Bridgeman; (c) mima Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Anne Redpath – Self Portrait infront of Venetian Mirror

I went to the hairdresser today. Probably last time I went was March. My summer has been a washout awaiting biopsy appointments and then the results. MORE catestrophic symptomoms and I’ve been mostly sequestered to home for nearly two months. I don’t really have a good mirror in my flat. I sat for an hour gloomily making aquaintance of many more lines on my faces, a chin which has collapsed (partly by losing 14 kg) I miss my fat… I looked better.

Redpath, Anne; La Croix de St Jean, Treboul; McLean Museum and Art Gallery – Inverclyde Council;

La femme c’est moi.

I can see her looking at that war memorial trying to make sense of it all. Putting one foot infront of another. Just keeping going.

Sometimes things happen and you realise that you have been putting one foot in front of another and trying to keep going. This has been happening for YEARS. Everything from prepandemic to now has been grim, foot infront of another with no relief. Just another fucking thing to deal with. My joi de vivre fucked off many years ago. I’m now in emergency mode all I want to do is slowly crochet the same piece of yarn over and over again and listen to some semi decent drama on the radio and work out a way of keeping warm. And I don’t want to talk to anyone either I cannot bear the thought of how my life has just been a series of disappointments, and failures, many of which were not my fault but I have to live with them all the same. Last night I could hardly bear it I watched an Italian film whose central character was a smug leftist filmmaker. A smug leftist film maker scuppered my film career many years ago. And I remembered the three months of my life when I woke up and cried every day.

I found this wonderful image hiding on my computer filed somewhere odd and found it serendipitiously a few days ago. I’m finding life so hard nowadays, aging parents, rocky health, the pandemic… I look more and more for images to try and bring me solace. Like a talisman or an icon something that will heal me.

A few years ago I shuffled off to see an exhibition of her work at the Royal Scottish Academy – my friend had a pass so it would be free so I sloped along. But in person they were NOTHING like the reproductions. Incredible colour changes. We spent ages standing infront of images saying things like ‘can you see the green?’ There was no green in the image.

Today on twitter I was struck how many images looked like a great basis for a quilt.

Bridget Riley. 1963

More about her here.

So many many decades ago back in the 1970’s my mother took me to an exhibiton of this Austrian artist’s work in Pretoria.

I knew he had designed an apartment block in Vienna but didn’t realise he also designed the Spittelau incinerator! and a spa and hotel. I’m hoping I can visit these one day… when we are allowed off this plague ridden island.

But unfortuantly I’m unlikely to ever see his New Zealand public loos which are apparently visited by more tourists than users every year.

Apparently astonishingly enough there are people who are …not aware of penguins.

I’m fond of a penguin I am… particuarly Macaroni Penguins known as Punk Penguins in our family.

And this picture always brings joy if not to the penguin involved.

More about the Scottish National Antartic Expedition here. The penguin was teatherd and the rope teathering him was painted out in a early form of photoshop. He was an unwilling audience.

Otherwide check out this music video which not only has Pingu in it but the vocals of a friend of mine who was breifly Big in Japan.

I finally took a brief break from social media to listen to a radio play about David Bowie’s sojurn in Berlin to try and escape drugs and LA and produce the haunting Low album. I’m mired in doomscrolling – the current political situation in the UK makes it all too much. And I and desperate HUNGRY for actual making. Like real food.


(pic taken at the V&A in Dundee in January – one billionty years ago don’t know who did the poster SORRY shoot me now)*

So … we move in and out of acceptance or deeper levels of acceptance. Yesterday I finally saw my parents after three months. It took four hours and twenty five minutes to traverse the 7.1 miles between me and them. I’m high risk (have already nearly died of pneumonia really don’t recommend it) so I’m not going on public transport and I don’t drive and I have ME. There is a book called the Worst Journey In The Word by a chap who went on a disasterous Emperor Penguin Egg Collecting Expedition as a side shoot to Scott’s expedition to the South Pole. And possibily my journey wasn’t quite as bad … but the walk there took 1 hour 25 minutes. I then caught up with parents for three hours. And I started to walk back at 4pm. I soon realised my rest had done nothing to rest me. I staggered onto the cycle path and found a helpfully fallen tree trunk and sat on it for half an hour. Nervously fishing about in my bag for my hand sanitiser. I looked at all the people, cycling, walking, scootering in a jaundiced and judgemental manner. A dog ran away from its owner – I sat on my tree stump glowered and rejoiced at the badly behaved dog. Because people who walk around happily¬† without being crippled by the walking frankly deserve at least some kind of justice to even things up. I then got up and staggered another twenty minuites¬† of walking then found a lowish wall and sat on that for another half an hour. And sent some waspish texts to various friends. This was how I got home. Getting home took three hours.

My lodger in a cheerful manner said I would soon get quicker at this walking malarky if I kept on doing it. Now the marker of ME is that exercise doesn’t make you better it makes you worse. I feel no optimism for this being likely. And further more I can feel a bone weary tiredness over me which is its most vile symptom. And that comes with a most ferocious grumpiness with the world and its wife or dog or small child pinning posters to trees with drawing pins and littering the pathway with plastic foamy crafty bits which have fallen off said posters which exort you to ‘BE HAPPY’ as you kill your health trying to walk to you parents so you seen them once more before they die.

*Earlier this year I put up an instagram post without attributing the street artist and got roasted for it. So feel free to harrang me over not taking note of who ever did this poster but I have forks am likely in current mood to jab you back.