The launch party was MADE OF AWESOME. Here are just a few of the things that made it one of the most exciting nights of my life EVER:
- My girl! Was beautiful! And everyone who met her for the first time commented on how her gorgeousness lived up to expectation! Which it totally does.
- My boy! Was pure hotness in a pinstriped suit, even if he was wearing a terrifyingly East End pork pie hat (FOR PIMPING). Anyway. He was so hot that people were interrupting their conversations to come over the room and tell him how hot he was. And I got to take him home afterwards. WIN.
- I went up to the bar and asked for a Smirnoff Ice, which I'd switched to drinking after my senses were overwhelmed by the farmiest perry in the world (I swear, it tasted like it came out of a cow. And no, not in the dairy sense). The barman looked at me blankly. "A what?"
"A Smirnoff Ice, please?" I gestured helpfully at my empty bottle.
"You want one of them?" His expression and tone of voice suggested that I might as well be asking for something that had come out of a cow.
He exhaled, and I could sense him mentally re-ordering what he was about to say so that the stupid person would understand. "Are you sure you wouldn't rather have a vodka, lime and soda, which is cheaper, nicer, and has more alcohol in it?"
I blinked. "Yes! Thankyou! Yes, you're right, that's exactly what I want."
"Would you like a lot of lime juice?"
"Yes, I would, very much. Thankyou."
He gave me an amused glance over his shoulder, shook his head minutely, and charged me the princely sum of two pounds for my drink. I wholeheartedly approve of barstaff who know their trade and aren't afraid to tell you when you're being stupid. Taking down consumer brands from the inside, y0.
( 101 reasons why we throw the best parties )
- We sold stuff! Like, LOTS of stuff! An astonishing and unexpected amount of stuff! We sold:
The Enchanted Forest
Dragonflower (you see the bottom half of it in these photos; there's also a WIP shot from a few weeks ago here.)
Bird of Paradise (the orange and blue painting, which has a red and green hummingbird in the bottom left, although you can't see it that clearly. There's a pre-hummingbird WIP photo here.)
Reflection (the red graffiti-style painting in the middle; also here)
Seahorse (the blue/purple painting on the left)
Seadragon (which spent the evening cunningly evading photocapture, but is the green and yellow painting lurking at the edges of these three pictures)
Solaris (the gold head in the foreground)
Arctura (a silver cybergoff head of which we have no photos yet, but which Kristen was very sad to see go)
Cruella (the black and white head with the tall feather)
... Which is 7 out of 11 paintings for sale (the two Planet Angel paintings aren't for sale) and three out of ten heads - almost half the whole exhibition given that the only other thing on show was the Inner Space sculpture. Overwhelmed is an understatement. I'm currently trying to convince myself that my friends aren't just doing this for the sole reason of being nice to me, but I guess that even if they are, that's still rather a fantastic compliment :) And the total sales so far runs to £1210 including a couple of discounts for friends who provided valuable assistance helping set up the exhibition. Which is really rather staggering, even minus expenses and divided between the two of us. SO! Everything sold will stay on show until Sunday 2nd, at which point we can start sorting out collection and suchlike. There are seven heads, four paintings and one life-size sculpture still going (the heads are a piffling £20 each), but to be perfectly honest I'll be quite happy if none of the other paintings sell, because I wants to keep them for my shiny new house. The rest of you can have prints or something. (Sorry, Kristen. Me and Squid are going to steal them.)
The two most popular paintings by far were Dragonflower and Bird of Paradise, and I'll almost certainly be doing a limited edition print run of those two paintings for all the people who missed their chance to own the originals. Denny reckons I should do some more bright, sharp, tropical flowers in oils along similar lines, but unless I'm working to a specific commission I'm bad at that kind of thing. I'd feel like I was ripping myself off. They'd feel derivative and second-rate, and if they didn't sell the whole experience would just be depressing. On the other hand, if anyone wants to specifically commission another tropical flower painting, that would be fine :) I'm also going to be doing a print run of Winged (the green/yellow painting on the right) and Floating since we've had at least one request for each so far, and we'll see how much demand there is for the others. And I'm very tempted to do some more paintings along the lines of Reflection simply because they're so much fun to do.
The exhibition is open until Sunday 2nd - if you're in or near London I'd be thrilled if you could find the time to go and see it one evening. The Foundry is an awesome venue - it's co-founded by Bill Drummond of the KLF, it has the most vibrant graffiti in Shoreditch and entire bank vaults downstairs filled with exciting art, and it serves locally-brewed organic beers which are highly recommended (although the perry comes with a health warning). We're going to be doing print runs of any painting people want prints of, so let me know if you want to put an order in. And if you can't make it, spread the word! :)
I spent most of the evening running around in an ecstatic daze, which increased to near-hysterical happiness when people started buying things. I drank lots of booze. I felt like I neglected everyone while trying to run around doing the host thing: I needed several clones, so one of them could spend the evening bouncing up and down and locking lips with my beautiful artistgirl, one could look after Denny, one could catch up with whatifoundthere, one could hug romauld all evening, and one could run around answering questions and taking payments for artworks and print orders and small-talking with all the lovely people who showed up and whom I wanted to spend time talking to. But there was only one of me, so instead I got drunk, squeed a lot, and ran around talking too fast and not knowing which way was up. Eeeeeeeeeeeeee!
( MOAR PHOTOS! )
( This is beginning to sound like an Oscar speech. )
The launch party was MADE OF AWESOME. Here are just a few of the things that made it one of the most exciting nights of my life EVER:
Today has been one of those delicious wastes of a day. I slept my hangover off (last night we celebrated elise's 21st birthday, again), then sought out caffiene (tea) and salt (leftover Pringles) and curled up on the sofa in the dining room with a trashy Anne Rice book for a few hours. I've spent the afternoon at fellatiovilla catching up online using cantabulous's computer, and have just discovered that I've locked myself out of the flat and am therefore trapped here until strongtrousers gets home from work. It would be annoying if I wasn't so relaxed. Actually I'm revelling in having such a grand excuse not to do any painting yet.
The flat is blissful and I'm enormously content. We don't have a phoneline or internet yet, so I'm spending my time in the company of (shock!) Real People, and haven't yet had a chance to update with my Scandawegia photos or lengthy travel journal. I've been unpacking and tidying and organising the kitchen, and alphabetising books and CDs, and cooking extravagant salads. It's extraordinarily pleasant to live with two other accomplished cooks and we've been eating very well. I have a delightful en suite with a large bath, and I've arranged all my toiletries in there and decorated it with erotic photography. (All bathrooms should be decorated with erotic photography.) My housemates are wonderful and I love them to pieces. thelovelyoliver is practically an honorary housemate at the moment and it's great to see so much of him. I'm sorry to gush, but my life appears to have suddenly and magically worked out, and honestly, the last twenty one years have so been worth ending up here. romauld and I have reached an arrangement which is mutually pleasing and hopefully sustainable, and I'm thrilled to have finally figured out this whole Staying Friends With Exes thing. If anything, we're almost getting on better than before, or perhaps I've just grown up a bit. And being able to be truly relaxed, and enjoy spending time in a home that is mine, and beautiful, that I've been waiting for after years of living with my parents and in college and in-between places ... it's too good for words. I'm happy. I'm really happy. At the moment I'm emotionally and physically recovering from the excesses and excitement of the last six weeks and I'm tired and I'm happy.
I also have Shiny, Shiny New Things of Joy. My parents came up on Friday and with them they brought:
- a lorry FULL of old furniture they've been saving for me, all of it perfectly servicable and some of it in rather attractive dark woods. Including two bookcases, a desk, a chest of drawers, a wardrobe, two smaller chests of drawers for filing, and a folding English elm dining table, which we've put in the kitchen.
- several boxes of old folders, writing, notebooks, paperbacks, and assorted Stuff which it's been fascinating to sort through - discovering things I'd forgotten, beautiful things, painful things, arranging them all around me and thoroughly establishing myself in the place...
- £860 in twenty pound notes. It's the final balance of my trust fund and they gave it to me in cash just to see my face.
- a letter from Downing College containing a cheque for £229, refund for my last college bill and matriculation deposit
- a letter from the Classics Faculty entitling me to £550 towards travel to Greece or Rome in the next year, which I have to claim with a journey itinerary, and which I hadn't even applied for. I appear to be going to Greece for a while. Which is nice.
Then they took me shopping for 21st birthday and getting a First and graduation presents, and there was much much more Shinyness. Specifically, there was a portable CD and cassette player, a posh liquidiser for making smoothies and soups and houmous and things, two lovely sexy nighties and some slinky pyjamas, lots of very nice lacy knickers, TWO WHOLE TREES OF MY VERY OWN for the balcony (I've become incredibly attached to the trees. We've bonded. They are tall leafy shrubs in large terracotta pots and they're called Spider and Jerusalem), a VIOLIN, oh my god, an actual violin because I mentioned wanting to learn folk fiddle, and some wine, and a bodhran, and herb pots for the kitchen, and cushions, and a kingsized duvet and they're going to get me attractive bedding when I'm in Leicester because it's cheap there, and a laundry hamper, and and and. SHINY SHINY THINGS OF JOY. Mmmmm.
The shiny things are not the only reason I'm happy. Good friends and holiday and travelling, and good books (I don't include the Anne Rice in this category, but I've been reading Georgette Heyer and Stella Gibbons and Ursula le Guin) and good food and good wine, those things all contribute as well. Having a place of my own that's mine, when you all know by now how over-affected I am by environment, is most of it. I'm here. At last. And I'm loving it.
I've updated my Amazon wishlist. Is posting the link really awful? I only remembered I had it when, after following a link to Martin West's translation of (and article on) the newly released Sappho poem, I ended up reading Edith Hall's review (scroll down) of Josephine Balmer's translations and poetry. Which of course I immediately coveted, and then realised that a) I had a wishlist and b) it's my 21st birthday on Tuesday. This is as much a recommendation as a request - from the sound of it, everyone else should read Balmer too. That you should read the Sappho poem, of course, goes without saying.
On Saturday we had the Buffy readthrough organised and hosted by smhwpf, which was enormous fun. Pure, unadulterated self-indulgence, but that didn't matter because we weren't inflicting it on any audience, we were just all indulging together. We read Prophesy Girl, Becoming I and 2, The Zeppo, some excerpts from Spiral and The Weight of the World, The Gift, excerpts from Bargaining 1 and 2, and Once More With Feeling. The best bits included:
- the many varied portrayals of Buffy, from the taking-herself-too-seriously the-end-of-the-world-is-nigh (Elly) to snappish, somewhat confused, frustrated-with-the-world (Catriona), to stubborn, compassionate, stupid self-sacrifice (Yves). And my Valley Girl, which was fun (although admittedly a somewhat dislocated, bleak Valley Girl in OMWF. With silly songs). It really brought out the development - and inconsistency - of the character throughout the series, and helped to vary the mood and pace considerably.
- Eddy, Sam's dad, who cooked a fantastic curry and played a very powerful Whistler and General Gregor.
- weaselspoon's Xander in The Zeppo. "Right. Bombs. Wow, I can't believe I had sex. No! No. Must think about the bombs!" Particularly the scene with Faith (elise). Mmm.
- the narration for The Zeppo (by romauld and smhwpf), which really came together; it was fast, funny, original, and very suited to the mood. We did end up concentrating quite a lot on the angsty season-finale side of Buffy, and it was good to get the humour in there, because Joss' one-liners are one of my favourite things about the series.
- the_alchemist as Glory, who managed without having ever watched Season 5 to be both scarier and better looking than Clare Kramer.
- leonato as Sweet in OMWF. In fact the whole of OMWF, which was just so much fun. Particularly indebted to mirabehn's bass playing, which pretty much kept the whole thing together.
Oh and I got to play Vamp Willow. I can't believe they let me! I loved every second of it. And dextress was fantastic as Willow in that episode. Fun. Funfunfun. Here are some ( photos: )
Afterwards there was an excellent party, involving singing the opening speech of Richard III to the tune of the can-can, complete with dance, performing the Richard and Anne scene in Richard III in the style of the Clangers, much telling of bad jokes, a foot massage "orgy" which somehow developed into a foot-led rendition of the Timewarp, and a rather excellent game of ( non-word Scrabble. )
Surrealness! I just answered the door to a canvasser from our local MP. An attractive, young, blonde canvasser with good shoes. punkalou, in fact, whom I haven't seen for almost two years. Cue much squeaking of "ohmygod!" and bemused giggling. L, maybe we should meet up sometime and drink wiiiiiine?
I had an excellent weekend. On Friday evening elise, smhwpf, shreena and I saw Billy Bragg play at the Colston Hall in Bristol. We got there during the support band, whose name I didn't catch; they were a blues/electronica group with some fantastic rhythms and basslines and an excellent (and cute) tenor saxophonist, but the singer's voice really didn't blend with the rest of the sound, and their songs didn't seem to be about anything. Elise and I slipped out after a couple of songs and went to the bar. When we returned, Billy still wasn't on; we sat through an Indian guy speaking uninspiringly about Make Poverty History until, without any warning, Mark Steel came on stage. I've never heard his standup before and it was wonderful. Exactly what comedy should be. Hard-hitting, passionate, angry, absolutely fucking hilarious. Mainly he ranted about politics and religion, particularly New Labour and "all the bollocks about the Pope", and I was crying with laughter at the same time as applauding his sarcastically-expressed outrage. The evening would have been worth it just for that, but then Martyn Joseph and Steve Knightley were announced, also completely unexpectedly, which elicited a certain amount of squeaking from me. Apparently they've been touring together for the past three weeks. They mainly took it in turns to play their own songs while the other accompanied; I'd never heard MJ before, and he has an amazing voice. In the interval I bought the album they've recorded together. It was a shame not to see Phil Beer, but since I hadn't expected to see these guys at all I was more than happy.
Eventually Mr. Bragg came on at about 10pm, two and a half hours into the evening. His set only lasted 45 minutes but he was everything I knew he'd be. Forthright, rude, sincere, funny, heartbreaking. He played NPWA, Upfield, John Barleycorn, England Half English, I Keep Faith, All You Fascists, Power In A Union, World Turned Upside Down (which I was particularly happy about), Great Leap Forwards and A New England. For the encore he got Steve Knightley, Martyn Joseph, Mark Steel (who looked a bit uncertain about it all) and the blues singer onstage and did a group version of Redemption Song. Fucking amazing.
Two pieces of good news with which to start the week, both of which have made my insides twist with happiness and disbelief: Pakistan and India are at peace, and (is it wrong that I find this more exciting?) the Oxyrhynchus Papyri have begun to be decoded, making a potential addition of 20% to the current body of extant Greek and Roman literature. "The previously unknown texts, read for the first time last week, include parts of a long-lost tragedy - the Epigonoi ("Progeny") by the 5th-century BC Greek playwright Sophocles; part of a lost novel by the 2nd-century Greek writer Lucian; unknown material by Euripides; mythological poetry by the 1st-century BC Greek poet Parthenios; work by the 7th-century BC poet Hesiod; and an epic poem by Archilochos, a 7th-century successor of Homer, describing events leading up to the Trojan War." Well, that puts my dissertation into perspective.