Thursday, September 03, 2009

Summer is Over (but the Autumn has just begun)

Level of conviction in own genius: 7
Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: LOADS
Reading / Watching: Guiltily have taken hiatus on 'Corvus', lovely book on crows, to cram first CJ Sansom Shardlake series book / Sobbing to Gareth's work on 'The Choir'
Hair Day: Bit rubbish

Had another lovely cultural bank holiday weekend, as we always manage to do. We kicked off by going to Free Fridays at Cargo for unoriginal electro-indie shenanigans, where somehow Andy and I were the coolest people in there (well, I was sporting American Apparel socks with a little black number), but it was so loud my jaw almost unhinged itself and clattered around on the floor. Wandering around Shoho with our ears ringing, we stumbled upon a marvellous little bar at the bottom of Hoxton Street called Troy, where we enjoyed hilariously uncool jazz fusion, totally mud-stuck in the '70s, with all the players tossing out ludicrously virtuosic solos whilst chatting nonchalantly to their bandmates. Excellent.

On Saturday we decided to go back to my Sarf London roots, but venturing further than I'd ever been, to Morden Hall Park at the deepest, dustiest end of the Northern Line. We stuffed our bellies with Sainsbury's finest cheeses in the meadowy grounds, then wend our way along the River Wandle, managing to totally miss the feted marshlands and bird reserves and instead ending up as unlikely tourists in the districts of Mitcham Junction and Hackbridge. Still, the river was quite charming, lurching from grassy and sedate to litter-filled - with upended trolleys looking like fat dead geese - and should surely help generate a new verb ('to wandle': to amble along a river, whilst getting a bit lost and waxing lyrical on a variety of subjects from math-rock to Henry VIII). Once we'd arrived in the heroin chic of Hackbridge, we made haste up to my first London hood of Tooting, where I checked out my old house (they seem glassy-eyed and impassive when you don't know who lives in them). We were there as seasoned curry heads, seeking out the Sri Lankan/Keralan delights that the Tooting fave Radha Krishna Bhavan had to offer, before catching up with a few Southies at Brixton's always lovely Mango Landin'.

A bitter-eyed, windy Sunday saw us explore the back streets on a walk from Bethnal Green to Tate Modern. We got down onto the grimy northside beach west of the Tower of London to mudlark and make some impromptu art out of whatever we found. There were loads of old bits of white pipe and chunks of pottery, let's say Roman (hhm... probably. Or from the nearest BHS Homestores), but the highlight was picking up a big brown bone the size of a forearm. It may be my first human bone-holding experience. Gulp. Still, I happily added it to my sculpture and we went on our merry way to the Futurism exhibition, which was more stimulating for its manifestos than most of its paintings; any art movement that caused regular fisticuffs in the street has to be applauded, but only momentarily; I would throw a few punches of my own to Marinetti and co for their wanton disrespect of women, the ignorant misogynistic fuckers.

The sun finally came out on Bank Hol Monday, when we bypassed the Carnival to catch the last day of David Byrne's 'Playing the Building' at the Roundhouse. Quite literally a great wheeze, this installation hooked up an old pipe organ to lots of bits of the building, and then allowed the public to play it. Unfortunately it was full of people who weren't really there to listen to the surround-sound of clattering pillars and heavy-breathing pipes but to just queue for their go and chat, so some of the point for me was lost. We then celebrated the sun's coming out by dipping into Hampstead Mixed Bathing Ponds for the first time, an altogether bracingly gorgeous experience, most unlike the clinical rat-race of York Hall; feeling the cool, green-mud-thickened pondwater on my skin, and not knowing the depths of the pool was fabulous. Though I did momentarily freak out when my foot caught a buoy rope, thinking it was some killer pike seeking its next middle-class victim. Ha. We then lingered on the Heath as the sun drew down, the trees' long shadows like spent balloons, in a last silken sigh of summer.

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