June 20, 2007

most kids have their stuffed animal.  stereotypically, it’s a bear.  for me, it was snuffy, a brown dog.  just saying his name brings back wonderful memories.  snuffy and i may not have been as adventurous as calvin and hobbes (although, i do recall trying to play the ‘we’re 2D’ game with him once – i had trouble getting up the stairs once i floated down them), but we did everything together for a while.

originally, he belonged to one of my sisters, but i quickly adopted him and, to be honest, he liked being with me much more anyway.  he used to tell me that all the time.  it was mostly because i would take snuffy everywhere.  he was subjected to a catholic upbringing (almost got baptized with me), we played games in the basement, watched cartoons on saturday mornings, and hung out in the evenings by the pool.

one early evening by the pool,  snuffy and i were hanging out while everyone else was getting dinner ready.  everyone else had gone for a swim earlier and now they seemed to be helping to get dinner set up outside.  it was then, while everyone else was busy, that snuffy decided to jump in the pool.  of course, this puppy couldn’t swim.  and neither could i.  i saw him slowly sink into the deep end.  he looked close enough that if i just reached in, i could scoop him up.  so i reached for him.  he moved so slowly and looked so serene as he sank.  i’m not so sure i looked that way when i reached so far that i fell into the pool myself.

luckily, my father was close by and jumped in to rescue snuffy and i.  it was a close call.

some time after that, i apparently left snuffy behind somewhere and he was never to be seen again.  i had always believed his disappearance was a conspiracy, that my mother had thought him too dirty, too beaten up for me to keep and had rubbed him out herself.  i have since come to terms with the guilt and have accepted, though i still cannot recall the incident, that i am responsible for snuffy’s disappearance.

if you’re out there snuffy, i can swim now… if that’s what you really want to do, let’s go swimming.


happy birthday dad.


musical chairs…

June 12, 2007

ah yes, the life of an intern. not around long enough to warrant an attempt from staff to forge a meaningful relationship, thrust into an environment just long enough to maybe get the hang of things by your last day, hoping to learn something (often times learning that you would never want to work for company X permanently), if not gain contacts, then gain some of that worldly experience you keep hearing about from your grandparents. answers to seemingly simple questions to be answered on a need-to-know-basis: *ring, ring* – do i answer the phone? how should i answer the phone? *cover mouthpiece* who is so-and-so? how do i transfer it to you without hanging up on the person?

occasionally, sorting and/or opening the post is required. who is this person who receives mail but no longer works here (‘oh right. yeah, they haven’t worked here for 5 years. i’ll take that.’)? this is a fairly good way for them to get a menial, but very necessary task done and for you to get a crash course on who you’re working with and what kinds of things they do. ‘bob sits over there. he’s in accounting. jane sits over there. give her all the stuff addressed to dick who no longer works here.’

and more basic questions: when should i take lunch? who should i tell when i do take lunch? will you even notice that i’ve gone for lunch? am i making your life any easier? were your last few interns idiots (because that would explain why you’re speaking to me like i’ve never used a stapler before)?

i find it interesting to see who’s going to speak to you during your short stay with company X. clearly you’re either new or you don’t belong there, but every time someone walks by you see them flinch as they identify you as an outsider who has penetrated their inner office. it’s always nice when someone sticks their hand out and offers you some help… just as long as they don’t also try to feel you up at the same time.

depending on the way the organisation works, you may have your own work station, reserved for temporary visitors such as yourself, sometimes located in a barren corner of the office, tumbleweed blowing in the wind not far from your chair. other times, you may be carted around from desk to desk depending on who is not in the office that day. i always find this intriguing, as if i’m being placed at an archaeological dig. there are only so many places one can hide post-it notes in their desk – so where are they?

telling signs of what someones personality is like – for instance the fact that there are 4 pairs of high heels under the desk may reveal that the person who normally sits there is a woman that wears proper running shoes to work with her tights for comfort, or perhaps the man whose desk you’re occupying works so late some nights that he stores his party shoes under there for convenience.  photos of a family with 2.1 children or perfume and cologne ads from GQ or Cosmo.  the number of passwords it takes to be able to use the computer.

internships or other kinds of temp work can be a tricky task. your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get out of there alive, with dignity, grace and having gleaned some of that worldly experience.


June 12, 2007

in the past few months i’ve noticed a polarity in my actions: when i am at an exhibition, it is either the private view/preview/opening party or the very last day it’s open. i’m not sure this really matters, but i also wonder if this can, in fact, be taken as a reflection of my personality as a friend has suggested.

i would say without hesitation that previously, i was much more likely to see an exhibition on the last possible day. i believe that i can adequately explain this with respect to my personality: i work better under pressure and the last day an exhibition is open adds a looming deadline and hence a sense of urgency that gets me moving. going any other day gives it little distinction in my memory, but if i have to re-arrange my calendar the day before in order to accommodate the visit, it’s more likely the fuss will make an impression on me even if the exhibition does not.

the private view has become more prevalent in my life in the past year or so. they often include free (and advanced) entry, free drinks of some kind and, on occasion, free food. this very much appeals to my often diminutive sense of frugality. who’s going to say no to free?

although the free factor does tend to make these instances more desirable than the last day, i find that i don’t always have the time to see the exhibition in its entirety. in some cases, this is totally acceptable (mostly in times when the company is good… or the drinks/food). in others, my mission to see the whole thing is dominated by one thought: i really don’t want to have to come back here on the very last day this is open and pay admission to see this again.

all in all, i’d say that this polarity can easily be explained by my personality and behavioural patterns… but then so can the fact that tonight i had vietnamese for dinner (merci beaucoup catherine pour le dîner!), but tomorrow i’m going to have mac and cheese, kd style.


June 6, 2007

i was at first confused when, about a month ago, i was walking down up charing cross road and spotted a poster featuring alex james, bassist of the britpop band blur.  i was immediately drawn to it because, yes, i was a huge blur fan in their hey-day and yes, i still consider myself a fan now (although i have so missed graham coxon performing with them).  but why was his face on this poster… alone… at a bookstore?

his book, a bit of a blur, is about to come out and he’s going to be chatting it up with miranda sawyer in a lecture theatre to promote and discuss the book.

normally, i wouldn’t hesitate to attend this sort of thing, but there’s pause here.  first, it’s unfortunate that he’s promoting a book i haven’t had the opportunity to read yet since i’m certain to have questions which could easily be answered at such an event.

not only that, but since i love biographies (auto or not), biopics (even if they’re obviously completely inaccurate or a blatant fabrication) and the like, i’ve read and seen enough to know that a bit of a blur will, in the end, bore me… it’s inevitable.  look at the author now – he’s sober, married, has a couple kids, lives in the country and raises sheep.  he may be happy, but could it be any less scandalous?

i remember my first autobiography. brian wilson. who doesn’t love the beach boys? but, as is well known now, their story and brian’s in particular it would seem, was completely fucked up. although the story is often heart wrenching and incredible compelling, he gets better. of course he gets better, he was clean long enough to write a book about his life.  forgive me for sounding heartless, but it all came together so perfectly in the end. too perfectly if you ask me.

now, however, i know better – brian wilson has done too many drugs in his day, as evidenced by his near unintelligible speech.  although i wish him nothing but the best for the future (how could anyone wish ill on the man that gave us pet sounds?), the fact that things got so much better didn’t do so much for me.  the oprah crowd may love those stories of human struggle against all odds and the eventual triumph over ones demons (they just ate james frey right up, didn’t they?), but there must be a better way to end a book.  something far less predictable.

so, though i’m sure to enjoy at least the first half of james’ book, the fact that he’s articulate enough to write for the guardian and together enough to raise a family (his wife claims he’s a wonderful father) makes me know that last chapter or so will probably be a bit dry. here’s hoping.

blow hole

June 4, 2007

in the last week or so, i’ve been thinking a lot about the passing of isabella blow. despite the fact that she passed away 6 may, news of her death eluded me until last week when a friend of mine was talking about her husband. i was completely shocked. i didn’t know her, but god, i wish i did. the woman was a fashion icon and i could not have more respect for her.

having been an avid viewer of fashion television for the past decade or so, her presence and pull in the fashion world could not be overlooked. her eclectic and outrageously whimsical hats were sometimes daring and always delectably. i remember once catching her on the tele a couple years ago just outside a fashion show during paris fashion week i believe it was, wearing something similar to a great big garbage bag that enclosed her. she frolicked about the host and andre leon talley in a windy courtyard so that air would fill the outfit. i remember enjoying her fun attitude towards the whole spectacle of fashion. yes, of course it is a business, but that her outfit could inspire whimsy and channel energy like that made it something much more human than that.

she was a visionary, an icon, a legend, extremely talented…
i don’t think fashion could ever find anyone as unique as her ever again.

inside and out.

June 2, 2007

i’m off the wagon.

and let me be clear that i didn’t so much as fall off as skipped off happily into a dark and smokey room where indulgence seemed appropriate. i was only along for the ride as a temporary hiatus anyway.

i first faultered in the early evening yesterday while attending a private view at b store presented by truck art. some nice (and some not so nice) belgium beer was available at the event, so, while trying to determine which pieces in the clothing store were part of the decor and which items were part of the exhibition, i shared a beer with a friend. sitting in a fantastic ‘s’ shaped, blue velvet covered pair of chairs, we sat watching a crowd which had a surprisingly low fashion victim to non-victim ratio (that’s not to say it was good or bad… just sort of safe). i don’t think the chairs were part of the exhibit, but it seemed to be a far more successful piece than some of the art, my friend and i agreed.

after the private view, we moved on to sketch, which, i had been told, was a very expensive, foo-foo restaurant and bar that not only boasts a great menu (it has earned a michelin star), but an interior design experience in the lavatories like no other. i didn’t get to sample the menu, but i can tell you that the lavatories certainly had a, how do you say? ah yes, je ne sais quoi. something akin to a kubrick film with tall, egg-shaped, white, plastic pods housing one toilet each, all placed irregularly in a long room with a skylight.

in the parlour, where the private party was taking place, the decor was neither something here nor there. it had neither committed to kitsch nor a particular cohesive style or time. it had completely unhygenic ice bowls at the bar and although a few of the chairs and one or two of the lighting fixtures were beautiful pieces, it pushed no boundaries.

the other rooms appeared to be much more successful and as it turns out, have won numerous awards since sketch’s opening in 2003. more contemporary finishes in the gallery (the main dining room) along with a round, spaceship like east bar, contrasting the more traditional lecture room and library. the spaces don’t seem to conform to a uniform or cohesive style either, but then, this was purely a cursory view.

i did appreciate the jazz music that started the night off… it was my equivalent to the conductor announcing my stop. i had reached a destination that seemed good enough, so i hopped off the wagon for a good time.