Monthly Archives: May 2012

Kindness

Yesterday I went to speak to the woman in charge of careers at school to discuss some concerns about the weaker members of my form with regards their upcoming work experience. She’s a wonderful woman, and we get along very well. She’s warm, caring, and very good at her job; she used to be cabin crew for BA back in the day and her confidence with people really shows.

Anyway, we were discussing how wildly off-base some parents’ opinions are with regards the ability of their children; she then asked me how I was doing, post-Coppell. She’d happily let me bend her ear about what had happened, and had shown compassion and concern about me when we talked, and had always been very positive.

I had been feeling fine (fine = not weeping) if rather tired, but I started to well up and then cry when she asked how I was; she gave me tissues and a big hug as we talked about relationships and the future. She then reeled off a list of great things about me, from my physical appearance, to my personality and even ability as a teacher, which of course only made me cry more.

She mentioned a book her sister had found useful when pondering her life – Backwards In High Heels – and said that she’d pass it on to me so that I could have something else to read, as i’m planning to holiday with literature rather than going away anywhere.

Today, in a big brown envelope, alongside a handwritten card was the book.

SUCH a WONDERFUL person! She is so kind and good to me. Hurrah.
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Bankside

image by me      

Saturday afternoon I went into Lahndahn tahn to visit the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at Tate Modern before it closed. I’d heard good things about it, and thought it was interesting how Kusama’s fluctuating mental health informed her work. I was also interested to see if her “outsider” status was something played upon, or whether she is exploited because of it.
“My art originates from hallucinations only I can see. I translate the hallucinations and obsessional images that plague me into sculptures and paintings. All my works in pastels are the products of obsessional neurosis and are therefore inextricably connected to my disease. I create pieces even when I don’t see hallucinations, though.”
[link]
I wasn’t feeling the most charitable when I walked around the works, and so I found much of it pretentious or hilarious, and not in an intentional way. “Ohhh, you’re going to get NAKED!!! and paint dots on other people’s NAKED flesh???!!! Puh-leeeeease. Oh, you’re afraid of penises, and thus cover yourself with them to confront your fears? Welll dooonne.

Excellently snarky yet thoughtful review of her work at Artery NYC (the writer Adrian Dannatt, is “legendary for bringing a dead bird to dinner parties rather than a bottle of fine wine. This illustrates his impeccable eccentricity.” WIN.

Anyway, back to Kusama. She is marketable. Dots go nicely on homewares; they’re decorative without being confrontational. She’s a mentally ill woman who is not making people feel uncomfortable. Dali used to sign and get paid for blank pieces of paper that could be printed at will; Warhol used a team of workers to produce aesthetically pleasing work that people rich enough to consume could buy.

These two examples use their fame to sell in a knowing way. Does Kusama? Not all of the work is done by her, something that should not affect my opinion of it but it does: she is living the “mad artist” stereotype, yet has found a way to mass produce it. I think this degrades the value of some of the work; it’s less personal.

I thought her early works were much more interesting than the majority of her installations; done by her own hand, they were vibrant and crawling with obsession. I liked them a lot. The early works did not have the veneer that a lot of her mass produced works seem to have a la Murakami (i.e. they had depth and feeling).

The Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life was wonderful, and I spent ten minutes standing in a corner, basking in the light changes and watching myself and others as they wandered through the room. It surprised me at how quickly most people moved through the space.

Mirror Infinity Room

Much more interesting and, alas not included in the exhibition is her work Obliteration Room:

BeforeBefore…

















AfterAfter two weeks of kids plus stickers…
















Colossal – This is What Happens When You Give Thousands of Stickers to Thousands of Kids

So i’m glad to have seen the exhibition, but it was not something I really loved. At least I took myself out and had myself a nice (if overpriced) lunch in the Tate café. I saw a 60plus woman rocking cerise leather brogues, a family seemingly unfamiliar with the viscosity of Heinz ketchup (and how to tackle it) and watched a small boy whizzing down the full length of the Turbine Hall ramp on his Heelys. Not a total waste.
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“Jim Comes Home”

Associated Press/Rocky Mountain News, Todd Heisler
                                 Image: Associated Press/Rocky Mountain News, Todd Heisler

NYT – As Memorial Day Nears, a Single Image That Continues to Haunt

It takes a lot for a still image to upset me, but this image taken from Todd Heisler’s Pulitzer-winning work “Final Salute” made me weep. The shots contained within the article of a visibly pregnant Katherine Cathey clutching onto her husband’s coffin are very upsetting.

The piece from 2005 follows the work of an American Marine whose job it is to notify and support the loved ones of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The written piece by Jim Sheeler details the individual stories of the soldiers and families involved, along with that of the notifier. It’s a wonderful piece of journalism, and deeply moving. Well worth a read (find the whole article at Lukewarm Coffee).

When I was last in Pittsburgh, me and Coppell visited one of the ginormous local supermarkets, and as we wandered past piles of nappies and electricals stacked head-high, I stopped to take in the wall of fallen soldiers that the store had put up near the entrance. It was fucking terrible. Men and women from World War Two onwards, people lost in combat, to old age, to accidental death or self harm. It blew my mind that so many people had been lost locally and that their portraits would be displayed in a fucking supermarket of all places. Very different from what is found in the UK.

There’s a particularly interesting part towards the end of Lily Burana’s NYT article commenting on the continued power of this image:
“I believe that the civilian-military gap isn’t always born of indifference, but rather, at times, a sense of helplessness on the civilian side. What can I do? If you do nothing else, you can remember those who have given their lives for their country. Our country.”

“Remembrance, which may seem a modest contribution in the moment, is a sacred act with long-term payoff — a singularly human gift that keeps on giving, year after, year after, war-fatigued year.”

“I don’t need to remind you that America’s sons and daughters are still dying in combat. I don’t want to browbeat you into feeling guilty for not doing more. Instead, I want to tell you that as the wife of a veteran, it is tremendously meaningful to know that on this Memorial Day, civilians will be bearing witness and remembering in their own way — that those who are gone are not forgotten. I also want to say that as you remember them, we remember you.”

“Thank you.”
Associated Press/Rocky Mountain News, Todd Heisler
                                 Image: Associated Press/Rocky Mountain News, Todd Heisler
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Solo Piano II



New Gonzales. I’m going to see him and the BBC Orchestra in October.
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Shorn of Heaviness – Very Old School Friend

My haircut has really helped lift my spirits today- I feel rather fabulous with my short hair. Yeah, basically I think I look like a badass, and this helps me feel happy. Haha.

Later on this evening i’m meeting up with a very old school friend, who I think I last saw over fifteen years ago. She’s in town for business and we’re going to go have some Weatherspoons for old times’ sake and probably chat for hours. I am really looking forward to seeing her, as we were really good friends way back when. Huzzah!
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WOOoooo!

wrestling ticket!My ticket for the nosebleeds for the heavyweight freestyle division arrived today.

I am excited!

I quite like the design of the tickets (I particularly like the calendar tab to the top left), and am pleased at the free travelcard enclosed. Hurrah.


















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Surrender To Fuck Up

Aaaages ago (nearly two months back) I ordered a selection of perfume samples from The Perfumed Court; after many emails asking where the hell my samples were (i’d received only four out of thirty) I found out that the women who ran TPC had seemingly had a falling out, and gone off to start their own business, Surrender To Chance.

Previous to this i’d never had any problems with TPC, but having heard absolutely nothing in response, I contacted STC, who got back to me within 24 hours and were very understanding and helpful. Today, at last, all my samples arrived thanks to them. Hurrah.

I am looking forward to repeatedly smelling my arm :)
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Minneapolis Special

Sex Shooter
Apollonia 6
1984



















This track is fabulous. The women are badass and the fashions from 1984 blow my mind.

As to be found on the *excellent*

Wax Poetics – Minneapolis Special mix (downloadable)
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Shorn

Haircut. Nice and short. Am pleased. Yay!
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Sunshine

Beautiful day today. The plants I ordered months back were delivered today, so I have some new geranium friends outside my window. Hurrah. I potted them up into larger containers and hope that they will last more than a few months. Half of my plant friends from last year have survived, wonder-of-wonders.

Many of the pelargoniums I chose are weird sorts – night scented, tuberous, black flowered – because they’re interesting and hey, it’s me. They need more care than the hardy sorts, so these will be more of a test.

As I was driving home from work I marvelled at the blue sky and the warmth coming through the open window onto my skin. At the same time I thought of the unseasonably hot weather that marked me and Coppell’s first non-date. I also wondered if he was enjoying the weather, and wished I was sharing the experience with him.

Sigh.
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On Beauty – The Weekend – Comparison FAIL – Pain

NSFW

Hennessey Youngman –

(“AKA Mr AKAs, AKA The Pharaoh, The Monarch, The Plutarch, the time-travelling nigga who be bumpin’ R Kelly on Noah’s Ark”)

– On Beauty

ALL of this man’s videos are *brilliant*.

Even if you’re not au fait with The Art Speak, they’re still pretty amusing, and make some excellent points. Edumacational too :) Via @ClaytonCubitt

Saturday I met up with Caversham Princess, Bobby Convey and M for a night of shenanigans in the town of our shared childhood to mark Caversham Princess’s birthday. Good food and good conversation was had, although as is increasingly usual given the decade we’ve reached, there were some not-so-fun conversations about serious things. It was so good to see everyone

I sometimes feel like I am forever at a loss when I compare myself to my school friends; at the moment they’re all long-term partnered up, live together or are moving in together, and seem to have interesting, promising things going on for them in their lives. I do not.

The thought that I have nothing going for me on a personal or professional level is what prevented me from achieving a week tear-free last week. I know they have the same concerns for the present and future as I do, the same daily troubles; I accept that I am “different”, and know that being in a relationship does not make you a more whole or more valuable person. Sometimes I feel sad about it nonetheless.

Anyway…

Towards the end of the evening we headed to our favourite grim nightclub for Eighties night, and I encountered quite a few men who, after expressing their general ignorance of music and life in general, would not accept my declaration that I was not up for chatting with them, and proceeded to pester me.

I do not understand why some men do this- is “I’m sorry, but i’m not really up for chatting with anyone this evening, as i’m with my friends and am here to dance” just that bit too obtuse for them to understand? DUMBFUCKS.

I danced so much that I have been left with such sore calves that two days later I am still not quite able to walk without looking like i’m pushing an imaginary Zimmer frame. RESULT.

Sunday was a day of hobbling and financial geekery; making plans for the next few months on a financial and activity level is appealing to me as it helps pass the Coppell-free time. Also, talking to my friends I am fed up of feeling like I don’t have anything going for me. I don’t need much, but a little something to take the edge off would go a long way.
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Sunday Fun…

Ug. Teeth and jaw pain from sinus pressure, and i’m out of painkillers. Joy.
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Financial Distraction

Getting into attempting to sort my finances out is proving rather involving; i’m merrily planning away using Excel and MoneyCenter (fuck you American spelling) and it’s proving to be quite the Coppell distraction.

Not that I don’t think of him, but smoke and mirrors etcetera.

So tired. Need to get to bed earlier. Ugh.
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Aims – 2012

I’ve been thinking a lot recently as to what i’d like to achieve in the coming year. This has been spurred on mainly by the loss of Coppell and by conversations with friends who are going on exciting holidays, moving in with partners or moving jobs. I never feel like I have enough money to do very much, so having aims might give me a few more options than I do currently. I’ve been feeling lonely without Coppell, so focusing on anything else is a welcome distraction.

What would I like to achieve?

Number One: Move out of the tiny, gross, noisy room i’ve been living in since 2009. It affects my well-being in a negative way. EVERY day.

How will I go about doing this?
– Pay bump in September.
– Cancel my spa membership.
– Save money for deposit.
– Spend less so that I can afford to actually live in said flat.
– Use the Summer to go through boxes of crap and get rid of stuff I do not need.

Number Two: Holiday fund

How will I go about doing this?
– Cancel my spa membership.

Number Three: Make some art

How will I go about doing this?
– Work more smartly at work to free up time I can use on my own work.
– Live somewhere where I have some separate space to create.
– Get rid of crap I do not need.
– Get website up and running.

I think my priority should be moving out. The earliest this could happen would be September, so I need to get my skates on and get organised.
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My Dichotomies

Inspired by a reply to my complaint that any holidays I actually have a desire to go on are faaar out of my budget, I was thinking about other areas of my life where X but Y seem to be the rule.

Great taste… but not enough money
Overworked… yet under-stretched
A valuable colleague… yet under-appreciated
Not very feminine… yet into nail varnish
Can discuss makeup trends… and human experimentation by the Nazi regime
Loves the art of Christianity… yet a serious atheist
Loves medium-rare rib-eye… but also McDonalds
Doesn’t easily express emotions verbally… but writes a novel a year expressing them
Is loud… but shy when meeting new people
Is very restrained with regards intimacy… yet craves touch
Got a lot of love to give… but no-one to share life with
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Preljocaj Blanche Neige

Extracts

















The reviving kiss














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Snow White

Snow White and her dandy

Saturday I went with my Mum to Sadlers Wells to see the Ballet Preljocaj production of Snow White; it was meant to be a dark retelling, and had appropriately fetish-inspired costuming by Jean-Paul Gaultier, and a topless deer. Yes, you read that right- when the huntsman killed a deer and substituted its heart for that of the King’s daughter, the dancer was dressed in furry britches, a helmet with antlers and a harness that left her breasts on display. Edgy haha.

A romance with a happy ending was not something I was looking forward to seeing, and so I wept copiously at various points during the performance; I was very glad I was sat in darkness. The entire weekend i’ve felt not the best, either on the verge of tears or down and flat. As time goes on I seem to feel more sad. Ugh.

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One Month Since

Much the same: Good days and bad. A lack of giving a shit about things.

I continue to miss him.

And the dog.
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The small, intelligence-challenged creature I love and miss

Finished glazing Meathead’s bowl today. It had been sitting forlorn and unglazed on my desk, and so I felt the need to finish what i’d started, even if that means sending it to a dog I will never see again, with no guarantee that she’ll ever use it.

It’s in the queue to be fired, so I guess it’ll be done within a week. Then it’s off to Coppell’s Mother for safe-keeping. How can I miss so a not-particularly-intelligent creature that I only spent two weeks in the company of?

Today has not been the best of days.

The weekend brings Lahndahn tahn and some ballet with my Mum, and drinks with Leia Ewok Village, who I haven’t seen in aaages. I’m looking forward to seeing my Mum, the ballet and Leia, but I am worried at the same time. I don’t feel like partying at all, and talking to my Mum over the phone about how i’m doing has been very hard, as she always gives the impression that she doesn’t understand how I feel.

I have to be “on” and don’t want to be the sad sack putting a dampener on everyone’s evening. I also don’t want to bore people. Three weeks ago I probably felt better than I do now. For fucks sake.
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Officially Not Dating

Disabled the other dating account this evening. Not feeling the point of even looking for “friends and activity partners” let alone anything else right now, so it’s probably for the best.

This weekend it’ll be one month since things ended… it certainly doesn’t seem like that much time has passed. I still haven’t passed a week without crying, and continue to find it hard to talk about Coppell without experiencing difficulty.

:(
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Root and Branch

Did a bit of weeding of the communal garden outside my window this evening after work in preparation for the planting of some fragrant and bee-friendly annual seeds; also planted two small Clematis that I picked up during my food shopping expedition post-work. I’ve put them near a wall I hope they can scramble up. It’s raining heavily now so at least they won’t want for water.

Had to fight through lots of Green Alkanet to clear a couple of feet of bare earth; after i’d identified the horrible thing, I discovered that chemical warfare is recommended for dealing with the fucker (it has deep roots). I may get my glyphosate on the next time i’m shopping for food :)

Although the Green Alkanet was a bugger to get through, the experience of half an hour’s weeding was therapeutic. There was an attack of actual sun, and the physical labour and focus on battling the roots was a welcome period of calm.

I hope I manage not to kill the climbers off, but I think the real test is whether or not the seeds get a hold. Think I will leave that ’til i’ve gone Saddam on Alkanet’s arse.
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Not Dating

I re-signed up to a couple of dating sites in an effort to get back in the saddle so-to-speak, but I find being disheartened by the available men does not help with post-Coppell recovery.

So the worst one (where I daily received messages from men who clearly couldn’t be bothered to read my profile) I decided to delete my account, and the other i’m just looking for friends and nothing more. Putting myself “out there” but not. I’m *so* not ready for any sort of relationship right now.

When will I feel like actually meeting up with anyone? Who knows. Many months yet I would imagine. I need to get back to that happy medium, and manage to pass more than one week without weeping.

Back to The Good Wife.
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I hate weekends

I spend my weekdays wishing I wasn’t at work, yet weekends are proving to be equally horrid but for different reasons.

The weekend usually means emotional fuckery and crying as I have time to think about Coppell. It’s not that I don’t think of him during the week (I crawl under the duvet each night and he pops into my head as I hug Patrick), but I guess there’s more time to think. If I go into town on an errand I have to walk near his house (he lives only ten minutes from mine) and I spend most of my time being afraid i’ll see him (which is unlikely) and having my stomach drop through the floor when I see someone that looks a bit like him. Eugh.

Met up with Caversham Princess and saw !Statham! get his “actually able to act” on in Safe (it was incoherent but rather good); we followed the film with dinner and lots of conversation. I keep wondering, when will people not want to hear about Coppell and how I am doing? I feel like I should already be recovered, as y’know, it couldn’t be *that* upsetting as we only spent six months together, and then only four weeks in each other’s company.

I’ve tried a variety of things to help me feel better: cooking, eating more chocolate, extra-long hot showers, masturbation, reading, flowers, wine, TV, friends, but nothing seems to soothe the ache inside. Keeping busy is important, but when I spend my work-week wishing I wasn’t there, finding “something”, whatever that is, is going to prove a challenge.

Then again, i’m approaching my emotional pain like it’s a problem to be solved. But is it? Feelings aren’t always rational, so why should I assume that rational things will deflect the pain?

Sigh.
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“Let me weep over my cruel fate”

Lascia ch’io pianga sung by Cecilia Bartoli
from Rinaldo (1711)
Handel

Almost, but not quite wept over this in the car the other evening on the way back from work. It is so incredibly beautiful, and I find it very moving.

I’m tired, and am still not entirely giving a shit or indeed my all at work. This is officially the year i’ve started to put less effort into chasing lazy kids, as i’m fed up with putting all the work in for naught. Taking more of a back seat isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and might help me sleep better at night, as I won’t lie awake worrying about the little darlings.

I feel like i’m just marking time at work. Sure, I interact with the kids, and get things done, but any passion or real interest has evaporated. I’m really looking forward to a three day weekend spent sleeping in, watching seasons of The Good Wife, cooking and generally doing fuck all. Hope to meet up with Caversham Princess for a spot of Statham! watching, so I am looking forward to that.

I’m re-reading Jane Fonda’s autobiography again, for an easy-to-read, woman-to-woman pep talk. She’s an engaging writer, and it’s comforting to read about other women’s travails when i’m disengaged with life, feel sad and miss Coppell.

Yes, I miss him. Ugh.
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Up

More even couple of days so far. Nail varnish has been purchased, however i’ve still not felt like painting my fingernails. In sad news, my hot water bottle has decided it can’t hold back any longer and has sprung a leak. No more comforting warmth to cuddle up to until I buy its replacement.
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