17 January 2007


Brief update today, to catch up on a busy weekend and a busier week.

After getting a few hundred whole words of my novella written during the last couple of days of last week, I disappeared to London with B. for Saturday and Sunday, to visit relatives (or in my case in-laws), attend a birthday party and appreciate the art at the Tate Modern.

After a pleasant lunch with B.'s granny, most of Saturday afternoon was wasted in dithering. The London "hotel" we'd booked online -- which had looked cheap and basic, but perfectly serviceable, in pixel form -- turned out to be a godawful dive of a pub on a rubbish-strewn sink estate, and not at all the sort of place where we'd have been happy walking, or even leaving a taxi, late at night. After much agonising over the possibilities, we eventually settled for the inconvenience (to her and us) of sleeping on B.'s sister's sofa instead. (It was kind and rather heroic of said sister to take us in, considering that she was already putting up her boyfriend and the aforementioned granny, and that her house isn't exactly vast.)

That decision made, we managed to enjoy ourselves on Carsten Höller's masterwork, which was appropriately spectacular and boundary-breaking, but may or may not count as actual art. I can't yet decide whether my considered response is:
Höller's Test Site is a fascinating and vivid demonstration of the tendency of a limited loss of stability and control over one's environment to evoke the most visceral human emotional responses, and a witty and profound exploration of the boundaries between architecture, psychology and child's play.
I liked the Level Four slide best because of the steep bits which were scary! But the Level Five slide was best too because you get to go very very fast! WHEEEEEEEE!

We then proceeded to the party, which was great -- plenty of beer and interesting conversation, lots of hardcore dance music (which our hosts, at our drunken insistence, very patiently and painstakingly explained to us), three lovely velvety rats (pet ones who were meant to be there, rather than the less convivial kind we'd have been likely to find near our "hotel"), and several equally lovely velvety single malt whiskies. Mm.

The next morning I was feeling rather delicate, but was soon revived by brunch with other friends, somewhere in Clapham. At least, I think it was Clapham. I was too hungry to notice really. Then we drove back to Bristol in the afternoon, ate too much supper (possibly to line our stomachs retrospectively for the night before), and went to bed.

Since then I've been back at work, wading through acronyms until (as I discovered when trying to read a safety notice on the train home today) I genuinely can't see words printed in capitals without wondering what all the letters stand for.

Oh, and watching the first three episodes of Season Three of Battlestar Galactica, which is ace. More on that anon.

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