Photo Challenge of the Week – UP

 I did the challenge yesterday and I am doing it again. Seems silly not to, especially as I have taken so many photos with the ‘Up’ theme. This one is taken on New Years Eve.

We were up North at Mr P’s family and looked out of the window and the were hundreds of these balloons making their way over the darkened skyline, as the wind swept them all in the same direction. In London people have started to let these more eco friendly (unless you are thatched) and peaceful alternative to fireworks, but with their being so little opportunity to see any skyline in our manor, the sight quite took me by surprise. It was lovely seeing all these orange glowing balloons floating away into the night. I was reminded of them as the nights are already drawing in and people are talking about how they will be spending Christmas…Eek.

SONG OF THE DAY – The Fifth Dimension -Up Up and Away -Written by Jimmy Webb. I went to see Jimmy Webb do a one man evening a few years ago at the Bloomsbury Theatre where he told funny stories about his life and played songs, old and new, just him and his piano, it was lovely insight into the man. I also have a fantastic book about songwriting that Jimmy wrote, which I must read again.

Photo Challenge of the Week – Up

The wordpress people try very hard to help us in our quest to post a day through 2011. This  photo challenge  is easy, as I seem to be ‘looking up’ a lot, even when I am down. Sometimes you cannot avoid the upward looking. Especially if you are going up! It helps to look up, as there is so much to see. In London most of the best architecture is up there.

Most of my ‘up’ images are as you would expect an ‘up’ image to be. Evidence number one me lud. The stairs…….I think I took this at Greenwich Dockland Light Railway Station, at about 7pm one night, on my way to work. So often I am glad the stairs move on their own and you just have to stand still as you levitate towards your destination.

This next set of stairs is Kentish Town Railway station at about midnight after I had been to see a friend’s choir performing in Brighton. I was probably taking the picture whilst plucking up the courage to make the ascent as I was, by then very tired, having been to Brighton and back , and sat through quite a long choral piece. At times like that you just want to yell ‘beam me up Scotty’ and be at home in the warm.

SONG OF THE DAY – Hold Your Head Up -Argent ( The long version!)

I love the band in this one particularly the guitar, and the organ…and we can all do with reminding to hold our heads high. Even if it is just so watch the view. x

Wow!

Yesterday we stumbled upon this  installation at the wonderful The Wapping Project..you can just go in for a cuppa. There is a real fancy restaurant, a bookshop in a greenhouse, and really wonderful projects there. I stumbled in there on a walk along the Thames a couple of years ago, completely drawn by the outside of the building and the house at the front. I saw nothing that would have lead me to believe it was open to the public, and just barged in to find this haven inside. It is  the old Wapping Hydraulic Power Station which has been turned into big space… with lots of the original fittings left in. It would be an amazing place for a party if you had the funds. So yesterday we wandered in. Yes the waitress said, the exhibition is still, even though it was supposed to close a few days ago, she pointed to a door at the back of the building.

Walked through the door into almost complete blackness. We were standing on a small verandah looking up and down onto a cavernous area. Only about 6 people at a time can fit on this viewing space. The vast area  is filled below with what seems to be a shallow lake and hanging from the tall ceiling is the lighted dress that then is reflected in the water below.

A minimal soundtrack and the occasional dripping of the water. When the exhibition was open you could pay a fiver and be rowed round the dress  thus ‘making waves’ which would have an effect on the reflection of the image in the water from the verandah above. The atmosphere was magical…I was transported. It was magnificent.

I do not take much notice of fashion design apart from as a historical art form, nothing to do with wearing the stuff though. I was really touched and  my breath was taken away from this piece and am going to have a look at Yoji Yamamoto again.

SONG OF THE DAY – Madame Butterfly -Malcolm Mclaren 

I am glad I found a version of this that did not use the official video which I find a bit too wierd for me…is it supposed to be cool or fashionable or a bit erotic…bit blinking neurotic to me, don’t get it… and what it has to do with the song at all having a load of clone women stolen from Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love, put on rations for a couple of months, massaging each other in a sauna or just sitting around looking very hungry and a bit blinking hot…..

I love the song. RIP Mr McLaren

Please Don’t Make Me Be a Tourist…It’s a Bank Holiday

They have come into town and they want to do all the tourist things. I just want to stay in my  London ‘manor’ and chill with them. But oh no..they are sick of local and want to do touristy things, so I am now tour guide extrodinaire as well as hostess with the mostest (I wish, much to opinionated to ever be that!). I wonder what would happen if I lived in say…Crewe, or Ashby-de-la-Zouch and there was no London Eye or Tower of London or museums…people who came to visit would have to make cakes with me and help me decide what colour to paint the corridor, instead of running round town spending too much money on bad food and beverages.

So we went out yesterday and actually had a really lovely day. I did my best to wear them out, which was easier than I thought as the neighbours had gone away and their teenage offspring sat on their veranda until 2.30am getting roaringly, abusively drunk, so my friends  were quite tired to start with, from  sleep deprivation.

We went to Canary Wharf and the Dockland Museum which is free and immensely informative. There is a section which is done out like an old dockland street with small alleys and houses, and it actually smells authentic too….like someone peed on the floorboards to give it that….latrine-free feel.

We then walked down the Thames Path from Canary Wharf to Tower Bridge which was great, and very quiet until we got to the Tower of London which was MOBBED. Tourist hot-spots…to be avoided at your peril! We then hopped onto a train and went to Spitalfields, which might as well have been closed…by then, they were really flagging, so we went home on a bus ( a 10 hour trip though) But no let up today. They are off to the London Eye, and I am not playing. I am staying at home.

During our day out, we had some ok food  and some really inoffensive food….with no character what so ever. More of that later. One pet hate I have is when places put something on the menu, run out of an ingredient and just replace it with another with out a blinking by your leave! Porridge with Maple Syrup at Browns came as Porridge with some sort of  seriously sugary yellow syrup…which is a completely different thing. Maple syrup is the sap from a tree  and yellow syrup is just  some sort of refined sugar by product. ‘Sorry’ they say when I point out the error, ‘we ran out of Maple Syrup so we are giving you a cheap alternative to it, and we did not bother telling you, because we are assuming you have no sense of taste and would not notice the difference.’ Harsh? I don’t think so when you are paying almost 4 quid for a bowl of porridge, and the difference in price between an egg cup of maple syrup and other syrup would be pretty marked.

Interesting that I am talking about sugar which apart from the occasional treat of a bit of maple syrup, I have not eaten  for 4 months, and feel much better for it.  At the Docklands Museum I saw that in the 1820’s many people in England started to boycott using sugar, because of its link with the slave trade. English ceramic manufacturers responded by making sugar bowls and tea sets inscribed with anti-slavery slogans, though if people were boycotting sugar, I wonder what they put in their sugar bowls?  A Birmingham newspaper in Norwich reported “sugar is now positively banished from most polite and fashionable tea-tables” .

I shall finish today’s post with a funny by Mr P. during our day out, who when comparing espresso to an americano said that he found espresso a really unsatisfactory drink as he liked to ‘form a relationship with his hot drink’, and there just was no time to do that with an espresso. Oh well, it was funny at the time. More on inoffensive food later.

SONG OF THE DAYChromeo – Bonafied Loving

The two childhood friends jokingly describe themselves as “the only successful Arab/Jewish partnership since the dawn of human culture.”

I just really like this track and the video.

In Praise of a Cuppa, a Gossip and a Bit of Colouring In

The tidying, the broken appliances, the time off work which is supposed to be relaxing, but ends up being a bit stressful as the structure has all gone…The excruciating  physical pain of a type of condition it is not actually polite to talk about in mixed company. …it all got to much…I was like a kettle about to explode. So I ran off and escaped to a girlfriend’s house. We drank green tea, ate cheese and pineapple, did a bit of art and talked ourselves ragged.

Oh how much better did I feel! So much better. Thanks pal.

SONG OF THE DAY –Joni Mitchell -Woodstock

We are stardust ( millions year old carbon) we are golden…..still in keeping with the star lyric.

If You Want Everything to Fall Apart – Downsize!

So in 24 hours we have lost  our washing clothes facility and the TV. We have  gaffa taped the milk drawer on the door of the Zanussi fridge freezer  so often,  we have just decided to give up milk. One of the freezer drawers snapped off.  The John Lewis dishwasher died and it is just out of it’s 4 year guarantee, so we are using it as a cupboard. The  old Creda oven door snapped off, and the halogen has bust, so all in all I picked the right year to decide to give it all up and write songs….ha ha ha . I love the Universe.

The Laundrette has finally closed for good…after 3 months of cold washes, most of the customers had taken the hint, not us… . Mr P. took 2 big bags over yesterday, only to find what we had known was the inevitable, ‘closed for good’ sign, and brought them straight back, so we spent the day  at the stream with a wash board, put it all on the line, and then it started to chuck down!

Last night after a full day of cleaning and scraping, I collapsed into the sofa to find the tv looked a bit strange. A funny pattern in the top left hand corner, and loads of disturbances. Mentioned it to Mr P. and he put his hands in his head and started to moan. It seemed that a wooden candlestick holder that my dear mother bought us fell off a shelf and hit the tv on the top, of the tv, not on the screen. It seems that is enough damage to buffer ( I am keeping this clean…moved my finger one to the left on the keyboard ) the screen completely. SO LET THIS BE A LESSON TO YOU ALL. The moral of this tale is don’t throw or drop things anywhere near your new lcd tv, and don’t have any books or ornaments behind it that may drop on it. Now I was ready to let go of the tv altogether. Find something else to do instead. But sadly Mr P. needs it for “the football”( knarl knarl) so it will be replaced.

Right were is that sidding guitar. I feel a blues song coming on. ( Not really)

SONG OF THE DAY – Stevie Wonder -Another Star

Continuing with the star theme, let me introduce one of the brightest ones. Live at Glastonbury 2010. What a joyous thing. His voice sounds amazing and the band…well the band… he introduces them all (apart from the choir).

Now That’s What I Call Clean!

Though I have a feeling my visitors this weekend may still think it is a bit  grubby. So why have I spent the last two days on my hands and knees, cleaning bits of my flat that have not been cleaned for um… let’s just call it, sometime?

Is it because I want to create a good impression and not look like an otter slut..(I am going to keep that typo in as I think it could catch on…), or is it because I don’t want them to feel really uncomfortable? Probably a bit of both. It’s quite nice to  be able to see bits of floor I have not seen for a couple of seasons, and I yearn for the place to look tidy all the time, but as I have said before, creativity and tidyness don’t always go together.

I remember reading  “The Artist’s Way” a fine piece of work to get you in touch with your creative side,

and it does mention how easy it is to not do something creative because there is always housework to be done instead – particularly  problem for women (though, in this day and age, I think anyone can get distracted by a messy litchen…sorry kitchen). That is my excuse for the fact I found dust, rubbish and grime  everywhere on my travels round my flat. I have to ignore it a lot or I would never have time to do anything creative…you know what they say…a woman’s work is never done, so if you want to do something else , you have to ignore the house work sometimes…or get a house boy.

I bet Salvador Dali  never did the dishes ……

I have also  spent way too much time with my head down the toilet because of the hard water limescale thing we have here. I let it build up and now I cannot remove it all, and I know that could really upset my visitors delicate sensibilities…..All sorts of handy hints and tips on the net, about what to throw down it, and  as I am not a great lover of throwing regular amounts of chemicals down my toilet just so it looks white… I keep on scrubbing…and slowly slowly. Funny thing as I have several key memories in my life when I spent time  with my head down a toilet cleaning off the London limescale.

Fortunately most of my  good friends could not give a stuff about my messy flat.

SONG OF THE DAY – AIR – Kelly Watch the Stars

Continuing with the stars theme.

Possibly a bit repetitive lyrically, but good for having a tidy up. Lovely album.  Another band introduced to me by Mr. P. Air is a music duo from Versailles, France, they appear in the video as the paramedics and the two lads playing computer tennis. The name Air is derived the backronym Amour, Imagination, Rêvewhich translates to Love, Imagination, Dream.