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

Sunday, May 22, 2005

I'm It

I have been tagged It by Robot Johnny. you go:

Total volume of music files on my computer:
(A measly) 3.25 GB

The last CD I bought was:
Naturally - Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

Song playing right now:
Brooklyn is Burning - Head Automatica (from a mix CD courtesy of the same Robot Johnny)

Five songs I listen to a lot:
Lover, You Should've Come Over (live a'Olympia) - Jeff Buckley
Politik - Coldplay
Inner City Blues - Marvin Gaye
Bennie and the Jets - Elton John
This Love Affair - Rufus Wainwright

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Baguettes by Dior

Originally uploaded by sarah4855.

I was in Cannes yesterday, in the middle of the Film Festival. Wow. I thought that Toronto went film festival crazy, but it is nothing compared to Cannes.

I was feeling a little out of place anyway. Sitting at a cafe on La Croisette, I felt very un-French, as I was missing a toy-sized dog dangling on a diamond studded leash and I did not have a baguette sticking out of my bag. But I was definitely un-Film Festival. I was not sporting an access pass, a clipboard, a microphone, an enormous camera, or Buddy Holly-esque glasses by Armani, Chanel, or Dior. It was fun to watch, though.

One thing did make me slightly homesick. The people lining up for the films were there to be seen, whereas those in the TIFF lineups seem actually interested in what they are there to view. I can assure you that when I crawled out of bed during last year's TIFF to see a morning screening, I was doing everything in my power not to be seen...

Friday, May 13, 2005

Under the Tuscan Sun

Originally uploaded by sarah4855.

I just spent four days in Italy - two of which at the gorgeous Villa Delia in Tuscany. Surrounded by olive groves and lemon trees, we drank too much wine and ate glorious, waist-expanding Italian food. More photos of this little piece of heaven...



Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Secret Art of War

One of my favourite television shows here in the UK is the South Bank Show. Tonight they screened an interesting episode about the evacuation of the National Gallery paintings during the Second World War. There is amazing film footage that survives from this time - inside the gallery with empty frames leaning against the walls, 20 men pushing a cart with various masterpieces balanced on it, rows and rows of huge painting literally buried underground. I suppose I found this so amazing because I can't imagine the National Gallery being's such a place of refuge from the hectic bustle of London and I love to sit in a quiet room looking at the Turners when I happen to pass through Trafalgar Square.

The paintings were eventually moved to a quarry in Wales and from there one painting each month was brought back to the gallery for public viewing. This Picture of the Month program was vastly popular, with often more than 1000 people filing past a single painting each day. Imagine - the National Gallery with just one piece of art within it.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Goodbye Virginia

Originally uploaded by sarah4855.

A new book has just been published entitled Afterwords:Letters on the Death of Virginia Woolf. It contains letters of condolence written to Leonard Woolf and Virgina's sister, Vanessa Bell, after Woolf's suicide in 1941. There are notes from people such as T.S. Eliot, E.M. Forster, and H.G. Wells, though I find the line written by her lover, Vita Sackville-West, to be the most touching: "a loss that can never diminish."

What I'm also pleased to post, is that this book is a project that originated at my university. It is edited by Sybil Oldfield, a Research Reader in English at the University of Sussex, where there is a large collection of Woolf's manuscripts and letters.

Here is the university's press release about the book - and the above portrait of Woolf is one of my favourites from the National Portrait Gallery, painted by her sister. A print of the portrait sits above my desk.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Beach or Bust?

Originally uploaded by sarah4855.

It is bank holiday Monday here in Brighton and from my window I have been watching hordes of people streaming down to the beach. I admit that I love watching the ocean activity from my flat - so far I have spotted kayakers, surfers, wind sailors, and water skiers, as well as the typical boating folk. But this phenomenon of huge crowds of people coming to sit on the beach baffles me.

It's not a particularly nice beach, and it's not a particularly sunny or warm day today. Do these people live in small cave-like flats and are dying for some fresh air? Maybe they are still following the advice of Dr. Richard Russell, who in 1750 instigated the first big groups of visitors to Brighton beach when his book claiming that bathing in seawater cured most illnesses was published. I grew up next to the beach and realize I'm slightly jaded, but this beach doesn't even have sand.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

John Berger & Michael Ondaatje in Conversation

The last event of the John Berger Season that I went to was a short film entitled Readings and Conversations: John Berger in Conversation with Michael Ondaatje. It was interesting in that both writers spoke about their influences and which creative forms were important to them at specific points in the process of their work. But it was also frustrating as they seemed to be talking in circles...while not verbatim, this was a common moment in the conversation:

Ondaatje: How did G. begin?
Berger: Does a book have a beginning point?
Ondaatje: I find the beginning at the end. When I have finished the work, I know where I should begin.

Take a look and see what I mean.