A Christmas Evening

img_4503I laid the loaf of sourdough bread down on the floor, alongside my faux fur and handbag.  “Jeez, it’s hot in here”  I said to my Goldie Hawn Lookalike (GHL) of a neighbour.  A glass of Walter’s Royal Riesling Sekt Brut in hand I spied the canapés on offer.  Geraldine – the generous owner of Raoul’s and solely responsible for starting off this annual Christmas event in the ‘hood noted it.  “It’s okay, every year our glasses get mixed up with The Winery’s next door, but eventually they find their way to the right home.”

I was glad about that, because even as I sampled the Riesling from David’s wine gaff, I had one eye on Raouls’ Prosecco – both pink and white on offer.

The chat started to flow, a local beautician joined us as we talked botox, Trump and blind dates in no particular order.  Niblets of chorizo and beds of bruschetta laiden with mozzarella, pesto and dried tomatoes stimulated the taste buds, and before I knew where I was I found myself one glass of rosé bubbly down.

“Let’s go next door!” GHL cried.  It seemed a good idea, as we were down to our last sophisticated sausage roll and the hostess of the evening had bade us ‘goodnight’.
“I’ve got a piece to publish tonight and Christmas cards to write, I can’t stay out much longer..!”
“Just one!” she replied.

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Kenzo Tiger

img_3979I woke surrounded by Tiger print.  Red and pink Tiger print.  Had it all been a dream? A glance at the receipt and an inspection of photos on my phone said otherwise.

A delightful invitation to a preview of Kenzo for H&M had me planning every minute of the week (not to mention a year in advance) beforehand with my plus one.  For a diehard long term committed fan of the H & M annual fashion designer collaboration, this one had special resonance: An opportunity not to get up at 5am and queue for days to be first in line, plus the fact that Kenzo, one of the 80’s designers has a special place in my heart.   Always just beyond reach of my shoulder padded purse in those heady days, would H&M work their magic on this designer brand’s less acute following in the last couple of decades and up the ante again?

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Frieze!

img_3756I tweeted H: ’Unfortunately it’s sold, so I can’t get it for you.’
‘Where is his nose?’ came the response. I ignored the question, after all a bust of this Hellenistic King from mid century BC was bound to come a cropper at some point in the last few centuries.

Frieze Masters hosted this fine piece of art along with many others of repute and fame, their makers well established in art history vernacular. From Picasso to Bonnard, Dali to Louise Bourgeois, these were all artists we can agree on as having made it. The elite hush of this particular part of Frieze held a reverence indicative of solemn recognition and certain provenance, to say nothing of sky high prices.

Across a cooling October park lay Frieze London.

I headed to the bathrooms, noting that Julie Verhoeven was performing a piece of her art there entitled ‘The Toilet Attendant … Now Wash Your Hands’. One of many works this year with a message cloaked in humour.

A blue strip of carpet led to the ladies, a pink to the mens. Once that initial confusion was dealt with I entered to the usual set up save a few trolleys dotted about laden with the tools of a loo attendant’s trade.  I spied the artist suitably dressed in the latter’s regalia.

‘I just want you to know, I’ve washed my hands’ I said.
‘But did you put the loo seat down?’ she asked, ‘It’s amazing how many people don’t.’ ‘Well, that could be because they’ve become confused by the blue and pink carpet. Perhaps you would find that if you went into the mens all the loo seats would be resting in situ between visits.’
‘Ha!’ she replied. ‘Maybe.’

Through the fair I wandered, stopping in my tracks for some pieces, marvelling at them, rendered mute by others such were the thoughts and feelings provoked.

I heard my name being called:  An old acquaintance from the 90’s, and art collector. I told him about Julie’s work.  ‘Did she ask you for a pound? Is that how artists are making money these days?!’ he laughed.

The question’s answer is potentially the same as it was in mid century BC as it may be in 50 years; a benefactor, menial work or connections – the way the pendulum swings dependent on our appetite for and willingness to appreciate another narrative to our daily lives.

Frieze Art Fair until 9th October, Regent’s Park, London.

Leaves on the Tarn

p1080223From Toulouse to Gaillic: Graffiti decorated station buildings, small maintenance boxes and animal sheds strewn in the fields we slowly pass, stamped with the mark of ‘I was here’ in street art language.

A well outside a front door of a small home dwelling.  Shuttered properties that lead to my perennial fascination with where everyone is in France.  Towns we stop at so quiet and boarded up, it’s like everyone’s left for the day, or perhaps longer if no glow is to be seen coming from doorways and windows that night.

Corn has been harvested from by now dry golden stalks. Sunflower heads drop in the subdued blue of a sky that says September, not summer.

And the leaves. The leaves on trees in the Tarn.  Just October, they’re greeny golden, a slow metamorphosis into the blazing oranges and reds they’ll become by the end of the month.

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New Term

img_3540Just in the door, my Skype rang. It was Fifi from Ibiza.  “Everyone’s gone home” she said, “The whole family. The temperature’s dropped and the campsite’s finally calming down.”

I relayed how I’d just been sitting on a bench in the park with a hot cup of tea for company as the smoky smell of autumn drifted towards me, leaves on the ground around my stillness; serving as a carpet to crunch through on the way home.

“I crave nature these days” I said.
“You’re not the only one.  Practically every guest I’ve had a conversation with this season has told me of their yearning for countryside, greenness and simplicity in life” Fifi replied.

Later that evening I bounded up the steps of my choir’s rehearsal venue, literally grinning with glee in anticipation.

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Village of Beauty

img_8950“It’s gives you a break, that’s the most important thing” Kamila told me as she explained the Jean d’Estrées Vitamin C Facial.  “And, that’s what we’re about too, we like people to come here – men, women, couples, groups of friends, basically everyone can be together and get everything done.  We’re like a one stop shop for relaxation through treatments.”

I can testify that to be the truth, as I have now had various beauty treatments at this local emporium – one more delicious than the next – from mani/pedis to a massage to various other more intimate ones.  However, this, the facial, was what I really longed for.  Anything, but anything that can give me a break from daily hecticness more than floats my boat. Plus, if it’s good enough for A-Listers such as Luke Evans, then it’s good enough for me.

The familiar strains of Stevie could be heard as we discussed the options: ‘’till you come back to me, that’s where I wanna be’.

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Pokemon Olympics

 

IMG_3328What do the Olympics and Pokemon have in common?  Well, not much really except that they’re both topical and highly competitive.  So, when my suggestion to join my ‘nephew’ and his Mum at the Olympic park to hunt Pokemon was met by a youthful ‘Yeah okay’ that was enough encouragement.

I did the downloading and arrived at the beautifully landscaped venue of so many inspiring memories from 2012.  Alliums and long tall grasses gently swayed in the breeze, a blazing sun bounced off the River Lea and cyclists rode slowly past curvaceous benches, enjoying the sense of freedom and space afforded.

IMG_3322J came running towards me: “You need a name! Have you got one yet?”
“No – any bright ideas?”
We stood by the aquatic centre looking up at curves side-framing a blue sky.
“I don’t know – Helexium?”
“Whatever you say, you’re the expert.”

I punched in my virtual self’s new name, added a few numbers and I was off.

My first Pokemon appeared floating in front of me, hovering just above the grass.  I tried to zap him with the ball but to no avail.
“Here let me do it for you” J said grabbing the phone. “Gotcha! You got a Staryu, I’ll power it up, it’s only CP 11 though..”

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Norte and South

IMG_3249I’ve long been fascinated by graffiti and street art – from days of New York living where the subways trains rattled past spray-painted with a thousand colours.  By whom, I used to wonder, and when and how? The mystery of incognito people decorating vehicles and walls in the dead of night or when no one was looking intrigued me.

Fast forward to August 2016 and the opening of ‘Norte and South’ an urban art exhibition at Atzaró hotel in Ibiza, and it’s clear things have developed in that world.  Possibly the most beautifully situated luxury boutique hotel in Ibiza annually hosts a show of street artists whose work now fetches none too shabby prices, and adorn the walls of the most high spec villas and homes. In short – it’s moved from the outside in.

The artists’ names indicate anonymity: Sixe, Inkie, Vinz, Miss Van are some that together with the use of masks in many of the paintings perpetuate the theme of mystery and secrecy necessitated by illegal street painting.

I asked Inkie what the difference was between a graffiti artist and a street artist. “Grafitti is about making your mark by spray painting surfaces freehand – then you tag (sign) it – to show you’ve been there.  It’s a territorial thing.  If someone graffitis over an existing piece on a wall somewhere – there’s gonna be trouble..”

So far so understood.  But what about street art? “Well, that’s work produced using stencils and print.  It’s more iconic image based work.” I was getting the gist.
“And your name?” I asked, “Inkie?”
“You know, it’s like an ink fingerprint.”

It was all making perfect sense, until I spotted the magnificent ‘Dimensions’ by Sixe Paredes. Continue reading “Norte and South”

A Hot Day For Cycling

P1070915I picked up my means of transport.  It was hot, a damned hot Ibiza day, but I was on a mission to discover all there was to discover on the Orbea Optima electric bicycle.

Oscar, at Kandani showed me its features one by one and handed me a helmet.  I asked him about the charging element. “I’m a bit worried, Oscar, what if I’m half way to Santa Inés and I run out of juice?”
He paused, midway through adjusting the seat, raised his head and looked at me incredulously: “Nobody empty the battery in one day. Nobody.”

Feeling chastised but comforted at the same time, I smiled, sat on the comfy padded seat and waved goodbye. “Are you sure I don’t need the off-road model?” I called out to him.
“No, this is enough for you. Make sure you start off on ‘Tour’ and then move up to Turbo as you go.  Don’t start on Turbo or you will take off very quickly and that could be dangerous!”

Heading towards San Carles I felt the joy of minimal peddling and maximum speed.  Despite the heat, the teeniest breeze generated by the motion felt cool on my face.  I smiled from sheer joy.  Past heat-baked fields of ripening tomatoes, sprinklers freshened them and me as I motored by. Further on the scent of pines cut through dusty air, and the faint aroma of fig as I passed a tree laden with this sumptuous fruit waiting for its moment to drop.

How far would I go?  How far did I want to go? Would I climb the Sierra De La Malacosta or would I simply go to the beach?

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