Monday, 25 May 2015

to the North

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I spend a lot of time on trains. I also spend a lot of time in Kings Cross, and in a way Kings Cross feels more like home than almost everywhere else in London. As soon as I get on a train, as soon as that train pulls out of the station and I'm on my way to "the North", I relax. Even on that overcrowded train last Friday: the air condition wasn't working, people were sitting in the corridor, it was kinda terrible. But hey, the one thing I've learned since living here is that you got to make the most out of being in a confined space for more than an hour. Time to read an entire newspaper. Time to catch up on all those magazine articles. Time to read a book without being interrupted. Time to complete several levels on duolingo (I'm currently learning French and waiting for them to drop Norwegian.)

It's nice to have friends in other places. It's nice to have friends. It's nice to hang out in Edinburgh for four days and do all of these things and more: drink cardamom hot chocolate on 3 out of 4 days; go to the cinema at two in the afternoon; listen to your best friend perform at his choir's concert; walk everywhere; finally buy Sufjan Stevens' last album; talk and talk and talk. It's nice to explore no-longer-abandoned buildings. It's nice.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

the aftermath

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The morning after didn't feel like a morning after at all, it felt unreal, it felt absurd, my friend tweeted "Something terrible has happened" and that was that. We stayed on the sofa until noon, until all the party leaders had resigned like in those grim semi-dystopian pieces journalists used to write four years ago. 
We had come home late, made dinner late, put away the dishes and then sat down for the exit poll. 10pm. I slid my hand into Peter's. His friend, our reliable expert for polls and political gossip, texted him, all in caps, a signifier of how extraordinary things were. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? An hour later we went to bed. I had decided to nap strategically, to get up again a few hours later to watch the results come in. When I crawled out of bed at two in the morning I felt wide awake. David Dimbleby was still going strong. I made tea. I ate cereal. I checked twitter. I texted my friend. Peter joined me on the sofa. I recited the names of those who had lost their seats. At six in the morning we went back to bed. When we woke up everything was the same and everything was a bit bleaker. All those conversations over the past few months with family members, with friends, with colleagues, all pointless.
After Ed Miliband had resigned I went to work. I stood in the sunshine at Green Park, waiting for my bus, and stared hard at the businessmen. I felt terrible. I haven't stopped feeling terrible. 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

lately

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Life! A few months ago I started taking Norwegian classes again. It immediately turned into the highlight of my week. I thought I'd find Thursday evening classes a bit much, but no! I love everything about it. The strangest thing about learning a language is that I keep being asked why, when it's really purely for pleasure. And for the thrill of accessing books and films in a different language, especially ones that usually don't make it to the Anglo-American or German market. It feels like being let in on a secret. 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

like gold

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That September day was golden. Like so many late summer days in this town.

Last week I finished the biggest project that I've worked on so far. Since then I've been to the National Gallery to look at Italian art from the 16th century, and spent another perfect weekend in East Sussex, where we did precisely nothing. I went to Erlend Oye's gig in London, which was absolutely fantastic, and I flew to Vienna, where I'm currently curled up in bed, getting ready to walk through those same streets that you can see above, bathed in grey almost wintery light instead of the golden glow of a late summer.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

great museums

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A couple of weeks ago my friend texted me to meet her in the Scottish National Gallery. I was there a bit early, so I just sat down with a book and immediately felt at home. There's something soothing about big galleries and museums, especially when they're not packed with people. I miss working in a museum, the behind-the-scenes glimpses, wandering through a massive building after it has closed or before it had opened. The tranquility of big, empty rooms. The repetitive soundscape of installations and videos. Work based around objects and stories.
The galleries we went to in Copenhagen were wonderful, and this is were all the snapshots are from. I wish I was there now to spend more time looking at Danish art and Roman sculpture. As a short trip to Copenhagen is not an option at the moment I'm looking forward to The Great Museum instead: a new documentary about the biggest art museum in Vienna, which is being screened at the BFI film fest this week. I can't wait.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

dogs and horses

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All I can say is that this is a pretty perfect way to spend a weekend. Excitable small puppy? Yes. Farmers market? Yes. Sunday papers? Yes. Good food? Yes. A soft bed? Yes. Holding hands? Double yes. Discussing the Scottish referendum and almost missing our stop? Triple yes.