Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Something Old

Yes, it's the first line in that wedding rhyme. No, I'm not going to talk about THE wedding - as it is now referred to (although I have managed to mention it). Instead the rhyme is in honour of the 5 weddings (one down, four to go) that I am attending this year. Above is the most recent wedding invitation (I love it); a message in a bottle - it's going to be by the sea!

But enough of wedding particulars/excitements - back to the subject at hand: Something Old. On Monday I went for a stroll, or rather a rummage, around Camden market. I couldn't actually remember the last time I'd visited the place and lots had changed. Where had the nice lady from New Zealand gone with her cool leather bags and her awesome collection of sunglasses? Where was the random shop/stall with the amazing array of converse - NEVER seen anywhere else? And where was one of my favourite hotspots for cool t-shirts? All gone. But, there were other gems to discover...

The market near the Proud Gallery has undergone some renovation (forgive me if it's been like that for sometime - it was all new to me) and now exists on several levels. The vintage shops have had a bit of a make over and there were plenty of clothes, shoes, accessories (and bicycles!) to keep me occupied.

In the stables market (slightly underground and quite dark) more retro stuff was to be discovered, from typewriters to old school lugguage covered in comic book prints. Mitch was drawn to a stall full of toys - mostly from the 80s & 90s. It was a pretty impressive collection of plastic, not to mention the polaroid cameras.  I think it's got to be part of the human condition that we seek things from the past, particularly our own. Either that or I am a horder (my dniosaurs from when I was small have been saved from the car-boot-sale) and I have met another - Mitch - with his vast collection of sega megadrive games. Yet, looking at the smiling faces of Barbie, Action Man and the not so smiley face of optimus prime left me feeling pretty old. Thankfully there's so much going on in Camden you're not really given much time to reflect on the inevitability of the aging process.

Trips to Camden always feel a bit nostalgic. My youth: buying studded belts, badges and earings made from plectrums; obligatory sweet'n'sour chicken and a can of coke; wandering around cyberdog and looking massively out of place (some things don't change). It's good to know that everyone else who ambles around the market has grown up too. Despite it being a bank holiday it wasn't full of kids, it was, just as I remember Camden, a pretty mixed bag.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

super camera

Happy Easter (today)/St George's Day (yesterday)!
I hope everyone has been enjoying the super long bank holiday weekend as much as me. As the title suggests, I've been taking a lot of pictures during my various adventures over the last three days. So, very little words this time but have a looksy at my attempts at photography.

Friday: Hampton Court
I love these magnolia trees. It looks as if they are the top branches of one tree whose trunk is submerged beneath the grass. 

Saturday: Lyndhurst, The New Forest

Sunday: Milford on Sea

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Reading & Seeing

On the left is the beardless face of J D Salinger. My friend gave me a copy of The Catcher in the Rye because, shocking though it is (even more so as I'm an English and American Literature graduate), I've never read it, until now. What did I think? Well I'll tell you but I'm not going to get all David Copperfield and that crap about it. I found the narrative quite annyoing. I know it's the protagonist's thought processes but I'm just saying is all. The colloquialisms and the general pessimistic attitude were not my cup of tea. I realise that, in terms of when it was written, The Catcher in the Rye is a piece of ground-breaking fiction, but this doesn't detract from the fact that I didn't like Holden Caulfield, and when he is the only voice you hear it begins to grate, a lot. He makes some amusing observations but on the whole he's a moany character (everyone else is a 'phony') who I just can't sympathise with. After talking to others who've read it, it's mostly boys who rate it highly...not sure if that means anything. I think I probably would have enjoyed and appreciated the book a little more if I had studied it - taking it apart and analysing it - as that's what we literature students do best.

On the right is the bearded face of Duncan Jones. This week I finally watched Source Code and, like most people, I thought it was pretty cool. The concept is awesome - quite cruel but mind-bending in true sci-fi style. The twist at the end is a nice surprise, perhaps a little sentimental but at the same time it opens up a whole load of other questions and possibilities. I would definitely reccomend this and Moon (incase you haven't seen it yet - where have you been?!) Rather excited about what's next for Duncan Jones (and his impressive beard).

Beard Status: looking good!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Have a Seat

Some will know that I have been on the hunt for a chair (to call my very own) for quite some time now. I dragged my parents to Brick Lane and Spitalfields markets; Mitch was coerced (as muscle to carry the chair if I found it) into accompanying me to Shoreditch; Fellow co-workers were even suggesting possible shops as to where I my perfect chair was hiding. Alas, these where all fruitless expeditions, don't get me wrong, I saw some amazing chairs (I am particularly drawn to Scandinavian designs circa late 1950s-60s) but they were all way out of my price range.

But then my dad spotted this one in a charity shop for 20 quid - bargain. Yes it's not Vintage Danish Wood with leather upholstery but it is pretty unique. Metal frame, wooden arm rests and, most importantly, my mum (v.clever) has re-upholstered it in a William Morris pattern with a cushion to boot.

I write this whilst sitting very comfortably. The chair quest is over, for now.

Fancy chairs from:

Barnet&Beard update:
New hair-do for me.
A bit more beard for Mitch.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Sporting Alternative

After a relatively civilised Saturday, I prepared my vocal chords, psyched up my competitive side and donned my beer helmet (sadly not literally) and headed for the Excel Centre for the Sunday half of Anarchy in the UK - the international roller derby bouts. Teams in attendance: London's Brawling (London), Steel Hurtin' (Pittsburgh USA), Charm City (Baltimore USA) and New Skids on the Block (Montreal, Canada).

The games were fast and high scoring. The teams from across the atlantic were phenomenal, particularly Clitty Clitty Bang Bang when jamming for Charm City - no one could keep her back. Our own London Brawling gave them a tough time - awesome performances from jammers Vagablonde, Kamikaze Kitten and Fox Sake - and a massive whoop of praise for the Blockers who did a superb job at keeping the opposition from scoring and the game together. Since I've been coming to roller derby for a year now I felt it was high time to invest in some merchandise so I got a t-shirt (obv).

Elsewhere I enjoyed a spot of Jurassic Golf. We weren't exactly fighting off T-Rex and pals whilst playing a few holes but it was amusing all the same. I lost and I blamed the disney music (where was the Jurassic Park Soundtrack?) - clever girl.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

The Conversations of Others

As a result of the glorious weather, I, like everyone else in Kingston, have been spending my lunch breaks by the riverside. There's the group of 12 year old girls playing pranks on each other, the mother letting her two young toddlers throw their toy cars at the ducks, the men in their suits who look like estate agents and then there's the solitary people, like myself, reading or writing. But, I've missed out the biggest group of riverside visitors: those who've come to feed the ducks, and in particular, the swans. This is a popular activity, one that I used to love but haven't indulged in since I found out that bread is very bad for birds. The feeding also generates a lot of swan based questions. Here are the answers to some:
1. Yes, most swans do mate for life, but if a couple are struggling to produce eggs together they are likely to seek a new partner. 
2. Yes, there are different types of swan. The breed that resides in Kingston is called the Mute Swan (due to their noiseless flight).
3. No, you can't take one home with you. Swans are protected by the law and you will be prosecuted if you steal, kill or eat one (providing someone sees you I guess).

One evening last week, we, like everyone else in London, headed straight for the pub garden after work. Turned out to be pretty packed in The Lamb (one of our many locals) but a couple let us share their table. During a lull in our own conversation we were v.aware of the couple's discussion next to us, "two vaginas" was a reoccurring statement (still not sure what that was about). A few minutes later, a gap in the other couple's conversation meant that they heard me gasp at the fact that Mitch was watching 'spaced' for the first time. They shared my shock and the divide between us and them was broken. They were really friendly and chatty. We got onto the subject of tattoos, the guy was an artist and had been asked to design one for a guy who only had tattoos on one side of his body, the other side was reserved for piercings. "You don't want to get a tattoo though" the artist said. Why? "Because it'll all go south and blurry." I realised that wrinkles meant that they might lose their shape but 'blurry'? "Look at old guys with tats from the war and stuff", the artist said, "they're generally indistinguishable. Skin sags over time and once intricate designs become blobs." And this happens to tattoos all over? (I was fearing for my own 'tramp stamp' on my lower back.) "Nah. Back, wrists and head should be fine - where the skin's tight. Arms, legs and stomach are the worst." Mitch reckoned this put him off having one. "You'd be alright with one on the shoulder blade" the artist continued, "but that guy from 'memento' is screwed!"

I'm guessing if you get your tattoo touched up every now and then it would stay true to its original design. The work on the very tattooed lady above looks pretty good to me; Isobel Varley is one of the most tattooed senior citizens in the world. 93% of her body is covered in ink - crazy!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Girls, Guns & Fire vs. Mad, Murderous Tire

Last Friday I went to see Sucker Punch. Now, I'm sure you've all read the bad reviews it's been given, I had which made it all the worse as I had been looking forward to seeing it. After all, it's the new Zack Snyder movie - the man who brought us '300', 'Watchmen' and 'The Owls of Ga'Hoole' (which incidentally is awesome - a friend at work completely sold it to me when he described it as "300 with owls" - epic). 

Back to Sucker Punch - I agree with most of the critics: there is no story-line (unless you're counting the dream within a dream within a lobotomy thing) the dialogue is terrible, it's too long, very self indulgent and more like a music video/computer game. However, what I can't understand is why some reviews have criticised (and analysed) the film from a feminist point of view. Yes the women are scantily-clad and no they are not empowered. It is aimed at boys (and some girls) 12 and up who want to see slow-motion fight scenes and eyelash flutterings. The girls' outfits are revealing but they look pretty good (Mitch just kept repeating the words "eye candy") AND they kick ass - shooting lots of people and blowing things up. If you do not require/expect much else from this film you'll love it. Visually its spectacular and the music is probably the best character throughout (it plays a big part). But, if you're still feeling disappointed (and particularly saddened by the unprovoked murder of the baby dragon) there are some ace animated shorts to watch online 

I also watched Rubber - a film about a discarded tire that comes to life with nothing but destruction on it's, erm...mind. Simple enough right? Wrong. This off beat little film is on another level altogether. You find yourself watching a film within a film but not in the Sucker Punch 'sexy dance dream' way, instead you see the audience itself as a role, propelling the story forward along with the actors. But what Rubber also seems to suggest is that our part as 'the audience' ceases to matter when the film ends, where as the film can, and will,  happily continue without us. It's pretty dark and funny in places. The overall message: a world without reason could lead to an uprising of abandoned tires who know no mercy.

In other news, Sunday was mother's day so I baked some cakes and had a lovely day with the famille.

Beard update: it's making a comeback - joy.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

The Man Behind the Curtain

This isn't about the Wizard of Oz shamefully hiding behind a pretence, more of an appreciative note to those up in projection.

The digital takeover has most certainly arrived and, in most cases, is in full swing. Entire cinemas have said "so long!" to the 35mm projector and welcomed the upgrade. Some new cinemas are constructed without projection booths and instead, the efficient digital replacement is built into the wall of the screen and accessible at the push of a button. What with the guarantee of clearer sounds and sharper images - available on a ginormous scale and/or 3D - technology is advancing at an incredible rate. But what will become of the 35mms and the bit part character that ultimately starts things (literally) rolling, the projectionist.

A large number of chain cinemas will now be fully digital and then it will only be a matter of time before the departure of the last projectionists - the few who stayed on to see in the new machines that have made them obsolete.

The projection booth: The top of the cinema; a dark fairly noisy place but removed from the general hubbub of the rest of the cinema - no shouting children, no incessant arcade-machine beeping - just the whirring of projectors; the smell of machinery; halogen lamps and stray film cells...

Perhaps that's rather a romantic view of a projection booth but it was comforting to know that people were up there keeping a check on things. And, if there was a problem, there was someone who knew what to do. New technology is brilliant but it's not without flaws - it's ever changing and evolving. Some cinemas have been installed with digital projectors that will soon be outdated themselves and will fail to survive the next software update. Who do you talk to then? Or rather, who do you blame then? The poor guy at the end of the phone providing support for digital projectors?

But all is not lost. Some cinemas still show their 35mm prints and one day there will be a revival and a demand for the knowledge of how to lace-up a 35mm film and the projectionists will be laughing. For all  our intent to push things forward, society loves nostalgia and delving into the past. They'll dig out the key to that airplane hanger and dust the cobwebs off the old projectors.

For now, the votes are in and have been counted. The winner for Best Supporting Role goes to.....the Projectionists.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...