Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Kissing and making up

I'm off to see the Turner Prize tomorrow at the Tate Britain before a date with Anish Kapoor at the Royal Academy. I'm looking forward to it, especially Anish, but I'm also, strangely, a little bit nervous.

I dunno, but I suspect it will feel like one of those awkward first encounters post-squabble with a good friend, the ones you just have to get through and then everything will be alright again. I mean let's be honest, art and I haven't had much to do with each other for nearly a month now and when I haven't been avoiding it I've said some rather rude and disparaging things about it in the weeks since school ended. I'm hoping it will be fine.

The last couple of days I've been interning and whiling away the hours endlessly googling everything from beef stroganoff recipes to long range weather forecasts for Sydney (23 days and about... oh.... 15 hours until 24 hours of economy hell and then... HOME. Yeehah!) I've also been looking for all and anything by way of remunerated activity for next year. A rental agreement and a lovely LB should not be my only reasons for returning to Ye Olde Land of Crappe Weather.

It rained most of the weekend. Funnily enough it always seems to rain whenever LB and I decide to visit Portobello Rd - dinner with Mamma: thunder, lightning, huge puddles. Dinner with lovely friends from home: pouring rain, enormous puddles, ruined shoes and hair. Aimless market wandering with vague hope of Christmas present inspiration: rain, rain, rain, some cold wind, some decent puddles and a solid hour in the pub.

LB did purchase me a gorgeous framed photograph though - a 'just because' present - and it now has pride of place on the wall. Makes me yearn for the day when I can afford to fill my house with beautiful art. Assuming we make up tomorrow of course.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Narcolepsy and a bowl of zucchini soup

It's been a while between posts - vast stretches of unpenetrated flatness on the emotional landscape that is my life post-dissertation and pre-whatever happens next. Mostly I have just been sleeping a lot.

Yesterday I started back at the art consultancy, where I'm interning two days a week until Christmas. I would be lying if I said I was excited about it (see: exhaustion) and getting home yesterday I sat on the couch and had myself a little cry. Not because I'm tired but because I feel a little bit lost and a whole lot muddled. Everytime I contemplate reading anything more taxing than Grazia, or attempt to find the will to see any one of the brilliant exhibitions on in London at the moment - oh Sophie Calle, oh Anish Kapoor - well, my narcoleptic tendencies prevail and instead I nap.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Welcome back coat.

It's 4.50pm here, it's 7 degrees, day three of The Coat and it's been dark for the last half hour.

Explain to me again why I live here voluntarily?

Friday, 6 November 2009

The Buda and The Pest

So Budapest was lots of fun. We got back yesterday afternoon after a couple of days wandering the city and trying not to freeze to death. Winter comes early to Eastern Europe people...

I was talking to my sister today, who has been to Budapest before - and she asked, had we been to the Museum of Terror? Umm. Nope. Did we get to the Communist Sculpture Park? Umm. No. What the hell did we do? A not unreasonable question I suppose and the answer is, well, not a huge amount, but enough, and it was good.

We were meant to arrive on Sunday lunchtime, thus the arse o'clock arrival at Heathrow for an 8.30am flight, but engine troubles before we'd even taxied to the runway left us stranded on the tarmac for a couple of hours until we were bussed unceremoniously to another plane. A few fellow passengers were muttering about compensation and impending stroppy letters but given the choice I think I'd rather send a thank you note for pre-emptively saving my life... but that's just me.

Arriving in Budapest, to be flummoxed by the new currency - I still have no idea how much those two days cost me - we caught a taxi into the city, Oliver speaking the international language of football with the taxi driver, whose English was limited to "Cesc Fabregas, oh yes", "Van Persie, oh yes" "Arshavin, yes, yes". Thank god he wasn't a Chelsea fan or we might never have got there.

Arriving at the apartment Ol's friend Anna-Lou had booked us all, and who was joining us on our mini-adventure, we were all completely buggered and there was a unanimous vote for snooze over sights before we ventured out in search of goulash for dinner.

Goulash ticked we had a reasonably early night and a very late morning before rugging up against the cold and taking to a bus tour. A) because we couldn't find the walking tour B) because it seemed an easy way to cover all the major landmarks with a minimum effort output and C) because it was frigging cold.

I'm not sure if it was the weather (depressing, despite the sunshine) or the exhaustion or just a generally dazed sense of "huh" that has been following me like an errant piece of toilet paper stuck unwittingly to my shoe since school ended, but I'm still not sure what I think of Budapest. It certainly has moments of great beauty and the Danube, which runs the gauntlet between such stunning buildings as the neo-gothic houses of parliament and the castle on the hill in Buda, is certainly amazing. But I don't know. For a city, and a country, that has such a fascinating history, it just seemed to lack the energy of other cities, like Berlin. But then maybe that was me missing the energy... Afternoon naps anyone? I would go back, but I'd want to go in Summer.

The bus trip though was great - informative, interesting and when it stopped at the Citadel for 20 minutes we had the opportunity to partake in some serious hot chocolate action. Think liquid chocolate doused in whipped cream. Low-cal it was not. Necessary it was.

That night we took advantage of the inclusive boat trip and more hot chocolate on board, we cruised the Danube trying not to freeze while gazing at the seriously beautiful architecture. You do have to love the English language translation on the commentaries though. "This beautiful bridge is very popular with people who try to kill themselves by jumping off." Cheery, no?

The next day, after the purchasing of some serious leg warmers to wear under my jeans and some obligatory jazz hands, we headed up to the castle to take in the view.

Broken record muchly but FUCK it was cold up there. Beautiful, but windy and biting and c-o-l-d. Every time we stopped for lunch I had to kick off my shoes, cross my legs and tuck my toes into the nooks of my knees to offset the stinging.

That afternoon the boys and Anna-Lou took off for the thermal spas. In a moment of absolute stupidity I forgot to pack my swimmers and what with being unemployed and already the owner of six pairs of swimming costumes, I refused to fork out 70 bucks for the privilege of cooking in a thermal spring with lots of chubby old Eastern European men wearing less lyrca than me. So I had a nap and the rest of Team Budapest, as big little bro had dubbed us, went off for a couple of hours.

That night we splashed out on a delicious last dinner - cocktails included - and a last dish of goulash before heading back to London yesterday. It's been such fun having the bro's here and their company and the absolute bullshit they talk has made me deeply homesick. Not quite six weeks until LB and I are Sydney-bound and I can't wait.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Schooooooool's out. Forever.

I think I've lost my writing mojo. I know where I left it - somewhere in the 94 pages of earnest intellectual ramblings that I handed in five days ago. I'm struggling to write a basic grocery list at the moment... which would explain the lack of food in my house but not the piles of washing or layers of dust that I've accumulated in the past weeks.