Sunday, November 28, 2004

Impact Comics website

The eagerly awaited Impact Comics website has arrived! No more excuses for those who don't live in Canberra - mail order is available. Check out the 'events' page for some early photos (it looks even better now).

Thursday, November 25, 2004

But wait, there's much more!

So, I've been to Perth and back. And it was grand. But let me tell you a bit more about my trip to England, first. Just pretend you're reading this a few weeks ago.

Naturally, I had to visit the mammoth British Museum. After some contemplation I decided to stick to more recent periods. Because it was school holidays, there were hordes of kids swarming over the Egyptian and other ancient exhibits. I saw the 18th century Enlightenment exhibition in the King's Library, which was presented in lovely mahogany and glass cabinets.

I also went to the Prints and Drawings section to see the Alexander Walker Bequest. Alexander Walker was a well known film critic for London's Evening Standard. Walker was also an avid collector of modern art, especially prints and drawings post-1960. There were also some earlier artists represented including Picasso and Matisse. The exhibition booklet includes several photos of Walker's tidy flat with the walls completely covered with art - he lived with it all around him, even filling all the walls of the bathroom.

A lot of different printing techniques were represented. The one that caught my attention was 'Marta/Fingerprint' by Chuck Close, a portrait by fingerprint etching. The picture was formed of inked thumb prints on translucent sheet of plastic, which is then photographically transferred. Grown up fingerpainting. I was also fascinated by Philip Guston's hooded, creepy 'Little Bastards', with which he shocked the art world in his switch from abstract to figurative painting. He said the reaction was 'as though I had left the church'.

I also took a brief look at an exhibition of Japanese swords, and was amused but not surprised to see that the people in there were almost all men. I do have some appreciation for the craftsmanship and beauty of these swords, but unfortunately I don't know enough about the subject to really have appreciated the display. But, there were an awful lot of them.

I also paid a visit to the Natural History Museum. I wasn't actually planning to go in, I was just walking past and was drawn into the grounds by the building itself. Up high on the corners where you might see gargoyles on some buildings, there were animal statues instead. I wanted a closer look - and some pictures - but my ancient camera doesn't have a zoom lens (or any other features for that matter). So I actually only went inside in the hope of finding a postcard with a closeup of the building. There were several shops inside, which took a lot of wandering to find, and in the end, no such postcard. I did wander through quite a few of the exhibits, though the place is massive and I only saw a small percentage. A lot of the stuffed animals look a bit musty and old, probably because they are. It’s all part of the charm. The fish were fascinating, especially the truly weird ones found very deep in the ocean. I sucked up the courage to walk through the birds exhibit – I did this in Adelaide a couple of years ago too – they are kind of interesting in a scary, beaks and feathers kind of way. The scariest was an ostrich that was in a bundle on the floor, waiting to be wired up into position. I also went into a truly huge room full of minerals: fossils and gemstones, including some jewellery and other items. And of course I couldn't miss the dinosaur skeletons and giant fossils.

Hands down, the tackiest thing I saw in London was the Diana and Dodi memorial in the Egyptian hall in Harrods. The unwashed wine glass from their hotel room that fateful night – a symbol of true love?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

*Insert cheesy 'back home again' type song lyric here*

I had an enthusiastic welcome from the dogs. I've eaten some vegemite. I've made a coffee using my beloved espresso machine. (Not for me, for Demelza. I'm off to bed).

The journey home was ok, it was never going to be fabulous. Leaving on Tuesday to arrive on Thursday just feels wrong. Major hiccup at Singapore, where British Airways had some difficulty refuelling the plane. This was announced after we had had the scheduled 40 minutes leg stretching/shopping in the terminal and the crew had changed over, and we had returned to the plane. I gather they would normally have kept us all on the plane, but it was unbearably hot down the back in cattle class (does anyone know why the airconditioning never seems to work until you're in the air?) and after giving out some water to drink, they finally arranged for access to the terminal again. Thank goodness, because the eventual delay was three hours! I discovered that the food outlets will take a variety of currency, but for everything other than Singapore dollars, they round everything up to whole dollars (or pounds, etc).

I had an amazing view of Sydney harbour from my window seat, and it was a beautiful, clear sunny morning. This went some way to making up for the lack of access to the toilet for most of the previous 6 hours, when the two people in my row took sleeping tablets and zonked right out. I prefer to share with people who get up for a bit of leg stretching every couple of hours, like the couple who sat there on the London to Singapore leg.

Catching my non-refundable flight back to Canberra turned out to be a very near thing. We landed at 9:20, took at least 15 minutes just to get off the plane. By the time my enormous overweight purple suitcase came out almost last, and I cleared customs, raced down to the train station, waited 11 minutes for the next train, got to Domestic, and sprinted up to the Rex counter, it was 10:24 for a 10:35 flight. There was only one person in the queue, who smartly got out of the way of me and my purple monstrosity as he remarked 'hey, are you in a hurry?' Helpfully the Rex plane was running ten minutes late, or I might have been on a bus right now.

Anyway, enough of this boring stuff. There's still a lot more to tell from the my last week in the UK, which I'll catch up on ASAP.