December 27, 2004

so far…

Here I sit, on the other side of the world deleting spam comments. Again.

I was going to reinstate my block on the comments but then I came across an authentic comment. I had forgoten what a pleasure it is to read your thoughts, so I decided that I won’t let them win. Just 1 real comment is worth deleting hundreds of spam junk comments, anytime.

So. Christmas is over. We had a wonderful trip to London on our way over here with our adoptive family. We ate a lot, drank a lot, and shopped a lot, not to mention started to get into the christmas spirit. We went to see the Robert Frank exhibition at the Tate Modern which was cool. His ‘Americans’ stuff is great. I’m not convinced about the newish polaroid / graffiti / for the children stuff, nor his films, but then again. He is one hell of a guy. Also at the Tate in the Turbine Hall is a Bruce Nauman exhibition. 22 recordings playing simultaneously. Fantastic. If you get a chance, go, it’s on until March 28th.

Next stop was New York. We arrived at the Hudson Hotel in the early evening. We checked in, had a drink in both bars. Dinner in the hotel restaurant. Then to sleep. You could say we got our money’s worth out of the hotel. So trendy it’s just about out of style, but certainly better than a midtown Holiday Inn. The next morning we queued up outside B&H for my new camera, then back to the hotel for lunch again in the very nice Cafeteria Restaurant. Back to the airport and finally to Montreal.

Fleeting visit, essentially just to go to B&H, which if you have never been, and you’re your into cameras, photos, or similiar, it is absolutely a must-go! Michelle just tripped out on the layout and dispatch systems, not to mention all the stock.

Anyway, we spent a couple of nights in Montreal catching up with friends, eating sushi, queuing for wine (the SAQ – liquor stores – are on strike!) and plowing through lots & lots of snow, before heading off into the wilds of the province of Quebec to spend christmas with Michelle’s family. It was nice. A little sad being the first christmas without Michelle’s mum, but generally it went ok.

Today, equipped with a phone and local phone number from an old pal and a loaner car from Michelle’s brother, we drove back to Montreal for a couple of parties over the next few days. Tonight Michelle celebrates her 20th anniversary of her university graduation. There will be 15 or so physics graduates together in Boucherville listening to 80s music, drinking lots of wine and slowly becoming more & more embarassing – I predict some terrible dancing, old hockey chants and perhaps even some beer guzzling at some stage. If you ask any of them over the next few days how it was, I’m sure they’ll all shout “fantastic”. However I’d chance a bet that if you asked any of the partners who are brave enough to attend tonight you’d probably just get a raised eyebrow and probably a small shudder. I, as you can imagine, am not one of the brave few.

Tomorrow could be similiar. A girls night in Vaudreuil. I’ll let you know.

filles at 11:49 pm

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December 17, 2004

Home is where the heart is?

We’re going home today. Montreal home I mean. It’s a funny thing, HOME. I have 4 places I usually refer to as home: Glasgow – where we live; Montreal – where I’ve lived, worked, married & divorced; Sydney – where I grew up; and Maleny – where my mum is.

Nice really. Although maybe a little fractured. Could probably explain a few things.

So anyway, everything is packed, we’ve cleaned up for friends who will be staying here while we are away, almost fit our entire wardrobes into suitcases, wrapped all the santa gifts and emptied the fridge. The most important things are done at least.

Have a nice christmas and happy holidays! I’ll try and post from over there, somewhere…

filles at 8:28 am

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December 14, 2004

What makes you an artist?

I had another one of those art related discussions yesterday with a friend who is doing an Honours degree in Printmaking at Glasgow School of Art. It comes up more frequently these days, probably to do with me having more time to be creative and also being in Glasgow itself which is definitely a more art slash creative aware city (at least for the masses kind of art) than any of I’ve previously lived in. The subject can usually take one of two directions, the first is ‘What is art?” and the second ‘What makes you an artist?’.

It’s a never ending discussion for me, yet each time I have it – regardless of whom I’m talking too, I learn something else about me and my beliefs. Yesterday I was left with the challenge of determining the difference between laziness and narrowmindedness when it comes to viewing art. Where is the line between the two?

What makes an artist?

I’d be interested to hear your comments…

filles at 9:13 am

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December 13, 2004

directions for santa

I’m done for the year. That’s me.

It’s been a busy month or so, and I have less than a week to get into gear for our big adventure to snow laden Canada. Michelle left this morning for Oslo, she’ll be back just in time for our weekend jaunt to London. We’re going to have an early christmas celebration with the kids, decorating the tree and all manner of other cozy traditions along with a huge plate of sushi (our own London tradition) before we head off. Santa had better take note of our itinerary lest he delivers my new camera to the wrong address…

filles at 7:49 am

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December 6, 2004

Christmas special

I love working as an extra. But the fact that you don’t know if you will be working or not until the night before is starting to piss me off. I want to say ‘yes’ to the work, because we could definitely do with the extra cash before our holiday and also cause it’s fun and more importantly because I don’t want them to stop calling cause I never say yes… but, well, my plans for tomorrow are now completely ruined.

No chance for the gym early (my plan to lose some pounds before our trip home – is rapidly becoming obvious that it aint gonna happen!), no chance to meet the delivery man (which means our case of wine will be returned, again), no chance to get back to Dunnes to return some T.Shirts bought on a whim. No chance to book into the darkroom (that is, provided Royal Mail has found my parcel that they lost last week containing my 12-16inch paper) – all these things, undo-able.

But the upside is, I will be on the Chewin-the-Fat christmas special! Early start, don’t know where yet, don’t know what I have to wear etc… won’t know the details till 12 hours before.

Nature of the beast I guess.

filles at 4:00 pm

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How much do you want for that bit of steak?

Garage sales are big in Montreal. Every year come June when the snow has thawed and people are starting to actually ‘believe’ that the winter is over there seems to be a mass clearout. For an outsider, experiencing this spring clean out is quite refreshing. It’s as though after spending six months inside with the same furniture and junk, everyone decides to throw open the doors, clean the windows and chuck anything not nailed down. Although in Montreal they don’t chuck. They sell.

Hence the garage sale.

On any weekend in June on the Plateau you will find a dozen or so flyers stapled to posts on the street announcing garage sales in the lanes. Some are good, some bad, large, tiny, clothes, furniture, books, plants – you name it, you can probably find it. It’s part of the spring ritual. First the snow stops, then the streets dry out, then people start in the gardens and then the mighty garage sales begin. All this undoubtedly in preparation for July 1st.

Now for most Canadians July 1st is Canada Day. A celebration for a nation, and a day off. For Quebecers however it is Moving Day (and a day off)… Try to book a truck to move furniture for July 1st sometime after March 1st and the removal company will just laugh at you – they’ve been booked out for months. It’s a day of moving for everyone. If you’re not moving yourself, you’ve been bribed with pizza and beer to help with so and so down the street, or some member of your family, or a distant friend – or even worse you have plans to try and get somewhere and expect to be able to park, forget it! Between moving vans and piles of furniture on the street you’ll never do it… It’s moving day, best to just help out and get it over with.

I was reminded of this charming face of Quebec cultural diversity yesterday when we went out to investigate the UK equivalent. The ‘car boot sale’. Yep, just imagine it. A car backed up, the boot (trunk) open, filled with one persons junk – available for sale to another person as treasure. Now I didn’t mention above how much I LOVE garage sales. In Montreal I would drag Michelle around the lanes from one sale to the next digging up some fabulous bargains and real “finds”. So since finding out about the UK equivalent I’ve been itching to go. Wherever we’ve been, Bamford, Inverness, even Edinburgh I’ve heard mention, or even caught a glimpse of car-boot sales, but I’ve always been diverted by Michelle. Yesterday it was time. I did it.

I did a bit of research on the net to find that the biggest UK car-boot sale was right here in Glasgow, not 3 miles from our house. Armed with important information on how to tell if the goods are stolen or not, off we went to Blochairn. Spread out in front of us was a huge parking lot filled to the brim with cars. And each car had it’s boot open and had developed a new attachment of a couple of folding tables, piled high with ‘stuff’. Lots and lots of stuff. From tools and kids bikes to clothes and furniture. You name it, you could find it if you dug about for long enough. All of this was mixed in with trailers selling fruit & veges, another selling fish and the largest most amazing of all was a caravan like trailer with crowds of people outside listening to a hawker auctioning off meat. It was amazing. He had a microphone and he was auctioning off meat.

“How about this lovely whole turkey, this beauty is over 7 kgs, how about I chuck in a couple of steaks and nice lump of mince and some chicken breasts? all of this for 20 quid… you sir, you’d like this package? ok sold to the gentleman at the front”

“and you sir, you’d like the same? ok, for you I’ll make it 25 quid and chuck in a couple of lamb cutlets – whaddya say?”

He was mesmerizing. If we weren’t trying to empty out our freezer I would have been buying meat by the bucket load yesterday. He was so good.

So that was the car-boot sale. It was very interesting. We pondered the relations between the car-boot sale and the garage sale. One was at home in an empty garage the other was out of the car that should have been in the garage – was there any relevance between the huge country that is Canada and the tiny island that is Britain? Who knows. It doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that we discovered something else new here in Glasgow, a bit more culture, a bit more diversity.

And it was a hoot!

filles at 11:42 am

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December 3, 2004

Silence

So despite how good I felt about my day off yesterday, I’ve been thinking about it this morning and I’ve realised that although I enjoyed myself thoroughly I didn’t really interact with anyone.

I said “hello” to the cleaner in the womens changing rooms whilst I was getting dressed, I bought a ticket for the movie and a sandwich for lunch at the cinema which amounted to 11 words in total (including please and two times thankyou). I spoke to Michelle on the phone for 30 seconds to check if she wanted me to buy the pants she saw in M&S last weekend during the sale, a “no thank you” to the Big Issue vendor outside Sainsburys and I think that’s about it.

Sad really.

filles at 8:46 am

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December 2, 2004

Back to basics…

I had a day off today.

Gym in the morning, pot of tea in a cafe, quick flick “Manuchurian Candidate”, peek at the M&S 20% off sale and now a bit of surfing before dinner time.

Just how I like it…

filles at 7:14 pm

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