WHAT I SAW LAST WEEK: 29th Jan
hello happy monday and i’m going to crack on with this week’s ✨WHAT I SAW LAST WEEK!✨, my lil online bits n bobs pic n mix culture diary, bc the answer is: not much art, this is a couple weeks stitched together. but, i think the not-art bits are the most interesting bits anyway. so GOOD! i might as well get in 2 it :)))))
my boyfriend’s a great big nerd so he’s like rly into chess. like you don’t understand, he’s REALLY INTO chess. so now i just know loads about chess by proxy, but not enough to be actually good at it. like i know why i’m bad at chess – i know where the gaps are, i just do not have the will or capacity to fill them in (which is fine! bc he is good enuf for the both of us he he he)
we went along to a lil chess night at reference point and icl i was hesitant (bc i’m bad at chess) i thought it’d be like chess speed dating and everyone would be kicking my ass sideways. but actually it was just a bar with books and chess boards and it was a bit less organised (GOOD) than i feared. so i had space to be bad at chess without feeling self conscious. like, i’m NOT GOOD, i don’t even know how to checkmate. but actually i wasn’t even that bad bc my sweet bf was giving me lil tips and advice and trying to make everything a teachable moment. so we actually drew 2 games, and i had him on the ropes!! which, considering i’m bad at chess and he’s v good, is actually basically like i WON. it was a nice vibe! esp bc after a bit, the lights came down and it was all moody and vibey and there was a real mixed crowd? like some east london overground OOTD socks house blokette girlies with their slick back buns and refy lipliner. but also just random uncles who wanted to play chess in central london. i found it so socially interesting as well as chess-ically interesting :)
ROB AUTON @ SOHO THEATRE!
rob auton is a !comedian! – he does these shows like THE WATER SHOW! the SLEEP SHOW, the CROWD SHOW! where the show is about a specific thing: water, sleep, crowds. hyperfocus in. it feels writerly, essayistic – absurdly organised compared to the more general thematic links that other comedians employ. it’s like a straight line or a regular shape in a way that feels unexpected, restrictive but actually in a good way? kinda rly into it and respect it.
anyway, he was at soho theatre with his new show: the rob auton show, which is obviously about ROB AUTON, himself. vague and specific at the same time, great! it was funny (good bc it’s comedy) but in a very offbeat way. he did these weird clever jokes that took me a few more seconds than normal for the punchline to click and land. i quite liked that. it meant i was on my toes, it meant i wanted to get it. it meant i also found the jokes more rewarding. i just enjoyed it! his style of comedy is kind of absurd, but in a very small discrete way, not in the mighty booshificated way of grandstand absurdist comedy. there was little ego in the absurdity, it was so tender and sincere in its absurdity. i found it really charming in a way that made me fancy rob auton lmao. it took me a while to realise that was the end feeling i was left with, but i think w hindsight, that’s what it was. which is funny – i shouldn’t really say that as a serious critic doing serious criticism. but sometimes your enjoyment of a thing can be boiled down to fancying it or the person who made it!
i think bc: i got the feeling that rob auton had gone to art school. you might know what i’m on about or might j end up sounding like an art skl snob – idk yet. but dyou ever get this where like, as someone is speaking you start to get a sense of the mental movements they’re making with their thoughts and you go, oh? that feels familiar? and you realise that the familiarity came from your own arts education and the way it taught you to think – like, creatively, limitlessly, critically, about the possibility and potential of things in a way that is somehow uninvolved in reality and also very aware of it. in a way that seeks amusement but also is entirely serious. i get this a lot, even when someone actually hasn’t been to art school. like, i love joe lycett – because i think he went to art school even though he didn’t, he just makes the same mental movement patterns as someone who did?? does that make sense? it’s a very CSM thing maybe. i like it when people are creative and quick. and especially when they’re funny! it’s a really attractive quality, and i find that i look for it alot.
ART ON THE UNDERGROUND X JOY GREGORY X UNIQLO!
went along to a photography workshop, at uniqlo, put on by art on the underground, with the artist joy gregory. while i’ve explained all the moving parts in this workshop quite confusingly, it was truly ENJOYABLE! i booked this knowing it’d be a tax deductible business expense, but fully only wanting to do it for myself personally rather than as a professional activity? because: i’m sure you know this, I LOVE ART ON THE UNDERGROUND. i’m a fan, a big big fan. i think they do really interesting work, london would be a drab-er city without them. i am so glad they exist, i am excited by the stuff they do and i just LOVE them!
the workshop was led by joy gregory – joy designed the cover of this 39th pocket tube map, she’ll be working on some public projects with art on the underground over near the heathrow t4 station this year. it was a lumen ? photography workshop ? which i think i have done before but maybe when i was very little. anyway. it was fun! i like making things. i like chatting to people. i was way more interested in what everyone else was making than what i was meant to be making (typical, unsurprising, i am nosey rat). i have a no new clothes rule, but got a lil freebie special edition joy gregory tshirt adn – i think this is art not clothes so it doesn’t count.
^^ this was the one i made before it went on the lil photo sunbeds. i think it looked better before, no offence to me or the medium of lumen photography.
AotU are also doing another event at uniqlo, with their staff writer in residence, a poet!! Ayesha Kundi. tickets / info here :)
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (director’s cut)!
ridley scott! medieval crusade historical epic! i just loved this. i think about medieval times like every day. it’s my roman empire. apparently the normal non-director’s cut isn’t as good, is more action fight scene heavy and all the subtext and human interest is missing. even tho this was long, it was worth it bc it was just a good full story. orlando bloom as a blacksmith, we love to see a man in a pigonhole of his own making!
i will also say, i love this medieval history podcast called Gone Medieval – here’s a link 2 the show if u, like me, are obsessed with medieval times. i love it! LOVE IT!!!
very austere, tight and taut narrative thread. even the colour grading has a kind of sparse spartan dedication to only as much as is needed no excess. the dialogue is sharp, these little wounding punctures. i fell asleep for like 5 mins in the middle and i woke up with no idea what had happened because the distance travelled in 5 minutes was enormous. i’d say decent – it’s one of my bf’s fav films (like top 5 i think) and we do have different tastes. but i didn’t hate it, didn’t love love love it, but it was good! i am glad i watched, i found it interesting and rewarding :)
i am struggling to finish a book and idk why!?
maybe i j haven’t found anything i’m really fuckin VIBING with – maybe writing and writing and writing The Book has broken my brain and now i can’t enjoy anything longer than a tweet (probably not even a tweet bc i have kicked my twitter habit, cannot even scroll anymore!)
i started/put down the peasants – a massive book by a ye olde polish author called Władysław Reymont. it felt too big, i was too fidgety to sit with it. even tho i think i will like it & it might scratch the itch that middlemarch scratched ( i loved middlemarch!)
been dragging my feet with ursula le guin’s the dispossessed – it’s like, i AM enjoying it, i’m j finding it politically difficult to engage with and so when i do actually pick it up to read, i can’t really read it for very long. like. shevek, babe. why’ve ya left the moon. the moon sounds great. i wana go live on the anarchist moon? i wish i lived on the fuckin anarchist moon!!!!! it makes me sad about living on capitalist earth. propertarian earth! i find it really difficult to read bc it’s quite slow moving and it makes me quite sad. that’s more about the world we live in than any flaw or problem with the book itself. arguably the book is great and perfect, i j don’t live in a world where i am allowed to read the book without it making me soo sad.
but i have actually had enough of my own skittering around and started reading a book i know, KNOW i will love. like this is a definite, going to love it: deborah levy’s real estate, the 3rd installment of her living biography. i just love deborah levy! i truly love love love her – i want to be her friend, see her and be seen by her. i think it means so much to me that she is out there seeing the world in her own specific writerly way because it is a way of seeing the world & people that i identify with and aspire to.
here is me reading in the pub while my bf plays chess & we wait for our sunday roast to arrive like, we’re hitting every east london hinge prompt steroetype here.
this is a letter to the good people of kerala, god’s own country: thank u. is it just me or does anyone else remember – there used to be multiple rasa’s and now i think it’s just the one in stoke newy, the vegetarian one, and the street kitchen one across the road. there used to be one off oxford street, no? maybe i imagined it, but idk if i did! they’ve also stopped doing kingfisher – THEY USED TO!!! where can i get a kingfisher in zone 2 london, someone tell me!
obviously the subject of last sunday’s text – Painting, Smoking, Eating – one of my favourite paintings. but while i was wandering round the Tate Guston show, i saw a couple of other lovely paintings that i had never seen before, that i also now love!
double cig 8)
this is such a snug painting! spooning!
GALLERIES GET IT TOGEVA! @ SLG!
a couple weeks ago we plopped this cheeky lil podcast from Art Assassins on our podcast feed – luvly luvly, i also had the pleasure of interviewing a couple members of the collective IRL down at SLG for a launch event. and i actually had such a nice time! icl being on a panel is often like, it is my job, i' doing my job. but i was chatting to these lovely collective members, my panellists and i was like ‘you’re so cool’ i forgot the audience was there, we were just having a chat. wanted to yell ‘I HAVE HOPE!!!!! i have HOPE!!!’ into the south london sky bc fuck. i might feel like a cynical hag, but there are people out there who ask the right questions and have energy and anger to replace my cynical apathy. i am shown up by their enthusiasm and sharpness, they make me better by modelling what i should be. good! GOOD! love that.
book about worms
started a new day job! teaching 4 hours a week at a music school over in west london – did my first day last week and i had a lot of fun being Teacher(TM) – but also saw this in the staff room » what WOULD peter andre do??? i don’t know! something to think about :)
found this at the back of my childhood bedroom wardrobe. lovely :)
i am claudia winkleman
gab actually mentioned a couple months ago that she was listening to claudia winkleman on a podcast and claudia reminded her of ME – now cannot watch or see claudia winkleman without being like ‘… me?’ looking for moments of recognition. i think i see it. she’s very compact in her movements and quick, funny but like a weird sideways funny. i think i can’t unsee it, so if u disagree please don’t tell me. i AM claudia winkleman.
also did some teaching over at chelsea !! and i made a special effort to comb thru my camera roll and go through every year of my career to figure out what happened and why/how. it was an interesting exercise! 8.5 years is a long time, i didn’t realise how long i’ve been alive and myself until i had to comb thru the absolute archive of my camera roll. i have lived such a life already! i’ve been awake and here for so many moments and i am full! of love and happiness for all the life i’ve witnessed and all the things that’ve been in it. glad to be myself in this world bc i’ve got it so good.
if ur my bf look away! scroll away! for this chunk of WISLW!
while i was at uniqlo for the workshop, i saw they had a lil repair and embroidery station! i love sustainable infrastructure that makes it easier to repair adjust or update what you already have! so i got him a lil valentines day pressie and had it embroidered! he he he he such a good idea. joshua u better not be reading this bit i stg, spoilers spoilers!
i think there’s something i am still thinking about in relation to the repeated london protests every other week atm.
i keep getting very invested and excited by the home made handpainted signs people make. like, first of all they’re great. they’re creative, they’re emotional and meaningful. some are funny. some are clever. they’re all painful because in an ideal world, they wouldn’t exist. but they make me happy and hopeful because if that ideal world doesn’t exist, i’m glad these signs do. i have seen 5000 variations of picasso’s guernica and each and every time i spot one it hits me like a punch to the gut. picasso’s lamenting mother all twisted in torment. art speaks when we cannot, beyond our words, it toes the line when it is too painful for us to do so ourselve swith our silly human words and actions.
i think there’s also something geographical or geosociopolitical or geosociopsychological that’s interesting about taking to the streets every other week, walking through london, this city i love and call home. something about recalibrating my relationship to the city and who makes up this city, the sense of ownership i feel over the space in this city and where that was before. but mostly i think there’s something about feeling like i am part of a WE, an US, a collective crowd body that agrees on one thing, is united by their agreement on one thing. i feel more comfortable in the political life of this city, in a way i haven’t really felt since 2019 because 2019 broke me and my political spirit in quite a huge way – (i imagine it did for a lot of us, if you, our readers are the people i think you are, this isn’t unique to me, so i wonder if you agree). since 2019 i have been politically motivated out of pure spite and nothing else. i just want to spit on anyone who dares to mention that politics exists, that i should vote, can vote, should care, can care. i obviously do care, but i think i have felt broken and faithless after 2019. idk, i feel different now. i feel like taking to the streets every other week has done something to me. i still would like to spit on every MP and westminster bubble wanker. i still want to spit on everyone who believes in party politics – i think the thing that has been unbroken is the bit of me that understands that party political politics as total. it’s not. loads of people want to spit on politicians – more of us want to spit on them than shake their hands. i feel hopeful because in coming together, we (the new we i am hopeful to be a part of) are proving that the party political is actually silly and flimsy, and obviously the poltical life of this country exists and thrives and flourishes outside of it! of course!!! if i want hope i have to look outside of it because obviously it exists and it has always existed and it’s always been the part that makes life and energy and hope – of course westminster is where hope goes to die. but every other week i see black bloc antifascists wearin full face ballys handing twenties to people on the street, that makes me so hopeful i nearly cried on saturday. i see kids with placards they’ve drawn themselves. i see uncles picking up traffic cones that’ve been knocked over, putting them back upright and walking on. i think i knew in theory that people are better than the political system that rules over them, but this proves it to me, in practice. it’s beautiful really, all these friends holding coffees and holding hands and yelling their lungs out. people pushing their kids along in prams. i met a woman with a 3 week old baby strapped to her chest, the baby was fast asleep even though lads were walking past with sirens blaring out their megaphones. i see so many of my friends and acquaintances and people i know off instagram and from work and in passing – it makes me feel like i am so lucky to be in any social professional circle or bubble with people like this. it makes me feel hopeful by the people i am casually surrounded by. i go with my sister almost every time, but sometimes my mum comes and shouts very gently (i know she can shout louder hahshhf). other times i go with my favourite aunt and my favourite little cousin, and my uncle and my boyfriend and – it’s nice. i’m realising that this kind of collective participation in the poltical realm means a lot to me. my boyfriend loves spotting the old socialists having a sit down and a flapjack halfway along the route. i think that’s hopeful in a sad way. being anywhere left of the labour party in this country involves having levels of faith and dedication that’s historically been the preserve of organised religion. believing in a better world feels like believing in an afterlife. like, one day, maybe, when i die it’ll come about . i just think: i still know politics is broken, but i have re-found my faith in people because people are lovely. i love people. isn’t that lovely, so beautiful. god bless people.
notes 4 for this week from PSC »>