The other day I went to the William Blake exhibition at the Tate Britain and it was brilliant. Naturally it was a bit of a problem that I went in the late afternoon on a Saturday, because I had the problem I often have with exhibitions, where it feels like I am trapped in a more cultural version of IKEA due to the crowds and the conveyor-belt nature of the layout.
However, the busyness did not ruin the exhibition as much as I had feared, perhaps because I was so struck by Blake’s work. The first couple of rooms were hot and stuffy, and it was all too obvious that I was breathing in other people’s breath, which was obnoxious. About twenty minutes in I nearly left, but I was glad I didn’t. Read more
I went to Oslo recently and it was lovely, although I barely had any time to explore. Luckily I took the BFF with me, and she managed to do pretty much everything that was available to be done in the city during the week, and then on my one day off she gave me a whistle-stop tour of the highlights.
The Vigelanda Sculpture Park was one such highlight; here are some of the photos I took while we were there. Read more
This week has been better than the two weeks that preceded it. I’ve done more work, which was fun, and read fewer books but done a lot of sleeping. I’ve also watched every episode of Would I Lie To You? David Mitchell is fantastic. So angry! So sarcastic! SO DAMN RELATABLE.
I knew there would eventually be a post in which this gif would be sadly relevant.
The ways in which people interpret the world have always amazed and intrigued me. How two people can look at the same situation, be armed with the same knowledge about it, and yet still come out with different conclusions (aka ‘politics’). How two people can have a very similar experience and yet react in wildly different ways. How something that can floor one person won’t bother another.
But even more subtly: how the individual ways in which we think about the world – our personal hermeneutics – help us to see things through a unique lens.
2016 was seriously the best year I’ve had for books in ages. Despite it not being a great year for, well, pretty much everything else globally.
But in times like these, you grab what happiness you can get, right? So here are my favourite non-fiction books of 2016.
A lot of things have happened over the past few weeks. One of them is that my friend has come to stay for a while, along with her puppy. My cat is less than happy about this arrangement, but after spending the first few weeks inside the wardrobe, she’s now finally emerged and seems to be grudgingly accepting of the canine addition.
Of course, with increased puppy comes increased walking, and a week or so ago we took the dog for a long walk across London. We ended up in Battersea Park, where I stumbled across a Barbara Hepworth sculpture overlooking a lake.
We define ourselves so much by what we have.
Some people feel the need to “keep up with the Joneses”, buying bigger fridges and sports cars and filling their houses with the latest tech. Others buck current trends, preferring to demonstrate their allegiance to counter-culture with objects that the Joneses wouldn’t consider worthwhile.
And even if the decision to buy specific stuff isn’t as considered as those examples, we still define ourselves by our surroundings, especially if we’ve chosen them.
Oh 2016, I am greatly enjoying the books you send my way.
Weatherland was sent to me for review by the good folks at Thames & Hudson. It is basically the most English book ever written: charting the history of a country’s art and literature through its weather.
This morning I got up late, having gone for a nine-mile walk last night, and I was curled up in a chair, working in my pyjamas, when I received the following message from my BFF.