Saturday, 10 December 2011

Pressing Buttons

Button theme today. Started with a blank calendar thinking of how busy people are. Lists, ticked boxes and then at the end of the week a button. All cleared, button and "press here to teleport to the weekend." Other versions....Press this button to eject the current government. Turn knob and import code to teleport to weekend. If you don't like weekends, adjust dial accordingly. Veronique is going to Paris in a few days' time for her sister's funeral, the one who smoked too much. She would like to take a government tile there to place somewhere near her sister's home. So it is applicable in many cases and changes meaning and emphasis according to where it is placed. My mother wants one. She is sick of Obama. An Obama blamer. Yeah buttons. some looking like the interior of a cockpit and some looking like oven knobs. Rob likes the Rob tile. Good. A roast chicken with Veronique today. Ben not well in bed at seven voluntarily. One week to get better. 

Friday, 9 December 2011

Winter surrounded by Lego

I've felt under the weather for the past week. The term grinding to a halt. Some things completed and some not. Last week, some guests from Paris. This week, Hal passing through from Barcelona to Portland. I took on too much since September, but next year, will keep things manageable and stick to painting more and doing other things less. Roy is ready to go riding and installing with me. I look forward to it and to showing Julian the works I've made this past week. It is a nice story to be found like that. It's encouraging. Ben's Christmas play is next week. He's not even a tree. But he is singing some songs. And he did have the honour of having an entire play written about him last term. Ben, the superhero who had lost his powers. Ha ha. His purple Lego bus has come apart. I want him to put it back together before he forgets how it goes. He is surrounded by Lego. I am still fiddling with the temperature of the kiln and hoping to find the right formula. On the phone with John in Chicago today. Looking forward to seeing them soon. 

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Recent Thoughts

It is all feeding into itself. Things are becoming more defined as I go in several different directions having three esl students, two editing-proofreading jobs-one on design theory and consumerism....the other on population dynamics....two full days of the ed class that is a dull formality involving collecting and binding together numerous xeroxes and class, jewelry class, ceramics class, then the actual real live painting of ceramics for commercial sale. and then looking after the babby who is no longer a babby. He's seven. Making sure he doesn't overbid on things on ebay. And now, even Saturday is full up with the few hours working at Calthorpe with the 8 to 14 year old boys. and then a student at four pm for two hours. Things will chill out and thin out a bit after December. And for Ben's school, the principal said again in an unprompted enthusiastic tone, that yes, he'd be interested in my teaching something there...that we will discuss and I am best making a printed out plan of my intentions....artwise and I think now...most esl class for the students who need small group format. five or six maximum. that could be the niche for me really. no massive pgce certificate programme...just an inhouse esl teacher for the primary school level. I bet there's a need for that. Having the time pressure with the full schedule, I know what I like the best...I know this because I am unaware of the time when I am painting chinaware. I just want there to be more time. That is the key. That is what to look for. and also today reading through Michael's design articles...I could have stayed there all day. It was really enjoyable. that is the key. Stick to what you enjoy. And turn the bloody switch on the kiln and fire up those tiles. the gallery is interested. don't let them slip by. that's what I do. I get some interest and it is enough. I don't pursue it further. not lately. and look at this ....crap way to portray myself in cyber space...not exactly a marketeer am I? It's true. That was the bright flash I had today...that I would create a decent dyber prescence next year. Most obvious thing in the book...get a damn website. 

Monday, 7 November 2011

Stages of child development

Assignment 005

0-3 Months

Newborn babies do not understand what is happening to them. How does this impact on their development? They can easily feel overwhelmed. It is best not to overload newborns with too much activity.
They do not know that they are people.
They are basically happy when they are fed and they cry when they are hungry or in need of a cuddle.
Newborn babies can feel but not think, so they will pick up on the carer's feelings.
The human voice is important to them even though they do not know what you are saying.
Physically, the digestive system is still forming. Babies are only digesting milk or formula.
At this stage, sleep patterns vary greatly. Sucking and grasping are their main reflexes.
They are attracted to bright light, primary colours, patterns, dots and stripes.
Can lift head momentarily whiule on the tummy. Can't roll over or sit up.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Venice Video

Scenes from collage on the title above to see the video.

Lately fingers in different pies, making jewelry, dabbling in an education course, making tiles in stoneware and terracotta, learning how to fix my bike and hiking on the weekends. 

Saturday, 27 August 2011


Art video is coming together slowly but surely. The curator has not been in touch. Blurry dimensions as to when and how this is happening. Roy is good fun and has lots of stories. The biggest tv and the best sound system I've ever seen. I am technology poor. He used to be a limo bike rider for Virgin. This last visit, I brought Ben and he was in playstation heaven plus the cats who are part wild cat and eat microwaved steak for breakfast. I will not buy a playstation for Ben as I fear I would never see my child again except to take him to McDonalds. Kentish Town is good too. It's a relief to find a meal in a cafe for a fiver instead of the overpriced milky coffees of Holborn. It's been a slow and easy summer with no big trips. Camping is good and bad. I like being outdoors. But it's hard on the back. Inflatable air beds would be kinder, but not easy to pack. It has put me off the idea of trekking in the Sierra Nevadas in October. Glad I did all my travelling when I was younger. Ben has enjoyed the local playscheme nearly every day and I have read a few more Harlan Coben novels and got a bit of art done. Life is mundane but stable. I used to move on when things got stale, but now, this is the test. To live in one place. And the change only has to come from within. Roy thinks I'm recovering well from this breakdown. Maybe I'm impatient. Now, I'm invited to be a show about sex, but there is no sexy at the moment. 

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Soup, drill, saddle

A lovely potato soup with garlic, thyme, Greek basil, paprika, turmeric, and carrots, butter and milk. Wish I was sharing it with someone. I made it for the boys, but I bet they prefer pizza. A saddle purchased today for the painted bike. It's a Brooks B17 for the ladies, so it will be comfortable and outlast me. I started a letter to Ilya. Haven't seen him in years. He's in San Francisco at Ideo. Ben was just a baby the last time I saw him. Roy is coming over tomorrow. All set for the shoot. This is exciting to look through the books again and see them with new eyes. A ride up to Camden Town today and a new cordless drill purchased to put up the curtain rod and caulk...heavy duty caulk, not just any caulk. Every house needs a drill. Next will be blue paint to redo the hallway and paint over the pencil and marker Ben made years ago. Kevin is taking Ben and I to the Cars movie next weekend. I'd like to pop down to the seaside at some point. I've not been out of the city since April. Steve has made a list of technical questions about making the video. Americk and Arthur are sleeping over. It will be three in a bed. No need to start cleaning until they leave. They have been shooting birds with water pistols and playing outside on the bikes. I overheard Ben saying he was going to marry somebody. He is very future oriented. 

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Video beginnings

Another day sorting dvd's at John's. Film noir, tennis, music, and fifties have their own sections. White wine is ok but doesn't really agree. It makes the sorting smoother along with the radio. I should get a radio. Steve knows someone who will help out with making the video for the Venice Airport. a commission for me to expose my travel sketchbooks and dialogues to people passing through...airports....a better venue than a gallery. Real people real bored-- bored enough to look at art. P-zing. Ambient soundtrack with my voice over.
It's time soon for a trip out of the city at the very least to a wooded area and maybe to the sea. Liking the Bergon Merlot. A trip to Jamie's today to say hi and see the terrapins, fix his internet and washing machine. Handy woman am I. Now I have someone coming to fix my curtains. And if no one comes to stay on the 31st, I'll be busy making the video and doing a mosaic on board for the hallway. Putting some lurrve into the flat. 

Monday, 25 July 2011

Film and travel

A peaceful day sorting through the stuv and w sections of film guy's dvd's. A wee bit boring, but the progress is nice to see. Tennis and music are getting their own sections. I'd estimate he has about ten thousand dvd's if not more. He's passionate about film....watching. He says, "Why make it if you can watch it?" He teaches various genres and eras: Westerns, post war, film noir, sixties, David Lean. I'm tempted to take a course. If I were to teach a course, I'd specialize in travel histories. Women who traveled in the 1800's Early women travelers. The evolution of travel. It is a big topic. Travel as leisure. Travel as work. Travel as pilgrimage. Travel for religion-Catholics, Christians, Mormons. The travel industry. Artists who have traveled. That would be the break down. Elizabeth Gluckstein in Venice has invited me to be part of a video installation at Venice Airport. It will be edits of my sketchbook pages as they relate to the record of my travels. September it has to be done. Shot for poster to be done sooner. A possible exhibition to follow in the spring in Venice. The art hotel also a possible option to decorate one room in a hotel in Venice. 

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Chapters, people, and places.

My mother hopes I write a book about my life. I hope I do too. I have written snippets here and there. I have done a timeline. Possible chapters would be as follows:
(don't I sound inspired)

Possible order would be interlacing vignets, possibly not in chronological order is best that way. If I started from the beginning, it would sound too academic. There could be a page with a timeline. There could be graphics from my journals. There could be a map with points crossed. A map of my life thus far. I've already written the timeline so I won't repeat it. Interesting to draw up a list of people I've come across. People who've made an impression on me.

Running Grass-Monk and macrobiotic food caterer. San Francisco Summer
The ex-Falsom inmate-housemate
(Possibly a chapter called housemates and pets....we all can relate. You don't choose your housemate.)
The monk in the hills of South Korea...Hang moon and his bed sized stereo.
Yadwiga Prokopoff, Ilya's grandmother who ran a boarding house in Berkeley.
The people of room 312...the youth hostel in New York City  one summer. The Brasilian model, the the aussie with diamonds for sale, the other aussie, Moma sauna, The lady with the harp on Avenue D and a small child who I met en route to NY. The guy who worked at NBC. Robert Attansio, the photographer, The guy from the Robert Cray band.Kim, Karen. The nude television presenters. Dove bars. The dancer who didn't do ballet.
Ron Cinncinnatti. His scratchi game in the basement. Killing guninea pig...not him, his friend.
Pet absolute must read.
Marco Giorno-escaping the Toronto mafia in Korea. Lawyer Sawyer-"I'm here to make as much money as I can and screw as many women as I can." Stephen Lynch--expert drunk and furniture thrower. Michael Christiansen--superman. The priest. The Malenfant. The rockclimber. The ex-dancer ex-lawyer. and me. and Rob Riski..diplomat wannabe...cocktail always at hand. Chung Hie Lee-fashion designer and Christian.
Jaunts to Indonesia, the Phils, Thailand, Japan, Hawaii and LA while I was in Korea. The Lemon road youth hostel.

My story is different as most of my travel happened before mobiles or the internet or hand-holding gps devices. Now, the travelling is done for you before you even leave your seat. You can see pictures of where you're going or where you might go. And there are no secrets anymore. Although saying that, being in front of a computer is much different than feeling the waves lapping over your toes or the sun setting over the mountains. Location is still important, not just in relation to relestate.

Korea and Italy made a big impression on me. Korea was a success in many ways. Italy was full of love and then some hard times. And London is all about stability and improvement and fitting practically into the world while still being able to carry on with my artistic side which takes up more than fifty percent of my being.

Instead of making an epic book about my life, I could also tell just one part of it...the houseswapping which is something we have done for six years now. It could be my houseswapping tales or a compilation using other people's anecdotes. It is a relatively new idea which is growing due to the internet and I don't think there are many account type books on it. Hopefully not.

Chapter titles- Boring to name a city or place. The incidents which lead up to me leaving to go from one place to another are a tale in themselves. I am now in the unique position of not moving and not being easily moved due to my child. He has anchored me in this place and this is not a bad spot to be in . Historically, it is full of writers and artists. It is a pleasant area and not too hectic. I don't get into "trouble" in this area or meet eccentric strangers like I would if I lived in Hackney or somewhere more colourful. Sometimes I'd rather live there, but I don't know how that would be really and I probably won't be finding out. I like the wafting white buildings of Maida Vale. It is so peaceful there. I like being near water. Soon, we will be staying in Vauxhall for a while and a change of scene, however small, will still be a change and will be good. 

Friday, 22 July 2011


Many films sorted today at John's Film Library. Skipped lunch. an avalanche of dvd's a to w. Some I noted, but all forgotten now. Elbow playing Lippy kids. Cups to Ben's teacher and the principals. Last day of school. Zooming over town hall. 

Did it. All the boring stuff. the bank, the payment for playscheme, the wire transfer. What's not done is to close out the home insurance. What a waste. Waiting for the claim to go through for the stolen toolbox, paintings, and suitcases. John needs to send the receipts. I'll have to remind him.
I'd like to be out listening to Fragment head tonight in Dalston, but Lawrence was not in to work the dvd player at Tony's, so Ben came running home early before I popped out. Say la vee. Parenthood. We had a board game with the multi-coloured balls like checkers but with four colours. And one page of the big storybook about naff haircuts. A phone call to Ike in Brooklyn. He gardens more than he goes out. I'm too tired anyway. Tomorrow is ...should be fun...the wedding picnic. Dress in wild west attire. I did some grocery shopping and got some pate...pheasant pate and wild mushroom. Some juices. One new one...rhubarb and apple. Tony took us for sushi and Mc and took it away to the park. So a long productive day. So glad I got that playscheme thing sorted out. Today was the deadline. I also gave some nice cups as presents at the school but really feel I'd like to give one to Sue. She has been very good during this recent hard time. And...I sent in the form for his afterschool clubs. Drama, gardening, science, football. That should keep him busy. A few days of playscheme. It is most likely ending in April after being open since the fifties. I want to make a difference if I can. everyone's voice feels so small. This government is like some kind of Thatcher replay. They have different priorities and they don't put the people first or even second. It is as if they want to cut people to the quick. A polarised society. Deaf ears for those who go unaffected like the asshole in the bank. 

Sleep Vertically

HOme is becoming more cosy, more sweet.
Home is ME. My third skin. Second skin being clothes.
too many clothes I have and many of them not fitting or not used often enough to merit hanging space.
Marinating tofu in soy sauce and orange peel with coriander.
Fussing in the kitchen over the right cracker to go with mushroom pate.
Thinking of making my own.
Gelatin, pureed mushroom, mayonnaise, cream cheese, chives, olives, garlic, paprika, tumeric.
I will make my own pate.
I have a new jar of rose petal jelly. It is sweet.
I can get some rose essence from the shop on Chalton street and make my own. or try.
I thought I was on an Asian kick, but no I'm into fresh basil pesto, cheese, tomato and ham lately.
grilled cheese sandwiches with a cup of buildre's tea.
I need some red and white checkered curtains for the kitchen to make it feel like France and lock all the herbs in. The curtain in the living room has come out of the wall. I thought of making a new curtain rod out of some heavy red tubing I found. The curtains would have to be bold. If we had an extra bedroom, we could stay here forever, but this place, despite the view, is not forever. We will have to move. Or get a bed that pulls out of the wall. Or cut the kitchen in half and have a bed that comes down from the ceiling --electronically rises up from the floor. Think how the Japanese live. Tatami mate. Go Zen. Get rid of the sofabed. Sleep horizontal and close to the floor. Or be modern and sleep vertically. that would save space. Or just stay up all night and don't sleep. That saves even more space and time. 

The moon and pets

3:42 Why try to sleep when it's not working?
HOurs ago I noticed the moon out the kitchen window.
It was yellow and half full. Birds
were gliding by except they were clouds looking like birds
flying south for the winter and then like lips kissing out puffs
of more clouds
smokey grey
moonlight and city glow
a bed and nowhere to go
but pace the  tiles and put dishes away
til they clink and the cupboard clothes.

a sigh and a pressing need to search for the papers I need to sort out the paperwork.
the jig in the saw. watch mechanisms. one piece missing and you can't tell the time.
sitting at the church assembly counting the holes in the ceiling where there used to be
a chandelier. You can tell by the holes. Sharply cut holes made in the fifties.
a gigantic light fixture probably hanging while Sylvia and Ted walked down the aisle.
Same church, different poet.

The tao of tobacco. If it's in the house, I smoke it. If it's not, I go and get it.
If it's in the house, I stay up smoking. If it's not, I lie awake needing it.
I think of all the days I have tomorrow and the hours snooze by.
I'm wired at night as if I'm in communion with owls or living in another time zone.
LA time. Pacific, not Greenwich Mean.
But I'm realising I live in HOlborn. Hobgoblin Holborn pronounced without the L.
Midnight mudlark. a cold beer on the beach. A collection of stones.
Most of them are plain. Some have patterns. A few are keepers.
Untwisting the workings of the Iphone.
A metal tablet already ancient by it's weight.
HOw it will be in a hundred years. things we can't imagine
As ten years ago, couldn't imagine communication the way it is now.
So easy to connect even to people from the past
People you haven't seen since you were a teenager.
And still see them through those eyes and you see
through the hairline and the greys, the same smile, different tie.
Some people are lucky enough to be surrounded by people they've known all their lives.
I only see people who remind me of other people from the past.
They walk by and I think of writing or phoning.
staying in touch.
scratch. dismount. behave. slave. slow down. tick tock.
listen to the gurgle of the old computer. the crackles.
the fridge has no smell and no buzz. the odd sound of a possible rodent.
the choice of a pet. a lop eared bunny rabbit from out west.
a cacti. easier to take care of a cacti. no litter change.
a dead rat. equally easy, but smelling and possible low gain from low investment.
a live hamster. too busy at night.
a fish. had a fish. it died.
the temperature has to be just right.
they don't like candles held under their bowls to produce aquatic shadows.
if left unattended, shadow puppetry begins to float
upside down.
other fish again, it was a terminant weekend away in hot weather.
came back to upside down fish.
buried it in the neighbors potted palm.
a shallow grave.
and the chinchilla. he got tossed over the cemetary fence
as it was midwinter and the earth too hard to dig.
enough of remeniscing about pets.
reality: pay for playscheme tomorrow.
Check if wire if through
Sign up for afterschool clubs
organise the dvd sections at JOhn's
drop into the china shop
go to a gig in Hackney if you are awake.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Little Man

Sometimes, when I have a really big poo to do, I remember giving birth. Just on the cusp of plopping, it teeters, and you wish once it came out, that someone would have told you to push harder in the beginning while you still had the strength. Just like life. Push til you think you'll rip. It saves lots of pain.
Ben wasn't a plop. He shot out with a whoosh. After those nurses showed me the hedgetrimmers, I made the decision. The Little Man wasn't going to get cut out. Blue, he was. A minute of wondering if he was going to live or die, until the doctor suctioned the mucous out. I didn't breathe either until he gave his first cry.
Seven years later. A lovely boy; a little man.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

I Have found a large thick cardboard box to use as a plaything or treasure chest. I was struggling with it and found a nice lady to help me home with it. She was chuffed when she realised I was the person who did the Cochrane wall message. We were talking about the cuts as she had just lost her position in the NHS as a chef in the mental health facility. She said she was even afraid to go on marches. I am not afraid to go on marches. I do not throw bricks through windows. I just paint signs and have found all the people I have met only decent people students, workers, teachers, people living their lives in a normal basic way now having their nails cut beyond the quick. And if this playscheme closes, that will effect me severely and shorten my day severely and shut down a blossoming part of my son's social life that is important to him. 80 million over three years to be saved by cutting 2000 child places in Camden alone. That is mincemeat compared to what they spend on war or the olympics or the royal wedding.
She will tell me more about the health service cuts from the inside. Also a good chef, doing the potato wedges and the fruit kebabs for Ben's party. Delegating this year.
The meeting was good. Good reports on Ben's attendance and grades and general attitude towards school and how he handled himself while I was away. All good, but falls on the deaf ears of Bushra. I find it hard to have someone who doesn't have a child judging my parenting skills and having so much power and so little experience. If she is going to knit pick with me, I can knit pick back. Most people would complain about her competence. Phoning at 11am to say....oh, we have a meeting at 4, did I tell you? No. Phoning at 215 and leaving a message to cancel the second meeting we had and then not phoning again for a few days. Crap in my book. Having a private conversation with my son. Telling me she will speak to me the next day about the contents and not calling for days until I phone and leave a message. Then she talks to my mother instead and tells her my son says we are fighting. He is six. He doesn't know what discussion is between two adults. Misinterpretation. Incompetence. It's enough. All the other people in the meeting were on my side. But I do not get that feeling about her and I find her incredibly disorganised!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


ieri 10-4 dorm. oggi 2 to 4 dorm. Troppo meds. Last mtg with Lucy. Miss. Cheam. A good report on B. Terrapins. M. Jackson, gargoyles. reduce dosage. Whittington lunch. Jorge. Tile grout for asps. Window boxes. Herbs chives basil. Steak tonight. Asfoetida. Sonja dropped the leaflet. Lisa, Diana, Rieko, Kim, Veronique, Marcia, Vanita. Pizzeria will be open for Sunday. Icco. Goodge st.

Monday, 11 July 2011


Ben We stopped in a square by St. Pauls Cathedral. The bells were ringing and two ladies with two year olds stopped to admire my bike. One lady with a South African accent was an education consultant. We got talking about house swaps somehow. She has been wanting to do it. We had enough time to ride to Rich Mix, so we left on our bikes. Ben clasped his ears and said it was giving him a headache, the bells. A sunny day. Slight torture to sit inside with a movie on a sunny morning, so the riding there made up for it. A parrot film called Rio. Some popcorn costing the price of two  tickets. Some ham and cheese from the Brick Lane cheeseman who knows the leatherlane cheeseman. They all know each other. Years of selling cheese, I suspect you would.
A plastic miniature beetle that vibrates. A 2011 Dr. Who calendar for fifty pence. Some sanding blocks...six for a pound. Some ten pound notes that are actually napkins. A bracelet, a hamburger, a cabbie that swears by the stall. Liba's mum knows the person who wrote Brick Lane. I had dinner with her and Brindisi from Armenia and Liba's son in Chinatown. It was a mellow evening with very hot food that required some soy milk on the side. the Malbec was good. Happy time.
Time away from Ben. A few hours doing something myself without Ben. Every mother knows that melting point when you need to get away to redefine yourself before you lose your name. But things are cool between me and Ben. And Liba says that the cycle 7 to 11 is an easier one, the child more independent. Her son is 16 now. He is nice with floppy hair and headphones.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Phonaphobia----blue ocean

Hoping to tick a few things off my to do list today. The ever present phone, still not working as I have to activate it. phones. Phonaphobia.
Many people to put into my phone. People I will be talking with again and texting. Several phoneless miles.
Fire the weatherman. It's raining. Helpers to come and fix the downed curtain rod today. Talk of finding a two bed with that. Like this flat so much apart from the lack of an extra bedroom. Nowadays, a living room is considered a bedroom. That's not living. That's existing. What about finding someone to sponsor a studio for me? Art is always is a bit messy. I did some of my best pictures on Drury Lane in the rabbit hole attic propping up a drawing board in bed. That was a distinct lack of space. That was Alice in Wonderland.
ahh. Ben says I so love this sloveen. So happy with his dr. who toy.  Like Christmas.

Blue Ocean

Idea for party game--actually could evolve into a board game: Get some cardboard and make a giant compass with a revolving needle. NSEW. They spin it and it lands on North. Get the giant world map from the shed. Ask them to choose a city that lies north of Brighton.  Name a country East of Switzerland. Name a body of water south of the Pacific. A stack of cards for city or country, continent or body of water. There would be fewer cards for oceans infact body of water could refer to a river, a sea, or an ocean. This game teaches geography and directions. Extra points if you can say something about that country or city. This could be a game that I put forward to the school and present as a workshop. Then the children can make their own compasses. Talk about the history of maps.It could be adapted for each age level. Children could be given homework to investigate the country or city  that they have chosen. They give spoken reports about their topic. Speak about ways of describing a country. The people. Their beliefs, their food, their past times, their topography, things they produce, history. This is a circle cut into a pie. Each section to be filled in with a picture. The internet is a useful resource for finding this information. An aside....create a food or a toy or a figure representing this country. Make a flag. etc.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Art Horse

THe mosaic mural I helped out on had its place. A mum's morning once a week got it done at a rather slow pace and gave us time for chit chat. But being a more serious artist, I found that frustrating sometimes. It's time now. I feel it. To be honest and not whittle away my talent making tissue paper tigers or fiddling around too much with little tea cups. I enjoy being part of that, but it has to have a place not so central to my being. And if I need a social outlet, make it outside that. Three completed collage paintings on canvas in the flat and one I'm working on. And something I'm composing.
Found another wedding ring today on the way back form chat with the magician to make sure he's coming. I passed a gypsy looking man on the road and he followed me then swooped it up just as it caught my gaze. Two rings in one week, the other found on the beach. He let me have it and I gave him a note for it. I left him and crossed the road for a coffee and chatted with a nice girl from Thailand who was studying English. Gave her some links for theatre tickets etc. She knew some Korean and so we brushed up on our Hang guk mal together. Miss those teacher days, but can't resume that. It's time to get on my art horse.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Inner Island

Making new friends lately, not purely the art crowd. Most are just there to clink glasses. Then again, I've not been out to an opening for a long while now. Making friends in the neighborhood- a coffee with red hair man, a movie and fish fingers with Priscilla- future Texan Princess, a chat on the bench with Sonja who I've always felt had a friendly face and who I find out has been through some of same. She's an artist, rides a bike, and is a single parent just like me. Wondering if she should continue piecing together bits of her life in order to paint or get a gull on full time job. Picking up the slack for seven years on her own, she said she felt last year like a sad cow---like a sand castle being washed away by the tides and waves of her child until she was just sand. Likewise. I'm being my castle further away from the sea so as not to be washed away. And at this age, the child also needs space to splash around....make his own way. And at my age...I feel no age. I feel fine. Making friends is becoming easier since something is loosening its grip. The inner island. I just wish Jerry hadn't thrown me up in the air and dislodged my vertebrae. I'd love to get it back in place.
Things between my mother and I have mended and resolved. Differences have dissolved into acceptance and appreciation. I may have got too much done yesterday. A busy one. Busy = sleep.
The simple to do list is working. There also needs to be times of not doing. I slept well last night. I will get this phone working soon hopefully. Many people have them and many people use them. Six or seven months without a mobile would wipe out most people's social life as it did mine. ...was a choice. Why have a phone if it doesn't ring? But it will ring again and soon. 

Sunday, 3 July 2011


Good days and fine line moments where I have to stop and regroup. Doing less is more. More gets done that way. A restless night on the 30th up until 5am. But otherwise, sleep comes. Staying close to home. Making home into a papanest. Into a palace where I know where everything is. The sewing kit in an old fashioned Singer tin. The tools in a silver box out of reach of thieves. Boards cut up for mosaics. A pleasant worker stopped by today and noticed my art. A conversation. Not just taking pills. A big rotation. Never see the same person twice though there are 14 on the team so soon, someone will come back around. I spoke to the people last time also about my scene on the beach getting Ben's ball out of the river. How a few people applauded and laughed. Then a panic attack. Panic attacks just because strangers might smile at me. It throws me off. Thrown off again today at the service. A deep sweltering sadness. Then moments of clarity and activity. It will take time. A letter of apology to clear the air between me and someone who ignored me and it irked me. I sit on it rather than sending it. I clear my own air. Gone. Much easier to pass. Mum laughing about "Pape and daught" with Taesi and Ann up at a supper club in South Beloit. She is happy, relaxing again, back at home. And now, when we talk, it is much easier for her to picture where I am or what I am doing. That is the gold of her visit. It is real now. Not just pictureless words about where I went or what I did. Her advice is to do less and worry about myself a bit. Treat myself better...have a beer, go out, do some shopping, take some time off, have a bath, put on some makeup, dress up, dress down, chill out. The doctor's advice and hers.
Chicken .....Palace. Road near Elephant. Chicken and Palace are a strange compliment. Chicken Cottage is my local crispy shack. There's chicken shack too. But there is no chicken hotel...chicken motel, chicken river, Not that I'm about to go into the fast food business. There is a distinct lack of fast good food in Holborn. Then again,  there is Itsu sushi and it suffices. I thought I'd lost my camera again. But I haven't. My both zips were open on my bike bag  and I think perhaps a library card and perhaps a credit card are gone. Some thing is missing. Someone is missing too. Hopefully he will be back soon.
A few hours cycling this evening. A mishap. Thought I had dinner party tonight in soho in chinatown, but it is next Sunday. I am off by a week. It is July. I need an Iphone, a new number, and then I can send out the party invitations. Two cakes. Order the cakes. Got the booze. Got the cooler. Need some ham and some crackers and rope for tug of war and the magician...he better call. I meant it. I want a man with chemically altered red hair to perform at my son's party. Yeah. And Saturday, our routine...the cinema, Gulliver, a friendly mum called Priscilla, shopping, a pencil holder, a new datebook, and Queen's Square, a leaflet about boyscouts, a spiritual healing session, a calvin klein boy's shirt stripes like paul smith...some bling. the bling babe. and so a busy day that was ...and yahoo....I've won the tardis playset....for something under 30 pounds when it is 70 in the doc who shop. a win. cutting bamboo for jewelry holiday. cutting up boards for mosaics. drinking more beer. Anchor Steam is agreeable. Henney's cider is agreeable. Leffe is agreeable. Sam Smith reserve cider...agreeable. Prefering white beers, dry ciders, and thicker ales. Watched the bike boys at southbank on the way home and meant to do some beach combing, but not the night for it. 

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Long Meal

Nothing like taking a day to make a meal, a long meal. A long day, solstice like. A roast chicken, roast potatoes that ended up as "vichy swah with a twist." as Diana put it. POtatos boiled in French onion soup mix, chili pepper kernels, nutmeg and salt....mushy so took the broken ones and mashed them up with double cream and soft goats cheese spread, milk, then added chopped chives and spring onion soaked in fig vinagrette.
a roast chicken-a stuffing of one slice of seven grain bread soaked in milked, added crushed sliced almonds, lemon peel, crushed garlic. and it was enough. Had some Patisserie Valerie cakes to test out for a party later on this coming month. Selva cake with dark choc, cherries, custardy cream, fresh cream, choc cake...the winner. two gateaus. and green tea in my Belgian China cups from the forties. Some Glastonbury on tv. A catch up with Diana. Mum there grumbling about my fussing over food and plates. Ben away at Tony's. Perfect evening, made better by a late night bike ride down to the Southbank. Meeting some nice fixie folk who admired my Nesquick water bottle holder. chits chats, some beach combing. Found lots of things. Found a bike seat and seat post! found a carry on suitcase on the way home. Score. Love Lee  

Thursday, 9 June 2011


Feeling better and planning on being less imaginative. 

Friday, 13 May 2011

What Happened?

Well. I woke up around midnight by a shorus of angels telling me I was a bit late for the end of the world, but there was still time...infact, It was going to end at 4:32 in the morning. It got weird. There was a whirlpool. The good angels were going up and the bad angels were going down into hell....and I was on the cusp...I was just holding on...and the good angels said...sorry. I''ll have to see you later. So I concentrated on my pathway to Hell as I was told that this pathway was going to be repeated into eternity. Dark things.

There I thought suddenly because of my very mild protesting, that the FBI and certain government groups had wired my flat and I was under surveillance. I was going down for being wasteful. Accounting for every sin .. INsanity. Then the people from NY were actually members of the KKK and were back...coming back to get me.

It was a bad bleeding fantasy. I imagined that we were going down. Babies that get shaken to death in metal containers. Where it came from, I don't know. But I became the mother of this person.I ran with Ben I told him I'd save him. I wrapped him in a blanket and took him to Tony's first, but there was a weird vibe. Then to. By this time, I was convinced that we were all going to be collected and tortured and then burnt up in smoke. I was trying to hide. It was like the holocaust. The nieghbors. I told them to turn off the tv. They called the school to come and see me. The lady who is the liason officer had a burn on her neck which just added to my idea that she was part of the torture gang.

Then finally I was convinced that this was not the end of the world and infact I was on a Big Brother type game show. I was then lead out in a wheel chair to an ambulance. To a hospital where I was waiting to meet a certain someone.

Something about being transported to the basement of Buckingham Palace. To be interviewed for the purposes of  marrying one of William's friends. But then, I was not accepted and then....they decided that my son was the Prince of Darkness and had to die in order to bring in the new I was in danger of being gang raped by the policemen in the basement. I kept pleading with him....Please...just kill me gently. Don't hurt me. Just kill me.

The thing is...this man was a police officer in the basement of Euston Hospital and really...all he needed to say was....don't worry. You are in Euston Hospital. But instead, he kept quiet and seemed a little amused by the scenario. Then they said they were going to transport me. I thought I was going to killed en route. But here I am now and I have just had an incredibly intricate night mare.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Whatever Day it Is

Whatever day it is, this is the first day I've put them up. I rode by yesterday and found a spot by the 38,19 bus stop that looked ideal. Met three people during this session. One guy from Slovakia at the bus stop. He'd like to help. And Peter helped adhere the first tile which is about the closure of playgrounds. He said...I wish there were more people like you doing this. I popped another near a zebra crossing on a disused island. It is low and might not be easily spotted on Lambs con...not on the Coram wall as it would be removed immediately. And a chat with someone from Hackney on his way home. He was happy to hear what I was doing..."That's the trouble. If they knew...if they had an inkling of how people feel...If you took a helicopter ride over london and looked into people's homes and saw how they lived....and what little they have....They have no idea. "He was seething in a calm way but seething. Sadly I have to take a break for a while. It's a start. Maurice in the La Porchetta had also seen the nanny message. A lot of people have. Alice too. Playscheme cuts are coming up in May....soon. But I'm away. I have to write in ...I think it's Henderson making the decision. All just cogs in the wheel. Passing the pound as opposed to the buck. 

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

NHS cuts, Lords, war

A PR guy came in the studio today and liked my protest tiles. He said, "I'm conservative, but I still like what you're doing. I think the cuts are wrong." He gave me a few pointers and offered a strategy. I don't know how they might make a difference, but for one thing, he said that they point out the human side of this equation and agreed that the people in government make decisions based solely on finances, not on human beings or what it might do to them. This is a country of people, not digits followed by zeros. Unfortunately, there are very  few checks and balances in this UK government. The people making the cuts have nannies, not playschemes. They have private healthcare, not NHS service. In short, they don't know or care about how the majority of people live.
I was also chatting with a finance manager in the local park who works 16 hour days and pays 40 % tax and gets sick of seeing people on benefits living in larger housing than she and her husband can afford. She has been given the budget for the NHS and is making cuts accordingly. She doesn't like what she is doing, but she is following orders. It looks very grim for the next fifteen years. She is from Croatia and has seen how war makes money. She says that wars make money for the few evil people greedy enough to profit from it. There are some very bad people making these decisions. It seems a very simple solution. Just stop spending all the money on the war.
Oskar works in government too. He says the same thing. These Lords are not how do you do people. They are not royalty. They are businessmen. They are the minority. They will size you up in fifteen seconds. We all know this, but what is there to do about it? This is a very old fashioned government. It needs a refurb. At least in the US, you have the senate and the house and President deciding the laws. There is a system of checks and balances. Here, they get in and just do what they want as quickly as they can before they are voted out.
I hear that Donald Trump is being asked to run the US next as it needs a businessman to sort things out. Half the schools in the town I grew up in are closing....and still they get involved in another war when they don't have the money to even pay their own teachers anymore. What is the world coming to? I do think if we all die next year in the polar shift, we deserve it. This is the equivalent of Babylon. People are no longer decent.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Tiles with a twist

If you are reading this and have any suggestions for messages, please comment.

Like the idea of a white chalk on black board menu:

Deep fried Cameron Balls served on a bed of trident rocket with goat's cheese.

New type of tile in the works. Four in the kiln. Messages:

Can I borrow your nanny if you cut my child's playscheme? I only need her from 3:30 to 6:00. Can pay 1.50 per hour.

What a dismal block of flats. Do you think they're even human? Don't know. I went to Eton. Let's chop their playground up.

Can we play in your garden when you close down our playground?

Funny way of doing things but I asked permission from the head of the play scheme if I could write something on the wall at Coram Fields regarding the looming closure of services. He brightened up and was happy to know that I'd shown my support at the march. He said that the wall did not belong to them. Of course, it's not something that you ask. But I'm an amateur at this graffiti business. Have noticed that using a brush is a little bit messy and time consuming. Two police cars drove right by last night as I finished the wall. The cuts effect everyone:people with children, people who need affordable child care so they can go to work, council workers, teachers, students, the elderly, school course offerings, the police, the fire brigade.....etc. These Clegg-Cameron chaps are making enemies of just about everyone. And it's very personal. Still, the mood across the globe seems to be a right wing swing.

Monday, 28 March 2011

March Against the Cuts

Throughly enjoyed the March Against the Cuts. It's a shame that all the papers only point out the violence and property damage which was a small part of it. 200 arrests out of half a million people. A very small percentage to highlight. But then isn't it something like 7% of the population go to Eton and two-thirds of them end up in government making the laws? 

Monday, 21 March 2011

Time is a present

Art going in several different directions. A large collage canvas is coming together. Lots of depth. First mosaic made of found pieces of china from the Thames finished. Hope to make more and keep them reasonably light 50 by 50cm. Oskar is in Azerbaijan. Hi Fuad if you ever read this. Say hello to your son one day. He's a happy chap and would like to meet you. He will probably try to find you one day. We have done well enough without you. No hard feelings.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

mosiac notes

shells, marbles, beads, buttons, metal, nuts, rivets, type block, keys, thimbles, coins, bottle tops, washers, pebbles, stone, broken china, tin, tiles, tile snippers, grouting tools, sand and cement screens, adhesives and grouts: cement based grout, weak sandy, epoxy grout-two part product, weaterproof joint...hygienic impermeable
 PVA wood glue permanent but not as an exterior adhesive. Aliphatic glue for exterior on wood. Silicone. dries quickly...indoor outdoor.

growing collection of Thames finds....broken old china ware. some nice historic pieces. lots of old pipes. some bones. some glass.

the down side of having a party--housecleaning.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Butt Dust and Brighton

Thank god we got out. What a miracle. We found out a few things this weekend. Sometimes, especially in winter weather, it's hard to get out. Ben has coughed his way through most of it. Put your socks on. Put your socks on. Trance state child in spiritual communion with tv glued to Sarah Jane or Ben Ten. Put your socks on. Parent gives up. OR parent turns off the tv. It isn't that bad, but sometimes, tv is the easier option. Though a rather slobby feeling accompanies it. I haven't seen an adult program for months. But we got out. I get a medal.

It was an adventure. We went to Kings Cross on Saturday and enquired about a family rail card. The desk man was nice and talked me out of it. If you're just going to Brighton, take London Bridge for a tenner. It's not advertised on the net. So we have a whole new window--how to get out of here away from the brick and the sirens. Thank God. Reasonable too. One pound for Ben. Isn't that funny. Less than the price of a coffee. You can whittle away ten pounds just walking down the street.

We meant to go on Saturday and Sunday as the weather was nice on Saturday. We met a lovely girl in the Mcdonalds and chatted about Wales, so have an option there with a possible house swap. The sheep are being shaven right now I think she said. Or they were having babies. Something about the sheep. She'd been to Greece too. She said Don't go to Greece in the summertime. Greece might be a nice break in October or next February.

We could have gone on Saturday, but then we got sucked into the park by an invisible giant vortex and stayed there for the remainder of the day until it was unlikely that we'd be departing. Child like familiar places. It is his favorite place to be. Georgina has had a third baby. I told them about my party this coming weekend. Zoe was up for going with us to Brighton and said her daughter Rose would like to see the bmx jam. It would have been nice to have some company. But then, the next morning, she phoned just a half hour before to say her child was sick. Sick child. A downer. But we are used to doing things ourselves. And we were on bikes and they didn't have bikes, so it would have been complicated. I wanted to get a little ride in.

We rode down to London Bridge. Had  a  big bag of sammys packed for the day. Caught the train. Rode to the seaside. Ben was loving the waves. The pebbles. Nothing but pebbles. Actually, the Thames beach is much more interesting. I've gathered a whole collection of nice broken worn china pieces that I hope to make a big collage mosaic with. Lovely bits.

Then we rode to Moulsecoombe. Found our way to the gym. I was getting a bit testy as the day was going by and of course, we were late, but at least arrived to see some of it. Maybe an hour and a half. It was good to see it in person rather than see videos. I spotted a few familiar faces. The net and videos distort things. That whole situation is terribly distorted and can't rewind. I think he was a bit shocked to see me there. I hope it didn't annoy him. I simply wanted to see a bike jam and watch him ride. You'd think that wouldn't upset someone. Our history is not great.

Fish and chips then the train. A lovely ride home. Ben in the loo on the train. "Mum....excuse me...Mum...come and wipe my bum. Come and wipe my bum Mum." If that didn't get everyone laughing.I still had a smirk on my face when I came in the loo. Oh. That upset him. Don't laugh at me. Poor boy. It was cute really. He has no idea how loud he is. Four men seated near us he played with them. They tossed him around. Scottish American guy. Full of knock knock jokes. And a lovely Mancunian couple. So funny. Then Ben got out his sonic screwdriver and banged the seat with it. So much dust came out. We were amazed. Then he started banging other seats. Sascha no boy. That is the butt dust of a million commuters. Mind the butt dust. We had a good laugh with the butt dust and exchanged numbers. They were lovely.

Ben has amazing amounts of energy. He is a sturdy healthy boy despite he lack of appetite. Look mum, I'm still not tired. 930 we got home. We are going to do more exploring out of London. A couple with a pad on Brighton dock willing to swap one weekend. Good things have come out of it. Being in motion is always a good thing. There is always the unexpected and discoveries and the opening of eyes. Better than tv. 

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Getting Out

Voices at Queen E Hall with Vanita. dancing in my seat second band. Twang twang. Tempted to go to a club after, but had my own beach club going on.Vanita getting chatted up by the securtiy guard. Said all herbs will become illegal, even burdock, as of April 1st in the USA, drug capital of the world. After, a trip along the Thames beach picking up shards of china met two cool dudes from Poland. Marek and his mate. We had an instant disco with his ipod and headphones. It was cosy happy fun. Things got better after my bath at five. Train station in the morning and nice chat with a Welsh woman who lives on a farm with sheep. We might trade places sometime. Great mood. Fab day. Getting out. Sammys not made, but well. 

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


They wanted to know everything.
How many siblings do you have? Why aren't you married? What is it like where you lived before? How long will you be here?
Free talk time was otherwise known as question and answer for the teacher.
Finally, I decided to grow my family to have more to talk about as there was only my mother and sister. It wasn't enough. So there was John in Chicago, my best friend. He became my older brother. The psychiatrist turned electrician. He wires people's houses instead of their heads. There was Steve in the Mohave Desert who tested and made bombs. My younger brother. His work was top secret, so we talked about his weekends. And after too much grilling, I made up a husband too. He was a botanist studying plants in Sumatra. I was bored of the jungle, so I came to Korea to teach. Odd, but...yes I was allergic to the mosquitoes. 
I lived in an old fashioned hotel with paper sliding doors and ondol floors. We shared a kitchen. Korean men woke us up in the morning with their horrific throat clearing and spitting. After some time at the hotel, a student asked me if I'd move in with them. She wanted me to live with her family and teach her kids a little on the side. It was a good exchange. Her husband was a VP at Korean Air. For Christmas, they gave me a ticket to Indonesia to visit my husband. I made a stop over in Manilla as there was a lot of fighting in Jdakarta at the time. I had two months to kill. Two month's paid vacation in winter and two more in the summer. It made for a lot of beach time. 

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Different Gareth

A fun chat with Gareth in the shop. He is making a chandelier for the Four Seasons. Steven, Erica, Rieko over for Pancakes. 

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Domestic Order

33 days since the twenty first of august has come and gone and come and gone again. Tidied today. Vanita was by after a truffle making workshop. Mudlarking next weekend. Might join her. Blog block--Run out of things to say or at least to share. Ben is sucking on a miniature plunger- a broken off part of a dalek. Gave Vanita a painting today. Glad she likes it. Don't have much faith in the possibility of selling these large collage canvases as no one has space for it. The again, one is shipping out in the next two weeks. Past due. I used to think they were beautiful but they just look like junk now. Time to let og of all the pretty papers. I'm going to concentrate on keeping the lego separate from the action figures for a while and just worry about domestic order. It's a hum drum time this part of winter. By the time you've got your shoes on, the sun has gone back in. I planted some parsely and some basil. My palm tree is coming back to life since I moved it inside. Vanita likes the rotating disco ball that plugs into the computer. It makes a grinding sound. I was going to toss it, but at least keep it for the party. Moved the sofa under the window. A change of scene for the living room. A little more sorting and House Beautiful will be by for a photo shoot. A spate of house swap and holiday offers this weekend. Venice with Elizabeth making a painting for a hotel. Greece whenever we like as long as they can stay  a week in Mid May. Cumbria for the Royal Wedding weekend. Might stay here. Might go. Long way to go for the weekend. 

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

G section

Girl Interrupted back in the G section. Film Guy makes a terrific lunch- a hodge podge of deli remains with white wine. He agrees it's time for a fridge party. And being sectioned is disquieting. I could tell from the papers I corrected that none of his film students are bright sparks, but the questions were quite factual...yes or no. I always think film classes are pondering circumstances...places for reflection and discussion. I started to put together a syllabus of my own. Jonathan balks at my poncey life. Organising film cds with one hand and a glass of wine in the other...and today vase painting but without the benefit of alcohol. Little Bo Peep Land. 

Sunday, 27 February 2011


Slightly fed up. A little achievement today getting in touch with the woman who witnessed Tony's bus accident back in August. He doesn't even remember the month. It was August 26th. Amazing for all the things he does for his son, his son doesn't lift a bleeding finger to help him at all. So on with the case. The witness works in health and safety, so she is particularly interested in helping with her statement.
Sent something to Running Grass a few days ago. He should get it within the week.
Yesterday was enjoyable. We really got out of the neighborhood visiting Veronique. I suppose she lost it with her neighbor to the point of being taken away. Perhaps too much thiroxin. Everyone in the common area looked in limbo between sonic stare mode and pre-drool stage. Drugged up. Veronique was the only person who seemed to have her senses about her. I wonder how long it takes. She is either out on Thursday or in for a minimum of 28 days. Not completely sane as she has her habit of carrying her more importatn possessions in her rucksack when she leaves the house. I always thought that she had just been shopping, but when she explained that her neighbor would come in and change the alarm on her clock, I was alerted. Otherwise, she functions quite well and goes out four or five times a week to cultural events.

Ben can easily do eight or ten miles on the bike. We were out for eight hours. It wasn't perfect weather, but definitely a nice adventure. Now the rain has stopped, we may unplug the Spy who shagged me and get on with something better. Sometimes it is like having a huge barnacle on your foot trying to drag a six year old out of the house. A joy and a weight at the same time. At least lets get down to the river.

We did get down to the river. It was cold without my wool jacket underneath. Ben had gloves on this time. We saw some skateboarders and then went to two beaches to pick up some shells and pottery pieces. A man had carved a woman's face in the sand. We chatted with him. Ben told him about Veronique. We had a healthy discussion about it. Had to laugh a bit about it. But I know Veronique's laughing too. We ran into Chris and Carlos on our way back on the bridge. Who are these nutters out at night? Loving the fridge. Now everything is falling back into place. Took a while. My eyesight is going. I changed screens and it helped for a while, but it's back again. fuzzyness and hard to focus. Worrying. 

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Serious Microphones

She rang. He knew it was her as she was the only one who knew he was there. He intuited there would be something wrong. It mattered not how many stars the hotel had. She was always the bigger star. "How's the room?" She liked it when things were wrong as he would fix them and in fixing that road to perfection, he was showing her loyalty. And that is all she wanted. Loyalty. It was the umbrella term for groveling obedience, unnecessary ass kissing, hand and foot subservience. She would stand with her heels puncturing their boat and he would run with putty and buckets bailing and patching at the same time. Everything had to be perfect. Even if  it was already perfect, it had to be more perfect until it was purrrrrfect. Purely for effect.

Perhaps the light fixture would have a fly in it. She could hear the honeymooning couple next door. Perhaps there would be too much paint on the door for her liking. The window wouldn't open. Perhaps the mini-bar would be too loud. Her hotel room number would be unlucky. It reminded her of her ex-boyfriend as it was the last three digits of his phone number. She sat in her first class seat thinking up problems for him to attend to once they arrived in New York. They had two or three gigs a night lined up for the next week. Everything from Manhattan to dinner clubs in New Jersey. She was feeling energetic. She'd demand that they change hotels, but just to be nice, she'd do it right away so as not to wake him from his sleep.

She tapped the microphone. She did what she always does....sing too low on the sound check. They'd tune it and then, when she went live, it would be Loud. Loud is what she wanted.

Where is everyone? This is a sold out show. Where are they?
The die hards were already ramming the barrier, but the friends of friends were still getting their drinks.
Well I'm not going on until they sit in their seats. Make an announcement.
It's not a classroom. They'll come once you start singing.
I'm not singing til they sit down and listen.

Backing tracks were always insurance against her whims and temper.
Where's the piano player?
Oh. He's not coming.
Yeah. He's not coming back.

A six thousand pound microphone. Sony spent five million pounds developing it; better than the Y 45 from 1945. There are microphones specifically for voice. And some better for instruments. And there are people who are so devoted to their favorite singers, that they are willing to show up and dust the microphone in a maid's outfit.

We'll let you dust the microphone and clean the loo in the studio, but you have to be dressed.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Humpty Dumpster

His shell was swept up
the crack of his grin
broccoli and tea bags
the compost bin

All the good causes
and all the king's men
couldn't make Humpty
a lover or friend

Tuppence was found
on the way up the hill
and dropped in the bucket
of Jack and his Jill

Fetching the water
and feeding the swine
filling her apron
with Mother Goose thyme

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Leading Lady of the Night

Continuation of Vera Sunkissed-Virgin Spinster)

He was slightly aroused by the thought of seeing her again. It had been years since he'd heard her voice...softer now. They spoke only through their daughter. He referred to her as his ex-wife but, they were, in actual fact, still married. Neither one of them had had the energy or patience for a divorce. It was just paperwork.

"I'm coming over for a funeral. I'll be in town." She paused waiting for a "well, why don't you drop by?" or an "Oh."

He wasn't going as it was the guy she'd left him for....the hotel doorman. Such  a small part. He would have felt better if she'd have gone off with the leading man. They'd had a few scenes on a closed set. It would have been the natural conclusion, but it wasn't. It was the guy one step up from an extra with the girl one step up from an escort. That irked him. He hadn't pulled her from the usual casting call.

He was the director. He'd written it too...for her. Leading Lady of the Night working title. He changed it to Honeymoon later and dropped a few nude scenes. They were her forte, but he made it into a proper story, plot and all.

There was room service. Sunlight pierced the curtains. He lifted her and placed her on the mantle. The curtains fell like a wedding veil over her face and rose up her torso as he pulled her from the window back to bed. A light brunch before departing from a long week in Paris. "Pasta?" he asked. "What is pasta without the sauce?" she gendered. They'd gone over the scene many times over dinner, in the kitchen, in bed. There were just a few lines. The rest was blocking and choreography.

He wrote it into the film as it had happened. Their most private sacred moment. He didn't cast himself as the leading man. Perhaps that was the mistake. They'd both had affairs by the time it went into post production. They had an unspoken quota of offstage rehearsals that were allowed. But the scene with the doorman lasted too long. A fly on his arm he should have taken more seriously. Sometimes, you watch a fly, but you don't swat it because you don't want to spill your martini. You think it'll be gone by the time you put your glass down. He could have killed that fly. He should have zapped it.

"Are you there?"
"Yeah. I had a fly on my arm. Trying to kill it."
"Can't kill a fly and talk at the same time hey?"
"Not this one. It's a big one. Maybe you should drop by with some pesticide."
"I don't know if it's allowed on the plane, but I'll try."

She was born in Manhattan and raised in L.A. Her family had flown back and forth until they finally moved there. She had the mental rythyms of a New Yorker ready for a debate and the saunter of a beach bum in search of a wave. Fishermen lived next door. In San Pedro, having a group of long shore men as neighbors is statistically high. As her parents spent their lives glued to computers, she liked to say that she was raised by fishermen. It always got a laugh.

They'd often barbecue their catch over an oil drum. Better than a Webber grill. The smoke wafted over like an invitation. The R-rated banter was more stimulating than the talk at home. She knew more about fishing than she did about her parents and their computers. They talked in updates. In fact, she didn't even know what they did. They could be lawyers, journalists, or eco-planners. They never talked about work and she never talked about school. In fact, she remembered few conversations: the most memorable one being the one about them separating.

So here they were on speaking terms again. He hung up the phone and looked around. Even the spines of the books were dusty. He picked up the potted palm by its leaves; a dry cylinder of earth caked around the roots clung on like a rotting mousse. He took it immediately outside. He had three days. He'd hire a cleaner. He patted his stomach. Nothing he could do about that. It had been a long time since he'd given the mirror more than a passing glance. It needed dusting too.

There were plenty of people at the funeral- a few familiar industry faces. Some she knew from magazines and some she'd worked with. Everyone looked older, but not grayer. The producers had become rotund and their handshakes firmer. The actors remained puppet-like and gaunt still smelling of the grease from their day jobs. It was easy to see who worked behind the camera and who worked in front of it. The women had stuck to their regimes of pricey eye cream, light lunches and exercise. The ones who hadn't had obviously moved on to more stable careers and families.

The scent of lilies floated to the organ music as people filed in. The sermon was a brief everyman eulogy designed for those whose loved ones were either too grief stricken to put words together or just not bothered. His family had never approved of his career in film and theatre. Their disapproval only hindered his belief in himself as he served up platters of pasta in between roles. His agent had billed him as an everyman type character--a perfect background to a drama, comedy, or period piece. His life was a series of small parts.

Only a small part of her listened to the sermon. She was playing the entrance of their reunion in her mind. He'd booked a table at their favorite restaurant. That was fatal in itself. The funeral was the perfect excuse to meet him again. There was still no paperwork to discuss. He had paid all of Vera's college fees without her asking. Whatever winds had blown them apart had now died down to a gentle lull lulling her back to her husband. Unscripted.

They met at The Ivy. He could get a table without a reservation back in the day. "There's nothing for the next two weeks I'm afraid." He tried dropping a few names. Luckily, not all the staff had changed since then. Someone stopped him. "You don't have to do that. You still want the table by the window in the corner?" The trainee was ushered out of the way. "The wine list has changed." He smiled. He was still important enough.

He was sitting down with a glass of red and the bottle already chosen. He didn't stand on ceremony, but he stand to greet her and fell into an embrace at a distance usually reserved for a handshake. She smelled of the same perfume. He quelled a reflex to tap his wristwatch and wink, but then so much time had passed, twenty minutes was not a point to debate. They both sighed and a smile crept over them as they sat in silence reading the menus. It was a peaceful hushed hello.

Mmm. The noises they made while making love or eating were the same. Their shoes touched under the table. It was a tight space. Then their knees. It was a quiet truce. It had been a long intermission.

Vera Sunkissed-Virgin Spinster

Vera Sunkissed was a light-hearted girl. "Vera" was a bit old-fashioned, but "Sunkissed" made up for it.

"Hey Vera--we're you born in your grandma's closet? Vera....any relation to Laverne or The Fonz? Vera... where's the beehive? You gotta get some kitty cat glasses."

She became more "Vera" every day. She had flashes of herself dropping a dime in the duke box on Friday night with Fonzi. She really did have retro fifties kitty cat glasses and she did have a frugal but fabulous fashion sense putting odd polk-a-dot finds together from thrift stores with the pocket money from her paper round and her father's secret irregular deposits. She wondered about him as she tied up her hair. "Mirror time," as her mother called it, "will only make you later than you already are. It's not a disco. It's high school. Get going."

Wilma rang the bell to help remind her of the time. They'd walk together silently jumping in snow banks or dodging dog turds depending on the season. "Watch out for that one." Wilma and Vera exchanged glances and everything else but clothes. They had shared pencils since third grade. The V's and the W's were always close on the seating chart. So were the S's and T's. Wilma Tedworth was her best friend by default and rota.

They shared English, Algebra 3 Trig, and World History with Miss Busey. Miss Busey had been called many things; Toto Killer, Virgin Spinster, and Twin sister of the Wicked Witch of the West. Her profile was something out of a Toulouse Lautrec painting. She was a tiny lady held together by plaid wool suits with a crooked nose and a crackling tweak of  a voice. She did a cabaret shuffle with her pointer stick in her upscale librarian attire circling the continents while waiting for an answer..."and the Nile is...?" Egypt did not matter melting in the heat of a June afternoon with half the class smelling of P. E. "Pointless dude. The Nile is pointless." A low belly rumble came from the back of the class. No ever heckled Miss Busey.

Wilma was never teased about her name which was more archaic than the Pharoahs. She was so totally geeky that people didn't bother her whereas Vera was borderline. Trendy or weird? The line was hard to decipher. It was a point of discussion amongst the popular crowd. She didn't mind the ribbing as it was so far from the real reason she was named Vera. If they knew that, she'd just about have to leave town. She'd had to go live with her dad or something.

He lived in an old stone mansion with two floors and an attic that could count as a third. He lived in a quiet suburb at the end of street that lead to the rail station connecting the locals to the city. It was the busiest street at rush hour and the quietest street at all other times. He only had to open his door and pick up the paper if he felt the need for a wave or hello. If he was feeling anti-social, he'd wait for them to pass. The news could wait.

He lived an extravagent but minimal existence. There were only a few things he liked. He survived on a diet of Patisserie Valerie cakes and coke. Patisserie Valerie did not deliver, so he enlisted a currier service to drive from Soho to Surrey with a variety of cakes which he nibbled on all day in between lines. His guests would salivate as they sat at the table pitching a film script or going over the details of a recording contract. It was a game of his not to be the perfect host. How long would it take them to drop a hint? It was a fine indicator of their pain/pleasure threshold.

It told him a lot about how hungry they were for his support in their venture. Some guests said nothing. Others helped themselves while he went to the kitchen to make the tea. A sticky fingered handshake at the end of the meeting....a few tell tale flakes of puff pastry on a lapel. It didn't matter really. He had made his millions. The cakes were part of the furniture. The furniture was dusty. It was fine dust like powdered sugar or cocaine. 

Friday, 18 February 2011

Devotion to Motion

Devotion to motion
Clean as the salt in the ocean

South Sea Skate Park
Drink Orally. Think Globally.
Manual, Endo, Whiplash, Tail Whip
I tattooed his name on my arm.
That ain't nothin'
I tattooed his name on my....
On your what? Ooh. Out of space.
Topless Housecleaning
Playboy Bunny Hop
Nose Pick, Nose Plant
Deffo Dude
Wooty Woot Woot
Chad De Groot
Sunny Day 4 sick moves and a
Turbine Peg wheelie to
Reverse Sunwheel
Mark Webb recipe:
60% tats, 20% skin, 5% lager, 3% Missing parts, 22% Lucky lady bird
Salted Monkey Gonads
Effraim Catlow Jungle Rider Frames

Stripey cup design

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Taco Jesus

A mile south of Division and too far west to be in danger of gentrification anytime soon, but look at the space. So much space- a kitchen, a pantry with shelving on three sides and an odd statue of Mary set into the back wall, a living room--lots of light, another room--covered over fireplace--knock knock chipboard...some cheap white paint brushed over the moulding, two rooms with doors--both with no windows and the back room seeming like the setting for a blood spattered horror scene or the waiting room for Hell. It just had that vibe. She could use it as a walk-in closet.

Quirky alcoves. Steepled door frames. The possibility for charm. There was even a back porch looking out onto some cracked tarmac and the communal bin. Scenic. Three hundred fifty dollars a month, A little dangerous at night, but you have a car. Some gangs around here, but they have their own agenda. "Worth it," she thought. Some trade offs, but worth it. A bedroom and the rest--a painting studio. Art supplies in the pantry.

She caught the little clawed footsteps of a giant mouse out of the corner of her eye. It was huge- about the size of a cat or a rabbit. It waddled like a platypus.  It must have come from Alice in Wonderland. No trap would be big enough. No amount of cheese would stop it. 

She had painted and cleaned and done everything to make it more appealing, but it never was. It was a huge place, but cold. An old disused church on Huron that smelled of tacos. The pews had been taken out and it had been divided into four apartments. The architect had not been using a ruler. That was obvious from the way the floor slanted. 

Ten Mexicans lived across the hall in the same amount of space. She always nodded to them. There was always someone coming or going. Never the same face. She estimated ten, but was not sure of the official number. She pulled the shade down on the back window very slowly. It had been cracked by robbers. She taped it. She wanted her security deposit back. There had been nothing much to steal. They had tried to move the tv, but left empty handed. The cricketing of an old motor. He was here, the landlord, an alligator trained to smile.

Conversation on a train between strangers, pictures shared from a wallet-the sequence from age two to age nine. She couldn't bring herself to care about the progression of this child she'd never met, but the woman took great pleasure in showing them to her. It didn't matter. It would be her stop soon. 

She wore a bangle of tape around her wrist. She had the box taped up so tightly as if it had been in casualty. So glad to be moving. One more look at the Sears sign that lit up part of the street until nine. After that, there were no street lights. No need for them. No one would ever be a pedestrian in these parts after dark. Only once she had seen someone with a groggy limp holding his arm as he ran from the police. 

Tuesday, 15 February 2011


Still working on the invention that sucks the energy out of the child and pumps it back into the parent. This happens during sleep while the child is relatively immobile.

Also in need of a remote control. Press Return and toys magically return to the toy box. The deluxe version sorts lego, cars, puzzle pieces and action men into respective containers. Automatically deletes lost arms, limbs, and tyres. Odd sock finder is a bonus gift. Press Escape and your child magically disappears for a few hours so that you can have a cup of tea and get your brain back. Press Bookmark and the child automatically acts like the model child mentioned in so many manuals littering the bookshelf and spilling into the teddy bin. Press Undo and all the things your child has broken in the past week are instantly mended-the crack in the computer screen seals up, the necklace he cut up to make earrings comes back together, and letter with the important phone number is once again legible.  Press Enable and the child puts on his socks and shoes ready to walk out the door. Press Unhappy and your child will enjoy something other than a Happy Meal. Press I wouldn't press reverse. I wouldn't reverse a thing.

Another button, press Date and you are instantly transported to an evening out.
A perfectly matched date appears with flowers and a plan ready for a pleasant evening of conversation in a quiet restaurant.
Press Holiday and you are instantly transported to a sunny place by the sea with palm trees and topless sunbathers. You are having a picnic on the beach in the late afternoon and talking with strangers who are miles from home. Everyone is enjoying this moment of freedom watching the kids play with their buckets and spades, making instant friendships, and sharing icecreams. 

Korean Western

A Western in the East. The first week, you follow the rules. The second week, you realize there are none. Bullets come out of nowhere. The third week, you make your own. You get a gun. And the fourth week, you break them before they break you.

Cowboy schools: the name given to many privately run English establishments who handle teachers badly. They might break contracts, with hold pay, ration xeroxing, not have the appropriate books...They might fly someone thousands of miles to work for them and then, after a few weeks, decide they over hired. They might leave you high and dry.

Why? "No blue eyes. No freckles. Only round eyes. " The children were disappointed. Their round eye didn't have the full costume. The clown in the wrong makeup. "I'm sure you're good at teaching English, but you don't look the part. We need our teachers to look more more 'native speaker'. Our students are not happy." So refreshingly honest. A simple supply and demand problem.

Just that morning we had been laughing enjoying a lesson about animals and food. A cow becomes a steak or hamburger. A pig becomes bacon or ham. A chicken stays a chicken. A lamb remains a lamb. "What does a dog become?" asked one child. "A dog is always a dog," I said. "We don't have a food term for dogs."

Guerilla lessons: the name given to small unofficial gatherings of housewives or their children in changing locations...meetings in the name of learning English without the overhead of private schools.

Love Hotels: Hotels that rent rooms by the hour usually denoted by a heart on the sign--flashing neon for slightly upscale and a plain painted heart for the budget conscious. Conveniently discreet red and white curtain covers the parking lot sort of like a car wash. Can be rented for the whole night if things get serious.

The Love Hotel was convenient as it was a few blocks from the school. The man with the tiny pick up from the airport came again the next day to escort me to the school. It was not possible to get lost. After a few nights in the Love Hotel, I shared a flat with two Canadian men--teachers at the school. "You don't have your own flat yet?" asked one. "I think their still deciding," said the other. Decisions.

As three is a crowd, I had my own flat a brief while later. The room was spacious but bare apart from a standing closet with its peeling veneer atop an ondol floor. Typical of Korean homes, they ran pipes filled with water under the floor to heat the building. It required slippers at all times. A western toilet shared tight quarters with a shower. The shower was not separated in any way by a curtain or door. As Koreans are quite familar with squatting, they are not particular about the toilet seat getting wet. This is a Western pre-occupation. Things have probably changed since then. I hear they even have Starbucks now.

It was too hot to sleep directly on the floor, so I took my clothes out of my suitcase and made a mattress out of them. Bumpy it was, so I turned the closet sideways and slept on top of it to avoid burning up in the night. The bed was coming. It was a western the floor. Anything western took longer to arrive. Except teachers. Teachers flooded in from Canada, USA, and England. There were a lot of Canadians as they had highest unemployment rates amongst teachers in the late 90's.

As it was Korea, packaging was in Korean. Han guk mal. Though I was an English teacher, I was completely illiterate otherwise. A puppy in a washing basket. A fluffy white towel. Must be the detergent section. They borrowed a few words...."New and Improved" "Fabulous" "Best Brand". It wasn't fabulously helpful when trying to make out the difference between washing powder, floor cleaner, or fabric softener. Thank goodness for pictures.

I got it home and looked at the washing machine. Luckily, one knob with directions in Korean. I turned the dial. 8 sounds about right. Not too dirty. Not too clean. A neighbor looked on horrified for me as I poured something that was not detergent into the powder drawer. The first of many simple mishaps. It was fabric softener...not too far off.


San Francisco -Running Grass, Babushka Prokopoff 84 Champaign Ilya John 85 New York City t-shirts, Moma Sauna 86 London Paris-house painting Copenhagen-milk run Berlin Lisbon-Raphael Morocco 86-88 Champaign Sid Benoit Ralf Raphael Chicago 88-89 Mexico Guatemala 89 90 London Scotland London Motor Torpedo Boat, Taste Productions, Club Dog, The Fridge, Nosepaint Cafe 90-92 Chicago World Tattoo 93-96 SAIC, Lake Forest Academy

Asia Timeline: Feb 97 to 99: Pagoda, Japan Osaka, Chongno Sam Ga teacher hotel, pet dog, James Lee, Private girls school, Visa office, Pagoda, Man with cash, Palsan, Kimpo family, Hong Dae, Chung Hie Lee, Sejong, DMZ, Flash flood, rabbit, diplomatic plates, Cheju Do, Fukuoka, Ko Pi pi, Bangkok, Manilla, Jdakarta, Sumatra,  LG, Kia Motors, Yoido Dong, Honolulu. Lemon Road, Lawyer Sawyer, Rob Riski, Malenfant, Alison, Rock climber girl, Michael Christiansen, Marco Giorno, The Colonel, Queen Bee.

99-01 Amsterdam-Krakow-Napoli: Vomero Savario, Spaccannapoli Elisabeth, Vomero Doctor-paintings Detroit patron, Capri, Costa Esmeralda, Paestrum, Gallipoli, London
London: Old Kent Road, Maida Vale, Tottenham baker builder bouncer, Rivington Road, Hackney, Kings Cross, Drury Lane, Boswell.

Swaps-Rue De Monterguile x 2 Tristan (for two who wish to be one) , Turkey,  Marseille Rue De Refuge, Switzerland, Aosta,  Barcelona-jelly fish, Venice-Monastery, Wales-Laurgne car crash, Dublin Maynooth Kfir (walking), Poly Day, David Roser Girona+Kfir and Dina, Valencia volcano, Paris the tenth with bikes

Commerical Break

"Time for a commercial break."
He didn't let out the usual sigh as he'd seen this episode before. He already knew the ending, but it was worth a watch. It was an old movie with Hale Berry and George Clooney, the young cop....young enough not to be doing Gevalia coffee ads or owning a second home on Lago Di Como. Way before all that.

He got up to get another beer and heard the phone ring...."ahh...two birds with one stone." A beer and a phone call. He already knew who was calling. His life was as predictable as a rerun of Gilligan's Island. He trod on the can next to his foot. It got stuck and so he walked to the kitchen with a Budwiser shoe massaging the inside of his arch. He kicked it off and it scuttled across the lino next to the garbage bin. Close enough. He'd pick it up tomorrow...garbage day.

He cocked the phone between his shoulder and chin answering "ello" while snapping open another Bud. No use. She had heard it down the phone line. "You drinking before noon?"
"It's four o'clock."
"Noon--four o'clock...same thing."

It was Miss Arkansas. He called her Miss Arkansas. She had never been in a swimsuit line up, but she loved it. He had never been in a swim suit line up either despite his six-pack. He had been in other line ups though.
"What do you want? World Peace?"

No. She just wanted to chat and tell him how she'd just picked up a bed of plants from Walmart. She had enough for him too for his front yard. She was concerned about his front yard. It was not a gated community, but people did talk. A few odd flowers wouldn't go amiss. Hide the patch where his Harley had leaked oil and killed all the grass.  Hide the Harley? Probably not. He kept the Harley in the living room. Sometimes, it obscured the tv.

He had only moved it to watch the Miss USA Pageant. Miss Oklahoma was his favorite. She had picked the question..."Where would you like to live if you could live anywhere in the world?" She was caught.  To be diplomatic, she should say, "Oklahoma," and win all the votes from her small town, but she'd always hated it there. She wished she could have grown up in California. The state where people eat breakfast in swimsuits and are either on the way to the beach or coming back from the beach. That's how she saw it.

She answered truthfully and chose "a city near the sea." It was a nice compromise as she had not mentioned California and people could picture her on any coast they liked. She wondered where St. Tropez was. The MC had reeled off a few names of seaside resorts and towns. She chose St. Tropez as it was part of a jingle for tanning oil. In case it was a trick question, she knew it had to be on the sea. She sung the ad..."Bain De Soliel for the St. Tropez tan." With that, she scored points for geography and humor. "Miss USA would rather live in St. Tropez." were the headlines the next day next to the obituaries. It was her first commercial break.

He stared at the fridge magnet. It was a calendar from the local pizzeria holding up a snapshot of Miss Oklahoma from their high school days. She was the girl next door. She had moved several times since then. He thought he'd moved too...a little to the right, but he hadn't moved at all. His shirt was damp. "The beer must've slipped from his hand," said the coroner. "Looks like a steady diet of beer, cigarettes, and pizza." Miss Arkansas nodded. She had come over with the plants ready to cover up the bald patch in the front yard. 

Monday, 14 February 2011

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Clash Ology

The V format was really working for her. The desk ended in a V near the window. She could rest both her forearms on it. The screen was her window on the world. There was a crack in it just like any real window. And when she was tired of the world, she could look out the window at the block of flats across the street and count how many different colored doors there were or check the countdown on the BT many days until the 2012 Oympics.

She had spent years with the desk height at standing level so that her son would not pluck the rest of her keys off her laptop, drench the keyboard in window cleaner, or damage the only button on the tv. He liked the spray action. He liked the buttons that came off. Better than Lego.

Finally, it became a jumping off point. He'd climb up and jump off the counter. After the dislodging of a few teeth, John came and lowered it. A pity her favorite DIY man lived thousands of miles away. He arrived with drill bits and tubing in his suitcase. He was one of the few friends who took real pleasure in making her life more comfortable. He preferred hardware stores to museums. They did a lot of sight-seeing.

Kevin came sometimes too from up North....Walthamstow, not so far, but he had a child now which kept him busy. They had been close. "Jo, if either one of us find a partner, I  still want us to be friends....good friends. You're like my sister." The holiday had tested them. They had been to Barcelona together. It was always the first thing to do; dip your feet in the sea once you arrive. But no...He had to unpack his suitcase first. "We should really get in some provisions before the shops close. We don't know what time they open. We need milk for breakfast. We can see the sea tomorrow." She could not see the sea tomorrow. That was not her psychology.

She loved the sea. She had lived by the sea once in Naples. See Naples and die.
"I'm making a will."
"A will? Why?"
"Cos people die. Most people. Usually, they don't know anything about it. Someone just reminded me."
"Oh Jo. Look around first. I can get you a much better deal on a will. Let's make it together."

So the will monger never came by. She wanted John and Shilan to look after her child if anything happened. Her mother agreed. They were truly concerned. They lived in a city, and he was a city boy. "Do you like Rockford Ben? We could live here in a big house and drive a car instead of taking the bus. "
"It's alright, but there's nothing to do. There are no famous buildings. There are no banks. You can't get rich in a town with no banks." Ben had spoken.

Ben rode on Kevin's shoulders like a Maharaja on the way to the park. He'd come by on Wednesdays. They did family things on the weekends like visiting the Dr. Who exhibition.
"What are you doing in those shoes? You need walking shoes today. It's family day." Instant family day. He carried her son up a steep hill on the way to The Heath.
"No one ever did this for me when I was a kid," he'd say.
"Well put him down then." His over exertion seemed to be making up for something. You have to pace yourself when you have a child and spend the energy when its needed. Visiting a child is different.
"What would you like to do?"
"I'd like to go to the circus. That's the poster I was telling you about."
"You know, sometimes it feels like I have to pay admission to see you two."
They had shared a lot of  ice creams, but it spiraled into a sour sorbet. Admission? Did he know the price she paid? Perhaps he had been making up for his own childhood which was partially spent in foster care. He had never had a birthday party either.

There was a year or more of silence. His own daughter was over a year old now. He had not introduced his daughter to the woman whose son he had spent so much time with. It seemed lopsided. He had always  seemed a bit of a voyeur checking in on family life for the weekend then checking out when it was time to do laundry or clean the house. At least now he was getting the full experience. Somehow the stench of nappies had cleared the air. They were getting on better again.

Richard would come and read stories for Ben on the way to art openings. He sent out mass e-mails inviting hundreds of people to join in either for the free wine or to actually look at the long as they came. He'd bring a Marks and Spencers bag of treats and groceries. They'd have cups of tea and catch up on the news. Polite gossip. Richard never had a bad for anyone. He was articulate and just wanted everyone to get along and care about each other. People realised that once he died. He was sorely missed.

Certain parts of the city reminded her of Richard. Passing the Old Vic, she remembered a play they had seen and how Richard has said, "I had a long chat with him last week. Really nice guy. He puts everything into this theatre. He prefers it to Hollywood. True actor and down to earth. Perhaps we can chat with him again." Spacey was deep in conversation with a young actor. Richard surmised from a distance that this was not about the play. When they left, we moved to his table and sat in his chair which was still warm. "I have warmed my bum with the heat of Kevin Spacey's ass." We exchanged a few words as you do when you're taking someone's seat almost before they have got up from it.

A square in Mayfair. Isabella Rosellini was launching a book about her father's life. High ceilings, chandeliers and a sea of thousand pound designer dresses. Massive zips. Material thicker than curtains. Daringly off kilter, but somehow incredibly balanced. I had never seen these modern Cleopatras up close. I had only seen them in magazines as they were either lunching, sweating in the sauna, or shopping at stores that were by appointment only. It was one of the more private parties.

Ben played with the plush velvet cushions on the chaise rubbing his cheek against the fabric and touching at the dresses as they brushed by. He was only two or three. A trendy couple borrowed him for a photo shoot. They wanted their distant friends on Facebook to think they had a child. He had posed with Tracey Emin and Joanna Lumley...designer baby. He had been going to art openings since he was three weeks old. He was a regular on the circuit in his pushchair with his mother's wine glass in the handy bottle holder molded into the frame.

Despite all the dresses, Isabella was in a white suit made of sporty no-nonsense material. No heels. Not even office worker flats. Perhaps she had so many engagements, she needed running shoes to get from one event to the other. She was comfortable and her face was more angular and android than the mascara ads revealed. Somehow, I floated into her circle of four or five people. She smiled at me as if I had something intelligent to say. I had the sudden game show feeling of needing to phone a friend. Why we don't speak to celebrities.

"I really liked you in 'The Hunger'." I hated it. It was such a fan type thing to say.
"I wasn't in 'The Hunger'," she said. Her forehead creased ever so slightly as she scanned her memory. It was as if she had just tasted some wine she'd rather spit out, but there were no potted palms nearby.
I tried again, but I was only seeing Lancombe ads.
"I really liked you in..."The Unbearable Lightness of Being."
"I wasn't in that either." Isabella glanced around as if hoping to catch the eye of a security guard. Maybe I liked her better in the Lancombe ads than in the film. The film was really disturbing anyway. "Like" was not the correct verb for Blue Velvet.

Down at the Royal College of Art, Mick Jones was emptying his attic of memorabilia. Clash Covers and t-shirts. It was a buzzing crowd. I was taken by a man in a spectacular silk blue suit and dark glasses. He looked like Harvey Keitel in Blue Velvet...sans mask. I told him so. His friend spoke for him. It was a sudoku  type conversation.

"He's a bit of a scribbler."
"Oh? Scribbler...More pictures or words?"
"What kind of words?"
"Mick Jone's biography actually."
"Oh. So you have a PhD in Sex Pistology?" oh so're so clever...we're so clever now.

Two throats cleared at once....the writer and the man who spoke for the writer as he was not able to speak and smile at the same time.  This girl was on a drug they hadn't heard of. She had knocked them ever so slightly off their ever so pleased pedestals with her ever so blatant ignorance.

"I think I mean Clash....Clash---ologist. You know...Clash, Sex Pistols...same thing really."

It could have been a better conversation. It was as if she had interrupted their cozy moment in Smugville to inform them that they were not the center of her universe. They smuggled back into a huddle. If she had had a better compass, she would've known that they were True North.