From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Posts Tagged ‘National Portrait Gallery

Interesting Old Faces and Bright Sci-Fi Lights

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The past month or so I’ve struggled with my writing. I wouldn’t describe it as a block. More like the creative part of me was grinding to a halt and I couldn’t find inspiration. About a week ago I honestly thought this blog had reached its end. Maybe it was the endless winter or the soul-destroying flat hunt I’m currently involved in. I’ve been reading books at a slower pace, gone into a trance when I’ve picked up my laptop to write, left my camera at home when I should be out taking photos.

Today I decided to give myself an art overdose in the hope of being wowed and excited by something. First The Light Show at The Hayward Gallery. If you happen to be an art loving Sci-Fi fan this is an absolute must. Leo Villareal’s Cylinder II made me feel like I was stood amongst a million stars, Ivan Navarro’s Reality Show was like the bottom of Doctor Who’s Tardis had fallen out spiralling into a vortex and Olafur’s Eliasson’s Model for a timeless garden felt like I had found water on mars (strobing unreal droplets hopping and falling in a pitch black room).

Leo Villareal. Cylinder II

Leo Villareal. Cylinder II

A short stroll across our dirty old river took me from a futuristic experience back to the 1920’s. The National Portrait Gallery is currently showing Man Ray Portraits. I was trying to commit every photo and moment to memory. From the seventeen year-old boy freaking out at the sight of what I can only describe as a healthy bush of pubic hair on Meret Oppenheim (“that’s just weird!!”).  To moments when I found myself welling up at photos of his lovers (Kiki and Lee Miller) and wife Juliet. The one constant thought in my head throughout the whole exhibition was “I think we have less interesting faces now”, which is a testament to Man Ray but perhaps doesn’t say much about my fellow Londoners. I include myself in this of course, especially standing in front of his portrait of Virginia Woolf. I have a terribly dull face in comparison.

I’ll end this post with Man Ray’s words of encouragement to his niece Naomi Savage when she started her own creative journey. It struck the right chord today.

“You don’t need a huge audience. You only need five or six people who care, and there to encourage you… Don’t worry about idealism and practicality… Try to get paid for what you do, and don’t worry if you don’t. Just keep on working. You’ll make up for it time.” 

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Sunday Swoon. September 23rd

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This week I need to talk to you about How To Dress Well and eating your five a day….

1. The second album from How To Dress Well was released this week and on first listen it was immediately cemented in my top albums this year.  It’s genius, excellent, I can’t heap enough praise on how intricate and clever it is. At times R&B smooth, at others arty and poetic. & It Was U is my standout track on the album. You can stream it on The Guardian’s site but then I insist you fall head over heels and trot out to buy a copy.

2. Sadly by the time you read this the Road to 2012 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery will no longer be. Slowly and surely the remnants of the Olympics and Paralympics are disappearing. I am clinging to them as much as I can, digging my nails in and silently screaming “nnoooooo, don’t leave me”. This featured photographic portraits everyone from Martin Creed to Katherine Grainger. As the exhibition started before the events the gallery had kindly stickered the medallists in corresponding colours. Lovely stuff.

Riverford Field Kitchen

3. Tucked away in Totnes, Devon is Riverford Field Kitchen and it’s without doubt one of my favourite places to eat. The vegetables come from their farm surrounding the restaurant and recipes ensure you overdose on essential vitamins. You’re served on long tables, generous sized bowls are placed on the table for you to heap onto your plate. Griddled leeks with French Beans, lemon and olive oil. Pointed cabbage with garlic and parmesan. Yes, that is a huge tray of Pork scratching in the photo above. To top it all off the (handsome) chef’s talk you through a choice of five puddings to make sure you leave stuffed. The quality is outstanding, absurdly good. If you ever find yourself down south book in advance.

4. I know very well people fell out of love with The Killers after Hot Fuss and granted nothing has quite lived up to the synths and indie glitz of their debut album but they’re still in my heart. Remember, I loathe musical snobbery so don’t come moaning to me about them as I shan’t be swayed. Battle Born was released this week. The brilliant fairsharemusic have it for just £5 and 50% of profits go to charity so it’s a cheaper, more wholesome alternative to iTunes.

Dirty Burger

5. Swimming makes me utterly ravenous and Dirty Burger was worth walking across Hampstead Heath shivering in the rain for. Tucked away on Highgate Road you enter what looks like a no thrills shack but it’s warm, cosy and playing some seriously good music. The chips were crispy, the milkshake fruity and thick and the burger amazing quality (the juice dripping onto my hands, a curious yellow tinge to it from the mustard smeared on the pattie). Go visit. Believe the hype.

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