Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Clash is the cream. of the proverbial crop.

I know I haven't posted any pictures in far too long.
Partly because I'm enjoying pretending I live here, and do not take pictures of things.

That is actually one of my favorite ways to be a tourist. Act like I'm not. Whatever it is that makes people say to me in the States, "you look European", it makes people ask me for directions. Then I talk, and their faces fall. But the first thing I say is that I have an atlas, so they don't run away, and I get to do my good deed for the day.

Today, instead of being direct and taking the Tube home, I took a bus to London Bridge, which despite assumptions, is the architecturally boring one. Nothing else around there is boring, but the bridge most certainly is. I then walked over to Southwark, along the Thames, past the HMS Belfast,

and across Tower Bridge, which is the awesome one. Then past the Tower of London. I love walking past it like I don't notice it, but looking at it out of the corners of my eyes, the way one looks at attractive people on public transit. It was pretty attractive.

Then I sat on the tube and laughed internally at how funny people are. Like the lady sitting across from me who kept twitching unsettlingly and rattling her Evening Standard.

Anyway. I am listening to the Clash. They sort of ooze London. Something about their socially questioning lyrics,their quirky mix of punk and reggae, the stream-of-consciousness sound of the spoken-word verse over the continous-jam sound that they do so well....sort of sums up the experience of it.

and their little accents. Just tops it off.

"Know your rights! All three of 'em."

well done boys. elegant punks.
Maybe over the weekend I'll post pictures I actually took myself.
Right now I need to decide what to send home with my uncle.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

To A City

It’s hard to say, London, it’s hard or impossible to predict what’s next. But I think, I feel, I hope.

We may be better friends.

I would like to know you better. I would like to know you well. I would like to know you the way I know my favorite songs. I’d like to become part of you.

I found part of me in you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fashion is funny.

When I wear heavy music shirts/hoodies, people at (design) school are like "Oh, your shirt looks cool." They have no idea who the band is.

It tickles me. Not in a mean way: a compliment's a compliment.

Sorry I've not been taking a lot of pictures: Mum was here, so I let her take all the photos. I'll post some of hers and give a little recap: we basically only stopped walking/sightseeing to eat and sleep. For a week.
Pretty sure I can kick like a horse now.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

AAAANNND duplicate content.

Schwell. That was supposed to go on my creative blog. Can't be duplicatin'. Go follow it if you like. Here

A Verbal Image

The description of this blog is “a repository of images.” Images can also be verbal. I have a deep love for visual images, but I like to try my hand at the verbal ones as well.

With no further ado, here is an image of a journey, from Angel Station in Islington, London, to Earl’s Court, Chelsea, London.

Dusk is creeping in London. The clouds smirk of rain. There are brilliant, blue-white flashes coming regularly, no thunder. This is puzzling till I see the window of the photography studio, the flashes making people glance and hurry.

I stop at the entrance to the tube station. The inside is hot, grimy, and artificially lit.

No. I don’t want to be in the belly of a little worm train, snaking through the ground. The crisp air and gloom forbid it. It’s doubledecker time.

The bus is the 19, to Hyde Park Corner. The best seat is open: front row, top deck, left corner.

A few of the trees have icy Christmas lights on selected branches, wrapped around the wood, giving the trunks a different dimension. The bus pulls so close to its cousin in front of it that were I to kick through the tall window before me, I’d hit its red paint.

The street looks half mystery, half welcome, the pedestrians Jeykll and Hyde: I’l never know which. A tiny gray-white spider races around the folds in my hoodie, and in trying to remove him nicely, I partially sqush him. Sorry sir.

Spiders, in my experience, do not fall for the “here, climb onto my finger!” schtick as readily as other bugs. Ants are the same way.

Two girls sit across the aisle. They talk too much. Well, one does. The other sits, contained, graceful, staring vacantly, listening politely. Something about the way she’s sitting is feline. “And I’m like,no, she’s been dating this guy for awhile, I’d know if they were engaged….That was so, like, stereotypical of him..”

Fascinating. Really.

I take a deep breath, and think: “SOMEone hasn’t bathed since the Dark Ages.”

Two policemen mosey along Cambridge Circus, talking easily to their companion, a man in street clothes. The metal points on their helmets glint sharp in the dark. Shaftesbury pulses with flashing bulbs on theater signs.

Contentment has snuck up on me. Like when you swallow hot coffee in the morning, and the warmth and vitality shivers through you. Can’t force it, can’t detain it. It simply is. Like art.

The bus goes past the Ritz Hotel. Once merely a family name, now an adjective and an empire. Its spangly, lightfooted ants scurry in and out of their anthill, trailing wealth like perfume.

I put a pound into a man’s hard, dirty hand, at the entrance to the Hyde Park Corner Station. He was the most cheerful person I’d met all day. And he is likely homeless, with only his blanket seat and a Styrofoam cup of coffee to his name. He said “Thanks, darling!” as if I were an old friend giving him cookies instead of a stranger with cold coin. That kind of courage deserves my pocket change, while I have it.

As I stood waiting for the train, I was looking at the boards and nails on the tunnel wall, and realized that they were not a painting. The stark lighting on the white paint made it look like hyper-realist art, and every time I looked at it again, I had to remind myself it was actual nails, actual plywood, not canvas.

I get off the train and think about putting my hood up to disguise the fact that I have earbuds in, since it’s dark, then remember being carded at Proms while attempting to obtain a Pimm’s and lemonade. I look younger with a hood up: also it hides my slightly-rougher-than-Chelsea half-hawk.

Pull open the satisfyingly heavy front door, breathe deep, and think happily, “somewhere, someone in this house is making nachos.” There was something comfortingly American about the smell of nachos.

Good night.

London is not a grid.

That title...there is a screenprint hiding in that title. I'll find it. It's evading me yet.

Cities are forbidding when my attitude is forbidding. If I'm feeling receptive, then they are an enchanted, screwed up adventure. You know why I can navigate London well? It is flat. Chicago is confusing to me. There is no sense of area. It's too tall. too many skyscrapers. Too many corners with the same Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks on the corner underneath the same soot-stained skyscraper. This is not an accident. London has height restrictions on buildings, due to the historical nature of some of their sightlines: St. Paul's, for example. Also, the buildings and the sense or feel of the neighborhoods are distinct. You could also call that diversity, I guess.

The compounded layers of the history, the differences, the varied influences in each place, each region, make it easier to navigate. It nearly makes up for the lack of grid.

On that subject. London is intuitive, navigationally. If I've been somewhere only once before, I can almost always find it again by intuition. The curve of the streets, the landmarks, the buildings, the tube stations, imprint themselves on my mind, and when I am trying to find a place a second time, my mind recognizes the pattern and before I have time to truly think about it, I know where I am. And isn't that kind of what intuition is? The recognition of patterns, feelings, vibes, aura, all that stuff and how it interacts with you and the world.

I think that's what learning is. Both intuitive and logical. It is a scaffolding in your head, linking neuron to neuron, memory to facts to feelings to senses. And you know you've truly learned something when it fits in that neural scaffolding like a puzzle piece.

I remember the streets, but always in relation to other things. If I were to draw London, the streets would be there, but there would be other things in equal measure: tube lines, landmarks, neighborhoods.

I rarely get entirely lost. Rather, I lose my way. There is a difference. Losing my way is easy to remedy, usually. For several reasons,I've decided.

I like observing. If something is unusual or visually interesting or disturbing, I will remember it, and where it was.

I'm a designer. Doesn't seem to relate, does it? Well, it does.
An excellent drawing professor I once had told me that drawing was a constant flipping back and forth between your intuitive side and your logical side, between the left and the right brain. Design is the same. It requires you to express an aesthetic, an emotion, a feeling, a look, in an object while retaining its practical use.

So, I do that every day. I practice it, because I love it. Such that there is a decently strong connection between the left and right halves of my brain. When I'm trying to find my way, the pattern recognition of my intuition combines with the cold hard facts in my reason.

Also one should never be ashamed to ask directions. Courtesy is key.

The last thing: I like to know stuff for myself. I love to explore. I lose my way on purpose if I have the time.

It pays off.

Oh! and this is weirder yet. I hate highways. They confuse the living daylights out of me. Because I'm going too fast to observe, and because the threat of collision requires that I keep my eyes on the road. more so than walking, or even biking. Though biking in London, believe me, is a strange middle ground. You can be hit by a car, but you're not going so fast as you would on a highway.Neither truly pedestrian nor driver. Rider. You're a rider.

I think, actually, that in only one month and a week of living in London without a car (I've been in a car twice, and it was a cab both times.THE WAY THEY DRIVE....!!!)Anyway, in that time, I have a mental map of London that compares pretty favorably, to my mental map of Minneapolis, as well as Hudson/River Falls. Where, collectively, I've spent 20 years. That is strange.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Final Answer.

I hate, hate, hate, hate, the question "What kind of music do you like?"

That is an impossible question. Genres don't work, for within each genre are brilliant artists and people who aren't even artists, they just have a record contract. There are people who don't have a record contract. And there seems to be an expectation that one only likes a few kinds of music.

Well yeah, there are some genres that I don't appreciate the general sound of. Mainstream rap and pop. Country. Opera.

But aside from that, here's the real answer. I like music that is alive.

Norah Jones.
The Clash.
Sufjan Stevens.
Yann Tiersen.
Skinny Puppy.
Balkan Beat Box.
The Sex Pistols.
Daft Punk.
Marilyn Manson.
Jars of Clay.
Jon Foreman.
Iggy Pop.
The Glitch Mob.
Hans Zimmer.
Sigur Ros.
Ella Fitzgerald.
Motionless in White.
Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster.
Gogol Bordello.
Sondre Lerche.
Phil Keaggy.
Flogging Molly.
The Ramones.
Jimi Hendrix.
Johnny Cash.
Lady Gaga.
Andrew Bird.
Becoming The Archetype.
The Misfits.
Joy Division.
The Velvet Underground.
Bob Dylan.
Chastity Brown.
Leonard Cohen.
The Chariot.
Arcade Fire.
Louis Armstrong.
J.S. Bach.
Eyedea and Abilities.
Pink Floyd.
Aesop Rock.
Paper Diamond.
The Devil Wears Prada.
The Tallest Man on Earth.
The White Stripes.
Fever Ray.
The Beatles.
Regina Spektor.
The Rolling Stones.
Bright Eyes.
Bob Marley.
The Cure.
Olafur Arnalds.
We Butter The Bread With Butter.
Gustav Holst.

Asking me which kind of music I like best is like asking what facet of a diamond is most beautiful.
It's a silly question.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Liberty in the UK

OOOO0000ooooo you thought I was going to say anarchy. they have that too.
But the Liberty I speak of is the most heavenly department store I have ever had the pleasure of entering. Bar none.

It is basically a haven of all things beautiful. Fabric. Yarn. Haberdashery. Christmasy things. Furniture. Other homey things. Handbags. Shoes. Paper. Things to color the paper with.

I mean, there is an entire hall (and i say hall in the sense of Vikings-could-have-lunch-here) devoted to scarves.

Go there. I will say no more, except to give you photos. I took only one photo inside, and felt like I was violating a sacred contract.

And the area outside is incredibly cute, and incredibly expensive. It reeeeeeks of money. And at that point, I had a small revelation.

I am not the judge of rich people. I know I'm comparatively rich. But there is something in me that dislikes the facade of perfection there, and elsewhere. It just doesn't jive with me. I like conflict. Personality. Idiosyncracy, a little whiff of anarchy. I thrive on that. Liberty I somewhat exempt from this, because it has oodles of personality and a smidge of dark whimsicalness.

But it's a free market world in London, and if them folks want to buy all that stuff up, I won't stop them. Their life.

And I also encountered a zombie pub crawl. And a troop of about ten men dressed as superheroes. (too much spandex, not enough muscle.)All in Oxford Circus. An apt name. The couple, when I asked for their photo, I couldn't understand a word and was trying to deceipher whether they'd said yes or no....oh WAIT, you are beyond smashed, you're friendly, and YOU WON'T REMEMBER A THING. *snappity snap*
in retrospect, maybe they weren't a couple....

Then to Green Park, and more lessons in capitalism.
In Green Park, there are a bunch of green-and-white striped lawn chairs as you come out of the tube stop. Being tired, I sat down. I was just reflecting on how nice it was of whoever to put those chairs there, when I and two other travellers were informed by a snarky little man in a neon vest that the chairs were not free, they were 50 p.

FAIL. Not on my part. Oh no. An epic, epic fail on the part of the lawn-chair schemer. For all around me, under the cozy gray sky and the towering autumn-clad trees, through all of Green Park, were benches and lovely green grass. And no smirky people charging 50 p.

KEEP YO LAWN CHAIR, BUCKO. Schemes like that only work if I have no other option, and praises be, you haven't monopolized the snuggly vegetation and park benches.

I made some dry, nondescript reply and moved off to freer butt-resting spots.
The other two people did the same. There was no one else sitting.

(i'm sure he probably makes money when the park is more crowded and the weather's warm, but at that moment, it was ludicrous. Laughable. silly.)

Ennyhow. I'm tired. Sometimes I want to be out in this kind of weather, but sometimes all I want is my screen, a book, a project, and the window.

OH HA. the window. Last thing. I was wondering lately why I could hear all the street sounds so crystal clear. Then one day I glanced up at the top of the window frame. There is a clean gap, big enough for me to stick my hand in, between the edge of the frame at the top, and the actual structure of the wall. There is a hole in the wall. I never.

I want soup.

Friday, October 7, 2011

alert: pretentiousness awaits in this post.

There is so much whining in the world, guys. So much. It frustrates me. It is such an utter waste of breath, time, life, opportunity.
SO. at the risk of becoming a whiner about whining (INCEPTION JOKE HERE) (I HAVEN'T SEEN INCEPTION. YES I AM A SORT OF NORMAL HUMAN.)
i give you the photo that absolutely, completely, perfectly sums up my reaction to said whinging and whining.

Good night.

it is a SMALL WORLD. and i like libraries.

I am sitting at the moment in the lobby of The British Library, parasitically using the internet. Well, not really.

Also, maybe this happens to other people all the time, but it had never happened to me before. I posted this photo I took in Camden Town on Saturday on Tumblr. I don't usually put the place and day taken, but I did.
And in all the spiderwebbyness of the internets, the girl in the picture found and reblogged it. funny.

anyway. This place is quietly intelligent, worldly-in-a-good way. The tagline is "The world's knowledge" and I guess that's about the best way to sum it up. However, I don't have any proof of my address, so I don't know if I can be a member here. Oh well. Great place for studying.

I promised myself I would not have anything so common as Starbucks in London. But then i was ridiculously thirsty, and I had a vision of a venti chai frappucino made with half-and-half and extra chai and espresso, and brain simultaneously recalled that there was a Starbucks down the street and that was the end of that resolution. They also have these little lollies that I used to beg for every time Mom took us into Starbucks, but I've not seen them in American Starbucks anymore. and then I sat on the curb and drank it and watched Oxford Circus rumble on.

On Friday I went to Regent's Park. At dusk, with the leaves just starting to fall and the gardens still in bloom, I thought I'd walked into an enchanted kingdom or something. The photos won't do it justice, but they're better than nothing.

ah it relaxes me simply to think of it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I AM GOING TO CATCH UP. i promise.

But for now, here is a little thingie i wrote in Journalism class this afternoon. It is probably no good as a news story, but it's not being graded, it's funny, and she was NOT CLEAR on what we were supposed to be writing. And I had half an hour.

anyway. whining over.
Movie Review into News Story. -
Found in The Daily Flare, a Martian tabloid

Shortly after a catastrophic Earthling wedding, which ended with the groom
killing himself and the depressed bride estranging her entire family,the
rogue planet Melancholia collided with Earth, resulting in the end of that

The bride had had an elaborate wedding planned by her siblings, though
she was deeply depressed and not interested in worldly fanfare. To make
matters worse, her estranged parents fell out further during the event,
resulting in unhappiness all around. Some have even speculated that the
anger and ill-will generated by the wedding attracted the attention of the
sentient Melancholia, who decided to end the wedding and the Earthling

Though we mourn the end of that unhappy family and the rest of the
human race, a more pressing concern is the abundant space debris
resulting from the collision, which poses a terrible threat to the
inhabitants of Mars. Regardless of the cause,the debris of Earth will
continue to be a problem requiring the most creative Martian solutions. We
suggest contacting your local community leaders with ideas, as the issue is

(I made up the part about the Martians, the sentient planet, and the
debris. The movie apparently involved little more than a terrible wedding
and the end of the world. The movie was Melancholia.)

yes. I have break from LCF classes for two weeks. I intend to chill, sleep, explore, make things, and BLOG. there is half a post on regent's park waiting for pictures that will make the pretty-loving part of your brains verrrry happy. so. let me go finish my homeworks SINCE IT'S 4:03. (parents, I promise I've only stayed up like this once, no twice, since I left. I'm normally painfully responsible, of course...)
grood night.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

much blogging.

There is so much to catch up on i don't even know where to start......since i last blogged....Tate Britain, worldwide squees, Museum of London, Lucie finds the Tardis, Regent's Park, Camden Town, night so late it's early, and as previously stated, sore muscles.

Well. Eat an elephant one bite at a time. Let us first betake ourselves to the beautiful Tate Britain.
It is on the banks of the Thames, and there are charming benches set on brick pilings so you can see the water as you sit, and not just a brick wall. Being me, I climbed onto the wall instead of the bench. Here's me not falling in the Thames.

yes yes ok.

now the inside. This is all British artsies. I tell you, the London, it has the stellar museums. stellar I say.

I believe this was called "Athlete Wrestling with a Serpent"

And this piece of art will forever remind me of Anne of Green Gables, and the fateful reenactment of Ophelia's death, wherein people nearly drown. So, I giggled when we got to this one, because it's a hilarious part in the book, and everybody looked at me funny.....smatter, people, didn't you have a childhood.....

for some reason, when i looked at this one, it seemed the most perfect pictorial representation of the word "pride" i had ever seen.

And some Bacon. Weird stuff.

Ah, this one. By John Singer Sargent. It was in a lovely book I had as a kid, no idea where it went. Regardless, I spent hours poring happily over that book, and immediately on seeing this it brought childhood and security and happily amusing myself for hours back. And it's pretty.

aha then there was an area where you could make a drawing and hang it up. An unknown stranger contributed the beautiful man-in-hat piece, and I did the little mermaid gem. And yes, I hung them up.

This one really struck me to the point that if I were filthy rich, I would have tried to buy it. It's basically The Thinker, threatened by the bayonets of fascism. Painted around WWII, I believe.

And to end, I think this chandelier was my favorite. Skinny Bunny Rabbit was cool too.