How much do I love these little notebooks from England? Oh so much.
Oh, and also my friends there, and my friends’ friends. And the overcast weather (it’s just so nice to not squint…). And the spongy ground and the fact that archaeologists have to be hired to evaluate new construction sites. The misty landscape, green, green, grey, dotted with branchy, knotty trees. Parks. Public transportation. The variety of dogs. That there are at least a dozen national newspapers, and everyone reads them… Also vile foods like Hula Hoops and Bourbon creams (now available gluten free!!) and that Pellegrino is relatively cheap.
Good to be back, though, to familiar plumbing and accents and brands and bars and neighborhoods and traffic/pedestrian rules.
I used to think I might live there someday. Now I doubt it. I think over the seven years since I first went over there I’ve lost some idealism. At that point, the future was a blank slate, the degree a hoop to jump through before I embarked on… whatever I wanted. The idea of being, say, a magazine editor or a writer or a curator or a scholar paid well enough to live in a gorgeous London flat — all still possible then. Now, not so much. These things don’t just happen because you’re a nice person and smart enough. You’re not chosen for those things, even if those things got you through your first twenty-few years. I don’t know that I ever worked that hard. Or wanted anything that badly. It just didn’t really occur to me that it would take desire or work, really. Or maybe it did, and I just… didn’t.
Amazing shows: Lovely portraits by Gerhard Richter at the National Portrait Gallery. Portraits in general at the National Portrait Gallery…
Roni Horn was breathtaking at the Tate Modern. I love, love, love her drawings. Minimalist, but complex at times, plays on language, writes a bit of a diary (maybe?) into the works, and then there’s all this geometry going on… And those were just the drawings…
Altermodern at the Tate Britain was intriguing. Walead Beshty was my favorite — the guy who FedExs (is that a word?) glass cubes around the world, and then displays them, cracked, etc. He had these gorgeous photos that were created by putting film through airport security x-ray machines — gorgeous, random, gorgeous. Ugh. Wow. I get into this sort of thing.
Also, I saw The Couch of Couches at the Freud Museum:
His office is not what I expected at all — his desk was filled with all of these ancient icon/figurine things that essentiall stared him down as he wrote (if he could even find room to write). It was really interesting, though. He only actually lived in London for about a year before his death, all the while suffering from cancer of the jaw (such a tragic demise for one of the forefathers of the talking cure, right?).