Tuesday, June 30, 2009
What’s for dinner? I'm only cooking for myself tonight, so perhaps a nice slice of Shropshire Blue cheese.
What are you listening to right now? My typing. I think I'm constantly told by my occasional office companion that I type too loudly but I'm not sure - what with all the typing noise it could have been that I skype too proudly.
Which language do you want to learn? I'd move to France for a year if I could speak French with subtlety and nuance, but I can't. That's the trouble with all language learning, isn't it? All that subtlety and nuance going on around you while you and Yves are still gamely searching for the boulangerie.
What is your dream job? Dictator of some small European Country. San Marino would be a good start. I would have myself depicted on their postage stamps.
What book are you currently reading? Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, by Margaret Atwood. About "debt as a human construct, and how this construct mirrors and magnifies both voracious human desire and ferocious human fear". Strong adjectives, those.
Describe your personal style? Dictatorially lacy.
What inspires you? In a tight corner, it's always helpful to wonder what Alan Clark would have made of the situation.
Do you collect something? There's too much clutter already. We'd all love some of those Daily Telegraph mahogany effect showcases of RAF thimbles, but economy and space considerations must prevail.
What are you most proud of? I'm particularly proud of the Atlantic ocean. All those fish.
What’s your biggest fashion mistake? Well, they weren't really mistakes, were they? They were an example of fitting enthusiastically in with the styles of an era.
What is your worse decorating disaster? I don't think I've had one. I've painted most things white and put colourful things on them. Very safe, you rightly remark. I'll go for the grand gesture next and then everyone can say "oh how advanced and forthright that lime chaise longue is against the bird of prey wallpaper, my dear", and be secretly glad that it isn't in their house.
This is quite long enough, isn't it? Yes.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Look, this is my current bedside lamp. Ok, not too bad, you remark, though you're not sure about those metal leaves and flowers. But it stabs me when I switch it on, it's too faux ladylike, and the annoying shade only allows for a particular shape of hard to find lightbulb. I think it would make a better hatstand.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
I was initially drawn to Junk Style by the enviable name of the author, Melanie Molesworth (which evokes memories of Nigel Molesworth, hero of my youth). First published in 1998, it has been reissued and is particularly relevant now when conspicuously recessionary consumerism is in vogue.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Filling the German bunker with a stripped-down Ikea kitchen that meanders dully through the rooms like an unpainted train set, Gillick is making his usual point about the banality of modern textures. Curators like his work because it offers them limitless opportunities for extensive displays of curator-speak. But I have never met a member of the public who enjoys a Gillick exhibition. The man is a world-class bore...
I felt that I had to see this kitchen, and found it here. And although indeed banal, it was a remembrance of things past: my only visit to Ikea (the Nottingham branch, since you ask, around the year 2000). Depicted above is my own piece of installation art from this visit. Curators will note that the tall pile of tiny bowls signifies the many, while the solitary one signifies the few. The rug signifies a rug, and the fact that it is nearly the same colour as the bowls (I must have been having an orange/yellow day) is an interpretation of the uniformity of existence. I call this work 'All I Own from Ikea".
To be fair, Gillick is quoted as saying that the kitchen is "between Ikea and something much more modern". But it is still true that I have no inclination to return to Ikea. Yes, some of their furniture and accessories are fine, and indeed lovely, and I applaud their use in many finely designed houses. But it is so large and ubiquitous a presence and so frequently used in whole house/apartment furnishing that it makes my heart sink, and I would rather feel that I have created my own space, or sourced it from a less dominant influence, even if it isn't a success.
Mind you, if anyone is going there anytime soon, please bring me back this rug. I'll cut off the Ikea label and no one will know.
Friday, June 5, 2009
This is the island and the cooking dresser, and below are the dining dresser, west window and the table. One day that'll be a round table...
Thursday, June 4, 2009
As with children's clothes, furniture designed for children is often nicer than that intended for adults. Why is that, I wonder? Do designers think grown-ups prefer dark brown and fuss? Are they right...?
Look at these beautiful Junior Chairs. They are made of ash, and the very helpful man running Little Dreamers jumped up and down on one of them when we bought them to show us how strong they are. There's a matching table as well. The chairs are currently discounted on their website.
[Photos from Little Dreamers]
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
He has asked whether we'd like our house to have a name. We thought perhaps a bilingual name, 'Casino Seaweed' in English (for local authenticity) and 'Cupán Tae?' in Irish.
Monday, June 1, 2009
In the early evening the girls go down to the sea for a last adventure on the sand and rocks before bedtime. Shells, crabs, feathers, seaweed, whatever they bring back appears in odd corners to keep the eternal tidy-up going. Some of it is designated their hoard and mustn't be touched.
Vivienne St Clair's beach paintings evoke these mellow days. Timeless and idyllic in their subjects, they remind me of sketches for children's books, coloured with impressionistic light.
Back home, I pause at the door to arrange my conference face: ‘My goodness I am tired, and I certainly had no fun, and I worked so much and drank so little, my goodness it is just such a relief to be back with you all.’ Meanwhile, he gets ready to throw the family at me like a rugby ball, and head out the door, and not come back for quite some time. We do not fight. Much. A mercy.
And, of the design of her many hotel surroundings, she has "a faint, geological interest in the tiling" of the bathrooms which are lent hope by "the possibility of a sewing kit".
The full article is well worth a read for its insight into airport and hotel life, so novel and entertaining for the occasional trip, so much of a setpiece if it is regular travel for work.