hello & welcome back to ✨WHAT I SAW LAST WEEK!✨ – my little culture diary for an audience of one person (my boyfriend! but i’m sure that even HE has actually stopped reading these lmaooo). so ok, this is MY SECRET CULTURE DIARY!!! and it’s MY DIARY! KEEP OUT!!!

last week was meant to be a busy gal about town week, so i made myself booked n busy, and then at the last min (tuesday !!!) me n gab swapped sunday schedules and all of a sudden my week was fucken hectic – this isn’t a complaint, i was actually sincerely and sorely GLAD!!! i RLY didn’t enjoy writing the diversity policy text. hated it soooo much, i was actually so so so pleased and happy to have another writing week again so soon, esp working on something i knew i’d have much more fun with!

if u haven’t read it yet, here it is – i wrote it mostly last year, off the back of a visit to the national gallery to see my favourite italian paintings. all i ended up doing was a bit of tidying and polishing, but it was still ENORMOUSLY SATISFYING to write something i was very very interested in. i j love writing criticism that is mostly actually just bonkers fiction! i love history! i j wana write texts where i’m havign so much fun all the time!

in between my tidying and polishing, i did get to all my booked n busy activities too! here they are;

slavoj zizek & ash sarkar

thank u to friend-of-twp, georgia attlesey, for the funky lil mates-rates (free) tickets !! i popped along to this in conversation/talk/public heated argument in celebration of slavoj zizek’s 75th birthday.

i will say first of all and most importantly: i had no real idea what slavoj zizek’s whole schtick was about before i came. i did a quick catch up the weekend before and listened to this podcast about his main Thing (about how everything is ideology – massive oversimplification, but we move) – it’s part 1 of 3 and i think i only actually listened to 1&2 while i was doing the Big Weekend Clean. i knew people take him coke bottles for him to sign, bc he said something astute about how we only really buy coke because of the aspirational american free world vibes it represents (i don’t think this is strictly true, i do actually really like drinking coke as a drink, and i hate america and americans).

but slavoj zizek has got like… a cult following. like i’ve not quite experienced anything like it before. i got to the talk a bit early and managed to spy on everyone coming in and.. it was a crowd that was like, 80% made up of aggressively normal looking white guys. not normal white guys, aggressively normal looking. backpacks worn with both straps on shoulders, really unironically bad trainers, non-descript haircuts, the exact same face. i’m not being rude, these are literally just recorded observations. i would never run into any of these people under any other circumstance. it was like CINEMA for me. i am so curious, so nosy, such a keen and enthusiastic people watcher. there was one guy who got up and standing ovation-ed zizek as the walked on stage. he yelled I LOVE YOU!!! at him as he applauded. that’s LOVE. and this crowd of aggressively normal men would make anyone a bit clenched at the best of times. but, zizek was like… a stressful person to listen to. it was stressful to just sit and listen to him speak. he said some bonkers stuff.

i was actually confused because i thought zizek was a marxist. like big marxist guy, famous for being a marxist, left wing okokok. and then he just said a bunch of stressful things. and i guess his position on the left is like – he’s old school, he’s a 20th century guy, he described himself as an old skl stalinist. and ok, that might be the mismatch, that is just not me. i do not like the idea of any kind of authority or concentrated power, even a radically left wing kind of authority and concentrated power. i just don’t think anyone should be telling anyone else what to do! even if it’s like, about seizing the means of production. like, maybe no one person should be in charge of things like that and maybe the state is the problem, ykwim? that’s my position, i dont wana talk about it bc quite frankly – i don’t know enough and i also don’t care that much about pure politics to argue about it in the abstract with people. those are my thoughts and i will keep them to myself, i won’t insult ur intelligence n try to convince u i’m right, who cares.

but zizek was like… bossy, wants power for the state if it’s a left wing marxist state. and ok, bet. but then he came at poor ash sarkar with a bunch of very stressful thoughts about identity politics. he said a lot of stuff about how it was actually fine to make crass, crude, vulgar jokes about peoples identity because jokes are great! lefty loony soft liberals accuse him of being this and that, but actually the progressive liberal left is getting outflanked by the conservative right because they’re sooo squeamish about pollitically incorrect terminology! and actually that’s bad bc outflanked by conservative right, but also bc progressive liberalism is rly patronising and paternalistic and pretends to be well meaning but is actually at its core still racist but performs like it’s not racist (so far i’m with him). then he went ‘so i like making COARSE and VULGAR JOKES! and everyone wants to CANCEL ME!!!’ and then proceeded to make coarse and vulgar jokes, was rly weirdly aggro AT ash sarkar and it made me clench so hard i nearly popped bc i was in the middle of this aggressively normal white guy audience and they were all laughing very loudly as zizek was just doing up a dirtbag left schtick and being really horrible n aggro to an asian woman who was being paid to talk to him. like.. yeah that’s j the dirtbag left isn’t it.

n that’s the mismatch, isn’t it. the dirtbag left. i think it’s gross! fully fuck the dirtbag left!!! i don’t think it’s radical praxis to be mean or crass or horrible! i don’t think that’s liberal or faux progressive – to say ‘life is short and very long. just be fucking nice to people don’t be a prick’ etc. i don’t think that’s squeamishness or bourgeoiuseuouhd politeness/prim-ness. i think good politics is fundamentally about being kind! I SAY THAT WITH FULL SINCERITY bc it took me a really long time to figure that out n LEARN that – so it feels hard won. like i j fuckinnn think being kind is genuinely important and i don’t care if that’s UNCOOL because it’s not about being cool it’s about being able to live with yourself on a deep seeded psychological level! ok!!!

tbf ash sarkar was very sharp, very quick, very on it, could handle herself. i know like she’s got a media personality novara n all tha – i’m j unaware of it bc i don’t use twitter any more and i refuse to participate in public life in any meaningful way (im a recluse) – but i think she’s super sharp, quick and i think that’s really cool. i’m glad that she’s out in the world contributing the public political discourse, i think it’s important work that not everyone is good at and she’s actually fucking good at it. n she pushed back at zizek, pulled him on weird stressful things he was saying, she didn’t let him get away with much and she did it all with a lot of grace and charm. i was really impressed and actually learned a lot about how to deal with stressful public live moments from her handling of this talk and this guy.

i just – i didn’t realise i didn’t like slavoj zizek AT ALL. and once the talk was over i was like… WOW, I HATE THAT GUY! i’m glad i went to the talk bc i learned A LOT, got a lot out of it and i got to indulge my curiosity n have a nose around, see a cross section of london that i just do not ever run into (except probably on the tube – but even then… these people all looked like they got the jubilee line. so probably not even on the tube.) idk, i j rly do not vibe with that whole dirtbag left schtick. it’s so hyper online, i find it really deeply unkind – even if zizek does it all in a very congenial charismatic way, it’s still unkind. and i don’t trust it!


at the first edition launch, my mum met nigella lawson and absolutely lost her mind. idk how u top that, but the second edition launch was ALSO LOVELY!!! i had such a nice time! as soon as i arrived jonathan nunn grabbed me and said IT’S TIME FOR UR READING, n i went on stage with my coat on, oyster card in pocket sweating BUCKETS. like i was so embarrassed and In Public, i was literally having a hot flush. on stage. in front of people. gabrielle is going to have to do all the public readings for our book, i’m so sorry, i cannot. i’m too shy. i actually literally am. once i’d returned to a normal body temperature i had a lovely time and it was nice to meet MORE PEOPLE who were also in the book, who i didn’t get to meet at the first launch (bc i was too busy trying to hunt down nigella lawson). and there was this cake in the shape of the river thames, like eastenders credits cake. lovely!!!

also these fun loo stickers

my bf sent me this pic of the loo seat at set social. !!!!!! whacky n cool, like a secret! i love stickers. what is the social meaning ,, the social function of a sticker. WHAT DO STICKERS MEAN???? WHAY DO THEY EXIST?? i don’t know, and it j kills me. i love stickers. everytime i think about stickers i feel like i’m comprehending the sublime. i’m not even joking.

saw London Feeds Itself out in the wild!!!

this was in that bookshop in angel, upper street bookshop? but it’s out in shops! so bonkers! the first edition sold out so quick i didn’t get to see it IRL. apparently this second edition had a full on Big Foyles window (with the last sentence of my essay blown up MASSIVE – bonkers!!!! my words in Big Foyles!!!! that’s so silly!!! idk if i mentioned it in last week’s WISLW, but, i’m still not over that!) makes me feel v woozy.


((i only took videos bc i was like !! i’m gna make a tiktok! and i j am bad at my job, i completely forgot to take any fucking pictures for the blog ffs. idek if i got enough video footage for a fucking tiktok. i fucking hate that i am nearly 30 and making tiktoks but icl it IS fun! those are my complaints, back 2 the WILSW Bits))

went to see Maz Murray’s show, Principal Boy, at Focal Point Gallery down in Southend. i’m more aware of Maz as a writer:: they run the right lube, & TRL publish writing that’s about art but if art was very small – i think maybe that’s a description that only makes sense to me but, i rly sincerely recommend reading literally everything they’ve ever written, if u haven’t done so already, and i say this absolutely without irony, v sincerely, i rly respect what TRL do. (i’m having such a sincere day as i sit here and write this?) i wasn’t too familiar with Maz’s film practice before going to visit, but i had a rly nice time getting to know it! their films are this weird whacky blend of drama, comedy, magic. it holds onto a cynicism about art that falls beyond the scope of common criticality and into a kinda post-art limbo haze – the kinda thing where i know it’s something but idek what it is yet, but i’m sure someone else does. it’s j beyond me, n i love interacting with things that are beyond me.

one film was about panto and the figure of the principle boy, usually a woman in drag, playing the role of a young male protagonist (the principle boy, ye). one of those things, it’s been soooo long since i’ve been to a panto, but now you mention it it feels familiar. and panto is like… it’s actually so full of gender bending fuckery, playful – widow twanky, etc. n that gender play feels like it should hold some friction, what with the tenor of public discourse around gender – but it’s NOT, or not RLY. because people know and love panto. panto is like. theatrical staple, the money-maker, it’s the theatre that people actually bother to come out and watch. it IS popular theatre. it’s so interesting! and it’s literally RIGHT THERE.

another film was called THIGH RISE, and it was about a small tiny miniature man that thinks he lives in a high rise block of flats, but the flats are actually enormous thigh high boots. and enormous girlies wear the boots as a side hustle and they stomp around parts of london in the boots, flattening existing neighbourhoods under the enormous new build boots. and the film is funny, melodramatic, absurdist – half of its shot on a green screen so there’s this fun interesting crunchy DIY magic going on too– but it’s also a light way to handle the sharp edge of something like gentrification as a political reality. fuckin sO GOOD!! clever, creative, just a good fucking film.

on the big screen outside the gallery, they were playing one of Maz’s older films about a world without thatcher (i think? it was raining — i didn’t get to watch it all) but if u wana watch it i think it’s on Maz’s website? i have only seen the snippets between the rain and wind. i will save it for a lunchtime this week, n i acc can’t wait. i rly rly recommend going to see this show, esp if you fancy a daytrip to the seaside, n then there’s also the theme park down the pier? southend is a lot of fun. very glad i punctured the london bubble and ventured outside the m25, n i’ll have to pop back in summer for some ~british seaside content~ n the TOMA end of year show :)

the sun

yeah, what did i see this week? the fucking SUN. icl bbz, i’ve been going stir crazy. i do not belong in this godforsaken climate, the winter has been so long, my skin is grey my hair is grey, my brain is grey. every time the sun’s come out, even if it’s for 5 mins max, my entire spiritual physical metaphorical self just going bing bong HERE WE GOOO SUNS OUT TITS OUT LET"S GOOOOOOOOOOOOo i wana eat an orange on the grass i wana lie down in a patch of sunlight like i am a large and lazy cat i want to SCREAM!!! got my legs out on sunday (not the whole leg, are u bonkers?? just the calf, don’t be LEWD) and it felt so monumental i was stood at the bus stop tearing up, literally tEARS SWELLING UP IN MY EYE SOCKETS bc the sky was BLUE and my socks were BLUE and there was a magnolia tree blooming – then i got on the bus and went ?? what the fuck was that about??? god knows. sun’s out tho xxx

ok, that's all. goodbye! see u next week, lov u bye bye bye bye bye bye  bye byeeeee xxx