Monday, June 11, 2007

Inflatables, charcuterie and cleaning

/ Lamb kebabs with pomegranate jus for me and lamb kebabs with pistachio and cheese for M at a bustling Antepliler on Green Lanes / Two episodes of Sex And The City - Season 4 - my favourite season / Slobbed out on the sofa, unable to move after an intense work week.

Saturday / Breakfast of Monsoon Malabar coffee, mega-sized croissants and "shredded wheat" baklava dripping with honey / Into town for pop art superstar Jeff Koon's Hulk Elvis exhibition at the Gasgosian in Kings Cross / Large-scale, photo-realistic oil and canvas depictions of the Incredible Hulk, inflatable monkeys, geisha girls, The Liberty Bell, landscapes, illustrated steam engines and horse-drawn carriages painted by Koons' army of assistants in New York's Chelsea / The landscapes looked like they had been originally photographed then imported into Photoshop where various filters were applied and then printed and painstakingly copied onto canvas with good old-fashioned paint / Audacious, vivacious, vivid, pulsating with energy / M had dragged me to this one because I've always disliked Koons' posturing and kitsch art, but I admit this show had me salivating as if I was being sucked into a maelstrom of Opal Fruits.

Through the muggy heat to Liverpool Street and the Martin Parr exhibition at Rocket in the awesome Tea Building / So much bleaker and starker than Koons' work but no less intense and all-consuming / I was rivetted by Parr's photos along Scotland's A8 road, with every image stuck in a 70s timewarp - jowls galore in an old man's club, a hunched-shouldered waitress looking out the window in a tea room, a lone swimmer in an open-air swimming pool on a grey and rainy day, an elderly man splayed on the damp pavement outside a pub / Parking Spaces featured 41 photos from 41 countries, including the Czech Republic, the UAE, India, the USA and Syria, of parked cars and parking spaces / What captivated was the life unfurling between the spaces, in the background / So simple, so everyday, so mundane, so absorbing / Rocket represents Parr in the UK and we had a good chat with the owner / Came away with two books - a limited edition signed copy of Parking Spaces and a book on Istanbul.

Through the humidity / My blouse sticking to my back / To Spruth and Magers and Cindy Sherman's A Play Of Selves from 1975 / Sherman is famous for her photographic self-portraits exploring female identity and these 72 photographic assemblages told the story in three acts of a woman overwhelmed by her own alter-egos in her pursuit of love and self-acceptance / I love Sherman's older, more natural work and find her recent stuff overly stylistic and stiff / As such, this show was wonderful.

To the Old School exhibition at the grand old Hauser & Wirth Colnaghi on Old Bond Street celebrating a re-engagement with Old Master modes of representation / Mixing and matching Old Masters and the modern / Works by the likes of Jan Brueghel the Elder, Jan Brueghel the Younger and Carlo Dolci hung alongside modern day painters inspired by them such as my favourites Jeff Wall, Michaƫl Borremans and Karen Kilimnik / The gallery itself is sumptuous and traditional, with a wonderfully musty and congested library, heavy doors, woodpanelled walls and ever-so-slightly faded jewel-coloured wallpaper.

Lunched on cheese and dill pickles (M) and egg and anchovy (me) rye bread open sandwiches at the Nordic Bakery on Golden Square / Saw Zadie Smith's husband Nick Laird rummaging through his rucksack with a friend on Golden Square / Light and fluffy Portuguese custard tarts and coffees in Soho's Fernandez & Wells on Beak Street / Soho eerily quiet and the sky darkening with clouds / DVDs from the Virgin Megastore on Piccadilly - Death Wish, Melinda Melinda, Spider, A History Of Violence, The Cooler.

To the new 3-storey Whole Foods Market in Kensington / A long queue to get in but we were inside within 5 minutes / Busy but not uncomfortably so / Wonderfully air-conditioned / Abundance of beautifully displayed stock from organic peas in their pods to eco-friendly cleaning products / Attentive service / We could easily have bought everything we ended up buying in various shops around Soho or on Green Lanes, but the experience of buying it all under one roof was fun / We bought an Argentinian Malbec and French Medoc from their comprehensive wine section; manchego cheese, fig-wrapped soft goats cheese, gorgonzola piccante and quince jelly from their Neal's Yard Dairy concession; lomo curado or dry-cured pork loin from the bulging charcuterie counter; sun-blushed tomatoes, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, almonds marcona, dried spaghetti and orecchiette, rye bread and kalamata olive bread; oh, and a book on yoga!

To home, where we ate a selection of our Whole Foods goodies, watching the charismatic Charles Bronson in the rivetting vigilante thriller Death Wish, followed by Woody Allen's entertaining Melinda Melinda on DVD - both set in and taking us back to NYC.

Sunday / Browsing the internet / Cleaning the house / Doing laundry / Shopping locally for meat, vegetables and fruit for this week's meals / Sorting through unwanted clothes and clutter - eight dustbin bags of stuff! / Chatting to my parents on the phone and planning their trip to London next week / Reading novels, magazines, the newspaper / Eating sun-blush tomatoes and goats cheese on rye from yesterday's Whole Foods Market trip / Cooking a Mexican dinner of homemade guacamole, beef strips, roasted red peppers and a tomato and cucumber salad, all wrapped in tortillas / With refreshing bottles of Corona / Followed by green tea and mixed berries / Watching the always brilliant and disturbing Taxi Driver on DVD / Doing a little facial micro-dermabrasion and slapping on the best face pack I've ever used at home / Getting an early night - good night!

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