Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tate Modern

Me and a thirteen year old at the Dominque Gonzalez Foerster TH.2058 exhibition at the Tate.

October 2058 - Tate Modern - London

It rains incessantly in London – not a day, not an hour without rain, a deluge that has now lasted for years and changed the way people travel, their clothes, leisure activities, imagination and desires. They dream about infinitely dry deserts.

This continual watering has had a strange effect on urban sculptures. As well as erosion and rust, they have started to grow like giant, thirsty tropical plants, to become even more monumental. In order to hold this organic growth in check, it has been decided to store them in the Turbine Hall, surrounded by hundreds of bunks that shelter – day and night – refugees from the rain.

- They let homeless people sleep on the bunkbeds?

- No. It's art and it's set in the future. 2058.

- But it says there about 'refugees from the rain'. That's homeless people isn't it? Why say it if you don't let people sleep here?"

- It's art. It's an idea.

- I don't understand it. Do you?

On the beds are books saved from the damp and treated to prevent the pages going mouldy and disintegrating. On every bunk there is at least one book, such as JG Ballard's The Drowned World, Jeff Noon's Vurt, Philip K Dick's The Man in the High Castle, but also Jorge Luis Borges's Ficciones and Roberto BolaƱo's 2666.

- Emma, did it say upstairs the books were rescued from the damp?

- Yes.

- That's not true. These are new but someone's crunched up the corners to make them not look new.

- Is that a real man on that bunkbed?

- Yes. He's obviously taken them up on their offer of refuge.

- Are you sure he's real? Haven't you been trying to tell me this is art; an idea in the future...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Advertising posters line the route in and out of most tube stations. Occasionally, you will see a piece of strategically-placed chewing gum (on someone's nose or such like) and at other times a small sticker protesting.

Ascending the escalators at Angel yesterday there were posters promoting cosmetic surgery at HarleyMedical which made me frown. That is until I saw one displaying a hand-written label: "self-esteem cannot be purchased". That made me smile.

Playing in Victoria Park

Two young blond-haired boys are wrestling at the edge of the grass.

Their mother approaches shouting at them to stop; they shouldn't be fighting one another.

"We're not playing fighting. We're playing mummies and daddies".

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Vingt-quatre heures

Looking at myself in the rear view mirror stuck in traffic this afternoon I laughed as I remembered something I read trackside yesterday:

My sister, Mrs. Joe, with black hair and eyes, had such a prevailing redness of skin that I sometimes used to wonder whether is was possible she washed herself with a nutmeg-grater instead of soap.

I now find myself teaching something called academic support. Students take one less GCSE to access support for the others. So, I'm a jack of all trades. To help out with current coursework demands I'm on a crash course to read Great Expectations and Of Mice and Men for Tuesday. The quote above comes from the former novel. (Anyone brings maths to the lesson and the game's up).

I am bright red. The nutmeg-grater sprang to mind but I think we can blame the cold.

Last night, I slept in 3 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of leggings, jeans, 1 vest, 4 long-sleeved t-shirts, 2 hoodies, 1 scarf, 1 pair of thermal cycling gloves and 1 hot water bottle in a tent. It's mid-October and bloody cold.

On another note: how do big people fit in sleeping bags? Do they come in different sizes? I slept remarkably well in my borrowed tent but when I moved the sleeping bag moved with me. Trying to turn in the bag was pointless; I fitted it too well.

The boy completed his third 24 hour race in one year and one week. A personal best of 119 miles. He assures me this is the last....

I love this photo...

Brother, sister and 7 of my 25 or so cousins.