Some recent books

March 25, 2009

I recently read and really enjoyed the graphic memoir Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (of comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For fame). Subtitled A Family Tragicomic, Fun Home covers Bechdels childhood growing up in a funeral home, her coming out to her family as a lesbian at the age of 19, leading to the revelation of her father’s closeted life as a married gay man and his death shortly after. Bechdel looks back over her childhood and adolescence, coloured by her new knowledge of her father’s sexuality and his death at 44 which she believes was suicide. One of the things I loved about this book was the many literary references. Both her parents were interested in the arts and reading, especially her father, and the book is littered with classics and what their stories may have meant to her father, her mother and their lives.
The cover of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
I want to read more London-based and London-themed books while living here: Lights Out for the Territory by Iain Sinclair, Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd and Mother London by Michael Moorcock. I wonder if I should read a Charles Dickens novel or two while I’m at it. Has anyone got any recommendations? Yesterday I took a bus to Greenford library to borrow Lights Out for the Territory. The book is full of tales of wandering around London. I’m excited about reading it. When I left the library and went to Greenford tube station I was quite excited to find they have wooden escalators!
Wooden escalator, Greenford Underground Station, London
Wooden escalator, Greenford Underground Station, London
Greenford Underground Station, London
I had never heard of them until reading about the tragic fire at King’s Cross Underground Station in 1987 that killed a number of people and one of the changes made afterward was to replace all the wooden escalators with metal ones! I had never seen any until yesterday. Greenford tube is not underground so I guess they get to keep their wooden escalators!

I wanted to read A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe, set in 1665 when the plague swept through London (and written in the 1720s). But after starting it, I think this may end up like Robinson Crusoe – I got less than halfway through and stopped because it was really long-winded and boring. Oh well.


A busy week

January 21, 2009

On Monday night I went to Skeptics in the Pub where I heard a talk by Rebecca Watson (from Skepchick and the Skeptics Guide to the Universe) on Women’s Intuition and Other Fairytales. It was really good.

Last night I had a dinner with work people. At least I got free food!

Tomorrow night I’m going to a talk by Virginie Despentes called Exploding the Myth of Femininity. Virginie Despentes wrote the novel and film Baise-Moi (currently banned in Australia, I believe), a violent, rape-revenge fantasy that contains ‘actual sex’, OMG! I am planning on watching the film tonight so I’ve seen it before seeing her talk. She is actually talking about her new book on feminism called King Kong Theory.

On Saturday there’s a Zinefest at the Women’s Library which sounds quite fun. The Women’s Library currently has the exhibition Between the Covers: Women’s Magazines and their Readers (Until Wednesday 1 April 2009, entrance free), and as part of the Zinefest on Saturday, there is a comics exhibition and stallholders selling zines and comics (and other DIY media, I imagine) and workshops.

Details:
Zinefest
The Women’s Library
25 Old Castle Street
London
(Aldgate and Aldgate East tube stations)
Saturday, 24 January, 2009
12- 4pm
Free

Workshops:
12-1.30pm Self-publishing 101 (seminar room)
12- 2.15pm Screen Your World -Printing Desire (activities room) I believe the screen-printing workshop is booked out now.
1.30-2pm and 2-2.30pm Zine Tour (meet at reception)
2.30-4pm Radical Publishing Panel (seminar room)
12-4pm Comic Exhibition (cafe space)
12-4pm Stalls (mezzanine)

Check them out on myspace and We Make Zines on ning.

I don’t really make zines anymore and hardly read them, so I’m looking forward to picking some up on the weekend. I want to get back into making zines this year, so hopefully this will help kick-start it.


2008: An overview

January 4, 2009

-Our ceiling collapsed thanks to inaction of our useless estate agent (don’t use Carlton Residential!)
-My photos were featured in the Schmaps online guides.
-The Australian government apologised to Indigenous Australians for the stolen generations and for past inhumane treatment. Now if they would just stop the intervention (or at least re-instate the Racial Discrimination Act so it actually applies to what they’re doing in the intervention) things could maybe improve.
-I got a spouse visa giving me leave to remain and work in the UK for two more years.
-I really got into podcasts (thanks to the ipod Paul gave me for Christmas.
-We moved into a really nice flat that is really close to amenities and train station, etc.
-We went to an Enchanted Woodland and we continued to explore and get-to-know London.
-I bought a very cool Atlantis Space Jacket.
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Weekend of Birthday fun!

October 29, 2008

On Saturday, Paul and I went to the newly-re-opened Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea and saw some really interesting contemporary Chinese art. The building is a really beautiful, open, light space. I hope we get to see more art there before we leave London.
Paul at the Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London
Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London
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fun and relaxing weekend

August 20, 2008

On Saturday I saw the film Black, White and Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe at the ICA. The film is about the curator and art collector Sam Wagstaff and his partner, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. It was really interesting. If you’re familiar with Mapplethorpe’s art but don’t know about Wagstaff, I’d highly recommend this film. It featured Patti Smith quite a bit as she was very close to both of them and spent a lot of time with them.

I went to the film by myself and Paul met me afterwards and we went clothes shopping.
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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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Graphic novel fangirl

August 11, 2008

Yesterday, paul and I went to the ICA to hear Raymond Briggs and Bryan Talbot talk about their work. It was really nice. Afterward, I had some books of theirs signed and I felt like a total fangirl afterwards (like the time I went to a book-signing of Neil Gaiman!). Read the rest of this entry »