armyofsnails: (Simpsons)
Only in London.
A couple of weeks ago I was in a pub with a group of people, some of whom I didn't know. I was having a chat about tattoos with a chap sitting next to me (standard pub conversation filler, no big deal). Due to two pints of Old Rosie swishing around in my head, I decided to take my top off to show him the large Piranesi tattoo on my back. Everyone stared at me, then the chap's wife went, "Oh, is this Carceri III?" It then transpired that she is the curator of the Royal Institute of British Architects collection at the V&A. They have several Piranesi originals in the collection.

If I'd known I would have behaved a bit more "professionally" (i.e. acted less loud and drunk, I guess).

Despite my unnprofessional behaviour, we exchanged details, and yesterday she e-mailed me with the list of Piranesi works with catalogue numbers for me to look at...


Aug. 3rd, 2014 12:55 am
armyofsnails: (time snail)
Whenever I think about writing updates on my life in this blog again, most of what comes to mind is short headline-style material, a bit ridiculous, such as:




...etc. Coming up with anything longer than a handful of sentences seems quite hard these days. I blame Twitter. Perhaps more will follow. But before I go, one more from earlier this evening:


(Text below by a friend of mine) )

My weekend

Aug. 12th, 2013 02:01 pm
armyofsnails: (time snail)

I was interviewed by the Independent and touched Stephen Fry's hair! And how was your weekend?

After many ambivalent thoughts and feelings about it, I joined the Russia LGBT protest outside Downing Street on Saturday. Apart from speaking to the Independent journalist, I ended up explaining my thoughts on it to other people so many times that I wished I had written it out on a handout.

Mostly I believe this protest - or any other protests against this particular issue - is not going to make any difference; initially I thought it might even be harmful, but that was perhaps an over-reaction on my part. I believe that these laws are nothing to do with Russia's LGBT (the government couldn't care less about them), but with gaining votes and isolating the Russian Western-phobic majority. But as much as I am convinced that banning Russian vodka in Western gay bars and banning Russia from the Olympics are utterly pointless and nothing but the last straws for Western liberals to clutch on, I still enjoyed being at the protest, with its wonderful atmosphere of belonging, and I loved hearing the amazing Stephen Fry speak out for a lost cause with the passion that made achieving it sound almost believable. It is important that these things don't go ignored, no matter what.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

armyofsnails: (time snail)
A came back from Austria last week, late on a weekday evening. I met him at Heathrow airport, and as we were heading towards Dalston Raq sent me a text, "msg us when ten mins away, we have a surprise. Don't tell A!x"

When we finally reached the door there was a bit of a kerfuffle, and we were told to wait outside for a few moments. Then, as we entered  the flat, Raq was standing on the coffee table, wearing enormous shiny platform shoes, her face painted blue. The main lighting was switched off, bar one rainbow uplighter resting at her feet. Gentle music from the laptop, she began singing... initially, the aria from Donicetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. In a little while, this transformed into - you *may* have guessed it - the Diva aria from Fifth Element. Once the beat struck, Raq whipped out bright pink stripy sunglasses and put them on.

Sadly, I don't have a recording of this bizarre and wonderful midnight performance, but here is the lady herself on Youtube (from another performance). And below is her at Bar Wotever at Royal Vauxhall Tavern (earlier on the same night).

At the end of the song, Raq ran around the living room hugging us and smearing blue paint all over our faces... We had some food, watched some 80s music videos and went to sleep.

Pic behind cut )

On #aiww

May. 17th, 2013 01:55 pm
armyofsnails: (time snail)
S and I went to see The Arrest of Ai Weiwei at Hampstead Theatre last weekend. Impressed by the play, I ended up googling various links on the artist and sending them by e-mail to S, A and AR to get their opinion on the play and on Ai Weiwei in general (A and AR have already seen the play).I thought it may be worth sharing this here. )
armyofsnails: (Simpsons)
Went to a Dyke March fundraising event last Sunday with Raq and A. It was a documentary afternoon at an East London pub. The projector kept slowly sagging, the sofas were sagging, there was cider, the atmosphere was quite jolly, and A was the only man in the room (unsurprisingly; apparently that qualifies him as a 'lesbro'! Did you know this word? I didn't).

Out of the three features we watched, the one about the Dada artist Hannah Höch (1/3 of the documentary called The Female Closet by Barbara Hammer) excited me the most. I had come across her before, but seeing her work alongside her life on the screen has suddenly opened her up for me. Her collages were touching, sexy, cheeky and thought provoking; her life tempestuous, and her sexuality not dissimilar to mine. I'm going to have to buy books on her now and track down her work in art galleries.
armyofsnails: (time snail)
Well, this is embarrassing. I was sent home earlier this morning by our office secretary for being the carrier of disease - have only just recovered from norovirus, but even though I'm feeling better apparently I'm still infectious. An unexpected birthday present from last Saturday; *someone* (I'll probably never know who, and does it really matter?) has given it to two of my friends as well... One of them now on holiday in Barbados! Crikey.

I did in fact remember all of my birthday and the day after. Read more... )


Feb. 2nd, 2013 08:30 am
armyofsnails: (time snail)

So I'm now a year older (not far off trying to make people forget what age I really am... futilely no doubt. But who cares if I'm thirty or fifty, right?) I was going do to a summary for 2012 but failed miserably, so this is a substitute for that.

Some of this may read as a bit of a 'London life' informercial.. Hello Time Out? )
armyofsnails: (snail boob)
...and a milestone, I suppose )
armyofsnails: (fear me)
My entry to High Line for London Green Infrastructure competition.

A week's worth of drawing work preceded by (not particularly intense) couple of weeks of research, during which I discovered that the river I was going to write about - called Moselle, not to be confused with the one in Germany - flows directly under my street in Haringey (like many streets in London, mine follows the course of an underground river pretty much exactly).

Pfew! Not done anything like that since university days... Photoshop-tastic and some hand drawing, too. Click for piccy )
armyofsnails: (Simpsons)
So on the back of my birthday A. and I decided to do the drag act again for Valentine's. The idea was to pick an incredibly posh restaurant - one that has a dress code and at least three waiters per customer - and test their acceptance boundaries a little. A. suggested Fortnum & Mason's The Fountain. I managed to get a reservation there for the 14th.

Read more... )
armyofsnails: (Default)
After much deliberation I've decided to recite a Mandelstam poem about honey in Russian and English - seemed appropriate for an event centred on food, a tad random maybe but I'm not exactly a poetry geek so it'll have to do. Sourcing a decent English translation has taken a while but I think I've found it... Here (the third one). It'll be my first Burns supper (that having lived in the UK for 16 years, honestly!) and I get insanely self conscious about performing, even in front of friends. Hope there'll be enough whisky to take the edge off. Eeee.

On 25 January 2012 11:06, Andi R wrote:
Sorry this is unfashionably late, seems I've not been focussed enough
recently [must try harder!] - anyway just to remind you all (who
haven't cancelled) that today is the 253rd birthday of Rabbie Burns
(the Bard of Ayrshire)
Read more... )
armyofsnails: (man replacer)
Pictures from bonfire night and from Simon Drake's House of Magic - both courtesy of friend (who was the official photographer for the latter event).

Bonfire night. You can spot me in shots 15 and 17:

Simon Drake's House of Magic. Here I look utterly appalling... Silver facepaint doesn't lend itself well to being photographed, neither does pulling stupid faces. I love the overall composition of the shot though.
armyofsnails: (Default)
Two weeks ago I was at a white tablecloth dinner by the Experimental Food Society at a swanky restaurant near Bank. Synesthetic cookie, sugar dripped absinthe, insect pizza, microscopic salads and the like, all themed to music with wine to match every course. Delightfully wasteful, middle class and very tasty indeed. At some point I struck a conversation with my neighbour, a lady called Irene, a former science teacher. Can't quite remember why - and it's a bit of an intense subject for such a relaxed evening - but we struck a conversation about our respective family histories. It's quite common for people from my country of birth to have had traumatic past, and it would take a long time to explain it all in a blog post, but the short version is that my family on both sides has lived through extraordinary, terrifying and borderline inhuman experiences. Knowing this has always helped me maintain a sense of perspective and a gratitude for all the things I've been able to enjoy in my life that they could not even dream of. And I suppose I should add that sitting at a luxurious banker's venue downing cocktails brought the point home.

Irene's story is both similar and different. Born to Polish parents, she told me about her mother who had been sent to the Siberian GULAGs as a child, survived some horrendous events and managed to flee to England. Then she wrote a book about it. Irene mentioned the name of the book, but being Miss Goldfish I instantly forgot it. Conversation drifted away from morbid subjects, and the lady proceeded to show me pictures of a giant dodo made out of sugar she had seen at the Experimental Food Society exhibition the previous day. Before leaving, I gave her my business card (force of habit, not exactly a networking opportunity but you never know) and didn't think about it since.

Yesterday a package is delivered to my desk... )
armyofsnails: (Japanese)
Charity auction for the Albert Kennedy Trust to coincide with the National Coming Out Day yesterday.


So [ profile] didlix bought the bra of one of the performers at the charity auction last night and had a topless kiss from her onstage. Now they're meeting for lunch!

The most amusing thing has got to be the very last performer. Unlike most others she does a full strip-tease. A stunning looking woman, long dark hair, full figured. The presenter goes, "You are twenty-one today, this means I will have to administer twenty-one spanks to your bottom!" and goes ahead and bends her over his knee, arse towards the audience. The latter counts loudly, "One... two... three... ... Twenty... twenty-one!" Then the girl stands up and delivers a speech of thanks to everyone who has made this event happen, quite emotional. Then she goes, "And special thank you to my mother and mother-in-law who are both in the audience tonight!" Everyone turns around and the two aforementioned ladies are sitting right behind me, grinning.

Now, if I were a parent I would love to be cool enough to watch my daughter strip on stage in front of a hundred people and get spanked for charity! Would you?
armyofsnails: (time snail)
Acquisitions of last week included a giant stuffed lizard tail, a top hat with skull and red feathers (both from the magnificent Rumpus party) and a pumpkin, discovered in my bed just as I was going to sleep. Mr B is like a house cat who instead of dead mice leaves me random little objects on my pillow. This one is a seasonal gift - a green and orange pumpkin that looks like its skull is opening up to give birth to another pumpkin, like something from a pumpkin themed horror movie. I'll take a photo when I get round to it - and then it's getting cooked and eaten.

I've had a good week, though odd in some ways, and something has happened towards the end of it that has made me feel totally overwhelmed and amazed at life and at the people I know in it, and also full of joy. It's probably a bit of an overreaction, perhaps because it has caught me just at the right moment. I just wish I could spread this feeling to others who need it more than me right now. Still basking in it for the time being (I'm sure that eight hours of 1:50 M&E/FF&E coordination meetings tomorrow will lessen it somewhat.... meh).
armyofsnails: (fear me)
Friday, clay pigeon shooting, herding ducks with a stick, archery and making scarecrows on a farm in Oxfordshire... followed by Sawchestra in the Clerkenwell Crypt. Read more... )
armyofsnails: (hat)
Had a few really lovely, packed days. Last Friday - the late night science fair at the Natural History Museum (with [ profile] maybeitsbecause, [ profile] razornet and a couple of others). That included: looking at bugs, smelling ancient botany books, shouting at shiny crystals and running around the museum at night with a bottle of wine. A wonderfully surreal experience. Went to a canteen debate about whether smallpox should or should not be exterminated ([ profile] maybeitsbecause: "Surely even if the last instance of the virus is destroyed it can still be reconstructed from the sequence of proteins that's available in textbooks or online?" The speaker looks at him blankly, goes, "Everyone in this room who is a scientist, raise your hand!").

It's the first time I've been to the Darwin Centre (new museum wing), I was completely taken by it. What a lovely, thoughtful building and a gorgeous space to display all the museum's treasures. Went to the top of the concrete coccoon to the ancient botany room. The guide warned us that we were about to arrive at "floor 7 1/2 - like in Harry Potter" and I said, "Isn't it more like Being John Malkovich?" He laughed and said that he was going to use that for his next tour. Read more... )
armyofsnails: (Japanese)
The Hadouk Trio at Dalston Vortex were AMAZING. The venue was great, too. I realised once I got there that I had read about Gillett Square in all the architectural magazines a few years back; it's one of Ken's 100 public spaces (the now defunct project, courtesy of Mr Johnson), and I know the firm who designed it. Last night, there were huge rasta men riding bicycles with the front wheel taken off, making the unicycle feat look effortless, and another bunch taking turns playing ping-pong and downing pints. They looked like they were hanging around the square every single night of the week. Next to prim-and-proper middle class jazz goers sipping their martinis at the downstairs bar. Quite odd. I can see where Dalston gets its reputation from.

Oh goodness, the trio were right up my street, a mixture of dreamy, melancholic, odd and cheeky. They reminded me a little of Pat Metheny actually. They used some pretty interesting Armenian instruments amongst other things. Two older chaps on wind and keyboard, a young Tarzan-like long-haired lad on drums. Soooo good looking - shame jazz men don't go on stage semi-naked... Heh.
armyofsnails: (fear me)

It's a general plug for Jordan's autumn tour, but specifically I'm going to the one on 20th November at The Bowery in London. She is supporting Marina Celeste and it should be fantastic.

I know that most of my LJ friends are either in Cambridge or other far-away lands, but do bear this in mind, her gigs really are a treat.


armyofsnails: (Default)

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