Oh Stylish One

The Stylish BF Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha
I wont pretend that on occasion it’s not wildly and deeply irritating to have a boyfriend who generally looks rad. I’d venture to say it is about 80% of the time.
The terribly frustrating part about it is that it’s not even something that just ‘happens’. He works at it. Not only is he quite excellent looking and sufficiently beardy for my tastes, but he also puts consistent effort into looking good. I could bear it more easily if it were just a case of no effort and he just rolls out of bed looking ‘on trend’ as they say in the States. He actually irons his shirts on a Sunday night, to be ready for Monday. He polishes his shoes and takes care of his ridiculously eccentric Holland Esquire suits. What’s wrong with him?
Or more to the point, what’s wrong with me? You see, this post isn’t actually about the BF at all, it’s about me (no surprises there). Why is it that the person I live with is able to take care of his belongings and look good, whilst Muggins over here has accidentally coined a new game at work. The game where my colleagues guess where the hole in my clothes will be today.
There is ALWAYS a hole, you see. Sometimes I’m not even aware of it until I go to work, and then it seems glaringly obvious. But more often than not, I actually know the hole is there, but for some reason I believe I can artistically/strategically place my clothing in a way that renders said hole invisible to the naked eye. It’s this exact approach that has resulted in more than one slightly awkward stare from a colleague.
Stick Tape Dress Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha
This dress was £5 (awesome) from an Op Shop in Orpington. The hem is held up with sticky tape.
I like the idea of looking your best for others. I generally like it because it makes me feel better and more desirable too. So in actual fact it’s probably more about me than it is about others (again with the surprises, Sam!). Still. I do find it  ridiculously hard to take care of my belongings and to consistently put the effort in. I can’t even be relied upon to go shopping for new clothes (the horror!).
The longer I thought about this today, the stranger the concept seemed to me, especially as I do believe that you are what you wear (to a certain extent). I dress pretty artistically, because that’s how I see myself and that’s how I want other’s to see me. But I wonder how much control what I wear actually has over other’s perceptions of me. I mean, the recurring elbow hole in my orange cashmere cardigan – does that say ‘she wears good quality colourful clothes and looks rad’ or does that say ‘she wears good quality eccentric clothes but looks dead tired and HELLO THERE ELBOW MY LITTLE FRIEND’? Who’s to say?

I guess in the end, the way I present myself is (whether I like it or not) at least honest. I think I look like someone who generally has it together, but the odd metaphoric hole in my getup gives the game away. It could be worse.

I’m no vegetarian, but….

I like vegetables. I also like meat, but have come to the point in my life when I only want to eat meat that has been ethically slaughtered (which strikes me as a slight oxymoron, but there you go). Organic too, if I can get away with it, but organic always equals the £££ and the $$$. So vegies it is, for the most part. Vegie away.

The BF and I don’t have a TV licence, which means it’s DVDs and Youtube all the way. It was in this elaborate fashion that I discovered that there are whole series of TV shows on the Youtube channel of 4oD, the BBC channel that produces Grand Designs. My love for that show could (and probably will) fill another entire post. But this time I discovered The River Cottage, and it happened to be the series about their vegetarian cookbook, and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall (HFW) was (shock horror) abstaining from meat for the Summer.

I was like a woman possessed.  Once I find something I like, you’re all going to know about it. So I bought the cookbook. One of my favourite blogs (for it’s real-ness!) is Love Audrey and she seems to be constantly making mouthwatering-looking chickpea curries, and so I thought ‘what the hell’ and decided to try HFW’s version.

So that’s curry powder, chilli flakes, chickpeas, garlic and ginger
This version is essentially a half homemade curry paste, with chickpeas and….ketchup. Yup. When cooked, I couldn’t stop thinking it looked like baked beans:
…which it does, although imagine less of the breakfasty savouryness, and more sweetness and a helluva lot more chilli. Ah yes, the chilli. Rookie mistake, I tried just one teaspoon of the curry sauce and though ‘ooh, could do with more chilli’. So off I go, adding chilli to my heart’s content. I would regret that in about half an hour. Big time.
So here’s the fun bit, the recipe! You will need:
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil (I used olive)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2cm piece of ginger, finely grated
A pinch of dried chilliflakes
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 teaspoons curry powder or paste (ONLY USE TWO FOR GOD’S SAKE)
400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
5 tablespoons ketchup
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
A handful of coriander to finish (didn’t use this as I despise coriander with every fibre of my being)
Heat the oil in a pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and sweat (the onions, not you) until soft and golden. Stir in the ginger, chilli flakes, garlic and curry powder. Fry, stirring, for 1-2 minutes more.
Add the chickpeas, tomato ketchup and enough water to just loosen to a thick sauce consistency. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes, then stir in the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper if necessary.
I found the chickpeas to be quite salty from the brine even after rinsing, so didn’t add any extra. Serve with rice and some form of delicious Indian bread and you’re away!
I know what you’re saying. For a vegetarian meal, there is a rather distinct lack of vegetables. I answer thusly: This dish will take you twenty minutes tops, which is a blessing when you get home from the work day from hell. It’s tasty (really it is), relatively healthy in the grand scheme of things, and will give you the smug knowledge that you didn’t cave and get a takeway. You can always add extra vegies too, if you’ve got the time and/or the inclination. I want to try it with butternut pumpkin and some spinach leaves. Could be delish.
You can buy a copy of River Cottage Veg Everyday by following the link!

Medway Open Studios Festival

Saturday 7th July saw the start of a week of the Medway Open Studios Festival, where local artists are throwing their doors open, and welcoming  tout le monde into their studios for a stickybeak.

There I am!

I was helping Heather Burgess, the festival director, out on Saturday, manning the pop-up gallery at the Deaf Cat Studios on Rochester High Street. It was a lovely start to the weekend, and this is essentially what happened:

  • looking at interesting local art
  • drinking coffee
  • chatting
  • listening to records
  • getting attacked by a pigeon of death
  • being submitted to an awkward attempt to sell makeup (Why do salespeople do that? It was a gallery, for pete’s sake, is it really appropriate to try and sell me crappy makeup? Is it ever appropriate to try and sell me crappy makeup? I’m going with no.)
  • being handed out a flyer that will save my eternal soul from damnation. What a lark.
Another thing that happened was that I played the fool (as always) and took a flower from a lovely smiling lady. Too late I figured out it was a gypsy lady, and I was now obligated to purchase the flower from her. Not that I minded, it was my first time being approached in that way, and odd though it was, it was slightly charming. A ‘we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto’ moment, as that has never happened to me in Australia.
I left the studios feeling pretty enthused from talking to Heather (she’s super) and feeling all warm and connected to this place that I call home. There is so much happening here, and it’s wonderful to be a (small) part of it! I also got to wear one of the fetching tshirts seen above:
Goofy look model’s own
If you’re interested in checking out the art scene in Medway, I’d say the Open Studios Fest is a pretty great way to go about it. You’ll get to see where everything is made, and a ready made excuse to talk to the artists making things locally. Most of the action is within walking distance from Rochester or Chatham High Street, which is a plus if you are comme moi and sans voiture. Check it out, and tell ‘em I sent ya.

The Rest Is Silence

Last night the BF and I went up to Hammersmith to see The Rest is Silence, a new imagining of Hamlet by dreamthinkspeak. This theatre company is significant for us, because the BF and I performed in their show Don’t Look Back when they came to Perth in 2008, for the Perth International Arts Festival.

I remember seeing him in our dressing room – there was an enormous one for the ladies and a petit one for the boys. We all wore top hats and tails, and I recall sneakily seeing the (future) BF slip his skinny legs into his trousers. My immediate thoughts (I remember to this day) was ‘Damn. He has the whitest, skinniest legs I have ever seen’. Who says romance is dead? We didn’t end up getting together until about six months later, but I’ve always remembered that first pervy moment of mine.

So we journeyed forth to our ultimate destination of Hammersmith, take a brief but essentially incorrect pause in Ealing Broadway. Which is nowhere near Hammersmith. I blame Google Maps. The BF blames me. This resulted in us literally running to the Riverside Studios once we made it to the right tube station, because the show only had an 8 minute allowance for latecomers. Made it by the skin of our teeth.
Love the movement of the train. Perfectly timed by yours truly.
The audience stood in the middle of the studio, with the stage surrounding us, and back in with glass. It was pretty much the ‘best bits’ of Hamlet, where all the juicy things happened. Really interesting staging, with it spilt into seven or eight cells. The actors would move from cell to cell, often in blackout, so that they would magically appear on the other side of the room when the light came up again in their new location.
Highlights: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Bloody hilarious with a wonderful English aesthetic of tweed and bow ties.
Lowlights: Hate to say it, but I found Hamlet to be wholly unsympathetic. The most interesting part of Hamlet is the question of whether he is still pretending to be mad, or whether he’s actually plunged into madness after all. In this show, there was no question of him being deeply disturbed. But I felt isolated by it. I couldn’t give a shit that he’s mourning his father – he’s just being a spoilt brat and essentially a prick to everyone he knows. But maybe I’m being to harsh.
I’ve since spoken to other people who have seen the show, and the staging of it bothered them much more than it did me. I can understand though – sometimes you would walk over to view one cell, and as soon as you got there, another bit of action would occur in the direct opposite location. Bit frustrating, but possibly inviting the audience to feel the growing frustration of Hamlet? I don’t know if it was intentional, but as I said, it didn’t bother me too much. It was kind of excellent to be able to walk around the space so freely, whenever the hell you wanted to. Having said that, 90 minutes is a long time to stand up, and a couple of seats à la art gallery style wouldn’t have gone amiss.
I really enjoyed coming to see the newest dreamthinkspeak show. Tristan Sharps (AD) has a distinctive style and it’s familiar to me, and almost a homecoming. I’ll definitely be following them in the future.