Sunday, 30 January 2011



These were taken at Rutland Water, one of the largest artificial lakes in Europe (oh, the places I go!). It was constructed in the 1970s by flooding an area called the Gwash valley (along with the few villages in the valley). This church was rescued - in a sense: the lower part of it was supported, the ground around shored up to protect it from the water, and it now acts as a museum, telling the story of the creation of the reservoir. Which is slightly weird, I think.


I am staying with my mum and dad in the east midlands (the countryside-ish!). things i like:
  • looking out the sunroof of our car at night and seeing stars unobscured by the streetlamps and smog. you don't get those clear, dark nights in the city. orion (the only constellation i really know) was so bright.
  • that my mum has a framed picture of george harrison on a windowsill.
  • i could see my own breath when making breakfast yesterday morning. this house does not retain heat (good excuse for lots of hot water bottles and blankets).
  • wild damson jam, bought from the market (and chatting to the man who made it about how much he loves damson jam).
  • that we are going for a walk and taking a picnic and it is minus one outside (maybe you who live in colder climes do this all the time?)

Thursday, 27 January 2011


Iron men (one by the Thames, one in Camden)

The red light around the edges is a lesson in why never to open your camera before you are sure the film has wound itself all away.


that day it was almost like summer.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


This is one of my favourite songs at the moment. I love all the suprising noises (vacuum cleaner!), the drum beat and melody - but it is more than that; it is simple, and beautiful, and her voice is full and real.

And then the spinning at the end, sound cartwheeling on and on.

And not least, the words.

Thursday, 20 January 2011


'Before Will could move, Balthamos said, 'I've decided what I must do. I must stay with you day and night, and do it cheerfully and willingly, for the sake of Baruch. I shall guide you to Lyra, if I can, and then I shall guide you both to Lord Asriel. I have lived thousands of years, and unless I am killed I shall live many thousands of years more; but I have never met a nature that has made me so ardent to do good, or to be kind, as Baruch did. I failed so many times, but each time his goodness was there to redeem me. Now it's not, I shall have to try without it. Perhaps I shall fail from time to time, but I shall try all the same.'

Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass

I think this is a wonderful description of love.

Saturday, 15 January 2011


Currently rereading the His Dark Material trilogy (books are a fine breakup remedy). I am quite taken with the bookcovers of the Hebrew version of the series:

Northern Lights
The Subtle Knife
The Amber Spyglass
I first read them when I was thirteen or fourteen, and I think that revisiting any book read (and loved) as a teenager is such a powerful experience: it brings back that intense sense of adventure and possibility, of absorbing myself so completely into a different world and into the story itself.

I don't think that 'adult' books are any less imaginative than those for children, but rarely now do I submerge myself in the world of a book in the same way; it's just not the same experience. It isn't lesser, or less-involved... but perhaps it is not quite so consuming - perhaps not quite so selfish (not imagining oneself at the centre of the book, letting the characters be themselves).

Friday, 14 January 2011


I was flicking through my ipod recently (I thought I should make an effort to listen to more than four bands) and settled upon an album I like a fair bit years ago, but hadn't had much time for since: Fionn Regan's The End of History.

Somewhere nearish the end of the song above, Fionn mentions a book by Paul Auster, Timbuktu. I read that book because of this song (he also mentions Saul Bellow, but I never quite had the energy to try). And I enjoyed it; it's narrated by a dog, Mr Bones, and follows his life as the pet of a homeless man, Willy G. Christmas.

It got me wondering whether I'd been introduced to any other authors or books in this manner.

In Go Long, Joanna Newsom plays upon the tale of Bluebeard, a terrifying aristocrat who makes his way through several wives, violently murdering each one. The myth follows his newest, young wife and her discovery of the fate of her predecessors. I am in complete awe of the song, and scouted out as much as I could about the myth... which led me to Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber, a fantastical collection of short stories (the title story being that of Bluebeard).

I think they are the only two that have directly led to me reading a mentioned / connected author; has anyone else found a book because of a song?

And of course, songs that reference books or authors is a whole category in itself; maybe I should make a mixtape.... what could be on it?

Thursday, 13 January 2011


how to feel:

sad / relieved / jealous / angry / excited / dulled / confused / owed something more.

attachment is so, so strange. what will i miss, what do i already miss? the presence of someone at the end of a phone, knowing that i won't be able to share something i saw (welcomed or not).

and then, the realisation that maybe i have lost nothing, because his feelings had changed. can you lose something you only thought you had?

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


fuck. heartbroke again.

(any advice?)

Saturday, 8 January 2011


Music Visualizations, Synchoric Orchestra dancing Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, first performed in 1919 at Shawn's Grand Ave.

I spent a good couple of hours searching The Commons on Flickr. If you haven't yet, I suggest you go and take a look: it's a collection of the world's public photography archive, and contains pictures from galleries, museums and libraries around the world.

Ruth St. Denis in 'Rhada'. (This is not from The Commons, but the New York Public Library's stream).

As I seem to be on a dancey theme: I have just watched the most stunning pas de deux, and will have to watch it at least four more times before I get over this feeling of heartsqueezedness, breathlessness. It's Marianela Nunez and Edward Watson, in Wayne McGregor's Infra:


A couple of nights ago, for the first time in a long while, I dreamt about becoming a bird.

How many times I have wished for a metamorphosis, to discard the me that wasn't good enough and replace her with someone sparklier, more at ease, more likeable. From an early age buying into the capitalist doctrine that possessions can raise your social status (that through them you can ensure approval, be liked). Believing that being attractive to men would give me worth. Knowing that the things I liked weren't by the girls I wanted to be, and knowing this made me inadequate. I spent so long trying to change, willing myself to wake up different, and getting more and more angry at the brain that was holding me back, that was innately wrong.

How crushing that mentality; how hard to totally reject it.

In my dreams, I still transform to escape. Feathers push through skin, eyes become keener, and I jump from my old bedroom window to rise above rooftops. Some part of me still looks to this to alter my situation; still holds onto the belief that contentness could only follow such a complete transformation of myself.

photo by Vivian Maier

Thursday, 6 January 2011


'I looked at Pip and for a split second I felt as though she were nobody special in the larger scheme of my life. She was just some girl who had tied me to her leg to help her sink when she jumped off the bridge. Then I blinked and was in love with her again.'

Something that needs nothing, Miranda July

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


A.J. Russell image of the celebration following the driving of the "Last Spike" at Promontory Summit, U.T., May 10, 1869

'In the course of the nineteenth century, time ceased to be a phenomenon that linked humans to the cosmos and became one administered by technicians to link industrial activities to each other. It changed the way people imagined their world... Midway through that century, Henry David Thoreau was living at Walden Pond, outside the community but near the railroad line. Standard time had not yet regulated America, but the railroad already dominated the experience of time. Thoreau commented, 'I watch the passage of the morning cars with the same feeling that I do the rising of the sun, which is hardly more regular. Their train of clouds stretching far behind and rising higher and higher, going to heaven while the cars are going to Boston, conceals the sun for a minute and casts my distant field into the shade, a celestial train beside which the petty train of cars which hugs the earth is but the barb of the spear... They go and come with such regularity and precision, that the farmers set their clocks by them, and thus one well-conducted institution regulates a whole country.' The railroad had eclipsed the sun.'

Rebecca Solnit, Motion Studies: Time, Space & Eadward Muybridge