Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Kusama, cocktails and a little bit of crazy

It would be a stretch to say I got to meet Yayoi Kusama two weeks ago.

It is true to say that if I *had* stretched I would have got within an inch of her thanks to an invite to the press view for her retrospective at Tate Modern. One of several art world perks that are increasingly coming my way these days. But I'll get to those.

We're doing a huge project with Tate at the moment around Kusama's show and so it was incredible to get the chance to explore the exhibition without the hoards and to really have the space and time to allow total absorption in her obsessively beautiful, dark, quietly poetic works. People think dots when they think Kusama and you do get dots here - lots of them - but the curation is so thoughtful that they go beyond any glib pop-esque moment to become a really powerful meditation on madness, infinity and beauty. Because they are beautiful....

Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room - Filled with the Brilliance of Life, 2011 
It was a pretty lovely moment, one of many recently actually, that have punctuated what has otherwise been a stressy couple of weeks that in my head got totally out of control. Exhaustion, homesickness, flatness, semi-brokeness, tiredness and a general case of the Over Its when it's come to public transport and three hour daily commutes, living in Hammersmith and wearing three days worth of outfits all at once. The Lovely Moments are the only things that have kept me from spinning totally out of control. That and a waning full moon?....

In amongst the stress was schlepping out to Croydon in the snow and sub-zero temperatures to get my new visa, or Biometric Residence Permit, as they call it these days in yet another step to dehumanise, humiliate and overly manage you. £850 and four hours later and I'm allowed to stay for another two years. A new lease on London life but one I don't think we'll be renewing when the time comes.

Funnily enough the day after my visa adventure was Lovely Boy's and my three year anniversary. Three years since Lovely Boy first cooked me dinner, three years since we drank three bottles of wine to overcompensate for nerves and an anticipation for not quite sure what and three years since we first kissed at the 94 bus stop at Shepherds Bush at 2am drunk and dizzy and elated and freezing.

After finally getting to have our date with Grayson Perry we decided to honour our little anniversary with a re-enactment of all the key details except the 94 bus stop. We (Lovely Boy....) cooked butter chicken curry, we drank too much wine and we smiled a lot. It was a good night and a perfect moment to reflect on everything the last three years have brought us both.

The last week, despite a shitty few days at work, brought other bright moments in amongst the crazy. I got a very small pay rise - more gesture than largesse - but I'm grateful for it nonetheless, going some way as it does towards improving the balance on my budget.

Which is good - because apart from groceries, I have cocktails to save for. And a holiday.

The joys of Night Jar...
On Friday night I met up with a gang of fabulous girls for some demure bar hopping in east London in pursuit of good drinks in new and interesting locations. Starting with a quick dose of art at the Barbican, first stop was Night Jar at Old St, where the cocktails are curated around themes of pre-war, prohibition, post-war and Night Jar originals. The decor was speakeasy and the music was jazz. I can't quite remember the name of my beverage but it had something to do with paradise and beach-combing so you could say it chose me...

From here we went for Vietnamese and from here we went to the back lounge at Callooh Callay on Rivington St. This detail (back lounge versus front lounge) is important only in that to get to the back lounge you have to walk, Narnia-like, through a wardrobe to get there. 

Novelty factor or no, I completely loved it. The decor back here was Dali meets disco and again I can't remember the particulars of my drink but only because I remain distracted by the drink that was on the table across from us:

Look closer....

Yes, they are gnomes.

It was a great way to shake off the week and on Saturday Lovely Boy and I set to being grown ups by opening a joint account and doing the groceries. And making a collective decision to pull ourselves out of the doldrums by booking a holiday. And not just any holiday - but a holiday to New York. HELLS YES! I'm already thinking about what I'm going to pack. We found this amazing loft in Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn to stay in thanks to some savvy internet research and now we're to the planning. I cannot freaking wait. Something to soften the blow of Monday blues.

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