A week of cool mail!

February 24, 2007

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(some art by Gilbert and George)

Well, maybe ‘a WEEK of cool mail’ is a slight exageration but this week: the first issue of Paul’s New Scientist subscription arrived; and today, my member’s pack from the Tate arrived. Very exciting!

I’m excited about seeing the Gilbert and George exhibition at Tate Modern for free (it costs money to non members). I’m currently watching films about the exhibition.

Here’s a little blurb about Gilbert and George that I found on the Tate website:
Gilbert Proesch and George Passmore, known always by their first names, have been collaborating for over thirty years. They met while students at St Martin’s School of Art in 1967. They have worked in the media of video, performance, painting, drawing and photography. In 1970 they began calling themselves ‘living sculptures’ and, wearing conservative suits and striking statuesque poses, became the primary subjects of their art.

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Death Hope Life Fear by Gilbert and George, 1984.
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Cunt Scum by Gilbert and George, 1977.

I’m also interested in seeing the Hogarth exhibition at Tate Britain.

I think the Tate website has pictures of all the art they own (over 65,000 pieces of art). You can do a search on an artist (or a piece of work) and look at lots of photos of their work. It’s pretty cool.


Best friends and BOSU and camera!!!!

February 23, 2007

On Tuesday, my bestest friend Lucy was in town. Unfortunately, she was only here for a couple of hours but I went into King’s Cross and met her and we had lunch and hung out in Camden. She now lives in Edinburgh and we should really go visit her soon. Especially as she’s planning to move to Glasgow later in the year (although, there’s no reason why we couldn’t visit her there!). But I also have a friend, Carol, who lives in Edinburgh so we could see them both.
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Lunar eclipse, March 3

February 22, 2007

Paul just sent me a link to a great story about a lunar eclipse on March 3. The Moon will be a lovely shade of red. One of the reasons I like this story so much is that it really made me excited about the prospect of living on the Moon. I do often think that science fiction may one day become reality, and people could be living on the Moon, or on Mars, but I rarely get excited about the idea that I could be one of those people. Read the story!

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see the eclipse in Eastern parts of Australia (where most of the people I know live). But here in London I’ll see it.


myart and myzines and myspace

February 13, 2007

So I’m finally starting to get my art up on the site. Haven’t got it all there but at least now I have some.

I still have heaps of stuff from my zines to put up too (articles and art from Ugly Duckling, Another Dental Visit, Tick the Appropriate Box and others). I’m also currently working on a zine (with a new name) which would be great to have it available for download here but still gotta see how my tech ability goes!

I have recently been adding lots of friends on myspace! At first I only wanted to ‘add’ people as friends if I was actually friends with them but have since decided to screw that – by having lots of people and collectives as friends, you can see their bulletins and read their blogs and find out about cool things going on: shows, callouts for art and articles, etc. And as my attempts to meet people here in a new country have been quite lame so far, I figure any help could be a good thing.

Whenever I used to hear people making fun of people who use internet dating sites or dating services I used to think it was quite unfair. I never felt I needed to use them to meet people but I couldn’t see the harm in using a service to meet people if you are having trouble just meeting people in your everyday life. I’ve only moved towns twice in my life: once at the age of 17 to go to university (and it took me quite a while to make new friends) and then 9 months ago, to a new country on the other side of the world (London, UK). So, again, I have to meet new people, find new communities, etc. It’s not easy. At least I know some people here. And coming with a partner has definitely gotta help keep loneliness at bay.

Anyway, it’s Paul’s birthday today so we are probably going to go into town this afternoon and maybe spend his birthday money from his parents. I bought him a subscription to New Scientist and the graphic novel, Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman. It’s a superhero comic book set during the reign of Queen Elizabeth (the first!). It’s supposed to be quite good and quite historically accurate (apart from the superheroes, I guess!).

Our new flatmate brought heaps more of his stuff on the weekend (he only had one suitcase full till then) so now we have an X Box, a Playstation 2 and a Wii. Before he went to work this afternoon we played guitar hero which is cool. And Paul has been playing sports games on the Wii (tennis, golf, boxing).


looking for employment

February 11, 2007

Paul’s friend Stu is leaving us today to spend a week in Edinburgh with his brother. Stu used to live there and he met his current girlfriend there (and she came from the Sunshine Coast, just up the road from Brisbane, where Stu came from!). I also found out that Stu spent the first ten years of his life in Rockhampton – I have a sister who lives just near there.

I have decided to look for a job in a bookshop, or in publishing. I love reading so much, I think this could be a good thing. Maybe I should find out how much people earn working in shops – I have a feeling it’s probably not much.


It's snowing in London

February 8, 2007

My brother Steve and his girlfriend Sophie came back from a week in Slovenia on Monday evening. They stayed with us till Wednesday and they are now in South Africa for a couple of weeks, on their way back to Oz.

Paul’s friend Stu arrived on Tuesday. He has a new digital camera which he has been trying out – all the photos below are by him.

He took some photos around the neighbourhood yesterday and then out again this morning to take photos of the SNOW!!!! Very cool and exciting but very cold!

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A pic of Ealing Common near my house on Wednesday.
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My street on Wednesday.
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My street on Thursday.
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A moss-covered ball on a fence on Wednesday…
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Became a snow-covered ball on Thursday.
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Stu walked Paul some of the way to the train station this morning. Here is Paul in our street. See the snow falling and the lovely house behind him – there are lots of lovely, big, old houses in our neighbourhood.
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Ealing Common covered with snow and someone crouching to pick up a snow ball, perhaps?
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Some parkland near my house, all covered in snow.


It’s snowing in London

February 8, 2007

My brother Steve and his girlfriend Sophie came back from a week in Slovenia on Monday evening. They stayed with us till Wednesday and they are now in South Africa for a couple of weeks, on their way back to Oz.

Paul’s friend Stu arrived on Tuesday. He has a new digital camera which he has been trying out – all the photos below are by him.

He took some photos around the neighbourhood yesterday and then out again this morning to take photos of the SNOW!!!! Very cool and exciting but very cold!

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A pic of Ealing Common near my house on Wednesday.
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My street on Wednesday.
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My street on Thursday.
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A moss-covered ball on a fence on Wednesday…
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Became a snow-covered ball on Thursday.
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Stu walked Paul some of the way to the train station this morning. Here is Paul in our street. See the snow falling and the lovely house behind him – there are lots of lovely, big, old houses in our neighbourhood.
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Ealing Common covered with snow and someone crouching to pick up a snow ball, perhaps?
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Some parkland near my house, all covered in snow.


Oxford, the Cotswolds and more Harry Potter

February 5, 2007

This morning I finished reading Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince (for the second time). I liked it but I think I might agree with many people that I’ve spoken to, that it is not the best Harry Potter book. And there is just a bit too much annoying teen-angst and snogging – but then if I’d been at Hogwarts from age 11 to 17 I probably would have done that stuff too!

(…now I will go off on nerdy daydreams of going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry…)

At least I didn’t cry this time. The first time I read it, I had just read the 3rd, 4th and 5th Harry Potter books in a row, so I was on a bit of a binge, so the sad ending may have affected me a bit more then. I still maintain that they are really good books even though there are a lot of questionable traditional gender roles in the characters and the settings are by no means original (Paul tells me he read all of his sister’s books about an all-girl boarding school called Malory Towers by Enid Blyton that he thinks influenced the Harry Potter stories).

On the weekend I went to Oxford. Paul’s family were there. We didn’t see much on Saturday as we got there a bit late but Paul’s sister and Mum went on a tour of the Bodleian Library which his Mum (a librarian) really loved. Paul’s Mum and sister have been in the Uk for 2 months now and they leave tonight. They are such booklovers that they have a big bag of books to take back with them that they have bought (and got for Christmas) since being here! They bought more books in Oxford and Paul’s Mum bought me a biography of Peggy Guggenheim! I have only read a couple of chapters so far. I learnt that her father went down on the Titanic!

On Sunday we went for a drive around the Cotswolds, looking at little villages with very nice stone houses, with thatched rooves, that probably cost a fortune. We saw a stone circle, the Rollright Stones and we had a very nice lunch at a village pub, the Churchill Arms.


Details from our week in Italy

February 2, 2007

Saturday
Paul and I got ourselves down to Gatwick Airport nice and early to meet his family for our flight to Verona! Now Verona is slightly more to me than the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet! Although I didn’t see much of it as we picked up the hire car at the airport and got staight onto a highway to drive North to the Dolomites! It was cool seeing the tops of the Alps as we flew in and I think I saw Margate as we flew out from the UK.

There didn’t seem to be a lot of snow around which was a shame! The unit we stayed in was really nice but the man and woman managers spoke Italian and German and we only speak English but we worked out what we needed to and managed to communicate.
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Sunday
Hired skis for me, Paul and his Dad, and boots for me.

Paul took me to a beginners’ slope and showed me how to stop when you’re skiing (the snow plough!) which was my first time on snow!

In the afternoon, Paul and his Dad decided to do some skiing. Paul’s Mum and I went up in the gondola with them to see from the top of the mountain near us. It looked amazing – but not a lot of snow around.
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Mountains without much snow.
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Looking down at a gondola coming up the hill! (They were very large gondolas)
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Paul posing for me just before skiing off with his Dad! (you can see the back of his Mum too!)

Had yummy pizza for dinner at pizzeria across the road from our unit. We were all too scared to try to speak our bad, basic Italian (especially as it was obvious the waiters spoke English!).

Watched Bill Bailey DVD Cosmic Jam that night which caused much laughter!

Monday
The beginners slope was only a 5-minute walk from where we stayed. I had a one-on-one lesson from 8.30 to 9.30, then a group lesson from 10 to 12.45. I fell over a lot (and sometimes it was because other beginners had run into me!). During the group lesson it started to snow, very lightly, which was very exciting. The temperature had been about 2 degrees Celsius (give or take a couple of degrees).

After the lesson I had lunch, then a bath and finished off Equal Rights by Terry Pratchett. It is only the third discworld book I have read but I really like them. They are funny and cute and clever tales with witches and wizards and other fantastical elements. Equal Rites examines the male magic of wizards versus the female magic of witches and it is a very funny and interesting look at ideas of essentialism in gender roles. I also found the action was described so well, it was so exciting to read and imagine. A very enjoyable book.
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Next up, I started reading The Day Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko, Volume 2 of the Night Watch Trilogy. But…. I looked it up on the internet yesterday and there seem to be more than 3 books so it may be a trilogy like the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was a trilogy (that ended up containing 5 books!). There are books called Dusk Watch (the third book?) and Twilight Watch (the fourth book?). A year or so ago I saw the Russian film Night Watch, based on the first book, and I really enjoyed it. It was a really good action fantasy film, set in modern-day, post-Soviet Moscow. I’ve been looking forward to seeing the next film, and even more so now that I’ve read the book, but according to what I found on the internet yesterday, the third film has financial backing from Fox Studios so will be filmed in English! I wonder what it will be like.
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After lunch, Paul and his dad went skiing again.

Tuesday
Woken early by a man clearing snow with a machine that sounded just like a lawnmower. But it had snowed through the night and it was still snowing! It was beautiful to look at.
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It snowed during my skiing lesson. It was great to look up into the sky and watch all the snow flakes falling – but I would occassionally get one in my eye. I was very wet by the end of the lesson and I found it very frustrating as I found the turns really hard – I left 20 minutes early as I was over it.
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Wednesday
Didn’t go to my lesson. I just couldn’t face it.
Paul and his Dad skied the Sella Ronda route (around the Sella ridge of the Dolomites). Paul’s Dad has wanted to do it for years apparently. It’s a lot of skiing and they were exhausted when they got back.
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Thursday
Not much happened. I didn’t go to my lesson. Paul and his Dad had a break from skiing (recovering from the previous day!). Got some great pictures of the sun on the Dolomites.
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Friday
Paul woke up with bad head cold after having a bad night’s sleep. He was sweating a lot and feeling very cold.
I finished ready the Day Watch and started reading A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon (he wrote the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime).

Saturday
By the end of the week the temperature seemed to have dropped quite a bit. As we drove to Venice we saw many thermometres saying it was well below 0 degrees (minus 10 in some places). We dropped off the hire car in Venice and got a boat along the Canal Grande to Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) where we were staying. We checked in, then looked around the square, went inside St Mark’s Basilica, and went for a wander through alleyways which was really amazing. Paul was still feeling sick.

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Looking out into the Lagoon from Piazza San Marco with the Doge’s Palace on the left.
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St Mark’s Basilica
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A narrow Venice Street
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A bridge over a Venetian Canal.

Sunday
Went to the Doge’s Palace in the morning. It was pretty amazing. In the afternoon Paul stayed in the Hotel Room sleeping while his sister and I went to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection – which had a lot of art from a lot of big-name modernist artists – and Paul’s Parents went wandering around looking at things.
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A statue inside the Doge’s Palace.
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St Mark’s lion above the exit door of the Doge’s Palace
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The Bridge of Sighs that prisoners cross from the palace into the prisons.

We went to Caffe Florian (without poor Paul) in Piazza San Marco, which has been open since 1720, has been visited by numerous famous people and was incredibly expensive (I’m talking 7 euros for a coffee and 12 euros for some cake). But the food and coffee was good – I had ricotta cheesecake which had sultanas in it and burnt sugar on top. It was delicious.
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We went back to the Hotel room in the evening to get Paul and check out. We got a water taxi to Venice airport on the mainland which was very cool but sad to be leaving Venice after only 2 days. I think I got to see a fair bit in a short time but it was a shame that Paul was feeling so poorly the whole time.

To see more of my pictures, go to my Flickr page.


Back from Italy

February 1, 2007

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We arrived home late Sunday night from our week away, where I had a fantastic time in Italy. Seven days at Campitello Di Fassa for skiing at the Dolomites and then two days in Venice. I am definitely a city person – the two days in Venice were definitely the highlight for me!

I have many of the photos from the holiday on my flickr site and promptly found the 200 picture limit that a free flickr site has. So now I’m deciding whether to pay flickr for more room, or whether to put the photos somewhere else!

When I got home, a parcel from Amazon was waiting for me, containing the CD, Where’s Neil When You Need Him?. I’m really enjoying it. It’s great. It has 17 tracks by different artists, all inspired by the work of Neil Gaiman. It has new art by Dave McKean as well as notes from Neil about the songs and artists. You may be aware of my love for Neil Gaiman and his work (just see previous posts here and here). I’m already loving songs by Razed in Black, Future Bible Heroes, Voltaire with the Oddz, ThouShaltNot, Lunascape and Hungry Lucy.
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In other news, our flatmate Dani is moving in with her boyfriend so we spent much time on Monday and Tuesday nights interviewing potential new flatmates. We have decided on a guy who is a games tester with Sega. He seems really sweet and easy-going (and he has a couple of games consoles, including the new Wii!).