jeudi 31 mars 2016

Devoted companion to the extreme sacrifice

I have a Modigliani print hanging over my bed.  It was a present.  Fitting, as I like to think I look a bit like a lady from a Modigliani painting - like me, they seem to be all long nose, dark hair and hips, basically.

I have been reading a lot lately about Modigliani's 'common law wife', Jeanne Hébuterne.

So sad, but absolutely fascinating in a doomed romance sort of a way, kind of like something out of Jean Genet (but real, so actually tragic).  I'm not sure how I feel about being 'devoted companion to the extreme sacrifice'.

I kind of love the idea, in a sick way - just the same sort of way that sometimes I listen to this song on repeat.

lundi 28 mars 2016

Things that were found

After writing my last post, it occurred to me that as well as losing things, I am the sort of person who often seems to find things.  It’s weird.  I do lose stuff, but I also find stuff more than anyone else I know.  So, I guess it all evens out in the end.

At the weekend, I found a butter dish, sitting on a wall outside a block of flats.  I already have a butter dish, but this was a very pretty one, and I had a strong feeling that its owner had died and I should honour that person in a tiny way by taking the butter dish and looking after it.  There were a few objects there on the wall – a green plate, a tiny white and gold pot, a glass sugar bowl.  They were all lovely.  I hung around for a while, deciding, and took only the butter dish.

Other found items include:

Two of my five wooden kitchen chairs.

The huge mirror in my bedroom.

A long black halterneck dress, found in the street near the Tate Modern when I was 19 and worn countless times ever since, worn thin but still going strong.

A green and white tea set, or at least a few components of.

A tailor’s dummy, with which I have since parted ways.

A  small and very useful frying pan and an Umberto Eco paperback, found together right outside my old flat.

Four blue and white plates.

A Queen's coronation saucer, which has lived in various bathrooms ever since.

A tile, found on a building site in Morocco and brought home in my suitcase.

I do genuinely worry slightly about my hoarding tendencies.  I am unable to pass a stranger’s (sometimes questionable) treasure by.  I have been reading recently about the Collyer brothers, who I had never heard of previously – it’s such a sad story, but I was left with the sense that the brothers really must have loved each other.  Which I believe is the best thing to take away from this story.

(NB - if you follow the link to the Collyer brothers article, do carry on reading to the previous 'Taman Shud case' - it's absolutely fascinating.)

vendredi 25 mars 2016

What was lost: an inventory

When I was 10, I got a Levi’s denim jacket for my birthday. My dream present; what I had desperately wanted. I was so proud, wearing it out with my friends. Then I guess I got all overexcited and left it on the back of my chair in the Hard Rock Café (height of sophistication for a birthday outing at this time). My parents were furious. Fortunately, it was still there when I tearfully ran back inside for it.

I was lucky that time, but since then I have made a habit of losing things and then insisting that I never lose things. I’m coming to terms with it now. Only just.

So, I was heartened to read M Train and discover that Patti Smith seems to have the same problem. I both felt for her and considered myself silently vindicated every time she left her favourite camera on a park bench or mysteriously misplaced a beloved coat.

At its heart, it is a book about grief – a beautiful and incredibly affecting one – so it is fitting that it should focus so much on things that have been lost. I noticed that lost things pop up throughout the book, with varying degrees of significance.

Here are some things that I have lost, which I still think about. Ones that were really lost, not things stolen, given away, or lent and never returned. Lost.

My favourite umbrella, the best I have ever owned: left on a park bench, outside a railway station, waiting for a date.

A very nice pair of black lacy knickers: left in a hotel bed in Ireland. I still have the matching bra and a new pair of knickers that don’t quite match.

My two favourite necklaces, which I used to wear every day: left in the changing room of a bridal shop, trying on bridesmaids’ dresses before my friend Lou’s wedding.

An implausibly long brown scarf, which actually my ex-boyfriend lost, along with a brown cardigan that also belonged to me. It’s funny, because he lost it once at a gig in Glasgow and somehow managed to track it down and have it posted back to me, but then later lost it again much closer to home, for good this time.

mercredi 23 mars 2016

ECW 4 JD 4ever

A childhood dream is coming true today: reader, I will be meeting Jason Donovan!

The first concert I ever went to was to see Jason Donovan at the Hammersmith Odeon with my mum.  I seriously loved him.  I had his posters on my wall and wrote about him extensively in my diary.

Thanks to hours and hours spent playing the Jason Donovan board game (yes, that was an actual thing), I can still remember all manner of useless Donovan-related trivia.

  • What is Jason's favourite drink? Orange juice.
  • Who is Jason's hero? His dad.
  • What is Jason's favourite food? Healthy food. (I always thought this was a bit unfair as it was so vague.)
  • What is Jason's hobby? Surfing.
Anyway, that was 25 years ago, but JUST LOOK how pretty he was.  No wonder I loved him so.

And today, 8-year-old me would be so ridiculously happy, I wish I could somehow go back and tell her.

lundi 21 mars 2016

Heading for a spin

I must have listened to this song 20 times last night.  In my cycle of obsessions, Patti is currently it.  I am wearing my new Patti Smith jumper as I write.

This version is pretty great, but lately I have been listening to the first two songs of Wave on a loop - Frederick followed by this one. I am in danger of wearing out my record and my neighbours probably hate me.

Dancing (not actually barefoot as it's still bloody freezing, but in my Turkish slippers) around the kitchen, burning some incense that I bought yesterday in a witchy shop in the Lanes, sometimes it occurs to me that I am probably closer to the person I was when I was 13 to the person I was when I was 33.

This was one of the first ever records I bought on vinyl. On my birthday once, a long time ago.

When she sings (repeatedly) oh god I fell for you, it sounds like it's with a mixture of rapture and resignation.  To me, anyway.  It reminds me of a therapist I once had who questioned the language we use when we talk about 'falling in love'. She opined that you can fall into 'admiration' of someone, but that to actually fall in love should not be falling at all. It's a decision, and we must take responsibility; she argued until she was practically blue in the face that it is not the mystical falling I like to think it is.  She was probably right. I'm going with Patti, though.

Maybe it's not so much falling as spinning, just like in this song.  I spin so ceaselessly.

Anyway, it's a song that makes me want to do a shamanic dance, fall into a Victorian swoon and then fall madly in love and make great art. I am only hampered today by a bandaged left thumb, after a stupid incident at the weekend involving a carving knife, a wine bottle and only myself to blame.

vendredi 11 mars 2016

Terribly flawed.

I do love Truman Capote, but sometimes I wonder if we would have got on about as well as he did with Jacqueline Susann (i.e. really not).

“There's something really the matter with most people who wear tattoos. There's at least some terrible story. I know from experience that there's always something terribly flawed about people who are tattooed, above some little something that Johnny had done in the Navy, even though that's a bad sign...It's terrible. Psychologically it's crazy. Most people who are tattooed, it's the sign of some feeling of inferiority, they're trying to establish some macho identification for themselves.”

I'm actually inclined to agree with him on this, but I am getting tattooed again today.

mercredi 2 mars 2016

And I asked myself...

I can never work out if this is the saddest song ever written or - you know - the opposite.  What can I say?  I know for a fact that I'm pretty stupid.

Of course, I love PJH.  This rare cover is from the very underrated (in my humble opinion) Dance Hall At Louse Point with John Parrish.  This particular song is not one I listen to very often these days.

My favourite from that album by a huge margin is in fact this one.  I also love the very uneasy listening of this one - actually, I think I was at that gig and overcome with excitement when she started playing such a nasty little back-catalogue gem.

Still, I wasn't surprised when I woke up with this in my head this morning.  (And I love the vaguely Lynch-ian video.)


(And ha ha, to think I believed I knew what a 'traumatic break-up' was back in 2011, when I was but a child of 29!)

mardi 1 mars 2016

Battle for the Sun

I almost feel embarrassed to recount this - I'm not even sure why - but it was one of those funny little moments that was probably imperceptible to the human eye.

Currently, one of the great everyday joys in my life is that I finish work in the daylight.  It's been a long, dark winter.  Now, walking through London when the light is just starting to fade around me is probably my favourite time of day.

However, it had been a week of apathy and not enough sleep, a general but distinct lack of enthusiasm.  The twilight was pleasing but melancholy, a time for listening to Lana Del Rey and dawdling.

Until yesterday.  At dusk, I was walking towards London Bridge - headphones on, inexplicably filled with a new sense of purpose and resolve, as seems to happen sometimes for no good reason - when this song came on.  I turned it right up and it felt like a call to arms.

I swear, I felt like I was in a video game.  The goal was metaphorical, but the Shard loomed in front of me like a mythical crystal pyramid and I marched towards it.

That's the key.  I know the things I need to do to feel better, I just need to do them.  Which sounds easy, but doesn't always feel it.

I need to be productive and healthy.  Feed my brain and my soul with art and expanded horizons and the best people.  Get out in the daylight whenever I can.

And a video game called Battle for the Sun would be really cool.