Friday, 21 May 2010

One thing Leeds to another

FINALLY. Open toed shoe weather has arrived in London and it is delightful. There aren't many pro's to being fundamentally unemployed (I could probably count them on two fingers...) but afternoons on the sofa, in the sunshine, with a bowl of ripe passionfruits would absolutely be one of them. (I would say the only one but given that I'm staring at an imminent and ongoing lack of career I'd like to hold out for the possibility of even one more tick in the pro column, however tenuous.)

The gallery is going well and the writing is coming along but the publishing deadline has been pushed back so it won't be until Summer next year that the fruits of my labour are rewarded. I would complain but the truth is, working on this book is the only thing holding my ego together at the moment, because there's little else to invest in on the work front. I've almost had my fill of retail, bar work is proving sporadic and nannying, while enjoyable, cost me my favourite t-shirt last week so I'm a bit poo-poo about even that at the minute.

The weather though, has brought a false sense of optimism that things are about to change. I'm not sure if whingeing counts as willing the universe to bring forth something miraculous (and monetarily worthwhile) but failing sunshine, I'm hoping recruitment companies and gentle harassment of tenuous contacts will do the trick.

I'm not sure what the weekend has in stock - apart from sunshine and 26 degrees - but last weekend LB and I had a series of lovely adventures, including one to Leeds Castle in Kent. LB and I have, you see, decided to starting dating. Shacking up is well and good (and it is, well and good) but trips to Sainsbury's for loo rolls and loaves of bread isn't quite the same as an adventure somewhere. Hence, the dating.

On Saturday I took LB to the Barbican Centre to see an installation by the French artist and composer Celeste Boursier-Mougenot. LB: "So what is this about?" Me: "It's birds playing electric guitars." LB: "Huh?" Me: "Just Google it, it's kinda weird but you'll like it."

So off we trundled. And after an hour and a quarter queuing to get in I was hoping we'd both bloody like it. Thankfully we did. I would even go so far as to say we loved it. Boursier-Mougenot is both an artist and composer and his work at the Barbican was essentially an aviary full of delicate zebra finches. But instead of conventional perches, the birds had only electric guitars and cymbals to land on. With each chord expertly tuned there was this bold but delicate score that unfolded as the birds landed on the instruments, pecked at the seeds in the cymbals and went about their business of nest-building and day to day chatter. It was beyond enchanting, as both a soundscape and an immersive art experience, with these very calm birds flying about before coming in to land on your shoulder. LB had a couple of birds take up residence in the hood of his top, much to his and everyone else's delight. It was just exquisite - meditative, joyous and just such a unique experience. And thankfully one devoid of droppings...

Sunday was LB's outing of choice and it was with relish that we got the hell out of London for the day and took off for Leeds Castle. Unfortunately the weather was a little moody and we were a little disorganised so our plans for a picnic didn't quite come together but we had a great afternoon, wandering through the grounds at the castle and throughout the castle itself. Not that I've been to many castles, but this was the first one I'd visited that had a moat, which was rather exciting. Though I still can't quite wrap my head around the fact that its creation was aided by some king or another's direction to re-route the River Len. As you do...

The castle has a pretty impressive history - it was built in the 1100s and one of Henry VIII's wives was resident there for a while. Most recently it hosted the Northern Ireland peace talks in 2004. The history was and is just breath-taking.

I'm not sure what this weekend holds but hopefully there will be a date with LB and a jug of Pimms in there somewhere.

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