10 August 2008


I've suffered a conflicted weekend. Too many things to do and not enough time to do them all in, augmented by temptation (by which I mean a particularly fine wine this evening). My choice was to go to visit some of the activities going on on Fish Island to celebrate the Hackney Wicked event on Saturday; or to invest my social capital in the East End WI summer picnic; or to clean a very neglected domestic landscape (latest management term deployed here); or to go to the allotment to harvest some of those cucumbers and beans; or to get on with my dissertation. What a complicated choice and risk assessment: weather, time, intellectual, aesthetic, social or domestic satisfaction all to be weighed up. Plus of course contingency arrangements for unexpected interventions.

. Who am I kidding?

I opted for Wicked on Saturday. Mostly because I wanted to see photographer Stephen Gill's exhibition in the old peanut factory. If that sound a bit Hoxton, don't be deceived. Stephen's work was stuck up on the walls of his workspace with blu-tack, there was lager to drink and the music was a compilation sound track of rousing imperial tunes (think Rule Britannia crossed with Nessun Dorma). But the work speaks for itself. Pictures of Hackney, the Wick, the canals and tributaries of the River Lee which run north to Hertfordshire. Cormorants drying their wings on benches on the banks of the Hertford Cut. Travellers' horses wrapped in old sacking blankets against a background of factories and gasometers. A picture of a bonny baby in a buggy with watering cans in the background. And in "Hackney Flowers" a collage of calendula seeds against a "buried photograph" (he buries photos and retrieves them later) and photos of the people of Hackney in flowery shirts or flowers in their hair. See the work and, provided you aren't looking for order and perfection, be delighted too.

If only that abandonment of order could pervade daily life. I spent today in a frenzy of cleaning and re-creating order, while John turned the bathroom upside down to paint it. You do get a different perspective with the curtains down, looking out over the kitchen roof, with the remnants of a heavy shower on the windows.

So no picnic, no allotment. An afternoon of transcribing interviews (interesting), interrupted by the snoring of cats sheltering from the showers...

... and an interlude of playing with my niece, who shows an imperious delight in colour and scribble. Rounded off with,what was that for supper- oh, yes, courgettes - this time with lemon and basil and a glass of red wine.

And even if I'll never be as good as Stephen Gill, sounds like rather a good end to the weekend to me. Smile, please.

No comments: