EVENTUELLA VECKOTRADITIONER

I fredags drog jag, Frederic, Roger och Claudia till British Museum efter våra ekonomi-seminarier. Var där senast med Alice men hann inte med allting då pga. att stället är huuuuge, som Trump skulle uttryckt det. Har eventuellt kommit fram till att jag gillar konstutställningar mer än historiska museum. Tycker det är mer intressant att hitta den röda tråden i konsten och analysera den än att läsa om gamla föremål. Herregud, låter aptorr verkligen. Men blir typ frustrerad av att det finns så himla mycket historia jag inte vet så mycket om och vid föremålen står det i princip tre rader och jag nöjer mig liksom inte med det. Jag vill veta allt och det går inte. Även om konst är historisk också så finns det ett annat utrymme att tänka själv där. Hitta på själv vad en ser. Det funkar liksom inte med en mumie. En mumie är en mumie hur jag än vrider och vänder på det.

I övrigt har veckan sett ut som den brukar göra, förutom att Rebecca varit iväg på semester. Det innebär också att berget smutsig disk har växt fram, kläder slängts på golvet etc. etc. Inte för att städningen faller ihop utan henne, utan för att det är så mycket enklare att hålla ordning när jag känner att jag måste respektera en annan människa jag bor med. När hon är hemma är jag i princip pedant istället. För att känna pressen av att städa (och för att det är trevligt) så hade vi pizza night här i onsdags och funderar på att göra det till en tradition. Eftersom vi bara har 4 timmars föreläsningar i veckan tillsammans blir det att vi inte ses allt för mycket. Därför tänkte vi att onsdagspizza känns rimligt, och även fredagshäng så som på British Museum. Skall nog lobba för Tate Modern eller något nästa gång dock.

Här kommer lite bilder från i fredags. Har för övrigt äntligen beställt en ordentlig kamera (dock i Sverige) som jag skall börja experimentera lite med efter påsk när jag varit hemma och hämtat hit den. Fram tills dess blir det dock inte bättre bilder än såhär!

 

A HIDDEN TREASURE DOWN THE STREET

This thought I had the other day, realising that I’m probably walking by so much without knowing what’s inside, really proved itself to be right.

My flatmate’s mom was here during this weekend, and I walked with the two of them to Hammersmith on Saturday when they wanted  to go to Primark. Not feeling the cultural or inspirational vibe there, I turned around in the door. Not even cheap socks or the growing assortment of ugly christmas sweaters could trick me to go inside. I felt more like visiting an art exhibition or something, so I did what our generation do; I googled. Turned out, there was a museum on Holland Park Road, which is about 1 kilometer from my home adress. The Google search led me to ’Leighton House Museum’, a turquoise interior dream that I knew absolutely nothing about. The website revealed that it would be a tour in the museum the next day, so I put my inspiration on hold by taking a walk to the local church St. Simons, and after that I convinced my flatmate and her mom to join me.

We walked to the house the next day. It didn’t look like anything special from the outside. In fact, if it wasn’t for the small sign on the outside of the house, we wouldn’t even know if we’d came to the right place. We came just in time for the tour, which was opened for anyone in the museum to join. It cost me £10 to go inside as a student, and £12 for adults. Was it worth it? YES. And the old lady that held the tour was great. The tour lasted for 1,5 h, which seems quite long, but since the guide was so funny and knowing, that time went by so fast.

I’ll write a little about Sir Frederic Leighton and the museum that I learned yesterday by showing pictures too. It wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside the house though, but I actually did anyways… Not at the exhibition though! So I’m just partly ethically evil. I tried to capture the amazing interior, but to be honest, it has to be seen. The pictures doesn’t give it justice. Therefore, some of the pictures below will come from Google. (The links to the sources are inserted in the pictures). But still, not even them is enough to describe the beauty of the house.

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-10-17-51-pngThis is Rebecca and I outside the museum. As you can see, it doesn’t look more fancy than any of the other houses you’d might expect to see in Shepherd’s Bush. Frankly, it even looks more simple than most houses there.

leighton_house_museum_london_canddsbyjo-8This is the hallway to the one bedroom house of Sir Frederic Leighton. He was a classical painter, a traveller, a life-long bachelor and he loved Middle Eastern interior. The sculpture in the middle is a miniature version of his creations (don’t remember the name of this particular one know unfortunately…). Honestly. Look at the colours – it’s pure beauty. ’Beauty comes from the inside’? Yes, it really does.

14959096_10155459033762699_856183046_oThis is part of his work room. Leighton was an artist who did pre-work very thoroughly; he knew exactly how the piece would look before he put the brush on the canvas and didn’t really improvise at all once he began the ’real’ paintings. Also, he always began sketching the models naked, no matter if they actually modelled naked or not.

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And here she is, Flaming June. The piece is originally hanging in the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico and was gone for about 30 years, until a builder came to a framer who bought it from him for £50, according to our guide. God knows what it’s worth now. The painting was a work Leighton did for the Summer Exhibition for Royal Academy in 1985, his seventeenth year as the President of Royal Academy. Something else I didn’t know before visiting the museum, was that the painting hasn’t been here in London since 1930 before this exhibition(!).

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This is the exhibition ’Flaming June – The Making of an Icon’ that runs until April next year. They opened it the 4th of November (so we were  unconsciously spot on!). From left it’s Candida (1894-1895), Lanchrymae (1894-1895), The Maid with the Golden Hair (1894-1895), Twixt Hope and Fear (1895), and Flaming June (1894-1895). As you can see, he managed to paint all of these in a very short period of time due to his meticulous pre-work.

einsaxxuep8j0bboupk4 This is inside the Arab Hall, which is a famous piece of his house. He collected things from all over the world during his travels, and I guess this room symbolises how much he wanted to bring the Middle East home. It’s such an odd room really, nothing but beautiful walls, ceiling and floor and a fountain in the middle. It’s really something you need to see with your own eyes. The fountain is minimalistic and the everything else is over the top. Over the top in a way that I want to have in my future home, haha.

zrzs5wwtrub9ocr9rppdEvery room in this house is simply amazing, and the pictures only show some of them, of course. I intentionally left out pictures of the only bedroom for example, where Leighton died from an heart attack one day after he’d been created a baronet, which made him the first painter in history to be given a peerage but also the person in history who had a peerage for the shortest time.

The rest of the story can be told by the lovely, old guide in Leighton House; a house you could easily walk by every day without knowing what treasures and histories are hiding within.

LIFE MADE ME A GRANNIE

“Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.”

– Alan Saunders

… and that was what happened this weekend. Life. It’s interesting how you can move to a city that never actually sleeps completely, with things to do wherever you go and objects to see wherever you look, but still turn into this comfortable, lazy person who wants to do nothing but sitting in a pyjamas, drinking tea and listen to nothing but the sound of the wind. Or the boiler, for that matter. My point is, that I think I’ve turned into a grandmother. Or my mind has, at least. Is this my therapy after studying law for the past 3 years, or am I officially a grown-up now? No, it must be some sort of recovery from law school, I’m sure. And the worst thing is that my flatmate is the same, but I think her condition might be more permanent. Even though she’s 22 too. Life happened to her too, I guess.

The two of us made plans this Saturday to go to British Museum. We ended up looking at an extremely bad American TV series instead. And we walked around our neighbourhood. I haven’t actually walked around in the part of the city where I live until this Saturday, and as we were walking I realised what kind of neighbourhood I suppose people see it as. And I realised that something has happened that has made me more aware about the areas of London. Am I becoming a Londoner, you ask? No, I’m not, I think. But I do think that I’ve understood the segregation of the city, just as I understood it back home in Gothenburg. How you’re always somehow defined your home, just by mentioning where you live. How problematic that is for social development for many people. Maybe it’s impossible for a city not to be segregated, but I guess I’m not a person that ever seen myself living in a ’posh’ area, which ours truly is. Oh gosh, I’m so un-posh. But also very fortunate, since I’m able to live there. I don’t know where I’m going with this, but I guess that my luck in life is something I find strange. I appreciate it, I really do, but still. Life. It’s strange.

Back to our weekend. To make up for our unproductive Saturday, we tried to go to the museum again on Sunday. Oh well, ’tried’ might be an exaggeration. We also wanted to buy fantasy books, so we went to the big Waterstones store in Piccadilly. Guess what. We ended up walking around there for so many hours, the museum closed once we were finished. We didn’t feel like hurrying, as you can tell. And frankly, I was really happy to slowly work my way through the unorganised bookshelfs you find here in London, which I would never find back home in Sweden. It just feels so… British. No order really, but still, it has it’s charm. We continued our tour of ’The charm of London’ by going to Fortnum and Mason. The store opened in 1707 , and the Selfridges-vibes (I know, wrong store, but still) I got from watching the TV series all came back to me entering that store. It’s just so… beautiful. Maybe posh, yes I admit, but I can’t help myself. I wanted to buy every can and package of tea they had. However, I didn’t. I actually managed to remember that I’m a university student with limited resources. But when we passed a Turkish café just down the street, I had forgot all about that again. The café is called Kahve Dünyası, and we went inside for a treat we didn’t deserve, but again: life happens, right? I craved coffee; the rich taste kind they don’t have in the KCL cafeterias, so I ordered that and their specialty Kahve Dünyası cake. It was basically a chocolate coffee dream. If you love chocolate, this is truly the place to go to. It’s packed with chocolate of all kinds.

After this fine mix of British and Turkish impressions, we went back home with several fantasy books, a card game and a 1000 pieces puzzle. Such grannies. Who am I, 22 years old and I’m investing in a 100 pieces puzzle? And I see it as an investment? Well, it was a christmasy picture on it. We had to. And now it lays there on the floor, under our broken fireplace, in our posh home. Life happens, and this weekend was exactly what we both needed life to be.

I didn’t go to the museum during this weekend to look at old things, but I did look in the mirror that night. Turned out, it was practically the same thing.

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This is what you meet, just by entering Fortnum and Mason. Crowded, yes, but it’s worth it. On the higher floors you find crazy expensive perfumes, super ugly hats only royalties and Professor Umbrigde would fancy, pottery and porcelain with grannie patterns and downstairs there’s wine. Lots of wine. In other words; it’s amazing.

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In the back of this candy section, there are cookies and tea in tin canes that almost make you religious, if you’re not already. I am going to buy a music playing carrousel cane and I will convince myself that I really need one. Actually, as you can read, I have already done that.

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This is at the Turkish café. As you can see, even my spoon was made of chocolate. Rebecca even had to take half her cake in a doggy bag since it was so big.

Grannie 1 and 2 gave Kahve Dünyası 5 of 5 chocolate frogs and then went home to read fantasy.

IN A CORNER OF SOMERSET

You realise you have so much to explore when there’s an art gallery in the same building as you walk by every day, and you never even knew. It makes me think about how much I  walk by every day without realising how much I miss by not opening that door, reading that sign, asking in that reception. I guess it’s for my own good. With my FOMO I wouldn’t be able to cope with that insight on an everyday basis. But still. There is so much to do. So little time to do it. But on the other hand, I’ll be here for while.

The art gallery I went to the other day was Courtauld Gallery, and I went there with people from the Culture Experience Award at King’s. There, I tried free-writing for the first time. Well, to be honest, it was free-writing on purpose for the first time. I often free-right. With the downsides of grammar mistakes and questionable spelling, I find it in some way therapeutic to just through the words down on a piece of paper. I usually don’t do that when I sketch though, which we also tried out in the gallery. I guess, when I paint, I’m kind of a perfectionist in that sense. I need to get rid of that and realise there can be art anyways. For example, I looked at a painting by Leon Kussoff, thinking every line from the pencil almost looked alive. But not perfect or organised in any way. After looking at it up close, I took a few steps back and realised I had been looking at the chin of a face. A messy, but somehow alive, face.

I walked around in the gallery by myself for quite a long time after that. I tried some more free-writing, looking at ’Antibes’ by Monet, and just tried to breath in the calmness and inspiration of my surrounding. It’s been so long since I took my time in a gallery. I guess that’s my kind of alone-time. I looked at the exhibition ’Rodin and Dance: The Essence of Movement’, looked at the interior of the gallery, walked through the rooms several times. And then the gallery was closing for the day, so I walked to the tube station feeling somehow different than before the gallery visit. And I still feel like I need to come back there many times, just to be able to take it all in. The expressions of a gallery can be somewhat overwhelming, in a good way, I think. I guess I was overwhelmed.

Walking to the tube station, I realised it was easier to see art in every corner I passed. Usually, when I paint myself, I end up see colours clearer afterwards. It’s almost like the different shades in the trees goes from ignored to very much reflected on, all of a sudden. What I didn’t even thought of walking from the tube station, became very clear going back the same way. Just by looking and reflecting on art in a gallery for a couple of hours. I think that is amazing. And I think it’s sad how many people misses out on that, believing art ’is just art’. How I miss out on it myself every time I walk by a building I don’t know is… an art gallery for example. Because art clears the mind in some sense, making you more susceptible to impressions. Or… It does that to me at least. But maybe not everyone wants that. In the end, it’s not only beautiful colours and feelings you’ll become susceptible to, but the ugly feelings too. You can’t really choose, I guess. Looking at the girl in Manet’s ’A Bar at the Folies-Bergère’, I didn’t feel joy at all. But still though… I think it’s worth it. Being exposed to your own feelings through art. It’s cool that you can feel by observing. Walking by a building and realise that you can get in touch by another level of awareness afterwards, just by going inside for a little while. Just by walking through the door in a corner of Somerset house.

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We started looking at this painting for our first free-writing. The concept is basically to put down the pencil on the paper and write constantly for 10 minutes. No stopping allowed; just keep on writing down what you’re thinking. I wrote about the first thing I thought about, which often turns out to be narratives about the subjects in the picture. Since I’ve managed not to lose the paper I wrote on, I’m just gonna copy my free-writing here. It’s for me to remember it, I guess:

He built the boat in March. It wasn’t really a master piece, but it didn’t take in any water and aesthetically, it did look like something her brother had when they were young. Simon would appreciate it once he was old enough and were able to handle by himself, without any support from his older sisters. In addition, some knowledge in swimming would probably be good, considering Sam’s capacity in ever building anything that lasted. The kitchen, fixing the oven, building this boat, building this family… It all came together but eventually fell apart when Sam got involved. Never would he build anything that eventually turned into pieces again. Never would he be able to fix, or be the one to blame, for this family puzzle he had created but also lost the most important piece from. Simon took a hold of her dress while they stood there, together, looking at the boat that Simon built this March. Then, the ice was still keeping the waves from dancing, and the grass in the end of the lake from joining in. By the end of April, he was not even there to put it to place in the water. He wasn’t there to fix the last thing he broke, and she wasn’t sure how she could feel both angry and happy about that wooden boat that would probably give Simon a swimming lesson sooner or later, and even if Simon wanted it or not.

Yeah, kind of sad, I don’t know why. Afterwards, we read the text next to the painting. ’The Seine Banks at Argentueil’ by Édouard Manet was partly painted en plain air, the people in the painting is Manet’s wife and child and it’s a ’joyful’ painting.

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When even the ceiling amazes you, you know it’s a crazy good art gallery.

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In this room, you find many portraits of royalties from the 16th and 17th century. The Habsburg fellah Philip III stood right behind me here, reminding me that I had to study the 30 years war when I got home. Thanks, Phil.

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The painting I wrote about earlier; ’Head of Seedo’ by Leon Kussoff. I think it was both one of the ugliest and most mesmerising paintings I saw in the gallery that day.

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Another of the rooms in the gallery, which has a lot of beautiful objects too. That’s another reason I want go back there soon again; it was almost too much to take in during one evening.

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We were supposed to do free-writing on our own after the Award Session. I don’t know why I fell for this painting, but I think it was the colours. (It’s ’Antibes’ by Claude Monet). And the fact that nature is often something I get inspired by. To remember, I’m just going to write down my free-writing to this one too:

If this was the last sight I’d see in this world, I would both feel so lonely and so full of life in the same breath. There was nothing spectacular about it really, no brilliant view that I hadn’t seen before. But maybe it was that; the familiar sight of mountains somewhere in the distance, and a calm moment of loneliness even though the birds almost could be heard and the wind almost could be felt. How could this view feel like the most mesmerising thing I ever seen? Was it the fact that I was able to disconnect from arguing, questioning and other souls but mine? Did I try to give this tree a meaning while sitting on a wooden bench in a gallery, writing on a piece of paper (the hundred written paper that day)? Maybe. 

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A small part of the exhibition in the gallery right now; ’Rodin and Dance: The Essence of Movement’.

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Before the dark fell, I manage to crawl behind the curtains of the gallery to capture the view of Somerset house. Now I’ve discovered about 2 % of the building. 98 % to go!

CULTURAL CLUB IN CAMDEN

Hi. It’s been a while. And it’s never been in English before, but it’s going to be that for a couple of weeks now. Or maybe forever. Why? Because I’m very international now. It happened over a night. And also because I’m participating in King’s Cultural Experience Award, and Sweden and Swedish doesn’t seem to be the centre of the universe. Who could’ve guessed. So basically, I write for people to understand now. And by people, I’m mean everyone I know except my friend Emma, who never really got the hang of English. On the other hand, she doesn’t even own a computer so I don’t think she’ll be too disappointed.

So, back to this post’s real meaning: the trip to Camden we went on a this weekend. And by ’we’, I mean the ones I’ve been hanging out with the most since I came to London. We all wanted to explore London and do cultural things together, so we named ourselves ’The Cultural Club’. Because we’re so cultural. And innovative… However, I’m the only one doing the Cultural Experience Awards, strangely enough. I think the others just wasn’t aware there was an award for it, so I bet they’ll apply next year.

We decided a trip to Camden was a good Monday activity to start with in our club, so off we went. We were going to a vintage sale in an old house in Camden at first, but due to Matilde’s inability to ever show up on time, the queue was too long once we arrived to the house. We went back to Camden Lock Market just to have a look around, but after waiting for Matilde, everyone was hungry. We went to the food stands in the centre of the market and bought tajadas and arepas, which is basically fried bananas and flatbread with fillings from Venezuela. That decision though, gosh. There is so much food from different cultures there. My friends almost went loco on me, since I took so long to decide. Once I had decided, finally, we walked around in both Lock Market but other markets around the area too. It was mostly ’look but don’t buy’, but just mostly. What can a girl do when she finds a lamp that is colourful, sparkly and fits perfectly in her room, right? So yes, I bought a lamp. We saw so much pretty jewellery too though, so I guess I’m not coming back only because of the food. I ’need’ new rings too.

Eventually, when my list of things I ’need’ became too long to bare, we decided to stop the window shopping (or more like… ’stand shopping’ in this case?) and go to Proud Camden’s roof top bar. I just found out that Proud Camden was a horse hospital in the 19th century(!) but they’ve turned it into a night club now. Didn’t know that before. The more you know. Thank you Google. I found the actual place on Google too, before we went to Camden, where it said is was one of the top roof top bars in London. And it was super nice! But to be honest, I think there must be better ones. Or maybe autumn isn’t their peek, I don’t know. I also read it would be really packed, but this time of year it wasn’t and booking a table isn’t necessary. You’ll find a table, if you show up around 6PM when most of the markets close on Mondays. However, I read on their website they will start having Apres Skies the 16th of November! So I think we came in some sort of ’middle period’ were they took the Alice in Wonderland-theme down which they had there before. Since the place was nice, Camden in fan-tas-tic and they did have live music, I’m definitely going there again. I mean, coming here from Sweden and counting on nothing else but rainy winters and grey slush in February, Apres Ski is almost mandatory for me. And for my Mexican friend Roger, who’ve never seen snow. He needs to experience an Apres Ski.

Here’s some pictures I managed to take between my lamp shopping and food deciding.

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This place is part of Camden Lock Market. While you find food, books, carpets etc. outside, the houses in the middle of the area closest to the river is where you find smaller items such as jewellery, candles, cards and

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Every jewellery in this stand was made of clear glass. Almost got a heart attack just by standing next to it. So afraid of my own clumsiness.

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Since I strive to become one of these ladies with their fingers full of silver rings, henna tattoos and colourful bracelets at some point in my life, I’m going to come back to this stand to buy me some rings. The prices were actually not too bad considering it’s real silver in them.
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This type of interior… I could live in this store. Or buy every little item. It’s like the store ’Indiska’ in Sweden, but more like the real thing. Well… How ’real’ it can become when you’re not in India, I guess.

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I like this picture thanks to the man that’s standing there reading. It’s not because of the unknown man, I swear(!), but because the picture kind of represents something I’ve seen a lot since I came to London: people participating, showing interest in things around them. It’s different from Sweden, where people always seem to have a destination to go to, not interested in anything else but what they planned to do. Here, people stop, look, questions, take part. In everything. It can be an art exhibition in the middle of the street or a small vintage book shop like this one. In Sweden, it often seems like people are ashamed of investigating their surrounding; ’what if I look like I don’t know what I’m doing’, kind of. Here, people stop and read a book in a stand in a crowded galleria. Maybe it’s wrong in one sense to ’use’ an item and then not buy it, but on the other hand I find the curiosity and the fact that people take their time to stop and show their curiosity inspiring.

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Another dreamy shop. I bought a series of plates when I was i Turkey last summer, so I can basically fill up an entire kitchen of these beautifully painted bowls and plates. Thing is, they’re in Sweden. So I compensated by buying one of the lamps I guess, haha.

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This is Cereal Killer Bar. We didn’t go inside, but at some point we just have to. They’re using cereals as the base in their drinks and foods, which seems wicked but too cool to miss out on.

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Lastly, I hereby present to you: my room. As you can see, a market is the place to be for me when I look for interior. The more colour, the better. So to sum this hole thing up: I love my lamp and Camden.

ARKITEKTURER & AVVÄGAR

King’s har flera campus runt om i stan, varav Strand Campus är mitt ”hemcampus”. Strand har en av Somerset House’s flyglar och tre (tror jag) andra byggnader där jag skall lyckas hitta min väg fram, men det har än så länge gått sådär. Jag har hittat till 2 salar: kapellet (vilket för mig nog bara blir aktuellt någon vecka innan tentaperioden) och till Anatomy Theatre, där det förr i tiden obducerades människokroppar på katedern. Ja det är helt sant. Skolan har också ett eget, välkänt bibliotek lite längre bort i området som heter Maughan Library (uttalas ”Måun” av någon grammatiskt konstig anledning), vars cafeteria jag inte ens kan hitta till än. Biblioteket har bland annat figurerat i Da Vinci Koden och det gick även rykten om att Dumbledores kontor skulle ha filmats i biblioteket. Det verkar dock bara ha varit en myt, men det skulle inte förvåna mig om det finns en sektion med magiböcker och att alla trappor därinne kunde röra sig, så mycket som jag går vilse där inne.

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