Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Busy Busy World

We are currently revisiting our childhoods, with the gift of a Richard Scarry compendium ... colourful, detailed double page spreads crammed anthropomorphic animals going about their everyday business in a hectic, harum scarum manner. Guaranteed to keep you enthralled for hours. Our favourite character is Bug Dozer, a little green bug trying to shift mountains with his tiny red bulldozer.

Another mainstay from that era: Maurice Sendak's 'Where the Wild Things Are', amazing artwork that draws you into the wonderful nightworld of naughty boy Max. I even (pretentious, moi?) once wrote a paper on this book, drawing on Freudian theory to provide insight and interpretation... but that's Oxford for you.

Art and Artists 2 - sketchbooks


Some interesting artists' sketchbooks on Design Sponge today, reminding me I haven't touched my sketchbook in a while ...

More over on Book By It's Cover: I especially like Claudia Pearson's dainty observational sketches, Katy Horan's folksy babushka types and Chad Kouri's hand-drawn typography.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Not flipping out

Is it wrong that it's Pancake Day and we're not flipping?

We ate Nigella's lush American style pancakes at the weekend and frankly, after that, crepes just won't cut the mustard.

We are having mushroom ragout and flatbread for dinner, so I guess that is sufficiently unleaven?

Utterly obsessed

Having almost given up on TV drama in despair at the apparently unstoppable tide of melodramatic banality (there's a tautology for you) and resigned myself to a life of reruns of Scrubs and QI, I am currently utterly obsessed with one particular show, and an American cop show to boot.

I'm talking, of course, about The Wire.

The boy's brother gave him the first season box set, which we cracked open on Sunday and we're scheduled for Episode 5 tonight. Yes, that's an average of two episodes a night, such is the power of The Wire. Totally compelling scriptwriting, powerful performances and narrative pacing to rival Dickens, I am like a junkie searching out the next fix - an apt metaphor given the subject matter.

If you haven't seen it, watch here! Aie?

Sunday, 22 February 2009

In Praise of the Kenwood Breadmaker BM250


Mmmm, currently filling the flat with the scent of freshly baked bread. Time for lunch ...

Great Loves Part 1 - Abelard and Heloise


About to embark upon the Penguin Great Loves boxset that the boy's mum gave me at Christmas.

Penguin's marketing claims it to be 'the most seductive, inspiring and surprising writing on love in all its infinite variety…', and it certainly is an electic and broad-reaching collection with some stunning, inventive cover design.

And the iconic logo has been rejigged into two penguins leaning in for a kiss. What a lovely detail!

Am starting with Abelard and Heloise, to ease myself in.

Saturday Grauniad

At weekends, I relish sinking into the Saturday Grauniad

Order of attack:
  • Space - to look at beautiful stuff I cannot afford
  • Ottolenghi's veggie recipes - for obvious reasons ...
  • Writers' Rooms - to admire the inevitable creative chaos
  • Lucy Mangan's Book Corner - I think she might actually be me
  • Family - high-brow voyeurism
  • Editorials - strident and entertaining
  • Letters page - ditto, with added bonus of 101 uses for a 35mm film canister
And I tend to leave the Review as a solace for my weekday commute.

Of course, the paper merely reflects back at me my view of the world - I suppose I should really read the Mail or the Express to "broaden" my horizons and remind myself that the world is not full of sandal-wearing, muesli-eating middle class liberal intellectuals but why on earth would I want to do that?

Favourite bit so far in this week's edition: Lucy Mangan on The Wombles

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Is it Spring yet?


It smells different outside this morning, there's a warmth in the air that has been missing these past months, and a joyous sense of sap rising.

Bright sunshine flooding through the bay window and outside in the planters, tender fronds are pushing up, promising narcissi and snowdrops.

Pancakes to celebrate, I think, and it is the boy's 31st birthday after all.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

In Praise of Morrissey

In praise of Steven Patrick Morrissey: patron saint of waifs, strays and misfits.

"Park the car at the side of the road
You should know
Time's tide will smother you
And I will too
When you laugh about people who feel so
Very lonely
Their only desire is to die
Well, I'm afraid
It doesn't make me smile
I wish I could laugh"
That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore:
Lyrics, Stephen Morrissey / Music, Johnny Marr


Listening to Front Row profile on Radio Four, and remembering being 17.
(Listen again until Tuesday 24th February)

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Kinder Egg weirdness


This is the weirdest thing I've ever seen as a Kinder Egg toy ... hat tip to the boy, who thinks it to be a rare breed of ginger spidermonkey

I'd settle for an iPhone ...

Comparing ebook readers for work ... it occurs to me I'd settle for an iPhone and download the Stanza app, last thing I need is yet another gadget to weigh me down! Plus, ebooks haven't quite had their iTunes moment yet, or have they?

Roses, roses, roses


One of my favourite scents of the moment: Muji's Winter Rose candle.
Mmmm, smells more like late summer to me ...

Hey, I was hungry

Marinade for pork chops - organic and British, naturally.
  • Three teaspoons of wholegrain mustard
  • One teaspoon of cider vinegar
  • One tablespoon of olive oil
  • One heaped teaspoon of honey
Served with crisp green beans and buttered new potatoes.

Should have been mash, of course, but I hadn't the patience. Hey, I was hungry.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

One of the wives of Ernest Hemmingway

Reading Caroline Moorhouse's biography of Martha Gellhorn: one of the first female war correspondents and versatile novelist, what a feisty personality to end up dismissed by history as 'one of the wives of Ernest Hemmingway'!

Souvenir from Lagos


One of the boy's recent charity shop finds: it's so 60s! Love it, especially the contrast of blue sky and brutalist architecture ...

Art and Artists 1

Delighted to find that Rob Ryan now has a shop at Columbia Road - the wonderfully named RyanTown. Master of paper craft, his pieces are so delicate, whimsical and funny.

Also, splashed out on a Charley Harper lithograph called 'Upside Downside' at Sharon Elphick gallery : two birds on a branch in the minimal realist style, just simple blocks of colour and stylised lines. Bold and charming. On YouTube, Handmade Modern interview Charley Harper, sadly now deceased.

Flowers and cakes and art


Sunday morning at Columbia Road market in East London is one of my favourite weekend jaunts ... flowers and cakes and art, what more could a girl want?

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