Sunday, 30 March 2014

In Praise of Older Women

The Mister and I were in London last night, my was it busy and strangely very well lit. Most of the buildings around Piccadilly had enormous spot lights aimed at them and up them. It all looked a bit odd to me. I still remember going up to London on a Saturday night when I was in my teens, not surprisingly it was a very different place then. Last night it felt a bit 'Disneyfied'. Anyway I digress.

The reason for the trip was to see the adorable Anne Reid in cabaret. Not the play itself, rather an evening of song and deliciously funny story telling.

She was brilliant. And the venue was superb. A vision of Art Deco loveliness. The intimate room was wonderfully decorated with jazzy motifs and colours, had a gorgeous cocktail bar and the best thing of all - great seating.

Small round tables, just right for two couples, each lit by an individual red lamp. It was all very 'Fred and Ginger', if you get my drift.

We went early to eat in the Brasserie that is attached to the Crazy Coqs club. The food was very good, great value and the interior of the restaurant could compete with The Ritz in  it's polished opulence. We were astonished at the richness of it all, especially as it is all housed underground.

Crazy Coqs Jazz Club
Our next outing to London is already planned for April. When we will be off to The Gielgud Theatre to see Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit. I'm very excited about this. Although I don't know if she will be able to match Margaret Rutherford's portrayal of Madame Arcati in the film version.

Another favourite actress is also in the play, Jemima Rooper. It's a dead cert' I'm going to love every minute.

I suspect Miss Lansbury will also love every minute at The Gielgud as it has a family connection for her. Her mother who was also an actress debuted there in 1918. How amazing and a tiny bit marvellous (to quote Dawn French) that she is performing there herself and at the grand age of 88.

Lastly, Happy Birthday to Doris Day for April 3rd when she will be 90.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Modigliani, Soutine and the Accursed Artists

Even though our visit to Rome last weekend was fleeting, to put it mildly, we did manage to squeeze in a visit to a wonderfully inspirational exhibition.

The collection on show was originally owned by Jonas Netter who was something of an artistic visionary as he purchased these gems from the various artists before they had reached any prominence. Netter died in 1946 and most of his collection has not been seen by the public for over 70 years. How lucky were we? Answer: very.

I'm a big fan of Modigliani and his distinct style of portraying folk with elongated features. Which is why I was drawn to this exhibition. But I knew little of his life which was a tad tragic, not only for him but his young wife Jeanne Hebuterne and their unborn second child.


He died at the very young age of 35 from tubercular meningitis but had also been suffering from frequent alcohol induced blackouts. His beautiful and inconsolable young wife who was nearly nine months pregnant threw herself from a fifth floor window the day after his death. Killing both herself and their unborn child.

Jeanne Hebuterne

It seemed almost immediately after his death Modigliani gained recognition for his work, sadly too late for him. Was that just an 'age' or does that still happen I wonder?

Bambino in abito azzurro 1918

Nowadays it seems that some talented and artistic people despite finding success in their chosen field or life ambitions are still unable to find contentment or peace. Isabella Blow, Alexander McQueen and L'wren Scott to name just a few. Talent and destruction somehow inextricably linked, whatever the circumstances or time in history.

Oh dear I'm verging on the lachrymose now, let's change the tune. 

The exhibition was wonderful and uplifting. So much so that I made a mental note to make some time for my own artistic endeavours. I do this on a fairly regular basis dear reader,then forget all about it again. I adored art when I was at school, but I haven't picked up a brush, charcoal or pencil since university and I graduated in 1984.

Today though the Goddess must have been looking down on me as I wended my way around the aisles at Lidl. Lo and behold a set of 5 canvases ranging from itty bitty to 50x70 cms. Framed on FSC wood from well managed forests, £7.99. Plus a set of oil paints in 12 assorted colours £2.49. I bought one canvas set and three packs of paints, two for me and one for my son Jack. Now I have the kit I have no excuse! 

I haven't spent tons of money on materials so it won't feel a waste if I don't produce a masterpiece straight off. I think I might need to find an artistic visionary of my own. 


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Eternal City

Oh my, Bella Roma, what a place. The sunshine, the delicious food and wine, the overwhelming art and architecture, the rugby, the what? It's all good, even the walking for hours on end. Well without the walking there is less of the delicious food and wine, no?

Such a treat to enjoy the sun and look up at Angels on rooftops looking down on you and breathtaking sculptures at every turn. Even the open air markets are a sensory sensation.

Only an English woman could get excited about fruit and veg but that's me I'm afraid.

An English woman abroad with two one hour lessons of Italian behind her. I felt like a native.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel - Go See.

I saw it last night, and was completely blown away. I've never really 'got' Wes Anderson before, but now I'm a total convert. He's up there with Woody Allen. Innovative, witty, with an exquisite eye for detail. The film was very fast moving, enormously funny and entertaining and visually quite astonishing. The baddies were really bad and the goodies were mythical and magical, straight out of a Grimm's fairy tale or perhaps a magic lantern show. No sooner had I watched it then I wanted to watch it again. And I shall.

Monday, 10 March 2014

A Perfect Day

This post is a bit late for my liking but it can't be helped, there was too much on last week. Including three days working at my new part-time job. A new job that I have sadly decided is not for me. I'm working to the end of the month whilst they find a replacement. They are interviewing this week anyway so they just have to find another bod to take my place. Shame really, but I'll carry on looking for something that feels right.

So, last weekend the Mister and I had a super scrimpy time up in the big smoke. We had a hell of a time, totally brilliant.

We started off (in true Monopoly fashion) passing Waitrose and collecting a free coffee each with our Waitrose members cards. Then we used the Mister's network railcard to get two return tickets to the Old Brompton Road for the small sum of £20.00. We had to change trains a few times but they all connected well and they were relatively empty for a Saturday.

Once there we made a very happy discovery. The Chelsea Kitchen restaurant that I frequented in my teens when it was on the Kings Road has relocated to Fulham Road. What is more it is still unbelievable value for money. With a wide selection of great tasting food, healthy portions and friendly helpful staff. Between us we had 4 delicious courses and a glass of wine for £25.00 including a tip.

Then on to the Finborough theatre which is in a room above the pub to see Rachel Stirling starring in a revival of a Terence Rattigan play last performed in 1958, Variation on a Theme.

I was so grateful we heard about this play and the theatre (highlighted in The Lady magazine) and managed to get tickets early as it is now sold out. We had seats at the front just feet away from the performers. I can honestly say it was one of the best things we have ever seen. Tickets were £16.00 !!! Apparently Rachel Stirling is only being paid £50.00 a week, because she really believes in the play and obviously wants to support the small theatre.

The supporting cast were top-notch as well. I've signed up to the Finborough Theatre's newsletter as I'm sure I will be a regular visitor from now on.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Rug Envy

Slow progress on the old African flower crochet square front I'm afraid. Can't seem to get the tension quite right. Which in an ironic way makes me feel very tense.

But fret not dear reader, I will persevere until my granny squares are perfection itself. At that moment I promise to reveal all. (So if they don't materialise on this here blog at some point you know what's happened).

Until then here's some gorgeous faux crochet to share with you. I am totally in love with this rug produced by wovenground.
Unfortunately even if I had enough coin to buy it, I would have to completely change everything else in the house and paint all the rooms white. What an earth would I do with all my objet trouve?

Who said clutter?

images and original information about this rug from here