Serpentine Gallery, books and films

July 19, 2009

Yesterday Paul and I went to the Serpentine Gallery to check out their temporary summer pavillion and to look at their latest art exhibition. The current pavilion is by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of Japanese architecture practice SANAA. I liked it. If I wasn’t pregnant I probably would have had a coffee at the cafe there!
Serpentine Gallery and 2009 Summer Pavillion
Above, the Serpentine Gallery is on the right and the reflective Summer pavillion is on the left (The pavillion photos are by Paul).
The Serpentine Gallery's 2009 Summer Pavillion
The Serpentine Gallery's 2009 Summer Pavillion
Serpentine Gallery's Summer Pavillion 2009
The current exhibition inside the Serpentine is Jeff Koons: Popeye Series. I enjoyed the exhibition but am still undecided on what I think of Jeff Koons. I do like some of his stuff and this exhibition had a lot of objects that looked like inflatable plastic swimming toys (like rings and dolphins, etc) but they were hanging from the ceiling with heavy things hanging off them – they were actually made of aluminium and painted bright colours.
Jeff Koons: Popeye Series, Serpentine Gallery, London, 2009
Jeff Koons: Popeye Series, Serpentine Gallery, London, 2009
Jeff Koons: Popeye Series, Serpentine Gallery, London, 2009
After our sojourn in Hyde Park we headed up to Borders in Oxford Street where all the books are 50% off as they’re closing down. Even though I think most of the good stuff was gone (I couldn’t find any sci-fi or fantasy books!) we still bought ten books between us – and I know, I know, we just have to pack them now to send back to Australia but books are so much cheaper here than in Australia we couldn’t resist.

So lugging our books through Soho we headed to Leicester Square to watch the new (and sixth) Harry Potter but of course it was sold out (well, we could have bought tickets for the front row, which we weren’t so keen on) so we saw the sci-fi film Moon which was very good -I would recommend it highly. We also bought tickets to see Harry Potter today – two movies in one weekend, how decadent! I’m quite excited about seeing HP6 but Paul is less so at it goes for two and a half hours. We’re having lunch with some friends and then going to the film. I’m wondering if we should try to fit in some other London activity before lunch.

Yesterday we finally bought our flights home, so our families can stop asking us ‘When do you arrive back? Have you bought your tickets yet?’ We’re spending three days in Hong Kong with my friend Sam on the way home which is exciting. I still can’t believe I only have two weeks left in London. I feel like I need to be out going places, saying goodbye. I will miss it a lot.

A cool house, photographs and friends in London

March 30, 2009

On Saturday Paul and I fulfilled one of our longstanding London plans and went to John Soane’s Museum on Lincoln’s Inn Fields. It was really great. And free! Soane was an architect and a collector and his house is chock-full of interesting things. Go here to have a 360 degree look at some of it. Soane (1753-1837) was the son of a bricklayer, the personal architect of two prime ministers, and the designer of the Bank of England, the Dulwich Picture Gallery and Westminster’s Law Courts, as well as Britain’s red telephone box. The house has the sarcophagus of Seti I, other really old stuff and lots of paintings, including three Canalettos (‘Riva degli Schiavoni, The Rialto Bridge from the North and Piazza S. Marco) and two series of Hogarth paintings, A Rake’s Progress and An Election – I was so excited to see the Hogarths. Soane had a country house in Ealing, Pitzhanger Manor which is now a museum, so I might have to go pay it a visit.
Sir John Soane's Museum, London
Above and below, the entrance to the John Soane’s Museum.
Sir John Soane's Museum, London
On Saturday night we went to a housewarming party for someone from Brisbane who we met over here (through a friend from Brisbane).

On Sunday we went to the Photographers’ Gallery (which has moved to just off Oxford Street) and we saw the finalists for the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize 2009. There was some good photography there. They also have a good bookshop and a nice cafe (I must remember that for if I’m ever near Oxford Circus and want a coffee and don’t want to go to Starbucks).

Then we met up with Cheryl and Alex and wandered around Spitalfields Market, Brick Lane, and surrounding streets, including the Gherkin and the Leadenhall Market.

I recently read that the Whitechapel Gallery is about to reopen after being closed for a couple of years. I’m excited about that. I’ve seen some pretty cool art there.

Some photos from Istanbul

January 4, 2009

I went to Istanbul with Paul and his parents 27 Sept – 1 Oct, 2008.
Basilica Cistern, Istanbul, Turkey
From The Basilica Cistern
Inside the Hagia Sophia
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London Literature Festival

August 12, 2008

I just realised that I didn’t blog about the London Literature Festival.
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Cool upcoming talks at the Southbank Centre

July 1, 2008

Paul and I are going to a couple of talks at the Southbank Centre in the next week and a half. We’re going to The Hayward Anniversary Talk: Tales of the City which (I think) is part of the London Festival of Architecture. Architect Zaha Hadid and artist, Antony Gormley (among others) are speaking.

We’re also going to see a talk by (comics legend) Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie about their new(ish) work Lost Girls. I’m really excited about getting hold of this three-volume set of graphic novels (which costs £50!!!). Set around the time of the first world war (I think) the books’ main characters are Alice (from Alice in Wonderland), Dorothy (from the Wizard of Oz) and Wendy (from Peter Pan) and they explore the sexual awakenings of the young women – it sounds really interesting but definitely one for the grown-ups. The books have been released in other countries but couldn’t be released here (in the UK) until this year because Wendy was still under copyright!

Things to do in London

June 25, 2008

While I will often complain about London and its bad weather, dirty city (from pollution and people throwing their rubbish on the ground! Yes, I have witnessed this many times), terrible service (in cafes, restaurants, shops, post offices, government departments, you-name-it), there is soooo much to do here that I love doing. Last night I went to the ICA where I got to hear the french feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray talk about her latest book, Sharing the World. While I didn’t really understand much of it, I did get to buy discount tickets for the four of us who went, as I’m a member of the ICA! I think I’m going to give up on Luce Irigaray. This type of philosophy is not for me (Paul and Jess really enjoyed it, Helen and I didn’t really get it).

There are lots of places I am yet to visit in London but want to:
The Chelsea Physic Garden (I have been listening to some podcasts of lectures to the Royal Society which is how I found out about the Chelsea Physic Garden) (official site)
The Sir John Soane’s Museum (official site)
The Museum of London
The Royal Academy of the Arts and their Summer Exhibition
The Museum in Docklands and their Jack the Ripper and the East End exhibition
Gresham College

For the next month there are lots of events for the London Festival of Architecture.

Helen told me about a feminist theory reading group which I am quite excited about (if they read theory I understand).

Helen and Jess are keen to go with me to see the film Her Name is Sabine at the ICA. It is a documentary by a French actor about her sister who has autism. It sounds really good.

And my friend Jen is coming to town next week which is exciting (she lives in Edinburgh). It will be nice to see and her partner and their two kids.

Photos from Valencia, Spain

June 25, 2008

A few weeks ago (June 6-8) I went to Spain for the weekend with a friend from work as a pre-wedding party (she’s getting married next month). Below are some photos.

yummy sangria in Valencia
Yummy sangria
Out for tapas in Valencia, Carmen, Lucja, Mireille, Ling and Sing.
Having dinner. From left, me, Lucja, Mireille, Ling and Sing. Ling is the one who is getting married.
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New friends and old friends

June 23, 2008

On Friday night I went to the housewarming party for Alletta and Ryan who are friends of my friend Lucy. I hadn’t met them in person before then but we’d exchanged emails after Lucy emailed us both saying we all live in London so should be friends! I had a really nice time (apart from burning my finger on some haloumi cheese but what do I expect for doing something as silly as picking it up directly off the barbecue?!).

On Saturday we had lunch with old friends of mine from my student union days (Dave McElrea and Matt Carter) and their partners and another couple from Australia. It was really nice. We met up in Islington and had a late lunch at a French cafe and then a few drinks in a pub.

After that we met up with Helen in Kensington and walked up Exhibition Road where there was supposed to be a heap of stuff for the London Architecture Festival and a music festival, but I think we had missed everthing for the day – the street was still closed off but everything was being packed up! We went up to Kensington Gardens for a concert to do with the Serpentine Gallery, near the Albert memorial. (I had only seen the Albert Memorial from a distance before and it is so ostentatious up close!). We could also see the Royal Albert Hall across the road, which is rather nice looking from the outside.
The Albert Memorial (Queen Victoria's husband) in Kensington Gardens
The Albert Memorial
Helen and Paul at the Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens, London
Helen and Paul at the Albert Memorial.
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Whitechapel Gallery, Craze Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum

May 18, 2008

On Friday night Paul and I went to the Whitechapel gallery and saw a little bit of video art and we saw two bands play: An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump (see clip above) and No Bra. I hadn’t seen No Bra play before but I’d been wanting to for ages. I think I’d describe her as electro-punk. She came onto the stage in very small pants (possibly just underwear) and a leather jacket and stood there speaking/singing into the microphone along to the backing electo music. After the first song she took off the jacket and she was standing there, topless! Needless to say, without a bra! I find it kinda cool to see ladies with saggy bosoms (kinda similar to mine) putting them out in public, not restricting them in some tight, ridiculous bra, pushing them up, but letting them be in all their natural glory. She also has really long hair – past her waist – which was actually covering one of her breasts for the whole performance; she didn’t move about much. I really like her song Munchausen and we laughed when she sang it, it’s very funny. Check it out on Youtube (the sound’s not that great) or listen to it on her Myspace page.

On Saturday we went to the Craze Gallery on Portobello Road and saw a bunch of guns and grenades made out of paper, then we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum and saw three exhibitions: China Design Now, Thomas Hope: Regency Designer, and Blood on Paper: the Art of the Book. We also had lunch in some nice rooms and Paul took some photos.

Paul recently shaved his head. Here he is, with new haircut, after a long day of London site-seeing.
Paul looking tired after a long day of walking and looking at art in London
He might be tired but he still has enough energy to play World of Warcraft!

Paul’s blog, sitting around on Sunday

October 7, 2007

Paul decided it was time he got a domain name for his (somewhat neglected) blog and this morning bought (he used to have it a couple of years ago). Maybe he will blog a bit more now.
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