What's the Point Of It?

Monday, 12 May 2014

Polaroid of balloons, Martin Creed exhibition
Looking a tad goofy.
Last week, I went to the Southbank Hayward Gallery to catch the tail-end of Martin Creed's latest modern art exhibition 'What's The Point Of It?'. I confess that I went in pretty much blind, by no means a connoisseur of modern art, and without even having heard of Martin Creed. What I had heard was that there was a room full - and I mean packed - with balloons. I was sold. And I expect this is what drew 99% of people there.   

Half The Air In A Given Space', an exhibit in which precisely half the air in the room is contained in balloons, stole the show. Now I'm almost inevitably claustrophobic in small spaces and big crowds but, strangely, didn't feel the slightest bit uncomfortable in a room full of 7,000 balloons. Once inside, we became childlike, completely uninhibited and so very mildly insane: think tipsy, suited-, grown men invading a bouncy castle after hours.

Polaroid of Martin Creed's exhibition
But then maybe modern art is made to pass me by. Creed's 1,000-strong wall of poster paint stamped broccoli (yes) was impressive in its scale and eccentricity but I just can't help but draw the line at a tiny lump of blu-tac stuck to the wall: hardly a feat of great craftmanship or of imagination. On the other hand, to those who say 'I could've done that', well, you didn't. Slight irritation at the fact that Martin Creed so smoothly anticipates and deflects potential criticism, or anyone asking the inevitable 'What's the Point Of It?', by naming his exhibition just that. It's a bit like agreeing to interview but then smugly answering every question with 'You tell me'. Helpful!

What I will say is that the exhibition was whimsical, fun, and fantastically feel-good. Ultimately, asking the age-old 'What's The Point Of It?' is... slightly besides the point.

polaroid of modern art
Broccoli. Obviously.

InterRail Italy

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Polaroid of Lucca, InterRail trip
Cycling round the walls of Lucca
Where American high school leavers road-trip, we Europeans 'InterRail'. Unless you live on the other side of the pond (or don't get out much), you've probably heard of it. And if you've left school, you've probably done it! The basic idea is to travel round as much of Europe as possible by train.

   Now, by last June,  most of my friends had had their Euro-Trips planned and under the belt for months. Profile pictures in every European capital guaranteed. I was... not quite so organised. Bitter at their imminent departure and gloomy at the thought of all those missed - and inevitably brilliant - photo opportunities, I got my act together. As did three great friends of mine: Alex, Julia, and Flo (pics below, admire them as you please).

Slight problem: money. Travelling round the whole of Europe wasn't going to happen: none of us had jobs and £900 wouldn't appear at the click of a button. So we decided instead to do a mini-tour of Italy. Why? Cheaper, warmer, less planning and, well, more pizza. I know, 'sa tough life.  And so began The Grand Tour.

Polaroid of the Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
First stop: Florence. Though packed with tourists in some of its most iconic spots (like the Ponte Vecchio), Florence is perfectly-sized for a couple of days travelling, and we escaped the madness to relax in a peaceful oasis known as the Boboli Gardens.

We then travelled to Lucca, a sleepy walled Etruscan town. It's the smallest and most accessible of the four cities we visited so I think it's safe to say we got a real feel for it despite being there for only a day. The highlight, for me at least, was cycling on tandems round the town's walls. Tandems, by the way, are suitable only for those of us blessed with the gift of a buff, toned and rugged physique. Ahem. Not only do they weigh an absolute ton, but it takes a while to get the hang of the synchronised pedalling: I think I can speak for both Julia and myself when I say that death flashed before our eyes.

Then we moved onto Perugia. Well, we tried, but got off at the wrong stop and briefly saw the bright lights of Ellera C. (not to be confused with the other Elleras), a town with precisely 0 inhabitants. In case you're wondering, 10/10 would recommend!! We eventually made that evening's last train and stayed in Perugia for just a night. It's a university town so has loads going on at night, and all within a truly magical setting.

Now, here are some oh-so-flattering mugshots of the four of us.

Polaroid photo, fujifilm instax                         



polaroid portraitOur Grand Tour came to its close in Rome, where we blissfully remained for the final five days. Rome was wonderful. It's relaxed in the day and animated at night, and we spent much of our time aimlessly wandering, pondering, gorging ourselves on ice cream, livin' the life. We were also certainly not afraid to embrace our inner tourist. How could we resist a couple of photo-souvenirs with those Colosseum 'gladiators'? For a bargain price of €50 euros ONLY, we got TWO photos and one GENEROUS share of sexual harrassment! We bolted, of course. With photos. Without dignity.
Polaroid of Florence, Boboli Gardens

May Playlist ♪

Thursday, 1 May 2014

1.) 'I'm Good, I'm Gone' by LYKKE LI

2.) 'Better Man Than He' by SIVU

3.) 'Going Up The Country' by CANNED HEAT

4.) 'Stay' by LEWIS WATSON

5.) 'The Youth' by MGMT

6.) 'Nothing Stays The Same' by LUKE SITAL-SINGH

7.) 'Elenore' by THE TURTLES

8.) 'Caught Me Thinkin'' by BAHAMAS

9.) 'Open Road' by ROO PANES

10.) 'Take Me to Church' by HOZIER

Hello! Welcome to the second instalment in a series of monthly music playlists. This one's an uplifting and inspiring Spring mix to help you power through the month of May, whatever you might have planned. Consider this your soundtrack to a month of adventures. And good luck to all those exam-ridden amongst you! I've gotta go: my pastey limbs won't sun themselves.

As always, here's the Spotify playlist. And here's the Youtube one.

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