Wednesday, September 30, 2009

wednesdays have gone to the words

in celebration of my current research into domestic spaces--the last stanza of the title poem from matthea harvey's first collection, "Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form":

Pity the bathtub its forced embrace of the human
form may define external appearance but there is room
for improvement within try a soap dish that allows for
slippage is inevitable as is difference in the size of
the subject may hoard his or her bubbles at different
ends of the bathtub may grasp the sponge tightly or
loosely it may be assumed that eventually everyone gets in
the bath has a place in our lives and our place is
within it we have control of how much hot how much cold
what to pour into it how long we want to stay when to
return though is inevitable because we need something
to define ourselves against even if we know that
whenever we want to we can pull the plug and get out
which is not the case with our own tighter confinement
inside the body oh pity the bathtub but pity us too

go, read the rest here (the line breaks are a bit odd in this version, obviously due to space issues. the lines actually break as they are printed above)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

charleston your cares away

Z has had to repeatedly restrain me from purchasing a kickass, mint-condition, record player (that i can't even remotely afford). the little boutique my obsession resides in is always filled with the distinct scratch and warble of a twenties-era singer. it makes me want to charleston away my time in our tiny flat, drinking hendrick's, and wearing loud-mouthed lipstick. how does Z manage to keep me from just doing it? he asks how sad i would be when i couldn't bring it home to the states with us. very. in the meantime, the super8 video footage a friend took of our wedding (complete with charleston first-dance action) should be arriving by post soon. i really cannot wait. tomorrow we're off to the geffrye museum for some poem research, so anticipate some middle-class living room posts soon.

p.s. when my back was turned, fall happened in london. it's even better than i could have imagined.

(image via thelastdisco)

Monday, September 28, 2009

get antsy: brick lane & dancing for danish modern

last week was a blur of work and unpacking (and boat folding). sunday we got antsy and treated ourselves to something a little less holed-up by heading out to the brick lane market. the first time we went, a few weeks ago, we picked up (and then dragged/taxied home) a beautiful vintage school desk for me to write on for the year. there are crazy things scratched into the surfaces and the idea of how many people had worked at it before me was a total lure. (when we leave london i will be sure to carve in my and z's initials, middle school style, with curvature and hearts).

the market is about a thirty minute walk from our islington flat which is perched just on the edge of the infinitely hip hoxton/shoreditch area (yes we love where we live!). to save time we double-deckered to the liverpool street station and walked from there. despite being a lot of crowded jostle, brick lane (as opposed to the crazier ones like portobello road) is mostly navigable. this is important as i'm not one for intense packs of people and have been known to lose my stuff over too many absent-minded arm wingers.

we went straight to the upmarket. here there are endless stalls of every kind of deliciousness you can imagine. for those of you have read neverwhere, it is much like one would imagine the floating market. i am crushtastic for the impermanent permanency of everything. however, going on an an empty stomach is inadvisable. we skirted (with difficulty) the dangerous-amazing food section and wound our way through the craft stalls which are like rows and rows of live etsy shops. how rocktastic to see so many materialized virtual wares! we fell hard for artist peggy wolf's prints of odd ladies (check out her stuff!). i'm not in love love with her collage work, but her paintings have the good kinds of creep and beauty that i look for in art and poetry.

yesterday we specifically went with the intent of finding some chairs. the previous tenant had offered to sell us two of his, but when we arrived we found that they weren't terribly comfortable (they are fantastic looking victorian-style brocade chairs). this made it hard to want to sit in front of my computer and work all day. we made the necessity of chairs our excuse to get out of the house, even with deadlines looming. and we found them...again! we ended up buying chairs we had seen on our first trip to the market. advice for markets: if you want something, learn to haggle or to have patience--come back some other time if you are willing to see if you are meant to have the item. often you'll pay less.

we giddily purchased the chairs, and since we couldn't keep browsing (even small furniture is hard with so many people) we went to liplickers, sat our chairs in the sun behind the market, and enjoyed the most delicious donuts of our lives--just-made & dipped in sugar. then we lugged the loveliness of our danish modern chairs home over our shoulders, stopping here and there to sit in their streamlines and ogle them in open spaces: public parks, sidewalks, and the street just before our flat.

(images via ffffound, peggy wolf, and me

Friday, September 25, 2009

little things & old yarns

our new flat is a tiny tiny studio the size of one room in our old ithacan apartment. having gotten used to our old place, which had a universe of square footage, we decided (before we moved to london) that we would give our new space a kicking nickname to ease the resizing issues. sort of like we were banding together and bracing for the sure to be smallness of our first place post marriage. we decided it would either be dubbed le petit bateau or le petit gateau, a.k.a. petit four (meaning: the little boat or the little cake). as we work at moving in, we are still on the fence on which is a better fit. any thoughts?

in the meantime, since we aren't able to do much in the way of art or furniture decorating (who wants to invest in too many things when you are living impermanently) we have been turning to our favorite on-the-cheap-but-beautiful craft. those of you who know us (and witnessed the papering of our wedding) already know what i mean: garlands! garlands are a rocktastic way of brightening up a white-walled and no-nails-allowed room. and, considering one of the nicknames for our new flat, it seems we found the perfect etsy shop. oldyarns is an etsy boutique with marvelous items: intricately reclaimed old linens, postcards mobiles, and garland-kits galore. plus, i love a well-crafted pun.

we ordered one of her (aptly named) le petit bateau kits, and have been origami-ing mini-boats since. the kit itself didn't come with as many sheets as we were expecting, but we cut down most of the included pages and folded smaller & smaller bateaus. we've also been adding paper of our own, including vintage book pages, tube maps of london and the metro from paris, and various other sort of memory-abilia. we are still in the process of origami-ing, but soon will be stringing our tiny boats on the included bright red & white butcher's twine and then hanging our final work between our two windows. in the meantime, a sneak peak of the shop and of our beginnings!

(images via falsereality748, myself, oldyarns)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

on fall & toast

right now, i am missing the crackle of the first few days of fall in upstate new york. here it has been cold since our arrival (i had to purchase a trench coat immediately even though it was still august!) and the smell of the afternoon is more automobiles & grass than light & leaves. while i am sure it will be as crinkly-dry-leaved as ithaca in a few days, there isn't the same buzzed delight which i am usually filled with in fall: that while the days get shorter, there is still a crisp newness--sweater tights & jackie-o jackets, the smell of the evening air like a just-lit match.

for now, i have a few images from the new toast catalog to rev me up for this british autumn. i do dig the whole herringbone and spectator feel. and, on a different design note: we finally have pillows for our couch (they are a biting bright purplish-pink against the deep grey) which we purchased from habitat. i never knew how much i loved reading with my head on a pillow until we didn't have any. the flat is starting to feel more our own, rather than a tornado of luggage and clothing.

this evening there will be poems and poetry journals and figuring out what places accept online submissions. and, as always, book contests which have a way of sneaking up on me. as did the fact (just now) that i have no understanding of the british postal system. oh, royal mail, let you be easy to deal with.

(images via toast)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

arrivals & broken toilets

we returned from paris to find: our supposedly just-plumbered toilet was no longer flushing, our boiler's pressure had dropped back down to zero (no hot water), & the clothing-system that held pretty much everything we own had a meltdown. today was spent bribing our toilet to swish away its contents, meeting with the landlord, and figuring out a place to put our newly shelf-less clothes/shoes/coats/books. while we are both happy the system didn't fall on us while we were sleeping (our miniature-fold-out-matchbook-bed is right underneath) we are a bit sad that the previous tenant failed to mention that the system wasn't bolted into the ceiling (and that bolting said system in to the ceiling was not a possibility). so tonight you'll find my man and me drinking beaujolais, building our cool vintage-style iron clothing rack, and attempting to finish nestling into our new flat. i will continue coveting the bathroom above as well as being glad that i don't have to use the odd purple crepe-toilet-paper i found in some of the public french bathrooms!

(image via blackhybride and myself)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

welcomes (& secrets involving luggage)

welcome to my blog!—a place where i’ll be recording my adventures in london. the plan is to write about life here, sans the touristy american-in-europe-for-the-first-time feel. i’ve never been particularly patriotic (though it so much easier to say you’re an american here with obama rocking it out as president), but it is definitely interesting to be living in a new country with different cultural norms. i’ll be in london for at least a year, writing poetry, and figuring out how to navigate in this new space. i hope to observe the city as a both a guest and resident. the blog will range from the literary to the chic, to the curious and beautiful, to the everyday fizz of the ordinary day in london. (oh, and occasionally i might mention my crazy canadian lover)

the secret truth, though?! my man and i are actually heading off for our honeymoon today, so regular posts will begin next tuesday (hopefully with some incredible shots of vintage dresses!). in the meantime, here are my plans for paris:

poems & bazaars, vintage dresses & bicycles, macarons & boat rides, sparkling-cider-picnics & art, fashion & tangled streets, crepes & thin-alley-kisses. the last of the polaroid film from our wedding & an apartment in the 5th (& oldest) arrondissement!

welcome! welcome! welcome! and see you next week!

(images via 13bees and tim walker)

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