I have also read V for Vendetta which he did with David Lloyd and I really liked it but had already seen the film so new the general gist of what was happening. I think I’d recommend reading the book first (although I did really like the film. I saw it on the Imax screen in Brisbane and it looked hella cool). Now I’m currently reading From Hell which he did with Eddie Campbell and it’s about Jack the Ripper. It’s so great to be reading books set in London while I’m here (From Hell and V for Vendetta are both set in London) especially as I now actually know where all these streets and places are – well, most of them. I liked the film From Hell (Johnny Depp was in it) but was adamantly told by an Alan Moore fan that the films From Hell and V for Vendetta were shit compared to the books! I think I’m about a third of the way through From Hell and am enjoying its gritty, black-and-white depictions of Victorian London as it explores the theory that Jack the Ripper was actually the Royal family’s surgeon/doctor. It’s quite interesting.Will report more when I’ve finished it.

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That’s about all for now. Have to go call an agency back and tell them I went them to put me forward for a job they’ve emailed me about and then I’m taking more stuff over to my new house! Yay!

Carmen