This post- KRexit meet at Juliet’s house was more of a social than a review as I WAS THE ONLY ONE TO HAVE DONE BOTH HOMEWORKS. And anyway we needed a funny night of re-bonding after our shocking sausage haemorrhage. I was the lone banger and I must admit I missed the guys. A bit. Thankfully we’ve resolved to seek out a fresh meat arsenal.
But there was still some fascinating chat for me to tune into from the ladies – ie Lara, AC, Michelle and Juliet - particularly their info on strip joints. Bless me, compared to them, I’ve only scraped the sticky surface. I felt emasculated. Not that there’s much mascule to remove in the first place. The Box was decried for having naked dwarves that poo on pizzas (Five Seasons anyone?). Juliet declared that back in the day, she visited every strip show in town. She’s a dark horse. I didn’t catch whether this was when she was an underground gonzo journalist, or whether she was/ is just a total pervert.
Disgracefully, no one else had touched “Lucky Jim” by Kingsley Amis, except Michelle, who was part way through, and thought it a bit slow. She didn’t think it was as funny I did and had only LOL’d once so far – at the description of Jim’s crippling hangover, which she read out to us. It included “His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum.” – which made us all laugh. Juliet mooted Amis as a mighty metaphor man, Michelle and me agreed.
Took me half a chapter to get into it - in fact I put it down for a month after my first attempt. When I next picked it up again I read the Introduction by David Lodge, which helped me to crack it. But I grew to adore the book, chuckling often, guffawing even. Amis’s writing flows beautifully, packed with brilliant descriptions and the characters are incredibly well drawn. Jim Dixon, the crap university lecturer, is a fantastic anti-hero – constantly worrying, insecure, accident-prone and cynical, all overlaid with an excessive sense of duty and a wonderfully puerile sense of humour. It gives a vivid snapshot of life circa 1950 – when it was written – and what provisional universities were like then, which Amis clearly relishes taking the piss out of. His sense of comic timing and set-ups is superb. Read it you buggers!
Only AC and me had been to the new bit of the Tate Modern – the Switch House – and we both loved it. We went through my pics, admiring the epic views of London (and the unfortunate neighbours) from the wraparound top floor balcony. The holey brick exoskeleton of the building gave me happy thoughts of hot countries where similarly porous walls/shades might be used - maybe they reminded me of those chunky dark brown Mediterranean roof tiles too – plus, when the sun shone through them it dappled the interior walls in spots, adding to the feeling that I was on me holibobs.
AC liked the design of the access from the Turbine Hall into the Switch House basement, and we agreed it was well integrated with the old building both in looks and function. The brown bricks are similar enough to the turbine hall bricks from afar, yet rightly very different, the closer you get. We enjoyed how the building looks like it’s been partially folded – AC thought there was a touch of the origami about it. I like how from one side it looks like the top half is floating above the bottom half. It would be good if there were other lookout points on other floors because the views are so awesome – and I reckon it would refresh the mind and senses between gorging on the collections inside. Maybe there are, on the members floor or somewhere I missed.
It was only building itself that we were tasked to review, but in its galleries, AC enjoyed Louise Bourgeois, mentioning an abstract sculpture of maternal figure that evoked the less often illustrated flipside to the joy of motherhood such as the dullness of domestic tasks. I liked the photographs by Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen of people and places in Byker, a poor inner city area of Newcastle, taken between 1969-‘81. All the more fascinating because Konttinen is from Finland and embedded herself with the community for all those years. In accompanying notes, she commented that she probably got more access to their lives precisely because of her foreignness.
Back in Juliet’s awesome new Tate Kitchen the girls had a discussion as to whether some of Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower paintings - currently exhibiting at Tate Modern - are inspired by vaginas, because they certainly look like it. AC said O’Keeffe had refuted this. Juliet then produced one of the suspect prints, held it in the appropriate place, and gave us an impressive if somewhat vulgar show. Must have been something she learnt in the ‘90s.