I like graphic novels and I'm a fan of Chris Ware so it was great to see this little group of pictures of his house in Chicago. I love the collections of vintage toys, games, comics and books. You can see the full collection over on Trip City which is a site that often has interesting things to read about.
I love films and really enjoyed reading Michael Scorcese's list of the "85 films you need to see to know anything about film". Sadly it seems I know little about film as there are a great many on the list I haven't seen but I like lists like this as it's introduced me to some that I'll definitely get. My favourite film (if I had to pick one) of all time, "A Matter of Life & Death" is on the list which I'm glad to see. I'm a big fan of the films of Powell & Pressburger. I thought it was interesting to read what Scorsese said about the reaction of the public to Powells admittedly creepy but excellent film Peeping Tom:
Peeping Tom: “Michael Powell himself gambled everything on Peeping Tom and lost in such a way that his career was really ended. The film was so shocking to some British critics and the audience because he had some sympathy, sort of, for the the serial killer. And the killer had the audacity to photograph the killing of the women with a motion picture camera, which of course tied in the motion picture camera as an object of voyeurism, implicating all of us watching horror films. He was reviled. One critic said this should be flushed down the toilet. He only got one or two more movies done. He really disappeared. And now in England there are cameras watching everyone all over the street.” 1960
I love these kinetic sculptures made by Dutch physicist/artist Theo Jansen. Wouldn't it be amazing to see a whole herd of them roaming the beaches? Constructed from hollow PVC tubing, the film (link below) shows how they work.
After Xmas my mum and I went to visit the Wellcome Collection in London. It's a great place to visit of an afternoon, their shows are free, they have a brilliant bookshop and a Peyton & Byrne cafe which is tasty.
We saw a lovely show called Infinitas Gracias, Mexican Miracle Paintings. These were little paintings on tin roof tiles or plaques, painted in thanks to saints who have answered prayers. They are quite small and depict dramas of everyday life such as illness, lost livestock, accidents, bereavements and lightning strikes. Very simply painted and often with quite naive perspective. Sorry these pictures aren't great as I put them on my phone, they show the recovery of lost goats, falling from a ladder and surviving, getting over an incurable illness and surviving a bull running amok!
I like the band The National so perhaps I'm biased. I saw a bunch of posters designed for them over a couple of years by Spike Press and they took my fancy. Some for sale too if you like them at good prices if you are in the market for some artwork
I liked this project that showed this year at the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle. Artists were invited to transform their choice of 'Paint by Numbers' paintings and came up with some interesting results. It's a great idea, I'd quite like to do one for fun myself. The results were mixed, I didn't love them all but I like the concept. These were a couple that worked well, the artists are as follows:
Mary Iverson - Before and after farm transformation
Jim Woodring - Bucolic covered bridge with added accident
Troy Gua - Ugly clowns transformation
The Snowden Flood Series of Great Days Out (which all blatantly include a visit to our shop itself!)
If you’ve got a day off why not then head over to the BFI/NFT to purchase some matinee tickets for a movie? Musical classic An American in Paris is on there from October 28th to Nov 20th and there are lots of afternoon screenings scheduled for Fridays and Saturdays. Hoorah!
Then grab a coffee at Benugo and maybe a pop into the BFI shop (where our last purchase was the epic 1900 – De Niro and Depardieu in a Bertolucci must).
Exit the building and head along the river westwards to The Royal Festival Hall to see the free exhibit there. Who couldn’t be inspired by – Art by Offenders. Incredibly moving and this year curated by magistrates and, lets say it one more time, free!
With a quick check of your watch in case you’ve been dithering, you should have time for a little (and possibly romantic, depending on who you’re with) walk back along the river eastwards to marvel at the architecture of the South Bank – The Festival Hall, The Hayward Gallery, The National Theatre and finally the Oxo Tower where snuggled ( we have the heaters on already) at the end of the first floor shops we will be waiting to say hello and have a quick chat (which may be what you want if you need a bit of ice-breaking on what may or not be a first date).
To make your visit even more special - on production of BFI matinee tickets during the musicals season we will be delighted to offer you a discount of 10% on any purchases AND if you are on a special date give us "the nod" and we can make an extra, extra special fuss of you to impress your intended.
Now, laden with bags filled with wonderful things from our store, make your way back to the BFI and depending on your film times either have a meal before or after your movie at the excellent riverside restaurant there conveniently named The Riverfront.
You may now feel inclined to have a few Gene Kelly style swings around some lampposts before you tippity tap your way home.
Enjoy your great day out!
A bit of info about 1900: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074084/
And a link that tells you about the Art by Offenders exhibition: http://tinyurl.com/3mabuq5
I took my son to London's Science Museum on Monday as it's half term. You could probably live in there for a week and still not see all the great things they have in there, we love it. This visit we ended up in a new gallery and I was attracted by a case full of phobias. They had lots of them in Mason jars. Not to make light of any of these phobias, it must be horrible to have a fear of the colour white or of string! I liked the way they illustrated Decidophobia (fear of decisions) using little dice. Notice also the jar containing the fear of vegetables is placed next to the jar containing the fear of constipation. I guess they do sort of go hand in hand.
On the weekend I headed up to Hay-on-Wye on the border of England and Wales. It's a great little town with a famous book festival. Apparently it was a sleepy village when Richard Booth moved there in the 60's and started his bookshop. Then he bought the castle and declared himself the King of Hay. At one stage the residents of Hay decided they were a separate kingdom and issued passports. Now there are over 30 shops selling 2nd hand and antiquarian books. It's a brilliant place to go for a weekend as if it's sunny you can walk in the Black Mountains. If not there's always a book to look at. Briefly looking at Richard Booth's website I think you can get yourself crowned king or queen of something if that takes your fancy. Hmm Queen Snow.... I quite like the sound of that.
Lots of my friends like knitting but sadly I think they mostly stick to items of clothing. On a hillside in the Piedmont region of Italy lies an enormous pink knitted rabbit. He's died a sad death - his knitted entrails spill from his side. Sometimes hill walkers have climbed on top of him and are sleeping or picnicing on his body. This extraodinary project took 5 years of knitting and was devised and made by Italian artist collective Gelitin. You can see the 'hare of Artesina' from space via Google Maps! I wonder if the members of Gelitin were inspired by the film "Night of the Lapus" about massive genetically altered rabbits taking over the world.
So if you are keen on knitting, maybe you'll be inspired to work a bit bigger from now on!