Sunday, July 31, 2005


Over the last few days I've:
  • Been cooked for at home: one night, chicken with apricots and pumpkin seeds, accompanied with parsley and coriander tabbouleh, plus baklava for dessert; another night, chicken in a Moroccan sauce of tomatoes, chillies, black olives, lemon juice and parsley, mopped up with flat bread, and chocolate espresso beans and chilli fudge from Borough Market for dessert. Been feeling smug for the lucky girl that I am for having someone in my life who cooks me such delicious food.

  • Eaten out: the best vegetable katsu curry -- with aubergines, sweet potatoes and rice -- I've ever had, prawn dumplings, and mixed fried rice at the dependable Wagamama in Holborn; melt-in-the-mouth wild berry danish pastry plus parmesan and spinach muffins with pumpkin seeds by bakers extraordinaire Konditor & Cook at the Curzon Soho cafe; meatballs in tomato sauce and healthy Leonslaw with beetroot, carrots and red cabbage at Leon off Carnaby Street; chicken burger and lamb burger at the very nice, very busy and very new Giraffe at the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank.

  • Drunk: freshly-squeezed orange juices at Leon and in a corridor of a plywood house installation at the Tate Modern (more below); freshly-squeezed orange, apple, passionfruit and mint juice at Pure Juice in Soho; freshly-squeezed orange, mango, mint and lime juice at Giraffe; and Elderflower Sparkler at Curzon Soho. Yep, not a beer or cocktail in sight (smug me, reprise).

  • Watched at home on DVD: Videodrome (my first viewing of this movie about snuff movies and videos coming alive; how ageless this film by Cronenberg is) and Bangkok Dangerous (Asia Extreme that's not extreme at all, but the glossily-shot frames of Bangkok put me in an even more excited mood for our trip to Thailand this week).

  • Baby-sat: two friends' baby and toddler. They are on business in London -- clubbing and networking with DJs with a view to setting up a series of house and trance clubs in Dubai, where they live. The baby is cute as most babies are. I could tell he was awake in the morning as he didn't cry but instead gently called, "Baba, come back. Baba, come back. Baba, come back." After several minutes of babbling to himself, trying out words ("Helelcoptor, airplane, truck"), he repeated, "Baba, come back, happy birthday." (His father is his primary stay-at-home caregiver as his mother goes out to work.) The baby arrived at the beach party (below) in a deep sleep that even the pounding bass from the amplifier didn't rouse him from. So we laid him down on a towel on the sand in a corner. After an hour or so he stirred and we thought he would start to cry as he looked around at his new surroundings with disorientation. But he didn't. Instead, he pointed at the sand and blurted out, "Beach!"

  • Raved on a beach: invited by same friends to rave at a house and trance party on the tiny patch of sandy beach by the Thames, 400 yards from the Millennium Eye, with DJs Northwind and Pathfinder. I don't usually like this kind of music -- the first wave of which passed me by in the early 90s -- and I'm not a clubber, but I enjoyed dancing with my friends and their children, and amused myself observing how old most of the other ravers were (they had obviously caught the first wave of house and trance, are now in their thirties, forties and even fifties, and most had brought their own children and grandchildren to the party).

  • Seen: Colour After Klein at the Barbican (Yves Klein's powdered sculptures were so sensual and intensely coloured that the space around them hummed and I wanted to plunge into them [above]; Dan Flavin's red, green and yellow fluorescent light installation enveloped me so completely, I felt I was being embalmed in neon; and Sophie Calle's collection of statements from blind people about their concepts of beauty seemed out of place yet I marvelled at how her interviewees defined beauty purely in terms of visual examples -- colours, faces, landscapes -- and not in terms of smells, sounds or touch -- I wondered if it was because they had been told, time and again, by sighted people what concepts of beauty should be rather than voicing their own non-visual experiences of it, and it made me reflect how the scent of freshly-cut grass, the taste of freshly-squeezed oranges, the sound of the cello and the feel of hair against my flesh are as beautiful to me as the view of the Dakota Badlands or the face of Johnny Depp);

    Open Systems: Rethinking Art c. 1970 at the Tate Modern (a not wholly-successful mish mash of mixed media installations from the 70s, my favourite of which was Brazilian artists Helio Oiticica and Lygia Clark's plywood architectural space in which we moved through narrow corridors, through multi-textured curtains and a variety of radio and CD recordings as if moving through an apartment building with all its various sounds filtering through the walls and closed doors; we were even able to help ourselves to a paper cup of freshly-squeezed orange juice in the corner of one corridor; I found this interactive experience far more satisfying than Rirkrit Tiravanija's apartment at the Serpentine, which was so colonised by Serpentiners and their friends that there I felt a mere observer);

    and The Triumph Of Painting Part 2 at the Saatchi Gallery (this series of exhibitions have been so enlightening for me -- a means to discover contemporary artists working in traditional paint but influenced by a wide variety of artistic mediums, especially photography and broadcast news footage; my favourite from Part 2 was Dirk Skreber's paintings -- hyper-realistic but still overwhelmingly painterly -- of car crashes, flooded homes, shopping malls and trains [example below]).

Right, now I really need to get on with my packing.

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