WHAT I SAW LAST WEEK: 26th Feb & 4th Mar


hello & welcome back to ✨WHAT I SAW LAST WEEK!✨ – my culture diary for all the culture i stumble upon, big or small!

cramming these 2 weeks together for ~an improved user experience~

one week was very much about Formal Culture! i felt like i was Out and About Experiencing Legitimate Cultural Things in a way that a normal critic would, so now coming back to talk about them, i feel self consciously formal! normally these are about odd bits n bobs, writing about the shape of my week with a seriousness normally afforded to Proper Culture – but i go, oh like here’s some chat about lip balms and telly. so idk what to make of that week of 26th Feb

second week we’re back 2 bits an bobs bayyybeyyy, yeah! and good, love talkin about lipbalms and telly! :)

Hackney Museum

mentioned this a couple weeks back, when i did the BTS blog about the London 2039 text – there’s an exhibition on at Hackney Museum, called At Home in Hackney: A community photographed 1970-today. it has a bunch of photos from Hackney history that are – frankly fucking fascinating. if you’re someone like me, n ur into history but also idk… curious about what parts of london looked/felt like before the gentrification machine got let loose on them, i do really recommend it! it’s on Mare Street, in the same building as the library. much better way to spend a gloomy Saturday than strutting up n down broadway market with all the blokettes, i m h o.

one of the photographers who organised this exhibition, Tom Hunter, took me on a whip round of the photos and i got the extra history – apparently these photos have all been in the archive and having them out is really quite nice! laying em all out next to each other to build a history and an understanding. it’s not a huge show, just one lil room – rly rly worth the stop!

this is a close up of a huge model of a tower block, made by Tom Hunter and James McKinnon. i think it’s a mash up of a few tower blocks, all in a similar grouping, that were eventually demolished by Hackney council. such a beautiful and sad monument, that the papier mache model is still standing but the concrete building isn’t – a kind of ghost, hauntological

Gary Zhexi Zhang chatting @ ICA

i feel like i miss being at art school, sitting in the lecture theatre, in the dark, n listening to an artist chat about their work. i’m nosy! idgaf about what i’m up to, i jsut wana be curious and ask everyone questions about what they’re up to. i want artist lectures as a podcast series i can binge thru while i’m having an everything shower (how long does it take u to shave ur legs, underarms and crack? for me it takes 45 mins, an hour if i’m being careful and avoiding slicing off chunks of my leg, my water bill is extortionate and i need the company of a podcast so i don’t die of boredom in there)

this might be a kinda trite and unrelatable thing to say, especially if you are personally at art school and are bored of having to sit in the lectures, held hostage by a clever person. but trust me when i tell you: once you leave, situations like that can be rly rare. when else would you get a chance to indulge ur nosiness and hear about what someone does for an hour? unless ur being held hostage by that clever person at the pub? but that is an interaction with bad vibes. i j like the format of an artist lecture because often trying to find all the collected information they end up presenting is actually quite hard! you’ve gotta do the puzzle n connect the dots n that artwork scavenger hunt. it’s rare to have all that info and thinking and work handed to you in a pre-packaged meal deal way. the artist is talking you through! explaining the nuances of thinking with the benefit of hindsight, able to connect the dots n say all the unspoken subtext that an artist website just leaves out.

so with that, i rly rly enjoyed this artist lecture by gary zhexi zhang. i only ever seem to catch his work in fragments, off the internet crosswinds. he is very funny and clever on twitter, which i miss now i have deleted the app off my phone (in an attempt to cut down doomscroll screentime) but then sometimes he’s on instagram doing something cool and futuristic in new york and i’m like ‘woah! wish i was there to have a snoop!’ – and now i was! i got the full inside scoop catch up! it was really helpful, interesting, satisfying in the way it scratched the entirety of my nosy curiosity. i honestly think galleries like the ICA could make millions outta me if they had a full on weekly artist lecture series. every one i’ve gone to post-art school has been rly good. maybe i j wna do an MA?? (i categorically DO NOT want to do an MA under ANY circumstances lmaooo – i j want that art school infrastructure! n the way it nourishes new thought, exciting potential n possibilities by opening a window and exposing u to everything everywhere all at once etc.)

yeah, lmk if you’ve been to good artist lectures outside that art school pocket. if anywhere in london has a regular program of them with interesting cool people, i’d rly like to find out about it!!!!

the meadow!

here’s the thing – i said 2024 is film club year. and it FUCKING IS, i’m having a great time watching films and enjoying cinema as a professional newly converted cinema enjoyer. i realised v quickly that when it comes to films, i am actually looking for something very similar to what i look for in fiction (which makes sense, films are just stories in movign image format, fiction is stories in written textual format – they’re the same thing in a diff font, aren’t they) – i j wana have a bonkers loopy time with where the narrative thread goes. i want weird things to happen, maybe MAGIC. i’m entirely willing to suspend all my disbelief. as an audience member, my approach is ‘YES, AND?’ – that’s why i loved triangle of sadness! bc it took me up on the offer in that question and handed me loopier and loopier worst case scenario outcomes.

a friend of mine has a cheeky bfi membership, so i popped along with them to the BFI to see this film: il prato, or the meadow, by the Taviani brothers – paolo & vittorio taviani. and good thing i did. this is the kinda thing that, if i saw the listing i’d be mildly interested, but probably wouldn’t have pulled my finger out to spend the afternoon traipsing and watching by myself. it hit my loopy tickboxes, but unless it wound up on MUBI (use my MUBI link we both get a free month use my MUBI LINK PLSS), i’d have missed it bc i am lazy and i believe that sundays are sacred (should only be spent eating pastries, going for pointless walks and rotting in bed/reading books).

BUT YEA, glad i went to see this film out in the wild because it was BONKERS good, i loved it??? don’t know what was happening at any given time, i couldn’t tell you what it was about because it was actually about a girl that tries to start a community/public theatre company for kids in this italian town, she gets embroiled in a THROUPLE?? and then she bonks her head and its all very emotionally tense, but then there’s a dream sequence scene where she’s this medieval figure of the pied piper making all these italian medieval villagers dance until their legs fall off and they collapse and. her other boyfriend is a marxist farmer? he’s HOT. and he’s down with the throuple. dyou see what i mean? i have no idea what the fucking film was about. worth it for that fantasia pied piper break tho!!!

il prato by the taviani brothers @ BFI!

went 2 the tate reading room for some RESEARCH

i was asking discord about this a couple weeks back, but what actually ARE research skills? i assume i have them bc i am a writer and i write things and the things i write are not actually fiction – just maybe like i take artistic liberties with things sometimes, but – so there must be research in there, right? somewhere, going into it all? but idk what tangible research skills i have, beyond just googling things. and google is a legit research skill, fine. i’m sooooo good at googling. literally, top notch googler. but the other research skills? idek what they ARE.

and i guess it’s fine in the grand scheme of things. we are our own bosses, i don’t have a head honcho editor going through my texts with a big red pen, forcing me to toe a line idc about. i have a nice editor, gdlp, who will tell me honestly whether something makes sense or not n gime actually useful feedback. BUT! recently, i have been finding limits to what is actually ON the internet. some things aren’t googlable. no pdf available. or the backlink is dead because it’s 10 years old. or it PREDATES the internet. or the powers that be have only kept a paper version bc i bet they don’t actually want people to read it. not to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but i reckon that’s a thing. that and they’d probably run out of space on the big server farm in the arctic if they put every single arts council report on the internet, fully digitised.

so i went to go read a document in person and – lowkey i had a lovely time? it was a sunny day – i sat and read the entire thing properly, rather than flicking thru, dipping in n out, coming back to it later and thinking ?? weh? wot’s this? and then it dying in my downlaods folder. i took NOTES. i had IDEAS while i was READING bc my inattentive brain was so keen to peel away from the activity, i couldn’t force myself to pay attention for 2 hours plus so i started making up things to amuse myself. ideas!!!! i have an idea for a weird text, and it would be based on this doc i went out my way to visit IRL in person – that’s cool. when i went along to the reading room i felt like a proper writer TM and the novelty of that was also very delicious. but there u go! IRL research skills!!!!

n saw this scribble in the wild

o yeah, on my way to tate i saw this scribble on the mirror at pimlico. i think it looks cool, i feel nervous about it bc maybe it’s a conspiracy theorist that cares more about the illuminati bit than the killing the poor bit. but – bc last WISLW i was talking about graffiti & 10FOOT and making a mark on the highly financialised cityscape around u.

also, saw this sticker in the wild

i think this is such a sweet, tender beautiful thing – speaking of leaving a physical residue on the rapidly changing city as it moves and shifts around u, against ur will. gwon aly and tom!!! they were here! n they look like they love each other LOADS!!! in their natty matching jumpers, foreheads kissing n the xmas tree in the background – those crazy kids!!! isn’t that lovely! so special and rare, they’re so lucky! i love LOVE! i am gna make stickers for me n my bf and make him join in in my mission to stick my stupid face all over the city in strange discrete places. LOVELY!!!!!! ZARINA WOZ HERE!!!!

apparently kingdom of heaven is kinda historically accurate?

i j assumed it was all made up for cinematic effect – there actually was a king of jerusalem? spend a good hour procrastinating by falling down this particular wikipedia rabbit hole.

yeah, crusader states – there are whole ass medieval european castles in syria. i think that’s bonkers, history is so cool and interesting!!!


i went thru my entire wardrobe and sorted out what to give to the charity shop and what to put in a big pile n try sell on vinted. obvs been selling things on vinted before but this was a Big Drop – 60+ items. there’s no actual point to me including this on WISLW, it’s j one of those jobs i keep meaning to get round to, so i’m looking to be congratulated for actually doing it. i hope rishi sunak NEVER asks me to declare it as income. quite frankly, what a pisstake. long live the circular economy!