I have had a really awesome fun weekend.
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I have had a really awesome fun weekend.
A couple of weekends ago Paul and I climbed the 311 steps up to the top of the Monument (to the Great Fire of 1666). It didn’t seem that far – but we were climbing behind an old woman (who was going quite slowly) so I wasn’t puffing by the time I got to the top (that and my regular exercising at the gym also helped of course!).
Unfortunately the sun was right behind the monument when I tried to take photos of it so the photos from the ground are pretty dark but it was cool to look out over London from the top! I don’t actually think London has a very exciting skyline but it was still cool to be up there. We also got certificates when we came back down – which we thought was cool.
Above, the Monument, below, the entrance!
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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.
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!
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.
To allay my unemployment blues, last Thursday I went into town and saw the film The Baader-Meinhof Complex. Baader and Meinhof were communist terrorists in Germany in the 1970s. I didn’t have any sympathy for them or their fellow terrorists by the end of the film – not sure if I was expecting to sympathise with them or not. As is always the case with watching a dramatised version of true events, I was left wondering how close to reality the story was. Another dramatisation of true events I would like to see is Milk, based on the life of Harvey Milk, America’s first openly-gay person elected to official office. I have seen the (very good) documentary The Times of Harvey Milk which I would recommend highly (and so feel I don’t really need to see the dramatised version now).
On Friday night, Paul and I saw the film Franklyn. It was ok. Not brilliant but entertaining enough. It was set in London and Meanwhile City.
On Sunday we had yum cha with some people I used to work with and it was nice to catch up with them.
Paul has put up some photos of snow around his work so you can see the business park he works in and the golf course he sometimes walks through at lunch time.
Paul had a snow day today and worked from home as there was traffic chaos due to the 20cm of snow! It was the most snow in South-East England for 18 years. Very cool.
Above, snow on my balcony just before going to bed at midnight. And below, snow on the balcony this morning.
I watched it snowing for most of the day.
Below, Paul got ready to go to work, went outside and came back home…
…and in between working from home, Paul ventured out onto the balcony…
…to gather snowballs…
…which he threw out the window.
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.
The Women’s Library
25 Old Castle Street
(Aldgate and Aldgate East tube stations)
Saturday, 24 January, 2009
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)
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.
My first week back at work was a bit of a struggle, it was cold and dark for a lot of it. I only went to the gym once during the week (did I mention it was cold?). It has now warmed up to 9 degrees! Yay!
I had a very relaxing weekend of doing very little: watching it snow on Saturday, reading, brain training on Nintendo DS Lite (am addicted to sudoku and my arithmetic has improved incredibly), one trip to the gym and watching TV (I can’t wait until the next instalment of House of Elliot next Sunday). Paul and I talked about going to see Slumdog Millionaire – maybe we’ll do that in the next week.
Currently reading: Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. I have started this book two or three times before and could never get into it but am managing it better this time. Maybe knowing a lot of the London places is helping (I struggle with Virginia Woolf’s stream-of-consciousness prose but I’m determined to stick with it – I have started To the Lighthouse many times and never could get into that either.)
This morning I woke up to find snow on my balcony! Have I mentioned how bitterly cold it’s been lately?
After I got to work this morning I got to watch it snowing out of the window. It melted once it hit the ground and it didn’t last too long but it was cool.