The scene from my friends flat in Waterloo last night, absolute insanity.
Thu, 8th Apr. 2010, 21:48
Managed to make it to the Van Gogh exhibition at the Academy of Arts. Queued for 3 hours. I shit you not. 3 hours in the inexplicably hot London sun. Oh and after we queued for our tickets, we queued to get in. After we got in, we queued to see every single painting. There were a lot of old people who were getting equally decrepid spouses to explain what the paintings were of, as their eyesight was too poor, and there were a lot of people making incredibly inane comments. As my Mum commented as we left, 'I just hope our observations didn't sound quite so silly'. Quite. I got the distinct feeling that many visitors were there under the impression that visiting a Van Gogh Exhibition was the thing to do. They dutifully followed the designated path across the exhibition with sound pieces stuck in each ear, or clucking away to each other about how said painting would make a wonderful tea towel. It seemed a showcase of some of the worst middle class traits, "look at us we enjoy CULTURE we spend 20 quid to see ART, oh but we're better than the upper classes because we know how to QUEUE". Oh the stagnation of the art world, where people follow the whisperings of an omniscient ear piece about what to think and where to step next. I wanted to rip them from their ears and scream "THINK! damnit LOOK! look at what is in front of you right now, and make up your own minds about what it means! This isn't some Goddamn BBC documentary about the life of Van Gogh, this is an actual, visceral experience. ENGAGE!"
But then I sat down for a while and scribbled some vitriolic passage in my note book and felt a little more forgiving. Because to be honest, Van Gogh's work is still challenging, it is still extraordinary, and I can understand why people feel they need some guidance through it. He combines what seems to be an insatiable, inescapable desire to document everything and anything around him, with an ability to portray the essence of his subject matter with an absolute explosiveness. It's like looking at the after effect of a beam of energy that has been focused on to a canvas. That has burnt a hole in the wall. What I found as well, was the effectiveness he has in placing you directly in the landscape or portrait he has created. Even though they are far from 'realistic' in the traditional sense, they suggest what seems a hyper reality. All is even more itself than it usually is. What I mean by that indecipheral sentence, is that the swirling skylines, acid yellow sunsets, flecked roof tiles all suggest a visual concentration of the subject matter. As if he boiled off all the unnessecary elements of the trees and sun and mountains until he was left with concentrated paste, that was then pushed onto a canvas with a pallete knife. I wonder if that is how he experienced the world... a flush of intensity where ever he looked. Intensity that must be documented, must be made permanent, be it a chair or cart or star beam or whore. All treated with the same intense eye. See, this is pretty heavy stuff. Maybe my middle class companions didn't really want to feel all that much, they just wanted to make their way to the gift shop and then feel smug over a cup of tea in the cafe.
OK I will allow for the possibility that I'm just being far too snobbishly judgemental. It's the queues. They bring out my social critic Hulk side. HULK ANNA SMASH other peoples ears pieces. Oh well. The art does make it worth it.
Thu, 14th Jan. 2010, 01:48
I’m starting to lose motivation about exercising everyday because apparently it takes about 3 months to see any changes to your body from doing so. I currently work out for about an hour every day. It’s hard because, I know if I restricted my eating for a week or so I would see the results very quickly. But I’m trying to become stronger, healthier… Not just skinnier. But I’m so impatient for change… And old habits die hard. I am so used to instant gratification when it comes to weight loss, that doing it the proper way seems to take a ridiculously long time. Oh well, I guess I’ll keep trying.
Mon, 7th Dec. 2009, 01:03
There are few things I love more than people challenging your assumptions.
Yesterday at my volunteer work, the co-ordinator asked each woman about the domestic dynamics within her home, and how they liked to take time out from their lives to relax. All the women are recent UK citizens from Bangladesh or China. Three of the women are Muslim.
One of the Chinese women is married to an English man, she acts as the traditional housewife, whilst also studying. He is the breadwinner, and basically says to her that the children are her responsibility. He wants nothing to do with their discipline or playtime, nothing. He refuses to contribute to the running of the house, and his wife does all the cooking and cleaning whilst taking care of two small children and trying to study.
One of the Bangledeshi women, who comes to our meetings in full veil, is married to a Muslim man. They have lunch together everyday, without fail, which he cooks. He contributes to the housework, the childcare, cooks, cleans. From the sound of it, he treats his wife and his children with a deep respect, and is encouraging his wife to study so she can pursue a career in counselling. For our meeting this week, he made the most delicious spiced fish cakes for us all.
I felt so ashamed afterwards that I assumed the woman who experienced the most domestic oppression would be Muslim. It seems to be so easy to make assumptions like this about groups of people when you have a limited amount of interaction with them. They become painted depicitions without human depth or substance. It was a welcomed wake up call about my own misguided assumptions.
Thu, 5th Nov. 2009, 19:02
Does falling for someone become scarier every time you do it?
I feel like my life is ridiculous. First my Dad's possible child, then Liam's death, then Michael moving to Australia, now this weekend, getting caught in a house fire. Honestly now, cannot I not have a little normality please Life? A boring few weeks in which I work and go to class and see my friends and celebrate Easter without anyone getting pregnant or dying or catching on fire?
What's strange is that any sensible knowledge as to how to act in a fire completely left me. I just panicked, held onto my friends hand and gasped and swallowed a stupid amount of smoke. I wasn't afraid, just bewildered, until the moment that I lost Richards hand and it fully dawned on me that I couldn't see anything. That there was smoke everywhere, and I didn't know how many more flights of stairs there were to go. I lost all sense of time, I have no idea for how long I was stumbling through the smoke for, it was just darkness, chemical smell and taste, can't breathe, sight of fire, someone helping me out, and then lights, cold, people, coughing, sky, broken glass under my feet. I think I must of been one of the last people out, the paramedics and fire brigade had already arrived. No one was killed. We all made it out. If it wasn't for the fact that a man on the bottom floor had been up working late, and had seen the men throw the fire bomb through the letter box and had alerted the other flats, I don't know what would have happened. We were on the top floor, there was no other exit apart from the door that was on fire. Not a single fire alarm. I can't move on from this point. The terrifying possibility of a different outcome. The thought of being trapped at the top of a flat, the stairs on fire, no way out. the random luck that someone was able to prevent that from happening.
I, maybe naively, didn't think that such racial attacks still occured in London. Not since the 1980's surely. But no, the sight of an Asian boy passing you on the street at 5am is still reason enough to attempt to kill a flat block of people. The mentality that accompanies this is bewildering to me. Yet, I know it is ultimately the most extreme example of a racist attitude that is apparent in different forms within all aspects of society. Their thoughts and actions are not in isolation of London, or western society as whole. This is what frightens me, to experiance the ultimate manifestation of an ideology that is not unheard of, inconcievable or rare, but the logical final step within the veiled racism that permeate all levels of society. It exists along the same line as 'skin coloured' plasters all being pink. No one wanting to sit next to the muslim man on the train. My mum grabbing her bag to herself when we pass some black kids on the street. It seems inevitable that such tension will result in acts of seemingly random brutality.
Sun, 10th May. 2009, 13:46
I'm starting to think, maybe I should stop trusting men who tell me they love me
Thu, 19th Feb. 2009, 14:51
I have realised recently that I am incapable of expressing anger without the aid of alcohol. What does this make me?
I have been conditioned to believe that anger, and the expression of it, is immoral. That to be morally pure, is to be eternally forgiving, gentle, empathetic. Accomidating. I am coming to think that such behaviour, such a misinformed idealism about the human condition, only does a disservice to my own life, and to those of others. I know exactly where it has originated from, the wide eyed reactionary caution I had to assume at all times with my father, to forgive, forgive, forgive.
To be continually aware of the tiniest flecks of change in his demeanour, to softly observe, and bend myself to ensure the avoidance of any irrational, paranoid fits of rage.
Yet it has lead to my father re-enacting the same behaviour over and over, with people around him fearfully supressing their own emotions to ensure peace. Just a little peace, for a little while..
Then he drinks. He takes the pills he is addicted too. His paranoia has free reign to dominate the lives of all those who must love him. His self loathing, anger, frustration, despair, has permeated my life, it is poison.
Now the affects of the great creaking pattern my father enacts over and over are being felt by my brother and I cannot tolerate that. I put myself in the line of responsibility when my parents were together, so Tom never had to. He cannot have the burden too. He is the one that managed to get out alive.
Carol, my Fathers off and on again partner has told him that she is pregnant. My father is convinced she is lying to manipulate him. This is my Father at full force irrationality, nothing can touch him, nothing can bring him down from the state of fearful mistrust has has wound himself into. He is such a fearful man. The phrases he has used to describe the situation, they are exact, word for word renditions of statements he made to me and my brother as children, against my Mother. "She's trying to manipulate you... to take you from me... to make you believe I am the Bad Guy..." We are all too old for this. I am trying to complete my degree. I'm starting to not even care about it anymore.
I am furious because, my brother and I are our own people now. We are not huddled children, we have our own lives, problems, responsibilities. Yet I must go back to my Father again, and be the one that carries him. That understands, that helps, that makes sacrifices. What else can I do? It's me or my brother. I cannot even express my anger because, I don't know how. All I can do is turn the feelings in upon myself, and continue my Fathers legacy of self loathing and repressed emotion. To think as well, another child may be born into this.
Mon, 16th Feb. 2009, 03:20
Tue, 6th Jan. 2009, 12:56
I am a harlot with a heart.
David keeps telling me 'You're a heart breaker, Cat"
I don't mean to be, I don't seek out people or men for my life. But they arrive anyway. But there always seems to be someone waiting for me at night. David's right, I am never truly alone for longer than a few weeks before I get swirled up in the emotions of someone else.
I don't know why it is. I'm just a girl amongst another thousand London girls with a bob and pale, pale skin and the clothes of my Grandma.
My ultimate fear is to be alone. For all my coy flirtations, perhaps this is apparent. But these people... It's not as if they prevent the ever present background noise of loneliness. The static buzz.