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.