Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Martin Creed, Work No. 850

Wandering through the Tate Britain recently after seeing the Francis Bacon exhibit, I was very nearly run over by someone sprinting through the gallery. About 30 seconds later, it happened again. It took me a moment to realize that I was actually standing smack in the middle of some art: Martin Creed's piece entitled Work No. 850.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


When I was in Kenya a few weeks ago, Barack Obama was, rather predictably, front page news in the media. Tonight he did become completely unbwogable. Congratulations, Mr. President.

adj. unshakeable, unbeatable, unstoppable.
Subjects: English, Kenya

Etymological Note: English un– ‘not’ + Dholuo bwogo ‘to scare’ + English —able ‘capable.’ The word was popularized by the song “Who Can Bwogo Me?” also known as “Unbwogable,” from the Kenyan musical group Gidi Gid Maji Maji.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Out Of Africa

Arrived back in London at 5:30am after two weeks in East Africa. I shot bazoodles of photographs and didn't really look at them on the trip, choosing instead to just keep switching memory cards and storing everything. As I began sorting through them all this afternoon, this one jumped out as my favourite thus far.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Eyes Are Everywhere

I took an impromptu long weekend and flew to my folks' place on Vancouver Island for a couple of days. Since I was out west for such a short time, I purposely tried to keep my body clock on EST. At 5:45am, I was in the house checking my email when I felt like I was being watched. I turned on my laptop's isight camera, moved it two inches to the right and snapped a photo.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I spent last weekend up in classic Ontario cottage country. Brought up two books that I've been dying to read: De Niro's Game by Rawi Hage and Do Travel Writers Go To Hell? by Thomas Kohnstamm.

What did I do up there? Drink champagne, wine and Pimm's all day and flip through the pages of British Vogue.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Strike a Pose

I've flown to my parents' place on Vancouver Island for a few days of vacation. This guy was very amenable - posing patiently for me while I played with the settings on my new camera.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The English Patient Redux

As I'm watching The English Patient for the 476th time, freezing the screen shot every 30 seconds and writing notes, I can tell you that this is the only thing that makes me feel good right now:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Weekend in Tallinn

I spent the weekend in Tallinn, Estonia a couple of weeks ago with some girlfriends. What a pretty little city that was a mesh of Scandinavian and Eastern European cultures. The Old Town was full of buildings that were colour coordinated with the sky (example above) and little linen shops and patios that invited a drink or eleven.

More photos of this interesting city up on Flickr, including ones of the Old Town, and my favourite, the top of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral through an old groto.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Re-Writing Looks Like This

And then I go drinking.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Carousing Constantinople

There were so many Istanbul highlights. Walking into the Hagia Sofia was one of those oh-my-god-I-can't-believe-I'm-getting-to-do-this moments. I hadn't expected it to be so huge, and two levels, and the mosaics so bright and well-preserved. The photograph above is of the Deësis (Entreaty) mosaic.

After having a Turkish coffee outside of Sophia to absorb what we'd just seen, we headed off to the Grand Bazaar. Market, jewelry, bags, haggling....and over four square kilometres of it? I was in heaven. We stopped in the middle of the afternoon to fortify ourselves with some kebaps and then continued shopping. (And went back the next day as well.) Best line shouted at us from a stall: "Hey, Spice Girls! I have carpet for your dowry right here!"

Our last day in Istanbul, we walked through the Spice Bazaar (henna!), buying some nuts and tea along the way, before having lunch on the Galata Bridge linking the continents of Europe and Asia. Below is a photograph of Golden Horn, taken from the bridge.

Last highlight: an early evening in a traditional Hamam. Think being naked and sweating it out on a large marble slab plus a very large and naked Turkish woman with a loofah mitt and bucket of water. Yowza!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

First Look at Istanbul

I flew to Istanbul with a friend, landing late afternoon. After taking a cab to the hotel (the kind of amazing Four Seasons, which is a renovated neoclassic Turkish prison), unpacking and decompressing in the lobby bar, we ventured out to find a recommended seafood restaurant. Just steps out of the hotel, in the now dark city, we stumbled upon the Blue Mosque. The gorgeousity of the sight in front of me was so great, I think it made my hand shake - resulting in this photograph. Which is now my favourite from the entire trip.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Teatre-Museu Dalí

While in Barcelona, my parents and I headed to the tiny town of Figueres for the day. The reason for this excursion was to visit the Teatre-Museu Dalí, a kind of pilgrimage for the three of us, considering the importance that Dali has had to our lives. It has been something we've been talking about doing for such a long time, and it certainly did not disappoint. Just walking up to the museum was an impressive sight, with the giant egg-like structures dotting the roof of the building.

The museum is in Dali's hometown and is constructed around the theatre that he attended as a child, which is also the same building he held his very first exhibition in. It was largely destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, but in 1960, Dali and the mayor of Figueres got together and decided to make it a museum in dedication to the town's most famous son. It's typical egocentric Dali, I suppose, but standing there in this gorgeous building, it was obvious that so much thought went into how Dali wanted the theatre to be transformed and his work to be viewed. When you set aside the commercialism of Dali's work, I think that he's actually a difficult artist to fully appreciate. The photograph below is of the central room of the building, where the stage was in the original theatre. Consider the detail about it as dictated by the book about Teatre-Museu Dalí:

"Overlooking the stage, the massive backdrop produced in oil that Dali designed for the ballet Labyrinth, based on the myth of Theseus and Ariadne, which premiered in the Metropolitan Opera House in New York on the 8th of October 1941. This space reveals the most scenographic aspect of Dali: with the enormous composition, where a bust appears with an opening in the breast, from behind which emerges a phantasmagoric landscape with Böcklinian cypress trees from The Isle of the Dead. The rocks, sinking into the sea, are a reference to the scenery of Cap de Creus, which the artist repeatedly turned to in his work. In front, on the stage itself, is an extremely discretely placed tombstone, reminding us that this is where the artist is buried, in the radial centre of his own Theatre-Museum." There are a couple of other photographs of the museum in my Barcelona Flickr set.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Gaudied Out in Barcelona

It was my first time in Barcelona and I was dying to see all of the Gaudi architecture scattered throughout the city. It certainly didn't disappoint. Casa Batlló was my absolute favourite (photograph above) but the outside sculpture of Sagrada Família was a close second.

I was remarking to a friend who asked after my trip that, like Paris, it seems that Barcelona is the kind of city you have to visit a half dozen times to really experience the true feel of it. And I was slitghly surprised that it didn't seem quite as Spanish to me as did Bilbao or Madrid. Thus, I'm already looking forward to my next visit back: photographs here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

One Stop Shopping

In London, I live just down the street from Harrods. When out-of-towners come to visit, the convenience of having a major tourist attraction so close by is always nice. But I often forget what a fabulous department store it actually is - complete one stop shopping.

In one go, I just purchased: a bottle of Moët & Chandon, Aveda conditioner, a ham & gruyere baguette, a headphone splitter, Day by A.L. Kennedy, echinacea, and a gorgeous little cocktail dress.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Doctor Zhivago Pretty

I hate snow. But it sure is pretty. I snapped this in Queen's Park this afternoon as I was crossing the U of T campus. The only thing I've enjoyed about this perpetually horrendous weather is how the snow made last weekend's Doctor Zhivago themed party very authentic. Siberia or Toronto? Tough to tell at the moment.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

1600 Pages

What would be the most insane thing to do when I'm staring down the barrel of a thesis that seriously needs to be finished? Take on a 1600 page editing project.

Yes, this is what my desk looks like right now as I'm getting ready to dive into the manuscript. I think this may be the most extreme case of procrastination ever witnessed. But really, it's an amazing story and a huge opportunity and my brain is buzzing with the challenge.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Book & Bookmark #1

What do I love spying just as much as someone's book? The bookmark they're using.

Book: Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino
Bookmark: Postcard. Series 1, Number 4 (1918) by Georgia O'Keeffe

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Matisse Dancing Out of the Hermitage

In today's Guardian, there's a great article about Matisse's Dance and its approaching arrival in London. I've already blogged about my incredible experience in the Hermitage and seeing this Matisse piece was such a huge part of it. Jones writes that the light filtering into the gallery on the winter day was cold and sombre. For me, on the late June day during White Nights in St. Petersburg, the light was cool on what became a hot morning and crystal clear. I really noticed the light in the gallery because I was the only person in it (apart from the guard who took the above photograph). Today's article brought the whole morning rushing back to me - one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

Jones's description of seeing the painting for the first time is great: "I saw Dance in St Petersburg four years ago, and it stayed in my imagination as a memory of pure colour, like an afterglow on a closed eyelid. It is a big, indeed massive canvas - nearly four metres wide and two and a half metres tall - in only three colours: blue, green and red. A full-scale 1909 oil sketch for the finished work survives in the Museum Of Modern Art, New York: here, the dancers are pink, the volcano of energy does not erupt. In the final, St Petersburg version, first exhibited in Paris in 1910, all is changed. Matisse is one of the greatest liberators of colour in the history of art."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Aloha Hawaii

It was very hard to leave this behind yesterday, as well as the turtles, of course. But Hawaii is always a fantastic vacation - it still hold the same magic it did for me as when I was a kid. And now not a single day off until the third week of February. My tan never lasts anyway.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What Is The What

Is this holiday reading or what? Dave Eggers on the beach. Just finished What Is The What today and it was the first time in a long while that I found myself fighting back tears while reading a novel. What I found most remarkable about the book was the way Eggers was able to recreate the sensation of meandering though the desert of Sudan and Ethiopia that the protagonist experiences. I felt hot and exhausted and slightly disoriented and yet so firmly marching forward with my reading - all at the same time. Two thumbs way up for this one.