Exquisite Mould

April 22, 2007

blazymould.jpg    On a recent visit to Paris, I finally went to see Bourriaud’s Palais du Tokyo, and was so happy to come away inspired, primarily by Post Patman, an organic intallation by Michel Blazy.  Walking through the huge warehouse like space that holds his work felt a bit like walking through the end of the world – the rot, decay and strange organic mutation was eerily, abjectly beautiful.

“A builder of random, fragile universes, Michel Blazy likes to manipulate materials, to attempt to control their disappearance and transformation, or on the contrary to be completely dependent on them. The micro events to which the adventure gives rise are crucial to the unfolding journey: instances of intentional or accidental germination, of the desiccation and decline of materials, of microscopic molds and rots, of the deterioration of surfaces, of the degeneration, transmutation or decrepitude of forms – all these febrile energies of living matter are claimed by the artist as operations crucial to the elaboration of the work.”  from the  programme du Palais de Tokyo.

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lagomera1.jpg  The weather in London is not currently like this.  In fact it is quite foul.  But on La Gomera, the second smallest of the Canary Islands off the left side of Africa, it is beautiful for most of the year.  The temperature hovers around a most pleasant 22.  Kind of like Hawaii for Europeans.  As a result it is full of said Europeans trying to excape the foulness of winter and find some sunshine.  I am so happy that we went there over Christmas: we also spent a few days on Tenerife, but I won’t sadden you with tales of thoughtless development, sprawling shopping malls and lobsterish hordes.  If you do go to the Canaries, La Gomera is really worth while – peaceful and beautiful.  We stayed in Valle Gran Rey, apparently an ex-hippie hangout, and there are still some organic food suppliers and fire/juggling/performers on the beach at sunset.

It was wonderful to see stars again (natural ones, not manufactured celebs that you may or may not see in London), and no sirens.  For a whole week.  Just the sounds of goat bells and roosters and waves.

Travel tip: take gravol – there is a long ferry ride that can be quite rough, and the roads are well maintained but hairpin bends are plentiful.

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late but happy new year wishes

Gone Fishing

December 10, 2006

This dusty little corner of the blogoverse is going to get even sadder, dustier and quieter until January 2007.   I am going back to johannesburg – city of the painful dial up modems among other things, and then off to Spain for Christmas and New Year.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is glamorous.

Wishing you heaps, oodles and gazillions of good things

Gunpowder, Treason and Plot

November 5, 2006

guy_fawkes_bonfire.jpg Today is Guy Fawkes here in England – It celebrates the failure of the Gunpowder Plot, in which a group of Catholic conspirators attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London on the evening of 5 November 1605, when the Protestant King James I (James VI of Scotland) was within its walls.

Halloween passes by very quietly here in London from what i’ve seen – no bevvies of littlies dressed in sheets or mandarin outfits going round for candies, no pumpkins on porches and no fancy dress for older kids (other than the bog standard black goth gear that is always to be seen around Camden any day of the year).

Guy Fawkes night is the main celebration at this time of year, with fireworks and bonfires lit in all the main parks tonight, the 5th of November. I find it interesting to see how the Celtic festival of Samhain, the festival to mark the end of summer and the final harvest, has changed and mutated to result on the one hand in the north American pop culture version of Halloween and on the other to a celebration of historical religious and political rebellion.

The celtic roots of this time still show through though, much like eggs at easter. I was intrigued to see that the word bonfire originally came from the Gaelic word “bone fire” …. Anyone for a spot of burning?

City of Gold

October 29, 2006

johannesburg_view.jpg The best thing about Johannesburg, South Africa, is leaving it. I had the misfortune to be born there, and the good sense to leave it as soon as I could. Unfortunately my father and sister still live there, despite my many enticements to leave.

There are beautiful things about Johannesburg: the perfect weather, endless blue skies and sunshine, the thousands of birds. At heart though, the city remains an overgrown mining town, inhabited by people chasing the dreams of gold. The empty ostentation of luxury cars and gated mansions is sharply contrasted by the many shanty towns that don’t even have sewerage or running water. The cultural life of most is lived in shopping malls.

Of course going there to be with my father who is in icu in a coma doesn’t help up the enjoyment stakes of being in Johannesburg – parents in a coma suck no matter where you are in the world.

The Gobbler

October 8, 2006

passionpitgobbler.jpg      I love Canada, and being Canadian – even though, or perhaps because I came to Canada later in life from free choice rather than by birth default.  I love being in a country that has a day dedicated to thanksgiving, even if that mostly translates into getting stuffed on turkey and collapsing on the couch in a triptophan haze.

So for your turkey-enhanced entertainment, I suggest an online tour of the 70’s retro homage to turkeyness, wittily presented by James Lileks – the Gobbler motel and supper club.

Sometimes we need all the thanksgiving we can get.

This is a live clip from my mobile during this event. I am happy to report that the return trip to London was as smooth and uneventful as, well, as most of my other flights have ever been.