so when my contract finished the monday before half term, i was left adrift somewhat; i wasn't going to beable to find any work in the four-day gap before the half term, and the holiday i'd booked. four days off work isn't normally an issue, but i didn't have any reserves other than what i'd put aside for the holiday, and there was no way i was tampering with that. half term was one of the fullest weeks i've ever had.
so friday finally rolled round, which meant i could stop worrying about it. i'd found time to program some drum patterns for my 'mwng' cover album. i do intend to do it, but back then i had a more industrial mindset towards it, and now i want to take more time over it. record it a song at a time, rather than all the drums, then all the acoustic guitars, &c; i'd burn through it if i did it like back, but carelessly, and i've decided that's not how i want it to be. also coming forth are (still!) my prince charmander remics and my december's burning remics, stripped back to the cello part and rebuilt from there.
saturday was ruth's birthday party; thalia and rachel took her to see the belly dance superstars, while ian and i prepared a fantastic meal for everyone. i made a starter of ovened patatas bravas (which rocked - the bbc normal one appears to be better than the bbcgoodfood one, a trend i'm noticing) and ian made a rissotto for mains. of course, had i remembered about the rice crisis, i'd have told him off. but i only remembered last night, reading the spice business curry industry mag. so that was all going well, we had rachel and i, ian and thalia, and ruth, and then seb arrived later with young scarlett. scarlett of course immediately went round collecting all our cuddly toys, which set ruth's chest off from the dust (many were in forgotten areas such as down the side of the bed.. not that we neglect our cuddle chums, or 'the kids'as we call them).
the next day, we went over to camden's fashionable primrose hill for a massive greek feed with: rachel and i, big bro dan and maria, dimitri, karen, and iona, and an old friend of dim's and her daughter. it was phewsome, and i barely communicated with theother half of the table (karen et al) at all. afterwards, dim, dan, maria, rachel, and i piled back to dan's and had a quiet evening in.
that was sunday; monday was rachel's mum pam's turn for birthdayness, we decorated the flat with balloons, banners, and party hats on all the inanimate creatures, and cooked her a brunch. rachel got her a wonderful towelling dressing gown amongst other pretty things. then we went out to the tate britain to see the francis bacon exhibition. oh, it was so totally inspirational. so metal. well, i suppose more precisely, hardcore. his early stuff looks how pig destroyer sounds. it made me want to thrash the fuck out of everything... and the black and white photo of his studio in the program, now cut out and stuck up on my wall in front of me... if my studio can't look like that, at least i can be reminded how a true artist works. bacon's early works cry out with angry athiest nihilism; i'd forgotten that used to be my view. it's not a view you can convert any god-botherers with; you end up trying to portray athiesm as a positive, liberating, experience, which it can be. but we mustn't forget that we are, to quote charlie brooker, 'cadavers in waiting', which bacon continually, brilliantly, reminds us. i fucking loved it. and it was nice to see him mellow, doing surreallistic portraits of his friends and lovers, even if it wasn't as harrowing and meaningful as his earlier work; it was nice that once he'd done alienation, and murder, and hate for religion, he got on with his life and painted really good pictures of people. i'm especially glad we went to that, because the alternative was rothko; great, loads of pictures of nothing. as if modern art galleries didn't resemble wallpaper showrooms enough, we have to have a rothko exhibition. i was reading a page on the tate website about different interpretations of rothko's work, it came very close to admitting straight up that you can say anything about it because it's totally vague. i don't know whether it's worse to call a picture of nothing 'untitled' or something descriptive (eg 'maroon on red' or mural for end wall') or a post-modern psuedo-wanky name like 'liturgy for aggamemnon'. i really don't, we could have a chat about this sometime. anyway, i digress; one paragraph of the page dealt with his paintings as nihilist tracts, which i suppose did resonate in me. when i see one of his paintings up large, it can be very imposing and impressive; seeing several annoys me.
but i had to dash off early, because i had an interview with a teaching assistant agency. this is a story for another post, but suffice to say, nothing has come of it.
i hooked back up with the mother and daughter twosome in angel islington, where we went for dinner at gallipoli. it was a fantasmic feed. we all ordered the set vege meal, but there was some mistake in the kitchen as we were delivered a full mixed meze to start with, rather than the reduced set meal portions. so after clearing away our 'starters' - which we'd finished - we were asked if we would like desert, to which we replied, 'er, we've got another course coming yet', and some stifled laughter from some of the other waiters. well, we got our main course, which we couldn't finish, and then our set pudding, which was a very disappointing milk thing we could only take a few bites of. then we waddled to the bus stop, which i was an experimental trip to a bus stop i've never been to before, in order to find the bus that takes us all the way to our door. it was a bit of a wait (in which rachel managed to loose two seperate oyster cards, by putting them in her inside pocket, then forgetting she had one, despite me repeatedly asking if she was sure she didn't have any inside pockets. not that i haven't been guilty of a very similar mistake myself, with the double pocket of my nurse shirt totally outwitting me), but the bus went down all the cutesy backstreets between london fields and angel, including going past the wenlock arms, a very good pub we can now call our local. we turned in.