Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Q for A
or Extreme Sport English Edition: Queuing
or Queuing for Art

I went last weekend to the Royal College of Arts' Secret 2007 sale. It's a secret not because no one knows about it, but because you don't know the artist's name till you've bought the piece. Each work is postcard size and costs 30 pounds. It could be anyone from art student to famous designer (Sonya Rykiel, Paul Stewart...) to famous artist (Damien Hurst, Tracey Emin). You first go to the preview to pick off a few that you like. Then on the day of you arrive early. By the time I reach at 6.30 am - let me repeat 6.30 am - there were already 300 people - let me repeat, 300 - ahead of me. Note also that it was -4 C.

Though the British may lack something in hihowareyou chitchat they make up for it in stiffness of the upper lip. We were all joking about the mild weather and professing our ignorance about the event (This queue - happened to be walking by and decide to join in). Extreme conditions (think the Blitz) also seem to break down social barriers and you can smile and chat with your queue neighbor. Someone lent me a chair for a while. A long while, since we were in the cold for about 4 hours.

Then after a heartbreak hill moment (being just at the edge of the door but having to wait another 15 minutes while being unable to feel my legs below the ankle), the real sport began. As you entered, you began crossing off items that the previous 300 people had already snapped up. Many of these included pieces I had guessed were by some of the famous artists in the show, but also many pieces I happened to like:

(a little bit textbook but very pretty)

Gone, all gone... And this one too which I didn't love but recognized as Tracey Emin:

When it came down to my turn, I was left with a few numbers on my list. Here's what I scored:

by Thomas Winstanley a (I hope!) promsing art student at the RCA.

by Johnny Miller (what you can't see in the picture is that there is palimpsest effect, where you can see the lines to the Lone Ranger theme etched in the paper).

by Karoly-Zold Gyongyi, a Roman artst (also subtle features not seen in the picture). And finally my quasi-coup:

Of course you recognize it. It's by what's his name. (See comments.)



What would you have chosen? Take a look at the RCA Secret 2007 web site.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Flugelbindery disavowed - new career options

My friend Hannah pointed out to me the other day that flugelbindery (or at least its variant, fluglebindery) was the profession discussed by Tom Cruise in the film Cocktail. Incorrectly, it is referred to as the plastic bit that keeps the ends of the shoelace together. We all know that that that plastic bit is an aglet, and that flugelbindery is the craft of binding flugels together. And some craft it requires too, to render them both beautiful and useful.

I suppose all of you have known this all along but have been too polite to tell me (do I also have spinach in my teeth?). I don't think I can really be in a profession mentioned in any Tom Cruise film. (Unfortunately this rules out not only flugelbindery, but also secret agent, self-help guru, and Nascar race driver. Damn.)

In my own defense, although I have seen the film many years ago, I had forgotten this connection.

Nonetheless, I'm seeking a new profession. I came across some interesting options at the Biennale in Venice. Let me know if you think any of them are suitable.



(See if you can match each image to the profession: accounting, managment, production, public relations, and reception.)

(Check the comments for the answer.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tonight's program was taped before a live studio audience

Tonight's program was taped before a live studio audience.

Your host, BB, foolish enough to have considered taking 2 days off, has been temporarily lost behind a mountain of papers. The network denies this is punitive.

* * *

Good evening friends. Welcome to another episode of stolen-wifi, our airport, stream of consciousness, one-too-many musings. I've decided to tape delay this rather than broadcast live for two reasons. First, I was rather pleased with my last post (though I suspect my loyal reader...s craving more celebrity sightings are a touch disappointed). Second, you know the rule about never drinking and driving? Well it applies to blogging too (though rarely enforced).

I only took to blogging after trying every number on my mobile. But friends were asleep, family traveling, and not quite ready to face my exes (tearful phone calls several years in the future...)

But now that I'm here, I find this cozy intimacy so comfortable. I feel as though I could tell you anything. Confess to all my blog and non-blog secrets. Won't tantalize you any longer - no such confessions today. Well, I'll give you one.

When I was 18, I met this fantastic looking violinst. Actually saw. On the plane to Vienna. I was in the aisle seat and watched the violin walking by. Now a violin in and of itself is attractive. A fine piece of construction. But when combined with player... Let's just say it's always been a weakness. There was a moment when our eyes locked. Mine at least popped open. I'm sure a felt a little jolt pass through our optic link. I spent the flight thinking: how do get back there? I went down the aisle only to see my violinist sandwiched in a middle seat, asleep. Each one of the 5 times I walked by. Story over. Case closed. I fled. I didn't wait around at the luggage carousel. Because my violist turned out to be in a violin section and I couldn't find my courage...

I forgot, tried to forget about this lost opportunity during my 2 weeks in Vienna, which I managed to do until I was heading down the escalator at the Opernring. And coming up the other way was a shoulder with a violin. But not looking at me -- instead caught up in conversation with a cello. I waited, moment by moment, second being draw out into eternity, for the violinist to look at me. It didn't happen. Was it time for me to change my ways? Reverse directions, turn around, give chase. Quoting King Lear, "Never, never, never, never, never." Not yet at least.

So here we am. [Editor's note: the author insisted on this formulation.] Remembering a day when we were younger, when the tree of possibilities of life had many more branches. Regret. No. Nostalgia. Yes.


Monday, November 5, 2007

A quiet night at the movies. Denzel, Naomi, and I.

I swear that I am not a celebrity hound. I truly dislike that word. (Note to self: must invent a new word to convey the same meaning: famous, sometime attractive and often glamorous men and women who party for a living and often behave foolishly in public).

But there I was at the cinema on Friday, just trying to buy a ticket and a small glass of red. But these people wouldn't stop clicking away with their big lenses and powerful flashes. So I turned to looked and saw this:

Seemed a lot like Naomi Campbell and Denzel Washington. Indeed it was. Then they were milling around for a while talking about this and that. I thought of asking for a photo for the boys and girls back at the flugelbindery. But you know I'm the quiet, discreet type. And I have spent several years cultivating disinterested nonchalance. Why blow my cover now?

So then I went up to the film, only accidentally to walk into some sort of Q&A for American Gangster. I never did quite figure out what Naomi C was doing there. I suppose glam types hang out together? There were a lot of other tall, long-legged/muscular, well-tanned, and well-moussed types hanging about.

I just had my crisps and wine and went on my way. Ho hum. I've seen it all. (But still wishing I had asked for that pic!)

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