While I’ve been listening to a book for an article I am writing soon (I’ll tell you all about it once I’ve had the chance to distil my thoughts) I’ve also been pushing myself to finish By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept. As I often like to do, last week I went ‘borrowing’ in my own library and chose something that was short enough not to feel daunting for a printed book but also had an interesting title (and even cover).
Reading the foreword I learned that this was going to be a novel in prose poetry and I thought what a brilliant choice I had made! Something I hadn’t heard of and hadn’t consciously tried before, which sounds beautiful and like something I would really enjoy.
Source – Be Drunk, by Charles Baudelaire (an iconic example of prose poetry)
I must say, I understand where the mastery comes in, this is a (short) novel for poetry lovers, it is full of beautiful metaphors and alluring turnings of phrase. It is not, I’m afraid, my cup of tea (but it might be yours!) It could be the topic (blinding love and attraction), but I suspect it’s really the style.
That is not to say I didn’t enjoy it at all, because I did and I have highlighted a couple of quotes I’ve really liked. But I found myself barely registering the more poetic passages and skimming through to get to the storyline. Perhaps if I were to re-read it and focus more to get to the meaning of each figure of speech, I would value it more. But I am more inclined to find another similar novel on a different topic, to help me form a better opinion. Maybe something by Gertrude Stein.
How about you, have you read any good works of prose poetry that you would recommend?
Gosford Park (2001)
I don’t know how, but I had never heard of this star-studded gem of a movie until recently and it went straight on my to-watch shortlist. Luckily, it is available on Netflix, so it was easy to enjoy it at the weekend.
I found the ending very touching, I didn’t really expect it. Throughout it seemed to me that this was a very British situational comedy, with all the expected ingredients – a hunting party at an English country house, a murder mystery, a few classic characters brought to life brilliantly by some of my favourite actors of all time – Dames Maggie Smith and Helen Mirren, Sir Michael Gambon and Stephen Fry among others.
And it is all that, of course, but the combination between the classic comedy and the unexpected touching ending resulted in a brilliant cinematographic work difficult to forget and worth a couple of re-watches or more…
I very rarely think something is worth re-watching (and almost never actually do it). This will be an exception for sure.
The Art Angle Podcast
If you are looking for something new to listen to, may I recommend the Art Angle podcast? Created by the team at Artnet (I also recommend their newsletter to get the latest news in the art world), there are over one hundred and twenty episodes out already, you are bound to find at least a couple that interest you if art is in any way on your radar.
I have only just discovered it myself but I already really enjoyed episodes on how the Art World will transform in 2022, how the Medicis became the first art influencers and particularly the one on the most astounding archaeological revelations of 2021.
I have a few more for you to consider, like one on how dealers woo the artists they want to represent, how ‘art detective’ Katya Kazakina lands her epic scoops and why art and fashion need each other.
Let me know your discoveries!
On Leisure and Hobbies
I’ve approached these two long-reads, one I saved months ago, on Leisure, and a recent one on Hobbies, with caution, I must be honest. I sensed I wasn’t going to fully agree, like or maybe even understand what is being said.
For a while now I’ve noticed this tendency to idealise time spent doing simply nothing, because apparently we should and it’s needed for our mind, soul, body, the world and everything in between. I am not sure I understand what is being asked of me…
It might be my already compromised productivity-oriented brain speaking, but surely one should pursue the activities one feels most enjoyable and rewarding in their pastime, rather than strive for an imposed ideal that doesn’t feel natural? This works regardless of your preference – keeping ‘busy’ with hobbies that apparently satisfy the ‘status quo’ or doing nothing, whatever that looks like because I am still unsure?
Is a walk leisurely enough, or not really because it’s also trendy and healthy to go on walks and you might also snap a picture to send to your friends or (God-forbid) post on social media? Is reading leisurely enough, or not really because you are inevitably expanding your universe, learning something new, taking part in a cultural movement and gathering topics for discussion with other people?
I need to read more on the topic, but before I have the chance to do that, I’ll say filling one’s free time with what makes you feel content at the end of it should be the goal, in my humble opinion. For me, most of the time is doing this – reading, researching and writing, but I will admit to sometimes just looking at my books or trinkets for the sake of looking at something I find beautiful.
What about you?
Speaking of ways to spend one’s downtime, how cool is what this lady is doing? Painting on the edge of a book’s pages, or fore-edge painting, has apparently been around since the 10th century and was popular or more common between the 14th and the 18th centuries. According to Wikipedia fore-edge painting as a craft is deemed critically endangered in the contemporary era, with less than a handful of professional artists practising it, and under one hundred amateurs, leisure makers or hobbyists.
This is all the more reason to share and celebrate this student’s passion which is causing a sensation on platforms like Tik-Tok and Reddit and might open others’ appetite to practice it or at least to buy it, encouraging more artists to join in the movement?
I find the different types of fore-edge painting absolutely fascinating. It can be done on closed edges or on fanned edges and it goes from single (one painting on one side of the book page edges) to triple fore-edge painting (paintings on the edges fanned both ways plus on the closed edges) and even split double painting (two different illustrations, showing on each side, when the book is laid open in the centre).
It’s brilliant and you can apparently do it yourself fairly easily too! I’ve got some ideas…
You read it here first, swan vases or planters are en vogue. And I am not saying this merely because I’ve just scored a beautiful one in a local charity store. For months I’ve been seeing them popping up on Instagram as well as on Pinterest.
I did a little bit of research and if you would like to have your own, you can find many options on Etsy and eBay, with prices ranging from a few pounds to up to one hundred. I am simply enamoured with mine, I couldn’t believe my luck when I found it.
What do you think about and more importantly, what should I call her?
Big Flower Brooches
I seem to have developed a fixation with big flower brooches a la Carrie Bradshaw pictured above and I can’t let it go. The only thing left for me to do is to either buy one or a few (and I have found some good options on Etsy, though not exactly cheap) or, better yet, to learn how to make them, so I can create options in every colour and textile I want!
So here I was this week, googling DIY instructions for a flower brooch. I found various styles I liked and I thought I’d share the videos with you in this dedicated Pinterest board, in case you are similarly inclined to add a flowery touch to future outfits – from blazers and cardigans to dresses and simple tops.
Now I just need to get my hands on some lovely shades of satin, tulle and organza and get to work!
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