Farewell London, eating in the dark, what I am reading…

July 31, 2009

Last weekend Paul and I had our farewell party at a local pub. Heaps of people came and we were there from 3pm until 10pm! I drank a LOT of juice. Unfortunately most of Paul’s photos are dark and blurry.
North star
Above, heaps of the peops at our farewell do. Below, with some friends (Cheryl, Charlotte, Kara) at the nightclub Cargo last Friday night. We saw a very cool band, Yacht, but as the music was blaring and the base was vibrating our bodies, I wondered: ‘Is my baby being totally vibrated right now?’
Cargo
Last night Paul and Cheryl and I went to the restaurant Dans Le Noir? and ate food in pitch blackness. It was quite a strange experience. I did enjoy it but was not very impressed with the food (and the two courses cost £32).

Our boxes of stuff were picked up yesterday to be shipped back to Australia. Now we have lots of cleaning to do and lots of stuff to get rid of. I can’t believe we are leaving in three days. It doesn’t seem real. I would like to go to the White Cube galleries on the weekend to see the current Gilbert and George exhibition and maybe the Hayward to see the Walking in My Mind exhibition.

I also think I’d like to do some wandering around central London to say goodbye. I have really loved London. I am however very excited about seeing my friend Sam and spending three days with her looking around Hong Kong (she informed me yesterday that rain is forecast for next week!) and I am starting to get very excited about being back in Brisbane and seeing family and friends. I am really excited about discovering Brisbane again. People often bag it out for being small (and very spread out) but I always felt there was a lot of stuff going on when I lived there and I really like it. I’m planning on going to the Gallery of Modern Art on my second day back (there is an exhibition of photography by young people from Palm Island that ends that day).

It’s been a while since I did a rundown of the books I’ve been reading, but that might be because I haven’t read many books this year.

Bad Science by Dr Ben Goldacre
I have wanted to read this book for a while. It is really very good! I have seen/heard Ben Goldacre talk a few times and he is really intelligent, informative and funny. You’ll learn a lot about the scientific method and how science works, and how science is abused and also about bad journalism when it comes to science. A very informative book. He is an NHS (National Health Service) doctor and a regular columnist in the Guardian. You can read his columns and other stuff at his website.

59 Seconds by Professor Richard Wiseman
A popular psychology book by a professor of psychology, this is an interesting book and the difference between it and other self-help books is that it is actually based on psychological research. It does have a tendency to simplify things and be contradictory sometimes but I am enjoying it. Richard Wiseman has a blog too.

Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson
This book of three novels is the first of three books in Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle. I have finished the first novel, Quicksilver and I enjoyed it a lot although I had to do a lot of looking up European history. The book is set around the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century in England and focuses on lots of historical figures (philosophers, scientists, politicians and other people). I plan to finish the other two novels in book one one day.

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
I’m a third of the way in and so far, am not impressed. Some of my friends really love this book but I really don’t understand how. It’s quite annoying and has such a tone of ‘isn’t religion so amazing and wonderful and mysterious’ so I’ve spent most of my time reading it thinking, ‘actually no, I don’t think so.’ I wonder if I’ll finish it.


Sunny weekends in London

June 1, 2009

Yesterday (Sunday) Paul and I wandered around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens with Kara and Cheryl. We checked out the current exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery (films and photos by Luke Fowler) which was interesting. Below are Paul and Kara outside the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens.
Paul outside the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens
Kara in Kensington Gardens
The photos below are from the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens.
Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens
Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens
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Madeleine in town and Kara's birthday

May 11, 2009

Last week Madeleine was in town for a few days on her way to Baltic Pride in Latvia. I met up with her on Friday at the Barbican Centre (and got a bit lost trying to find her – that place is massive!). We caught a bus down past St Paul’s and up Fleet Street and the Strand and had lunch with an old school friend of hers in Covent Garden. Then we wandered up to the Portrait Gallery and looked at stuff there. I had been to the portrait gallery a couple of times before but had somehow missed the top floor – and looking at all the portraits of historical figures I was reminded how little history I know. Luckily Madeleine (who has English parents) was able to fill me in on some stuff. When we were done we looked in book shops on Charing Cross Road. We also went to a lovely little cupcake shop and had very cute (and yummy) cupcakes. I had a really lovely day.

On Saturday it was Kara’s birthday so I had brunch with her and lots of her friends at the Pavilion Cafe in Victoria Park over her side of town. Sonja brought along a plate of lovely cupcakes she’d made. After yummy brunch, Kara, Nicole and I wandered through the park and up to the Broadway Market (which I had never been to before – I also hadn’t been to Victoria Park before). It was really lovely. We wandered back to Nicole’s house – where Paul came and met us (he’d had another Microsoft exam that morning – he got 93%) and then Kara and I went down Brick Lane and then back to her place for a little rest before heading out to Cargo that night for birthday drinks. I’ve been to Cargo three times, all in the last two weekends!

Paul and I thought about going to Richmond Park on Sunday but ended up staying home and tidying the house (probably for the best). We might go there next weekend (and try to get a posse together for it). Also, Daniel S is in town next weekend so it will be nice to catch up with him.


What a fun weekend

May 5, 2009

I have had a really awesome fun weekend.
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Hanging in the East end with Cheryl

May 4, 2009

Last weekend Paul and I went to art galleries around Mayfair (below are photos of the Sadie Coles Gallery).
Sadie Coles Gallery Read the rest of this entry »


Good-bye good friend

April 27, 2009

On Friday evening Paul, Kara and I went out to Heathrow airport to say goodbye to Lucy R as she headed back to Australia. It was a couple of months earlier than she had originally planned and it was sad to see her go. It’s nice to know she will be in Brisbane when we move back (it’s nice to know we still have some friends there after being away so long!). Unfortunately her brother is sick so that’s why she’s gone early. Hopefully with modern medicine and all his family and friends around him he’ll be better in no time!
Seeing Lucy off at Heathrow airport (to go back to Australia) Read the rest of this entry »


Easter weekend

April 18, 2009

Paul and I didn’t do a lot on the Easter weekend because the weather was so bad – it was cool and overcast for most of the weekend – we actually stayed home and watched movies on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On the Monday we went to the Wellcome Collection and saw a couple of very good exhibitions (Madness & Modernity: Mental illness and the visual arts in Vienna 1900 and Bobby Baker’s Diary Drawings: Mental illness and me, 1997-2008) as well as some of their permanent exhibits, (Napoleon Bonaparte’s toothbrush, Charles Darwin’s walking stick in) Medicine Man.

On Monday evening I saw the great documentary Afghan Star about the Afghan TV show of the same name. It was really uplifting – unlike other Afghan films I’ve seen.

In the last week I saw the photography exhibition Dreams at the Viewfinder Photography Gallery in Greenwich and I hung out with Lucy N’s partner Jamie. We went to The Bloomberg Commission: Goshka Macuga: The Nature of the Beast at the Whitechapel Gallery. There are a few other exhibitions on there that I’d like to go back and see. I also had dinner at Helen’s house and last night Paul and I went to the launch of Lady Sovereign’s new album Zigzag.


Bad news and random musings

April 9, 2009

Yesterday I went to Pitzhanger Manor which was John Soane‘s country home that he would come to on the weekends (from central London) back when Ealing was a separate town. It was quite nice. I imagined living there, having breakfast in the breakfast room and reading in the reading room.

Then I borrowed the Outsider by Albert Camus from the library. I finished it this morning. I pretty much had Killing an Arab by the Cure in my head the whole time I was reading it!

When I weighed myself at the gym yesterday the scales said I was 5 kilos less than the scales at home which was a shock but kind of a relief – I couldn’t work out why I wasn’t losing any weight when I was exercising so much (well, I’m exercising a lot for me). I’ve asked Paul to weigh himself at home and at the gym near his work to see if there is a 5 kilo difference!

Today I went and had a look at the Whiteleys shopping centre in Queensway. It is a nice building and was probably once a really nice shopping centre but now it has lots of empty shops.

I had a look at the website for the X-Men Origins: Wolverine film and it looks like all the characters mentioned are men (Wolverine, Sabretooth, Gambit, Agent Zero, Stryker, Blob, Wraith). What a disappointment. I know it’s a superhero film and all but I really expect better of X-Men – they have so many characters, how hard is it to feature some women as well as the men? There’s a woman on the poster but now I suspect that she is Wolverine’s long dead love-interest and not an integral character/mutant. I’m not as excited about the film now. Damn Hollywood!

I had some bad news yesterday. A friend from Brisbane (who was living here in London) has gone back home because her younger brother has bowel cancer (she is only 23). They operated but it had spread and they couldn’t get it all so now he is to undergo chemotherapy. I hope the treatment goes well for him and they get it all.


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.


Weekend with Stu

March 2, 2009

Stu came to visit on the weekend. On Friday night we went to Brixton to catch up with Scotty who is briefly visiting London and will be moving back to Berlin shortly.

On Saturday we showed Stu around lots of shops so he could buy shoes and look at London stuff. We went to a street of shoe shops (Neal Street in Covent Garden) and a street of musical instrument shops (Denmark Street off Charing Cross Road). We went to Tate Modern to the Rodchenko and Popova exhibition and to the Kinetica Art Fair 2009, an exhibition of moving art near Baker Street. Then we caught up with a couple of friends of Stu and Paul’s from Brisbane (Rory and Anthony).

I have now been unemployed for four weeks and I need to step up my job-hunting efforts! While I have been going to the gym and working on my art quite a bit, not earning any money is not helping our plans to save money for travelling this year.