hello & welcome back to ✨WHAT I SAW LAST WEEK!✨ – my culture diary on my blog on my website, it’s MY DIARY, GET OUT!!!! etc

last week i actually went to see some fucking art. i’ve been avoiding it all year. i think i’m worried i’ll be underwhelmed, i’m not enthused by the idea of goign to see things just to see them. i keep missing the things i actually want to see, i keep not being arsed to see the things i’m ambivalent about. i lack the motivation ot go and see art which, for an art critic, is p poor form. back in 2022 i was a critic-about-town, i saw EVERYTHING. i went out once a week to go see everything too, and i felt fulfilled in having seen so much, i felt satisfied by the slice of london’s art life that i was getting a decent grip on. i think i realised i have actually less energy and will to do that again, so i figured it was all or nothing. but i want to set myself a lil challenge to go out and see at least one show a week – even if it’s something i am ambivalent about in the end. i think it’ll be nice to get back to grips with the art world and what’s actually going on bc i’ve been so out the loop on it all, a recluse and a stranger. so – the critic is BACK IN THE ROOM!


went to see Show Pony, a group show at Islington Arts Factory, curated by Kelly Wu, ft 14 emerging artists who’ve made art about/around the beauty of The Horse – as u kno, i am a horse-art enthusiast and i run a horse-art instagram account so, OBVIOUSLY i wrote a cute lil text about it last sunday.

but here are some more pics of other works, not included in the text

luna bonafatti, carousel

maya king-dabbs, mustang

maya king-dabbs, hot wheels


in the spirit of getting out to see more shows, i double-billed show pony with the CUTE! show at somerset house – finally, bc it was about to close (it is now closed) and i think it’s crazy bonkers bananas that i literally work there every day and took me soo long to go to see it ?? like, a surefire way to make sure i don’t come and see something is: put it literally directly in my path, i will never see it, idk why? maybe bc it’s too close i think i can put it off.

lots of cats

but this show was a) massive b) comprehensive c) VERY OVERWHELMING AND OVERSTIMULATING. the first few rooms were like ‘ah cool!’ like sailor moon –

love sailor moon (we have the same birthday!), v interesting n fascinating to see the vintage versions, the visual emergence of cuteness as a style or an aesthetic signifier. then it got to the hello kitty disco and i was a body in a room full of children taking pictures and it just tipped me over the edge.

hello kitty astronaut. hehe. don’t get me wrong, i’m actually very into hello kitty. when i was a kid, my mum’s friend suzy would bring back rare and obscure hello kittys from china for me, probably collectors items n probably would’ve been worth money if i hadn’t put them thru the ringer of Childhood Play Use. so it was nice to indulge my inner child in the hello kitty disco, but i did feel like my inner child got a bit tired halfway thru with all the indulgence. it was like the inner child ate too much ice cream n felt sick as she schlepped thru. it was an eNORMOUS show and it was so comprehensive, everything cute was accounted for: neopets, sylvanian families, animal crossing, tamagotchis, the big ikea bear (i WANT him), just girly things like lying on ur belly n watching avril lavigne music videos.

i feel like this was curated by someone my age or thereabouts bc the references were very full on and directly on my specific nose. i wasn’t expecting to be thrown back to a throwback quite so violently.

that being said, i did enjoy it and sank a good hour or so after seeing the show, into eBay trying to find a sylvanian families starter home i could live vicariously through (more on that in a bit). there was also a rly interesting section of work by contemporary artist who make work about/in response to cuteness or with cuteness in mind. highlights»

alake shilling, buggy bear on a star studded beach adventure

this beach was indeed actually star studded, there was some really interesting pearly applique texture going on that i found really rewarding and interesting to look at

ram han, save our souls series

this was one of a couple of prints on the wall by this artist, ram han – and it was like a new favourite discovery moment, i felt the light switch in my brain flip on. this series was sooo compelling, these little monsters, so beautiful and ethereal, futuristic in that sleek digitally generated way, like these images looked backlit (even tho they weren’t, they were PRINTS). something about video game graphics and cartoonesque proportions or approach to living form, the way its like a mash up of all these different animals, little monsters only monsters in the same way pokemon is a pocket monster. but then also fantasy images and fan drawings of fantasy characters, deep lore and deviantart upload. and then like, it’s fundamentally very very cute! i love it!!! beautiful gorgeous i will reblog it on my tumblr!


popped in to phillida reid on grape street, a gallery i still hadn’t been to before — dyou see what i mean? i’ve not seen anything recently!!! kind of a group show: Ann Craven with Robert Mapplethorpe and Mohammed Z. Rahman. i didn’t want to look at the handout and find out whose work was whose. looking at it now, from what i can gather, ann craven did the dove paintings with robert mapplethorpe’s photo of patti smith (holding dove) in mind, Mohammed Z. Rahman’s paintings also featuring doves adn love as a theme feel like a good duo show match.

the show was nice, ok – i really like Mohammed’s work, my favourite kinds of paintings. they have an interesting intensity, really playing around in black darkness, the lower end of the colourfield, the spectrum as pitch. i’d buy one if i could afford one! i’d enjoy the lingering contact of having one in my immediate dimestic environment, i think seeing them fleetingly in a gallery always feels like not enough time. i was kind of ambivalent on ann craven’s paintings – they felt sentimental but in a renoir european way, rather than the eastern sentimentality of ornamentation and sweetness. i rly rly prefer the latter kind of sentimentality, less airbrushed, more sugary and crunchy. it was an interesting show to see after seeing hte cute show (a couple days after, i’m only tying them together in my mind bc of this WISLW format) – they make a good pair because i think sweetness, cuteness, those are natural pairs. but ann craven’s paintings didn’t quite tip into cuteness, they’re far too stylish. the colours are so instagrammable and it’s too art-historically aware with the renoir sentimentality and gaussian blur. i kept tripping over the images, waiting for something sharp to land. they were somewhere in the middle between all those things (sentimental, kitsch, art historical, e t c), never landing and icl, i love extremity.


i read this in 3 days. 3 DAYS!!!! and barely 3 days, more like 2 and a half. i read it soo quick bc it was un-put-downable. i was annoyed that i had to be at work around this book, when really all i wanted was to carry on reading and find out what happened next.

gabrielle did an ig post about it bc she was a test reader — if u want the lil summary of what’s going on, here’s her blurb from the caption: ‘The book is about a woman who comes home from a night out and there’s a man in her flat. Oh no. But he’s like Lauren what are you doing? And she’s like who tf are you? And she looks at her phone and there are pictures of him, and wait, she thinks they might be married. No, they definitely are. And this all sounds very sinister but actually it’s a comedy, because it turns out Lauren’s attic is producing husbands.’

i just really enjoyed this book, it was genuinely pleasurable to read, in the same way i found myself having fun listening to the bob mortimer satsuma complex. so there was that but ALSO: i think there’s also something clever going on under the skin of the opening gambit. like, ok in cis het dynamics women go into relationships and make a series of choices – are those choices neutral, are they good bad or like. what would we individually think about our choices if we encountered them at their peak. frog in boiling water rather than frog in the water as it heats up. how much agency do the girlies actually have in the grand scheme of things, like, the wider cultural landscape of cis-het romantic relationship roulette? i feel like the attic as husband-randomiser is such an interesting proxy for the hinge algorithm, opaque and unknowable, just delivering standouts and expecting you to agree enough that you’ll pay them for access to your algorithmically selected husbands. and it is kinda husband, bc i don’t think people are using hinge for casual encounters – the streets are saying there are other apps for that.

as a girly that’s Officially Speaking, Cuffed(TM), reading this book so quickly made me sweaty. first of all, dyou ever just turn round to the person you’re with and think ‘omg, who are you and what are you doing here?’ bc i do. sometimes i turn and look at my bf and think ‘omg, you’re here, who are you get out of my room’ but it’s not my room, it’s actually his room, and i’m getting sweaty about something abstract. this book made the existential panic of being in a relationship palpable in a new way. like, ‘what would i think if a single version of myself just got parachuted into my body in the middle of one of our interactions?’ would single-ZM understand the discrete language we share, physical and non-verbal as well as literal language? if not, how did we even go about building that language, how did we get here? what would single-ZM think of the Cuffed-ZM in this relationship? so when i last turned to my bf like ‘omg who are u’ i asked myself all these weird romantically existential questions and then i looked at my sweet bf n i zoomed back into my body and being – my love for him felt unexistential, stable. like i think i could shit in my hands and clap, and he’d still go ‘awh! i j lov u soooo much!’ – stable, unexistential. i felt like our discrete language was a warm envelope i would choose to stay in if he came tumbling out of the attic. isn’t that sweet!


last week at ceramics we learned how to work into our lil pinch pots once they were leatherhard, how to make things cool and decorative – i did some slip painting? slip decoration? i used a slip to paint some lil blue horses onto one coil pot and i made the big ugly teapot look hairy with a serrated tool. i am honestly having a lot of fun making things with no expectations that they’ll be any good. to be clear: the pots i’m making are BAD. but i’m having fun n experiencing the JOY of making. i do wana get better tho. i’m aware that the joy of making for its own sake is a finite joy. this saturday we’re gna learn how to throw on the wheel and i’m convinced i’ll be really good at that. no reasoning behind that belief, i just have a sneaking feeling it’ll be more up my street than handbuilding.

what i find rly fun about the ceramics classes tho is that you’re in a studio with a bunch of other people who are also making things. not to be a Critic in Public, but i go in and enter my Making Fugue State, and when i snap out i’m like WOAH AH at my own stuff, but i’m like omg WOAH at other people’s stuff. whenever i do organised learning i’m always more interested in what other people are up to than what i’m meant to be getting up to. i’m just the nosiest person in london! i j like making things in a convivial communal atmosphere! i like chatting and getting my hands dirty! i’m having a lovely time!!!


listened to this on the overground on my way somewhere, i think to ceramics class? and it was a charming lil short story by Italo Calvino. about a crew that jump between the earth and the moon, a lil surreal silly adventure. it’s very charming – the kind of story i’d have been really pleased to write myself, so i’m holding it very close as a kind of instruction or guide. i’ve never read any italo calvino, but now i’m curious about what else he’s written

i have been v obsessed with the solar eclipse all week bc i couldn’t get my head round how the moon moved round the earth — why isn’t there a solar eclipse every month? i still don’t understand it really, but i’ve had to shelve it, just put a pin in it in the big pinboard of my mind bc otherwise i feel very sick and clammy thinking about how enormous outer space is and how small we all are.


i love my bf sooooo much he is soooo sweet. he boked this lil paint thingy – one of those paint n sip things – off an ig ad, i think the algorithm j knew, and by the time it came around, he was Not In The Mood for it. UNFORTUNATELY, I WAS! i love painting in those big brunch-girly rooms where everyone’s a bit tipsy and more interested in chatting than doing a good painting. when people look up from their paintings and go ‘oh this is sooooo relaxing!’ like, painting as hobby rather than academic pursuit. it’s a v different vibe to the one i remember in the painting studio at art skl, bc it is actually joyful and pleasurable – painting takes on the role of pleasure.

idk, i think it can be easy to be cynical about these things bc obviously, they exist to make money. but —— like, so does painting itself? i find them soooo interesting. i am thinking about writing about them for next sunday, so i will keep a tight lip and not say too much, i want to sit on my thoughts like they are a handsome little egg i have to incubate.



don’t CHAt 2 ME! my eyelashes are sooooo curly! for free! (not for free, for £20, bc i bought a last lift kit off an instagram ad.) maybe unadvisable, maybe actually reckless bc i need my eyes to do my job, but all of that is conjecture or irrelevant bc actually the DIY lash lift worked GREAT! my eyelashes look lovely and my eyes are still functional, didn’t burn my lashes off. i’m j sooo pleased and smug w this! it’s a life hack 4 me bc i have very straight, forward facing lashes that do not like to take a curl. i can do that trick where i heat up my lash curlers with a hairdryer, but even then, by the end of the day my eyelashes will be all droopy and back to normal. it’s actually quite nice to have a lil curly lash secret, looking in the mirror i’m like ‘!o!’ bc my eyes look all girly and cute! all the time!!! i do have to cling film them for a bit tho, which is a funny lil process. diy lashlifts!!!!! highly recommend :)