devi: (Default)

balcony garden
Originally uploaded by bluedevi

Since February I've been growing stuff on my balcony. Windowsills full of seedling trays to begin with, gradually moving outside. I'd kind of wanted to grow things for a while but there didn't seem much point while I was all weird and vegetable-phobic. Then, last summer, something shifted, and I found out you could grow veg and flowers in containers, and... well. The picture is from three weeks ago. Now the tulips are all gone but everything else is burgeoning. Peas, lettuce, strawberries, spinach, various herbs, all bursting out of their pots. The little green bastards, much as I love them, are taking over the balcony and looking appraisingly at the house. It's an entirely commonplace thing, of course, but if you've never done it before it's like magic.

On the other hand, it'd be nice if we could both sit on the balcony at the same time again. So. Would any Oxford people like some plants? Many of them are in small pots and easy to transport - I've delivered some already on my bike and on the bus. I've got chives, coriander, lavender (sprouting so fast I think they want to be triffids when they grow up. They have flower buds and everything), lettuce (the kind without hearts), a few marigolds and - if anyone wants a charity case - some yellowish basil which I think would be doing much better if it were somewhere with more sunshine. Everything else is disgustingly healthy. Let me know if you want to take some.

I've spent hours and hours sitting on the balcony doorstep staring at them as they grew. Seedlings all look the same at first and get more complex and different every day. Who knew?

devi: (Default)

fat-bottomed girl
Originally uploaded by bluedevi

I wasn't intending to make a snowman. Snowperson. I just sort of found myself doing it. I got off work early - none of my afternoon students showed up. (The rest were having a snowball fight in the little patch of park next to the canal.) So I got off the bus a few stops early, went through a hedge and up the hill to the golf course, where there were expanses so blank and white they confused my eyes, and that mixture of weird breath-caught hush nearby and distant shrieks of delight from sledding kids, which I do realise has already been described by everybody on LJ but is still wonderful first-hand.

Earlier today I arrived at the cafe on Gloucester Green where I have my lunch to find a massive snowman maybe seven feet tall, counting the traffic cone on his head, and several middle-aged men in hi-viz jackets lounging in the chairs in front of the cafe, laughing and taking pictures. I stopped and stared and asked them "who made that?" and they said, proudly, "We did!" He was your classic snowman, three big snowballs in a stack and twig arms, pennies for buttons down his front. There was another one in the courtyard of the flats this morning, with an umbrella and a bikini and bits of dead grass stuck to its head in an approximation of sun-bleached surfer hair.

So I wasn't planning to make a snowman, and then I was just going to make a standard three-snowballs one. Then I stood back and hmmmed at the hip-waist ratio and spent the next half hour or so feverishly sculpting, soaking my gloves through, remembering The Snowman cartoon from my childhood and wondering why there are so few snow-women. Thinking of a conversation with [ profile] parallelgirl after the Antony Gormley exhibition in London a couple of years ago, about how a male statue can be seen as just generic-human, while female ones are assumed to be about specific things - femininity or sexuality. Then I came home to find she'd been out building snowmen too, and had had almost the same thought process while watching a kid anxiously removing accidental breasts from a snowman, because heaven forbid it'd look like a snowwoman!

I was sorry to part with the snowwoman. She looks sort of calm and stable to me. But by then my boots were leaking.

More pictures... )

devi: (drink!)
I've been putting this off for ages. Not sure why. Lack of internet didn't help. But here you go, a post of shameless promotion. Mostly for my own pet events, because I am selfish, and because in the case of the comedy I'm booking the venue and paying comedians their travel costs etc, and showing up to see it will help me break even :)

Minty Fresh
29th March, yes, that is tomorrow. 8pm.
Stand-up comedy at the Port Mahon. Compered by owl obsessive Iszi Lawrence and featuring three young comedians, shelf-stacking expert George Chopping, raging commuter Sassy Clyde and Philosophy Graduate With A Job! Alex Hodgson. There seems to be a theme of observational whimsy with a liberal side-order of workplace hatred.
(No, I don't know why it's called that either. The brochure was going to press and I didn't have a title for the night and I had a bit of a brainstorm, to a general chorus of "Huh?")
Tickets £4 on the door, £3 in advance from the link on the event page.

Ha Ha from the Madding Crowd
Wednesday 2nd April, 9pm.
Free comedy at Far from the Madding Crowd, with some excellent stand-ups and - gasp! - performance poetry that IS ACTUALLY FUNNY.

Oxfringe Uncut
Friday 4th April, 8.45pm, The Mitre
This is the noisome sin-bin we created to put the comedians who were too er, confrontational for the passing trade at Borders. Since then the lineup's changed a bit, but it should still be lots of fun. Compered by Rob Alderson from the Free Beer Show, with Iszi Lawrence doing a set this time, Niall Gildea and Broderick Chow.
Tickets £4 from the link, £5 on the door.

Also: The art exhibition page is here.

There are lots of plays which sound great and which I won't have time to see. But I have to plug one of them: Do Something, Martin! is a one-man show by [ profile] martylog, who I can attest is hilarious and musically talented. Some of you have seen him playing in one band or another. I have done comedy karaoke with him. It was unforgettable. His show's on at the Moser Theatre from Wednesday to Saturday. I have volunteered to help at the Moser on Saturday with the selfish goal of getting to see it, even though I know squat about running a theatre. Erk!

There are also literary events in Borders, a murder mystery, a workshop to write a play in a day, and much more besides.

But I shut up now and go to hang the second lot of paintings. Wheee!
devi: (sunhead)

Maps corner
Originally uploaded by bluedevi

Friday, 9am: [ profile] wimble very kindly drives me, my paintings, a large shoebox covered in bits of old map found in a charity shop with a postbox slot in it where cafegoers can put their illustrated maps, and a bag full of picture wire, masking tape, glue, hammers, scissors, paper and assorted folders, down to the Magic Cafe. I've hardly had any sleep. He's on his holiday sleep pattern, so it's a scant few hours since his bedtime. We communicate mostly in "urg" and "arrrr". He helps me carry stuff in, then goes home to bed. Hafiz calls out a cheery hello from the back kitchen where he and his helper are chopping peppers for that day's salad. The cafe is empty, not open till ten, but it feels warm and homely and it's full of classical music and the smell of frying garlic. I feel like shit by most objective standards, my head feels funny and I'm having odd floaty moments, but as I start cutting lengths of picture wire and coiling the ends into loops, standing on chairs to hang paintings from the picture rail, I think damnit, I'm going to enjoy this. And I do.

blow-by-blow account continues )
It wasn't till quite late in the evening that I remembered to take photos, and quite a few people had gone home by then, but they're on my flickr page. And I love this one. It's the warmth of it against the clearly visible rainy night outside.

Table of people
Originally uploaded by bluedevi

And then it was very late and I was very drunk and everyone was going, and I had to try and remember everything Hafiz had told me earlier. Dan followed me around taking note of what I was doing, probably anticipating the many panicky questions I would ask later along the lines of "are you sure I turned off the heating?" I drunkenly did the touch-up on the map paintings and miraculously did not cover anything in paint that didn't need to be. We turned the lights off and locked the doors, with the paintings inside in the dark, and went home.

Sorry the wine wasn't mulled after all - I decided I'd be more use out front than in the kitchen. I had a fantastic evening. Thanks to everyone who came for making it all that it was.
devi: (kites)
I've done a painting I don't like. I think it didn't work because I was trying to paint something I could see very clearly in my head, rather than just starting to paint and seeing what happened. Oh well:

I do like this one, though:

And now, in Good Art news, who wants to see this Antony Gormley exhibition with me? It's in London, so it'd have to be a weekend for me, but it's on from 17th May till 19th August.
devi: (headshake)
I have a day off today. It's glorious. So:

This is what I've been up to the last couple of weeks. I've been wanting to paint something for ages, but could never settle on what. Then one night I sat down with one of a set of four canvases (cheap from The Works. If they'd been expensive canvases I'd never have picked up the brush) and told myself I was just experimenting with using paint and mixing colours. I deliberately didn't have a goal in mind, I just gave the brush its head and waited to see what happened, and the whole thing was such fun that I went on and did three more.

On the downside, my laptop now has tiny speckles of black paint on it due to overenthusiastic brush-flicking. I feel like Brian from Spaced. "I paint... fear! Aggression! Pain!"

Capital One spammed me today. "You could have this [spectacularly awful] credit card in your wallet! Look, we know you're an idiot - you must be if you're considering applying - so to choose which design you want, all you have to do is peel off one of these little credit-card-shaped stickers and stick it on the application form! You can have a piggy, a monkey, a puppy, a tigger or an England flag!" I threw the rest in the bin but kept the stickers. I might send them out with the next Wasted Epiphanies as an Ironic Comment on the Debt Culture, innit.

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