Saturday, 25 April 2009


So, erm, hello. I just feel very embarrased about this blog, because I am so totally rub at updating it. And it's such a shame, because I love reading all of your stuff and I sort of want to be like you hoo hoo. But I never really know whether I want this place to be all serious-like, or if it should have real life stuff too. And so I end up posting nothing. Huh.

I also need to get used to the idea that I don't need to post a Bible-length every time. Then I'm more likely to say things. And pictures too could help, I spose.

SO ANYWAY. Let me tell you about my life right now.

- As I said, handed in my dissertation yesterday. Sort of can't believe it's all done, and I absolutely couldn't let it go, it was awful. I was part demented with anxiety, part demented because I was so bored of it. But it's done now, and with RELATIVELY little stress (compared to last year's coursework, anyway, when I went out the night before the deadline, got drunk, brought a guy home, kicked him out at three, woke up at eight with a brainwave AND REWROTE MOST OF IT, finally getting it in thirty seconds before the deadline because of a technological failures).

- I have consumed my body-weight in chocolate brownies. They had them at hall last night and they were going to chuck away the leftovers, but our bar manager nicked them and was giving them out free gratis. It was amazing. But I do feel a bit sick.

- David Starkey is still an absolute pillock, and he gets more and more irritating with every passing moment I think about him. So I won't think about him.

- I saw In The Loop, and it were BRILLIANT. I actually got hiccups at one point because I was crying with laughter. But it was also really sad and depressing, which I suppose all satire should be, in a way. Poor Tom Hollander. I love him very much, you see. I've had a crush on him since forever.

- Swiv, you'll be pleased to hear that I'm reading A Tale of Two Cities (or you will be pleased when you return from swanning around in Italy you skiver), and I'm actually enjoying it quite a lot. Although I did give it up for a few weeks while I indulged in Dorothy L. Sayers and Georgette Heyer. But back in it now. Pros - kinda gripping, well-written (mostly), interesting characters. Cons - a bit (a lot) melodramatic, clunky foreshadowing, wettest heroine EVER in Lucie Manette. No Sydney Carton for about twenty pages.

- I went to York in the hols! It was luverly. My bro needed to go for an open day and so I decided on a whim to go along, which proved to be a very good decision indeed! Wandered around the Minster (i.e. cathedral), which was a leeeeetle underwhelming, dunno why, and has the most hilariously unflattering statues of the kings of England you've EVER seen (I couldn't find a photo of the one of Edward III, which is a shame). After lunch, The Brother buggered off to the campus, and I continued to wander, trying to keep away from the slightly blander streets right in the centre. I stumbled across the beautiful fourteenth-century Holy Trinity Church, on Goodramgate; there was a gap in the houses and there was a little churchyard, bright green in the sun and a little tumbledown-looking. On a whim I went in, and found the interior to be cool, dark, and as tumble-down as expected; subsidence had caused the floor to buckle in places, and there were old box-pews that made me feel I was on the set of a period-drama. Absolutely charming and very different from anything I'd seen before; plus there was a very chatty warden there who was very knowledgeable and interesting. And it turns out an old supervisor of mine was in only the week before! After that, I poked my head into the Richard III museum but it was a bit ropey so I didn't fancy paying £2.50 for that, so instead I walked along the city walls, enjoying the sunshine. Had a coffee and read my book and then headed back to the station to meet the bro, past a busker playing fantastic ragtime on a beaten-up honky-tonk piano in the middle of a square...

- And that's enough of that. I'll try and get you a Beautiful Person post tomorrow, which I imagine is going to be of my new TV girlfriend, Lt. Kara "Starbuck" Thrace... Oh, I love her so so much it's ridic.

Heroines Once More

Firstly, I have handed in my dissertation. Omg wtf etc etc etc. DONE.

Secondly, my Favourite Person this Week:

For all the controversy about Hillary Clinton, this is, quite simply, AMAZING. I love it when politicians speak sense.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Gallery Sweep: Thyssen Museum, Madrid

When I was in Australia, I went to the National Gallery of Victoria, in Melbourne, which as far as I am concerned, is the best art gallery in the world. Not because of its collection - which, while excellent to a laylady like me, is probably deeply naff to A Proper Arty Type - but because it was the first time when I really Got art. The first time that I was hypnotised by a piece of art - and not just one piece, but one after another after another. Room after room, style and era and media - there was something to love. Before then - well, I was a reader (NO! SURELY NOT! WE'D NEVER HAVE GUESSED!). And because I went to a London day-school, I'd done the lessons and been to the galleries, and although I'd enjoyed the trips nothing I'd seen had really grabbed me the way that a book could - anyway, I was always up too close reading the little piece of information to actually appreciate the paintings. But then the NGV, and a Damascene conversion.

Only problem was, they had the most atrocious selection of post-cards I've ever seen. From a collection where at least forty pieces had caught my eye, I left with three postcards, and they were cheap and tatty reproductions. My bank balance rejoiced, but I did not.

And so I vowed then and there that I'd never make that mistake again, and lo and behold, when I arrived at The Art Gallery of South Australia - also fantastic, I took a little notebook, and scribbled down the names of all the paintings I liked, so I could look them up later (the wonders of Google!). I christined this the Gallery Sweep. And I've done that ever since, whenever I visited an art gallery, included over the winter when I was in Madrid. And then this weekend, making the most of the holiday, having handed in my second draft (finally!), I searched for those paintings. These are some of my favourites from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, although I was unfortunately unable to track down all of them (sighs of relief all round...)

Vernet - Night, A Meditteranean Coast Scene (1753)

Chase - The Kimono (1895)

Singer Sargent - Millicent, Duchess of Sutherland (1904)

Beckmann - Self-Portrait With Raised Hand (1908)

Gleizes - Overlooking a Port (1917) - although you really need to see this in real life to appreciate its chaos and movement

Annenkov - Amiens Cathedral (1919)

Feininger - Lady in Mauve (1922)

Hopper - Hotel Room (1931)

Sheeler - Yachting 1992 (1992)

Friday, 10 April 2009

Tonight in Unintentional Hilarity

This and this are the best news I've heard for a LONG time.

On the one hand, we have the fucked up National Organisation for Marriage (not linking in protest), who, fresh from an invidious and outright hateful TV Ad which spreads lies about same-sex marriage campaigners, have created a national campaign called "2 Million for Marriage" -- or 2M4M. Shaker Mustang Bobby explains:

For those of you who are not up on the acronyms used in gay chat rooms, M4M means "Man for Man," as in one man looking to meet up/hook up with another man.

So either there's someone in NOM who has not been outside of their cocoon since the advent of the internet, or there's someone inside the organization with a wicked sense of humor and playing these folks for the fools that they are. Either way, this is the best example of an unintentional double entendre in advertising since 1969 when Ford came out with the Rim Blow steering wheel.


Even better is that some enterprising soul has managed to buy the domain name, and is in the process of whipping up a website dedicated to countering this kind of fear-mongering. It is called Two Men for Marriage, and please go and join to register your support. It's early days yet (well, early hours in fact), but hopefuly it'll have some good content soon - in fact, you can make suggestions there too.

On the other hand, we have a new protest movement in the States. In the spirit of the Boston Tea Party (which famously demanded "No taxation without representation"), a new group of selfish short-sighted egotists fearless campaigners are sending tea-bags to the White House and holding Tea Party meetings, to protest against tax increases for the rich, or something. The best bit? They are calling it "tea-bagging".

Even more amazing.

You actually could not make this up.

Rachel Maddow, as ever, gets it spot on:

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Thank God for spell check

Given that my dissertation is on martial society and kingship in fourteenth century in England, it amuses me that the two words I've spelt wrong almost consistently have been "constitution" and "chronicle/r". Oops. It's not that I don't know how to spell them (she says quickly), it's just they're awkward to type... The t's get in the wrong place in constitution, and chronicler always loses its I.

I will try and get round to writing a proper post as soon as possible, but as you see, I'm trying to get my dissertation finished... Very nearly there, actually, which is luverly. Cannot wait to be able to give this the time it needs.