Thursday, 5 September 2013

I totes have a problem

I had the chance to go to Margate yesterday. We took a group of young people from work for an away day and so I was pretty happy with myself - killing two birds with one stone - what with a new work opportunity and a trip to Turner Contemporary. Win. Win.

Margate has piqued my curiosity for a while now – it’s Tracey Emin’s hometown and despite recently being named one of the most deprived seaside towns in the UK, is home to a major contemporary arts museum that recently welcomed it’s millionth visitor since opening in 2011. It also has an old town that’s becoming increasingly well known for its vintage and antique furniture shops. You can see the appeal, no?

Turner Contemporary welcomes its millionth visitor
The window licking eluded me (it was a work trip after all…) but the sun was out in full force and the activities of our away day – an inspiring action learning set in the morning before fish and chips for lunch before an afternoon of evaluation – were equal parts exciting and hugely satisfying.

Action learning in action
And Turner Contemporary’s current exhibition – Curiosity: The Pleasure of Knowing – was just the most eloquent, fascinating, beautifully considered show. Everything from the notebooks of Galileo to mesmerising 16mm portraits of pop artist Claes Oldenburg by contemporary filmmaker Tacita Dean, it was just exquisite. Humorous, intelligent, contextual, just brilliant.

Juan Munoz in the foyer of Turner Contemporary
Also, the gift shop was pretty good.

My love of tat is well known. Ahem. My love of treasure is legendary. My love-penchant-weakness-obsession-call-it-what-you-will-but-lets-say-problem with tote bags has probably largely gone unacknowledged. 

Until know.

I’ve always considered tote bags a bit of a no-brainer – the functional equivalent of the souvenir spoon - convincing myself that they take up no room really within the bigger world of bags and are a brilliant, practical memento of a randomly memorable exhibition/event/whatever. Until you have 19 of them. 

Not even all of them....
Then it becomes a problem. When we were in Venice for the biennale in June I made it my personal quest to collect as many as I could and ended up with bags from Britain, Slovenia, Iraq, Portugal and Venezuala. Not a bad haul, internationally speaking.

Anyway, I bought two at the Turner Contemporary gift shop. I couldn’t help myself. One was on sale and the other had an 18th century illustration of an imagined rhinoceros on it so they basically bought themselves.

Except that now that we’re staring down the beginning of the end, with the imminent arrival of our boxes next Saturday, I’m beginning to look around the house with the desperate eye of a crazy OCD lady wondering what I can chuck and where to start and feeling both strangely baffled and mildly cross that I’ve, you know, accrued a LIFE over the last five years here in London and all the shit that comes with that. Tote bags and all. Honest to god I’m probably going to need a box for all my bags.

God help us. 

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