Safe to say we absolutely could not start our cultural deliberations until Dave had unpacked every last detail of his spiritual visit, where he donned white and maroon robes, saw fellow contestants dance naked (I think his favourite part), and attempted to regress to his inner child with the use of a teddy. Whilst he had spent a solid week there trying to look back, the topic of the day for this month's Kensal Review was very much to look in. It's not about back or forward. Eckhart Tolle, no spoilers here, is all about the NOW.
Ian, who I had feared would rip the book into shreds and eat it in frenzied morsels of despair at its self-helpedness, actually took solace from a few sections and appreciated its timely arrival into his life. Several Reviewers who had read it upon its first publication, were baffled, disappointed and only moderately impressed upon second reading. Meanwhile, I was locked in for 70 odd pages and then struggled with the vertiginous repetition of ideas, which were always the same but slightly different so you weren't sure whether Tolle was actually breaking new ground or just hammering it in for those slow on the uptake. In case you didn't get it. It's about now. You know. Just feeling it. Now. Not later, not yesterday. Just kind of like Now. You know? Do you want a chai latte with that thought or shall I try and look for that squiggle he gives on my keyboard, because I want you all to contemplate.
Mary, meanwhile, was so struck by the book, it made her stay in Cornwall, picking up heart-shaped pebbles with Duggles. Most fascinating perhaps was Milly's knowledgeable insight into the state of publishing today. Self-help books, she maintained just wouldn't be set up like this now. There would be more break-outs, more boxes, more visuals and often a round up at the end of each chapter. Despite Tolle's flawed writing skills, which were at best a lesser amalgamation of greater spiritual texts and at worst repetitive drivel dressed as sacredness (where was Milly, the editor of all editors, when we needed her most?), the book managed to give us all a little something to think about. Or not think about, as it were.
Sensing Spaces at the Royal Academy. Wow what a breath of fresh air. Interactive, yes, please do touch, look high, look low, feel emotional, think big thoughts. It was all elegantly packed into a series of rooms, which we are used to seeing splattered with art work, either during the Summer Exhibition, where no wall space is left, or during Hockney retrospective, where you can't see the walls for people. I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition, not least Annie, who bowled around Pezo von Ellrichhausen's wooden tower and its ascent/descent paths like she owned the place, waving and saying "Hallo" to everyone. She picked up some straws in Djebedo Francis Kere's installation and crunched on the pebbles in
Li Xiaodong's structure. Whereas it's normally a ball-ache to go to a museum with a toddler, who only wants to walk and touch, it was an absolute eye-opener this time as Annie unashamedly expressed what we all felt inside. Pure fascination, curiosity and exaltation. It was great to get so much from just a few pieces of work. Mary felt it was all about the void and realised she needed more void in her home. Meanwhile, I've moved my office into my bedroom, as well as my washing, as my manny has moved into the attic. Ain't much voidness going on here. But it's ok folks, cos am in the NOW.