9/12/11 Degas with Lizzy

Good satisfying day today,

It started fairly poorly for reasons which don’t really matter, but sort of kicked off at Lizzy’s place. She left the room for a moment and I had some film in my camera so I used a couple frames on her living room.

She lives at her god father’s who has strong links with Thailand and as such has brought little pieces of Thailand back with him. He is also a fan of the Antiques roadshow and assumably of collecting. His house is wonderfully cluttered, with various decorative items, and some with a defiant orient flare. It feels a lot like, I imagine, the back room of the V&A but with a kitchen, and dining set. Or maybe how a house would’ve been during the aesthetic movement, towards the end of the Victorian era. His house is truly an experience.

It might seem odd to describe a house like that, but in the case of Paul, the environment is so concentrated that you do feel as though you’ve travelled somewhere.

We left.

And indulged in some conversation of life altering potential,

then we reached the stations, and boarded our train.

I love travelling with Lizzy, it’s nice, I feel oddly secure as we are both a little bit ninja. And she’s quite accepting. We’re quite equal, in that she likes making decisions, which I mostly agree with, and on the odd occasion I don’t concur, she’s quite happy to let me have my way unless the matter is deeply important. I think we might do a longer journey too, as she seems to be able to cope with travel.

We reached zone 1, and I took my usual glance up during the approach to London Waterloo, a little more cursory as I had company but it’s one of my favourite habits. I’ve not lost the excitement of going to town yet. Ever since I was small, I always get this breath of fresh feeling in my chest when we come into waterloo. The slow approach round the bend, the distal latticed roof stretching seemingly forever, bearing closer and closer. On a good clear day, as glorious as the 9th’s there is just that childish sense of going or arriving somewhere. Like flying, but less incongruous, with more gravity.

We headed for the jubilee line, I took more photographs, I didn’t hold out much hope as I thought I had only the 400 Black and White, and being underground the light was bad. I hoped to have captured this wonderful backwards glance Lizzy shot me, but we shall see what develops.

I took a few more frames on the way then had to change film. To my subtle joy I found that my camera had been loaded with 800 Colour Negative. So I do have a chance with the low light of the underground. I loaded my camera with a brave new film, lomo changeable ISO 50-200. You have to rate the film at processing. I have no idea what this means. But I’m hoping to take this to the lomo store and get some advice. Or if anyone has any idea…

We saw a man with two parrots on his shoulders. They were huge and he did not look like a pirate. This worried me. The event would have made more sense had he been a pirate. I did not document this event, as the parrots were real and I was rendered momentarily terrified. Parrots are aggressive birds. And these two looked like they could take me.

We reached the Academy of Art, and queued, I photographed two ladies who were asking people to sign up for something, I asked them politely and they both got a wonderful fit of the giggles. It should make for some lovely pictures.

Once inside Liz and I got to the business of looking at the innards of Degas soul.

A little background for those who’ve not heard of Degas:


Pastel, painting, sculpture and later photography

Lots of dancers. Ballet dancers. And a bit of a phase with Russian Dancers.

Studied legs. A lot.

Captured light and movement beautifully.

Painted women who aged with him

Lizzy pointed out quietly that he wasn’t very good at drawing the faces of ladies, just their bodies. I pointed out he died a bachelor.

Frivolity aside, I do like Degas, as I like capturing motion, and movement. I like frames where things are happening. I also like his uses of blues and depiction of light, even in his photographs… There was also a couple of cool items from the National museum of media, early Still cameras and Motion cameras and the kind of material they produced. The style is not completely unlike the Lomokino material. But using the glass plate business of the day. It was also quite interesting to note how much closer art and science used to be back in that era. A scientist whose name I forget studied human motion and enlisted in the help of artists to capture such motion in film. Resultantly queue projections of nudie male ballet dancers running about.

Then we got really hungry and left. I bought some postcards, and lost them.

After minor non-debate we went for Japanese Food. Nom nom nom.

Liz knew this place down the strand apex sort of way and it was awesome. It was a deli, and we picked up a couple of steamed chicken buns, some gyoza, and chicken balls on a stick. The Gyoza was particularly nice from this deli, chicken and spring nion, filled out with I suspect just a little Tofu. I took a couple of frames of the gyoza  and I’m hoping it comes out well with blue hues but the light was low so I’m thinking it’ll come out reddish.

After this we went for these flavoured hot chocolates. I had a hugely nostalgic moment. Your had to stir it with a chocolate spoon, and it tasted like the university hot chocolates. Me and Rupa, Tom, Mic and Tristan. Me thinking the hot chocolate was cheap being on London Pricing. Rupa dying on the inside as she’s from the country.

I’m going to finish on that thought. 🙂