Sunday, June 27, 2010

my Lifestyle Tart

Now that I'm on holiday, I can sit around thinking stray thoughts. Uppermost in my mind is where the division lies between Culture and Lifestyle. I guess it's a point somewhere along the line between the Bayeux Tapestry and a roll of Designer's Guild flock wallpaper, but where exactly?

Tom Stephenson writes a compact but adorable Lifestyle blog, so I asked him what the answer is. He says,
'Lifestyle' is how we emulate the 'Culture' of those to whom we aspire. Culture is either acquired through exposure to generations of traditional practices ... or bought using hard cash ...
Lifestyle, he goes on to suggest, is "a natural, pinkish sort of high" that can be glamorised a lot more readily than culture.

[my facial recognition software struggled with this tart]

There may be some truth in that. This is what I call my 'Lifestyle Tart', glamorised through being placed on polka dots. It gives me that natural pinkish sort of high and is a staple for entertaining visitors, unless I'm being lazy and can only rise to a hand-purchased packet of chocolate biscuits.

If I consider this tart to be an art installation on my kitchen table, emblematic of transience or what have you, does it become Culture? If not, what is the Culture it aspires to emulate? Would you and Melvyn Bragg come round for a slice and help me out here?

Monday, June 21, 2010

don't cry for me, Blogtopia

I've always been resistant to change. When I discover that my favoured shade of Benefit lipstick has been discontinued, I consult the websites that promise to tell me how long I have to live so that I can stockpile a suitable quantity.

These themes of mortality and catastrophic discontinuation of cosmetics seem a bit bleak for a summer solstice, so I halfheartedly upload some images of high summer around our place.

[the washing drying in sunshine, bona fide Irish sunshine]

[the important contemplation of a butterfly]

[practising for the junior infants' sack-race]

But no, my heart isn't in it. Tom Waits on the CD-player and Hayden Carruth on the page are more in tune with that 3 a.m. feeling.

As though the lipstick crisis were not enough, our corkscrew has become Unreliable. Scottish Husband and I are thinking of Renewing Our Vows in the hope that someone will give us a new one, but that'll take a while to organise and, in fact, I haven't told him yet. Meanwhile, we are pitched past pitch of corkscrewlessness.

A comment flashes up on my screen. It's Anonymous from Romford, wondering whether I'd care to do some data entry from home in my spare time. I grimly moderate it. As though I had spare time! As though I could see beyond a future with no lipstick on this longest day.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Galway is where to be, and look, I'm already here

Here in Galway, we have a Film Fleadh coming up, and an Arts Festival, followed by the Galway Races. There we are, quietly pinning a flower to our best hat when the hordes descend upon us.

It's our own fault. We have gambling genes and a reputation for being merry and alternative that outweighs our lack of civic competence. We have ancestors for foreigners who want them, and the fancy G Hotel for international design blogger conventions. Our shops will sell you fascinators if you couldn't fit yours in the luggage compartment. We're not backward: there are parts of town where we have embraced the modern way of life and inflict the tyranny of three for two on consumers who only want one.

We have a coastline. Drive very slowly along it in your retro VW camper van, pointing in admiration and holding us up. Gather our endangered orchids and bog-cotton for your apothecary jars. Photograph our quaint Irish road-signs. Dive in our world-famous seas and dance in our world-famous dives.

You'll find me on a fine soft day in Builín Blasta or O'Grady's on the Pier, or having afternoon tea in the Meyrick as though the fray on the streets were imagined. If you're John Lanchester, here for the Festival, I'll whip out my ancient copy of The Debt to Pleasure and tell you that I've waited years for this moment. If you're not, don't mind those Pink and Blue Children running riot; they're not mine. Sit down and let me buy you a drink.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

in the slow lane

I've been driving in the slow lane this week. All the things that lifestyle bloggers do, I've neglected.

I didn't open an online cushion emporium, or write a book, or attend a glittering blogger soirée. I won no giveaways. There have been no wins since 2009, since you ask.

David Byrne didn't come to tea. I wasn't mentioned in Vogue's list of the top ten wearers of a new silk and linen mix cropped cardigan in pinkish-mauve. I formed no suitable opinions.

I was not beset by inner doubt, wallpapered no armoires, artfully arranged no flowers and made no yogurt. My children didn't win the Picturesque Children contest. It was rigged.

I only commented on your blog because I couldn't let so significant and important a post pass me by. Other than that, all I did was tidy the kitchen dressers.

Not that they're ever untidy.

Now I'll sit around reading choux pastry recipes until someone asks for my autograph. And then I'll get back on the tour bus again.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I discover folding cake stands

Scottish Husband likes petrol as much as I like sofas. He wants to get his biking gear out of the attic and buy himself a motorcycle. "What colour and model do you think I should go for?" he asks, politely involving me in this important decision.

"Blue for the tears," I suggest, "black for the night's fears; the stars in the night don't mean nothing to you - they're a mirror. And it must have high handlebars."

But no, apparently this response is not couched in motorcycle-speak and will not do. Before the whole thing degenerates into a Name That Tune contest, I adeptly change the subject to cake stands. We seldom disagree on cake stands.

Scottish Husband, still in a machinery state of mind, mentions that we could get a folding cake stand. I have never heard of these!

Armed with my trusty Google search button, whole new worlds open before me. Aha! I had seen them before on my constant quest for the best afternoon tea in Ireland, but I hadn't realised that they fold.

I must have one! I bet Gwen Stefani has one. I guess you want one too, now that you know that they fold. Is there going to be a global run on folding cake stands?
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