Sunday, December 25, 2005

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Advent Calendar Surprise

I came home from the library today to find the most wonderful package in my mailbox. Direct from England, courtesy of my friend Charlotte, an advent calendar! While visiting last month, I complained to Charlotte that I couldn't find the old-fashioned advent calendars I had as a kid - they are now all filled with cheap chocolate. And I hate cheap chocolate - if Godiva produced advent calendars, then we'd be talking, but no such luck.

But now I have a cool snowman advent calendar (that even plays music) and I got to open thirteen little doors today to boot. It's feeling more like Christmas already.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Rocking with the Rheostatics

2am this morning. Me rocking out to the Rheostatics at the Horseshoe Tavern, so close to the speakers that half of the experience is feeling the music, so close to the band you could touch them, so oblivious to how late it is, how hot it is, how loud it is. Awesome.

I saw the third of ten consecutive nights that they play at the Horseshoe - if I didn't have a huge work deadline this week, I'd be going again. (Photo taken from last year's Winter Nationals stint at the Horseshoe.)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Brighton Pier: Two Photographs

These two photographs were taken from the window of the flat I lived in earlier this year in Brighton. A little colour on this seriously grey Toronto winter day.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Can You Feel The Love?

Everyone knows that I unabashedly love Oprah Winfrey and there was a time in university when I couldn't sleep unless I spent my nightly hour with Dave Letterman. So last night I stayed up and watched Oprah make her first appearance on Letterman in sixteen years. She was all gorgeous and nervous, he was all cute and serious for once...I could feel the love. Staying up late totally screwed up my sleep schedule, but it was worth it.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A Peaceful Wine Rack

Tonight I went to the One of a Kind Christmas Show and picked up a beautiful and very unique piece of furniture. Boites De La Paix takes old US army munitions boxes and restores them into useful, peaceful articles of furniture - standing wine racks (like the one I purchased), bookshelves, kitchen pantries, and CD holders among other things. My box dates from the Vietnam War and was shipped from Alabama in 1970. More about this great couple who create these beauties in this Gazette article.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Wall and Piece

I've blogged previously about my love for Banksy. While I was in the UK, I picked up the brand spanking new book Wall and Piece and it's truly fantastic. I particularly like the quote on the back cover:
"There's no way you're going to get a quote from us to use on your book cover" - Metropolitan Police Spokesperson

Monday, November 21, 2005

I Love Boxes

And so does Rachel Whiteread.

While I find installation art interesting, I love all of Whiteread's work that involves boxes. I collect them and her exhibit, Embankment, at the Tate Modern was wonderful. You can see the actual installation of the work here.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Epitaph for George Dillon

One of my favourite theatre venues in London is the Comedy Theatre, where on Wednesday I caught the matinee performance of Epitaph for George Dillon. Starring the striking Francesca Annis (who was just as brilliant as she was when I saw her in an Ibsen production a couple of years ago) and Joseph Fiennes, it was an interesting play for a couple of reasons.

There was an audible gasp from the female members of the audience when Joseph Fiennes walked on stage and though he's a fantastic actor, I couldn't get past the fact that he was kissing his sister-in-law on stage. While the play was written before Look Back in Anger, it didn't premiere until two years after the latter play's great success. It seemed to me like a warm-up for the alienation and asphixiating nature of the social climate of the 1950s that we all now recognize as being classic John Osborne. But there was something also a little different - whether this was due to the fact that the play was co-written by the largely forgotten Anthony Creighton or to the inexperience of an emerging voice is unknown. An interesting academic paper maybe, but I'm a little busy at the moment.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Edvard Munch By Himself

Just returned from a whirlwind six day trip to London. So many people to see, so much art to view, so many shops to hit (not to mention the actual reason for my trip - a Ph.D review). One of the exhibitions I went to was the above mentioned Edvard Munch By Himself at the Royal Academy of Arts.

The exhibit is primarily of Munch's self portraits, of which there are many. I had no idea, in fact, that Munch was such a prolific artist. The brushstrokes actually remind me a bit of Lucian Freud's self portraits, which is maybe why I liked the exhibit so much. However, Munch was certainly not a jovial fellow. Sickness, despair, paranoia, loneliness and death are generally the focus of much of his work. Even a still life painting of flowers was entitled "Flowers of Pain". Not a show for the depressed, but as usual the Royal Academy assembled a great display of Munch's work.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Death by Latte

Every Saturday morning, I swing by my local Starbucks and pick up a grande caffe latte to have while I read the paper. It would take 136.50 Starbucks Grande Caffe Lattes to kill me.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Welcome To My Library

Thanks to Robot Johnny I have a new obsession. Now you at home can take a peek into my library with the super cool Library Thing. I've spent the past two nights cataloguing my books - thank god I am doing this after cleaning out my library. Some bibliophiles would view this as sacrilege, but when I moved back into my loft this autumn, I just didn't have enough wall space for the number of bookshelves I would need to house all my books. So the rule was - if I wasn't going to pick up this book again (either because I loved it or still had to read it or would want to refer to something later) I got rid of it.

I'm not quite finished cataloguing my books here and as for the rest of my library which lives on Vancouver Island at my parents' house...well, I'll have to add those at Christmas. Here's my profile.

You will also notice in the sidebar is now a selection of books taken from my library at random (under my All Consuming list). This great little widget updates every twenty minutes. Enjoy snooping!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Things You Should Never, Ever Say

In the spirit of this latest chapter deadline, here's a comic from Ph.D Comics that is keeping me smiling at the moment. Not keeping me sane, but keeping me smiling.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Hallowe'en!

Carve your very own virtual pumpkin!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Zadie Smith On Beauty

This afternoon I attended the International Festival of Authors and saw Zadie Smith interviewed by Globe columnist Rebecca Caldwell. I previously blogged about my love for Smith's latest novel, On Beauty, and the interview didn't disappoint.

As much of the book takes place on a university campus (a reflection on Smith's recent nine month stint as a professor at Harvard) she talked about the study of literature at university. A most appropriate topic for me as I am currently buried in my Ph.D in said subject.

She pointed out how we never discuss the affective experience of reading a poem or novel in the classroom - that we ridicule this and try to be bigger or smarter than the work. Smith said that writing, for her, was an accidental, meandering experience and thus, some questions about specific areas of her work she felt she couldn't answer with much authority. It was refreshing to hear a writer say this, and her interview was honest and thoughtful. She was even patient with the ridiculous questions - much more so than I would have been.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Trains and Archives and Patience

I know that the British complain endlessly about their rail system, but any Brit would die if they found themselves on the ambling, stuttering Via Rail. I spent nine hours shuttling between Toronto and Ottawa in the past two days which gave me lots of time to fall in love with the latest Death Cab for Cutie album, watch four previously missed episodes of Six Feet Under, and panic about my Ph.D thesis.

Once I got to Ottawa, I spent a day in the National Archives. It was very cool - going through security, being ushered into a room with huge tables where the boxes containing my research were awaiting, wearing gloves as I sifted through old manuscripts and correspondence. Part of me wishes I had gone into Library and Archival Science - it would be so interesting to sort through literary collections and archive them. But I also know that I don't have even a quarter of the patience required for such a job. Enjoying someone else's hard work will just have to do.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35

Weeds premiered on Showcase last night and it's possible that it is my new favourite show. It is very smart and wickedly funny. To describe it using a multitude of other interesting television shows, Weeds has snappy dialogue a la Gilmore Girls, has unexpected humour a la Desperate Housewives, pushes boundaries a la Queer As Folk, and is essentially human a la Six Feet Under. The tandem of Mary Louise Parker and Elizabeth Perkins is brilliant and I can't wait until next week!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Literary News

Mere moments ago John Banville won the Man Booker Prize. A surprise win, as it often seems to be with the Booker over the past few years. I can't really comment on the award as the only novel from the shortlist that I've read is Zadie Smith's On Beauty, which I adored. Others have written far better reviews than I can and you can check out ones from the TLS and the New York Times.

Perhaps even more interesting than the awarding of the Booker Prize is the soon to be published memoir of Martyn Goff, who retired this evening after 35 years as administrator of the Booker. Now the scandals, secrets, and gossip can be confirmed and revealed when the tell-all is released by Simon & Schuster.

In other literary news, one of my favourite literary journals, Granta has been rescued by philanthropist Sigrid Rausing who has purchased the journal. Hoorah!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Scared of Dragons? Not Me!

I thought on this rainy Friday I would introduce my favourite childhood book. When I was little, spiders and monsters and other creatures hiding under my bed did not frighten me, but I was petrified of dragons. So my mother went out and bought me this book: There's No Such Thing as a Dragon written and illustrated by Jack Kent.

The story revolves around Billy Bixbee waking up one morning to find a cute, tiny dragon in his bedroom. He tells his mother about the little guy and his mother replies, "There's no such thing as a dragon." The day progresses and every time Billy's mother refuses to acknowledge the dragon it gets a little bigger....until finally the dragon fills the entire house. Crisis strikes when a bakery truck drives by and the dragon runs after it, dragging the house along with him. Finally Billy's mother notices the dragon and he shrinks back to his normal cute size and stays to live with the family. Ahhhhh. And now I'm not scared of dragons.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Reading on the Subway

When I'm on the subway, I will actually change seats so to get a better view of the book someone is reading. At the last publisher I worked for, we often debated potential book covers by asking, "Would you read this book with this cover on the subway?" And The New Yorker went looking for books left behind on the subway, collecting twenty four boxes of left-behind books from the lost property office at Penn Station and found this.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Passion Drove Me to Kill!

"Fifteen cents. That was the price of admission to a garish world of purple prose and smoking guns. Of square-jawed cowboys, relentless Mounties and world-weary police detectives. Of time travel, eldritch horrors and far-flung planets. Of bawdy cartoons, tragic love, romantic lumberjacks and women both virtuous and vengeful.

It was the world of the pulp magazines."

From the very cool new exhibit Tales from the Vault!: Canadian Pulp Fiction, 1940-1952.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

It's Evolution Baby

Today I am hungover, deaf, and have lost my voice.
Thank you Pearl Jam!

Last night was my fourth Pearl Jam show in the last nine years and was easily the best one. The crowd was loud and respectful, the band was tight and energized, and the setlist was awesome. Highlights were Blood, Black and You've Got to Hide Your Love Away....and then guess who shows up for a ceiling-lifting rendition of Rockin' in the Free World:

When I was fourteen, I borrowed Pearl Jam's Ten from a friend and copied it onto a cheap blank tape. It was the only tape I ever owned that I wore out and there's something magical about singing along to the songs that were the soundtrack of my adolescence so many years later. Just with a few vodka and sodas this time.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Harsh Times

Last night I saw Harsh Times at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was one of those films I probably would never have seen if it wasn't at the festival - too violent for my taste, not the kind of subject matter I find particularly interesting, and would something like this be worth forking out $12 for a ticket?

If this film comes to a theatre near you (though this may be doubtful - I can't imagine what it's rated) - it's well worth whatever they're charging for tickets. It is the brutally intense story of two lifelong friends, Jim (played by Christian Bale) and Mike (played by Freddy Rodriguez), who blow off looking for employment in favour of getting driving around the worst parts of Los Angeles with beer and dope and finding a whole lot of trouble. The screenplay is written by David Ayers of Training Day fame, and Harsh Times is his directorial debut.

I'm not giving anything away here when I say that I spent the entire film gripping the armrests while waiting for the characters to self-destruct - the audience is meant to feel that way and I could actually feel the stress of a couple hundred people rising in the theatre. The film is gritty and real and all consuming and Christian Bale's performance is brilliant. If you can stomach a lot of violence, a lot of stress, and an essentially sad story - see it.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Roger and Kim Take It

If only I had bet on my winners predicton. Full story here. At the end of the match today, Agassi said, "Thank you New York, it's been a great 20 years." Is he signing off?

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Death of Literary Correspondence

I read this interesting article in last Sunday's New York Times about how the use of email will be affecting literary biography. The problem, as the article indicates, is not that editors and writers are corresponding less, but that they are corresponding more - by email. And as Jonathan Galassi, the president and publisher of Farrar, Straus & Giroux points out, when email regarding the editorial process is saved, the delicious parts are often omitted. He says, "I try to save substantive correspondence about issues concerning books we're working on, or about our relations with authors, but I'm sure I don't always keep the good stuff -- particularly the personal interchanges, which is probably what biographers would relish."

On a personal note, while I was aware of the importance of saving email correspondence when I was working as a book editor, it almost always related to things that could come back and bite me later: deadlines, important decisions about the content of the book, and such. All of the interesting back-and-forth email about writerly influences, jokes, and personal details are out there floating around cyberspace.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Game Set Match

I took this photo from my front row seat at the US Open on Saturday - it was an amazing day of tennis. If you had been watching the Open on television on Saturday afternoon, you would also have seen me hit by a ball that was hit by Rafael Nadal. But that's okay, because he's cute....and he lost the game to James Blake. Many are calling this match I viewed the match of the Open.

While I love Wimbledon and its traditions, I enjoy attending the US Open more - the energy is amazing. From the music they pump out of the speakers surrounding the court while the players are warming up (Eminem, Snoop Dogg, JT) to the screaming fans to the huge amount of people packed into Arthur Ashe Stadium - it creates an atmosphere I've only ever felt at a select number of Stanley Cup final games. My winner prediction is: Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters.

Friday, August 26, 2005

A Birthday for Elvis

Robot Johnny celebrated Elvis Costello's birthday yesterday and included a photo of the two of us and Mr. Costello himself! It was Robot Johnny who introduced me to the wonder that is Elvis Costello and took me to my very first Elvis concert (where the photo was taken by the backstage door). I saw Elvis again this past February in Brighton and it was an amazing show. Check it out!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Guilty Pleasures

While on vacation in Victoria, my days have been full of guilty pleasures. Muffins I shouldn't be eating with my coffee in the morning, doing two crosswords a day, naps in the afternoon - but my guiltiest pleasure is the amount of television that I've been watching. I'm sure that living in a country with only four tv channels for the past year has exacerbated this guilty pleasure, but oh man, I've been watching a lot of shitty tv.

Two shows that I just can't get enough of at the moment are Crossing Jordan and House. I admit that I have a crush on two of the characters in these shows (which I am slotting into the category of guilty pleasure, as opposed to crazy person) - Garrett Macy and Gregory House. Which also means that apparently I have a thing for cantankerous, emotionally unavailable, older men.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Checking Out These Books

Last night the online cooperative library MyBookYourBook was launched. The premise: you pay a small annual fee (which is currently being waived for new members) and agree to donate ten paperbacks to the library. Then you can browse the online library and pick any book you wish you read. The email address of the person who has the book is sent to you, you send them a padded SASE envelope, and the book is sent to you. Five weeks later the book is re-entered into the library catalogue (so you have that long to read it) and you also have to repeat this process for anyone who wants one of your books. Whew. Are you with me?

This system is supposed to bring books you wouldn't normally read to your awareness (or basically - the paperbacks you either never read or abandoned because they were terrible are entered into the catalogue). I do understand this idea, but the brilliant Book Crossing does the same thing and doesn't cost a penny.

Also - MyBookYourBook is only available in the UK at the moment. And I can only see it working there due to the speed of Royal Mail which I blogged about in a previous post. I love anything that promotes books and reading, so three cheers for MyBookYourBook, but my local library is free and just as imaginative. And they have hardcovers.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Queer as Finale Fiasco

Last night the series finale of Queer as Folk aired in Canada and I think it may have topped Seinfeld in any disaster-finale competition. For a series that began as a thought provoking, boundary pushing, sexy as hell show, it ended with the cheesiest whimper you can imagine. Suddenly serious artist Justin saying to the suddenly boring old man Brian: "We don't need vows or rings to prove our love." I'm sorry, what happened to the ecstasy fuelled, fist pumping, no regard for societal rules or expectations attitude? It was replaced by one big, fat lame cliche.

It was as if the FCC suddenly mattered and it turned into a nice, family show. Michael and Ben adopt Hunter, the Human Rights coalition performs a press conference to make us feel warm and fuzzy and they ship the lesbians off to Canada. Or the writers couldn't figure out what the hell to do with other characters, so suddenly at Gay Ski Week, an old flame of Ted's turns up and some high school crush of Emmett's from whichever hick Southern state he's from magically appears and is, also magically, gay.

But don't take it from me. Take it from the lovely voiceover that plagued this episode, closing with the final words:
"So the "thumpa thumpa" continues. It always will. No matter what happens. No matter who's president. As our lady of Disco, the divine Miss Gloria Gaynor has always sung to us: We will survive.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Booker Prize Longlist

The Booker Prize longlist was announced today - a list I always find more intriguing than the shortlist. Not because the longlist will include some daring choices that the judges would never dare promote to the shortlist - they often do make it. But because the longlist will include some old dragon of an author who gets press because of who s/he is, but really the book is boring and I wonder just how much the advance was and if it will pay out. It's usually Martin Amis, but this year it appears to be Ian McEwan. His is the only one of the heavyweight books I have read and was so, so disappointed. I haven't gotten around to reading the Coetzee and Rushdie yet....why is it that just because you have won the Booker before, you have to be nominated for every subsequent book you write? Can anyone tell me if they are really any good?

Two of my summer reading books are on the list, and apparently, I have invoked some envy due to my advance reading copy of On Beauty. Always interesting is the Guardian blog and its take on literary events.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Can You Escape the Crimson Room?

My cousin Dawne sent me a most interesting link today. One that kept me captivated for over an hour until I finally managed to figure it out. Can you escape the Crimson Room?

One hint: remember the number 1994. (I tell you this because the original website on the memorandum which gives you this clue is no longer active.) Good luck!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Half-Blood Prince Is...

.....Ben Affleck! Okay, not really, but there will be no spoilers about the new Harry Potter posted here. I finished the book this afternoon and it lived up to expectation. I wonder, though, how some smaller kids deal with such sad and brutal events within a book. If the world of Hogwarts and Diagon Alley is as vivid to this muggle in her late twenties, how real must this world be to little ones? Nancy Drew was never this scary!

After deliberating about it all afternoon, I have decided that my favourites are now, in order:

1. HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban (#3)
2. HP and the Half-Blood Prince (#6)
3. HP and the Philosopher's Stone (#1)
4. HP and the Order of the Phoenix (#5)
5. HP and the Goblet of Fire (#4)
6. HP and the Chamber of Secrets (#2)

And now the long two or more year wait begins for the final installment.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

It's Summer and the Reading's Hot

I am now officially on vacation. Which means I can abandon the reading my thesis requires and dive into some other books I have been waiting to read. A friend of mine was brilliant enough to score me an advance reading copy of Zadie Smith's new novel, On Beauty, and though only about 70 pages into it, it's very good and very funny.

I had to put it aside briefly to read the new Harry Potter, which I am doing at the moment. I know that a lot of people give Harry and his readers a hard time, but frankly, I think these people are snobs. I have seen people with the new Harry tucked under their arm everywhere I've gone this past week and I think it's great. Imagine - a phenomenon that doesn't involve an ugly Louis Vuitton bag and one that gets people reading at the same time. In fact, I bet that the people who think Harry Potter books are lame are the same people that own Louis Vuitton bags.

Anyway...other books that I have in my possession and I will read over the next four weeks or so are:

Utterly Monkey by Nick Laird
Here Is Where We Meet by John Berger
And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos by John Berger
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
The People's Act of Love by James Meek

Monday, July 18, 2005

90210 Forever

So I'm watching Ellen this morning while basking in the glow that is finally being back with North American television, and what should be on but an impromptu mini 90210 reunion! Ellen had Luke Perry, Jennie Garth and Brian Austin Green all together in a group hug. Having seen every single episode of Beverly Hills 90210 I was, as you can imagine, on the edge of the couch in excitement.

And then I got thinking - poor Kelly Taylor (played by Jennie Garth)...she really went through a lot. In no particular order:

1. Lost her virginity by being raped.
2. Raped again.
3. Shot and killed her second rapist.
4. Cocaine addiction.
5. Eating disorder.
6. Shot in a drive-by shooting.
7. Amnesia due to shooting.
8. Accidental pregnancy.
9. Miscarriage.
10. Burned in a sorority house fire.
11. Had a stalker.
12. Mother an alcoholic.
13. Father perpetually in jail.
14. More bad news boyfriends than I can count.

Am I missing anything? I suppose I can always consult the Magic 90210 Ball. And the picture above? Had it on my wall when I was 12...around the same time I swore I would name my first-born son Dylan.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Welcome Home

To celebrate my return to Canada, the National Hockey League and the Players Association have decided to bury the hatchet and finally sign a new deal. Thanks boys. Game on!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Friday, July 08, 2005


As I pack up my flat in preparation for my move home to Toronto in a few days (how on earth have I accumulated so much stuff in just one year?) I've been thinking about the things I'm going to miss about the UK and the things I can't wait to return to in Canada. So here we go:

Top 3 Things I'm Going To Miss
1. The newspapers. While I enjoy my Saturday Globe and Mail and my Sunday New York Times, there is nothing like the huge selection of quality and not-so-quality papers in the UK. And the free stuff that comes with's, dvd's, free theatre tickets.
2. The culture. I've seen some incredible theatre, dance, and music this year that just doesn't compare to anywhere except maybe New York. Not to mention the abundance of galleries - and so many of them for free. I know I'm going to become insanely jealous when I hear about new exhibitions at the Tate Modern and National Portrait Gallery.
3. The mail. Most things don't work in this country, but Royal Mail certainly does. Oh the ecstasy of ordering something on Amazon around midnight and having it arrive the very next day.

Top 3 Things I Can't Wait To Get Back To
1. Swiss Chalet and filter coffee. Why oh why can you not get filter coffee in this country?
2. More than four television channels and having anything (stores, cafes, businesses, anything) open past five o'clock.
3. Living in a country that actually functions. The motto for this past year was: "Logic? No logic!" No, I don't want to queue for hours just to perform a task that takes less than thirty seconds. No, I don't want to argue about the ridiculously illogical thing you want me to do or you are required to do. You wouldn't believe the examples I could insert here.

Okay, so maybe that was more than three things I can't wait to return to, but I'm sure I will be looking back fondly at my first year as a Ph.D student when I'm chomping into my quarter chicken dinner with fries.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Do You Think This Is Obsessive?

Originally uploaded by sarah4855.

So I've been saving all my coffee loyalty cards from Caffe Nero in order to have one whole week of free americanos. Do you think this is obsessive?

Probably no more obsessive than getting the same drink every morning to the point where when the barista sees me walking in the door, she starts making my coffee without a word. Now that's service. Or obsession.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

For The Person Who Has Everything

When Roger Federer won his first Wimbledon title in 2003, he was presented with a gift during his next tournament, which was the Swiss Open. A customary act, except that his gift was an 800 kilogram Swiss milking cow, whom he named Juliette. The following year after winning Wimbledon again he returned to the Swiss Open and they were off the hook in terms of finding a gift, as Juliette had calved, so now two bovines were Federer's. In fact, one Guardian journalist commenting on the tennis star's growing herd said, " Perhaps he should name the progeny after the beaten finalists - 'there's Philippoussis and Roddick and Roddick II and Nadal and Gasquet.' And when they die, having beaten them he can take his time over eating them."

But the question remains...what on earth are they going to get him if he wins the title again this afternoon?

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

I have this fantasy that someone gives me a quarter of a million pounds and lets me loose in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. This year, the fantasy was particularly good, as the exhibition was the best I have seen in the five years I've been coming to the show. You can grab a peek here.

The theme of the 237th exhibition is multiple images and printmaking in all its manifestations. Some artists use woodcuts and etchings as well as newer technologies such as photography and video. One of the best parts of the exhibition is discovering new, fantastic artists - this year I fell in love with these images by Alessandro Gallo.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Brick Auction - An Update

Further to my previous post about the Brick manuscript auction, Michael Redhill either knows nothing about computers or is really stupid. Here is the kafuffle.

Pimms and Strawberries

centre court
Originally uploaded by sarah4855.

Just returned from fourteen glorious, rain-free hours over two days at Wimbledon. I saw my boy, Lleyton Hewitt, beat Taylor Dent (photo above) as well as Federer, Ferrero, Clijsters, Davenport, and the new teenage sensation Andy Murray. Even 007 himself was there to cheer on his fellow Scot. And lots of strawberries and Pimms was consumed, of course.

players board

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Travels Through Olde England

since 1411
Originally uploaded by sarah4855.

One great thing about travelling through England is feeling that you are surrounded by so much history. I spent part of the weekend in Salisbury, home to the gorgeous Salisbury Cathedral, completed in 1258. The photograph below was taken from where I spent Sunday night - the Old Mill Pub in Harnham, originally a paper mill built in 1135.
salisbury cathedral

I drove through the New Forest, created by William the Conqueror in 1079 as a personal hunting ground. Today it is home to herds of wild ponies, including this one, who stopped our car while acting as a toll booth. A sugar cube was all that was required.
toll booth

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

This Match is Love-Love

andy says hello
Originally uploaded by sarah4855.

Wimbledon started on Monday and I woke up to find the above greeting on my door, courtesy of my flatmate. It is partly a dig, as Lleyton Hewitt is my boy. A better view of what Andy is saying to me:


Going Once, Going Twice...Sold!

freud action
Originally uploaded by sarah4855.

My rather obsessive hobby was more than satisfied on Saturday when I attended the viewing of the Impressionist and Modern Art and Contemporary Art auctions at Sotheby's in London.

While living in Toronto the past few years, I attended the spring and fall auction viewing at both Sotheby's and Christie's in New York and was firmly hooked by this hobby when I saw the most expensive piece of art in the world. To be able to see this Picasso in a practically empty gallery when it had not been publicly seen in decades (and after being sold may submit to the same fate) was awe-inspiring. Not to mention the gorgeous painting itself.

The pieces that I particularly liked were the Lucian Freud shown above, this small Rothko, this Gauguin still life, and this interesting Warhol/Basquiat collaboration.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Brick Auctions some Sexy Manuscripts


Beginning today, you can own a piece of literary history. Brick is auctioning fifteen original manuscript pages, created expressly for the journal, to the highest bidder on Ebay. You can have on your bedside table, a handwritten page from Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake (seen above) or other manuscript selections by writers like A.L. Kennedy, Don DeLillo, Alice Munro, Michael Chabon, Pico Iyer, Marilynne Robinson....the list goes on and on. I actually bid on the Ondaatje manuscript at the Brick 25th Anniversary Party back in 2003 (where Ondaatje sawed a woman in half and Atwood led a gruesome sing-along) but it didn't reach the reserve bid.

If you want to support Brick but don't want to part with so much cash, you can buy a ten-year subscription. Still expensive, I know, but great art is worth it, right?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Book Tag

Looks like I've been memed again by Robot Johnny. This one is particularly difficult for goes nothing.

Number of Books I Own
You are asking a book editor/Ph.D student this question? Absolutely impossible to ascertain. Especially as my collection is presently spread across three cities and two continents.

Last Book I Bought
Ali Smith - The Accidental

Last Book I Read
Was actually a play. Harold Pinter - The Birthday Party

Five Books That Mean A Lot to Me
Kit Pearson - The Daring Game
Michael Ondaatje - Coming Through Slaughter
Sylvia Plath - The Bell Jar
Virginia Woolf - Mrs. Dalloway
Carolyn Keene - Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase

My Most Prized Book....My own added category
A first edition of Sylvia Plath's The Colossus, which was a gift from my parents upon the convocation of my first degree. According to abebooks, this edition is worth a pretty penny.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Frida Kahlo at the Tate

Originally uploaded by sarah4855.

This weekend I went to the Frida Kahlo Exhibit at the Tate Modern. I didn't really know what to expect, partly because I think I am still disappointed by the atrocity that was the biopic Frida and partly because it might have been one of those exhibits that simply throws together 10 or 12 paintings and considers itself important. But to my delight, the exhibition was fantastic.

There were eleven rooms housing too many painting to count - still lifes, self-portraits, watercolours, preliminary sketches. The works are on loan from galleries and private collections all over the world - Madonna even lent two pieces to the show. I found that Kahlo's work was much more impressive and startling when viewed all together like this - particularly breathtaking was The Two Fridas. A preview of the exhibition can be viewed here.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Dash for the Exit

I think this is a brilliant idea - what a way to help you dash towards the appropriate exit on your daily commute to work. Sean Lerner spent 400 hours creating the TTC Rider Efficiency Guide, so you will know exactly where to sit on the subway for the exit you require.

You can download it for free on the site, or purchase one that will be mailed to you for $4. Or, if you are super-obsessive, you can sign up for a subscription, and have updated guides mailed to you every three months. Does TTC maintenance work actually finish within three months? Anyway...if you are a Toronto subway rider, this is the guide for you. Never be late again!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Pint-Sized Brighton

Here are all the pubs that are within a five minute stroll of my flat. This is not including all of the bars in the same vicinity, of which there are too many to count. People in Brighton like to drink....a lot. And yes, I have frequented each of these pubs...The Cricketers is my favourite due to the chamber pots hanging from the ceiling.

Click on a photo for a larger view.

sussex hoppoles pumphouse

cricketer's fiddler's elbow blacklion

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Got a secret?

Originally uploaded by sarah4855.

I originally came across this on the very cool website Drawn!, and it's too good to not share.

Postsecret is an online art project comprise of anonymous homemade postcards, all confessing a secret. New postcards are put up each Sunday - a good time (and place) for confession, perhaps?

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Trouble With Angels

Originally uploaded by sarah4855.

I flicked on the tv yesterday morning as I was getting ready for school and what was on but one of my all-time favourite movies, which I had not seen since I was fourteen years old. The Trouble With Angels starring the wonderful Rosalind Russell and Hayley Mills was a staple film during my childhood. Like my favourite book at that age, The Daring Game it revolved around two girls playing pranks in a boarding school and the headmistress (or Mother Superior in the film's case), taking an interest not in their bad behaviour, but in their creativity and thus becoming their saving grace. Brilliant!

Monday, May 30, 2005

"You bombed my granddad's chip shop"

There has been much news over here about the intriguing Piano Man, who turned up dripping wet on the shores of Sheerness, Kent, unable to speak but plays virtuoso piano. In the quest to reveal his identity, many wonder if he is actually Toronto's Mr. Nobody.

However, the most brilliant part of the Observer article actually has nothing to do with this mysterious case you didn't read through the whole piece, the world's media has been descending on this small seaside town and interviewing the locals about the Piano Man. And one nice fellow said this: 'I had a German camera crew wanting to interview me about the Piano Man,' says Mike, the pub's landlord. 'I said: "Go fuck yourselves. You bombed my granddad's chip shop in the war.'

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Photographs from Florence

Originally uploaded by sarah4855.

Here are some photographs of my recent visit to Florence. In order, a behind view of Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore, a brilliant sculpture in the Boboli Gardens, and a view of the city from above the Pitti Palace.



view from boboli