It was news to me I can tell you!! I happened upon this piece of information when Steph and I stopped by Grace in Tribeca for pre-wedding drinks last Thursday night and one of the guests, Martha, asked “would you be joining us at Puck Fair tomorrow?”
Me: Don’t you mean Ulysses? [Ulysses is a bar downtown where Ash said the post reception drinking would continue from 1-4am for those with the stamina and is owned by the same people who own Puck Fair].
Martha: No, no, Puck Fair.
Me (calling Ash over): Ash, what’s this about Puck Fair, I thought we were going to Ulysses?
Ash: Ulysses is after the reception ends at 1am, Puck Fair is before the wedding for those who want to.
Me: BEFORE the wedding?
Ash: Yup, it’s an Irish thing. You know how it is in small Irish towns, there’s often only a church and a pub, there’s nothing to do but drink, so everyone goes to the pub.
When in Rome eh? Puck Fair at 4pm it was.
Actually in the cold light of Friday morning Steph and I decided against it since we didn’t get home from Grace until close to 3am and woke around 10am so we decided we preferred to get ready for Ash and E’s 5pm wedding downtown at St Patrick’s Old Cathedral at a leisurely pace. We had a very nice day, waking up around 10am and lounged around chatting for a bit before heading down to Pain Quotidien on 77th and 2nd for a hearty breakfast. We’d planned to go all out with eggs and what not at Annie’s but when we got there I found out it had closed down. I couldn’t believe it. I Googled it when I got home and found out some developer or other has bought the plot on 79th and 3rd and is planning some high rise or other. Pht, as if we don’t have enough high rises.
Pain Quotidien was a lovely alternative anyway; we ordered big bowls of café au lait, a bread basket with all their various spreads, a side of prosciutto and a soft boiled egg each. Who ate all the pies. I had to show Steph how to slice the top off hers with the edge of the spoon. American children don’t have boiled egg and soldiers for a breakfast treat apparently. Who’d have thought it?
As I sat there chit chatting with Steph an absolutely drop dead gorgeous guy walked by. I kid you not I think my jaw dropped he was so cute. I couldn’t take my eyes off him and he must have felt my stare and looked directly at me and smiled. Now let’s just say I wasn’t feeling my most attractive in that particular moment, so I was quite shocked my appreciative looks were being reciprocated and I came over a bit shy and couldn’t bring myself to return his smile. I don’t know about you, but I have to feel confident in myself in these moments and I just didn’t feel my best when I’d literally rolled out of bed, pulled on a pair of jeans I’d dug out of the laundry basket, hadn’t yet showered or washed my hair so it was flat and disgusting and was make-up free and wearing my glasses. I was mortified when he turned and walked up the ramp and inside Pain Quotidien with a guy I hadn’t realised was with him. Steph said he looked over at me twice, but I couldn’t bring myself to meet his gaze. I realised later that I was being an idiot, I should have snapped up a guy that seemingly found me attractive looking like I did. Darn it, extremely hot guy shows interest and I blow it. Oh well, never mind, there’s always the wedding photographer, but more on him later ;-)
After breakfast Steph and I headed back towards my apartment to get a manicure from the place around the corner. I used to go for manicures all the time, but it’s been a while since my last one. I go for pedicures in the summer, but I’ve never been very patient at letting the polish dry fully on my fingernails; I’d only be out of the salon 10minutes and I’d smudge a nail, so I tend to just pop in every once in a while to get them shaped and just have them put a couple of coats of clear polish on – no-one can tell when that smudges - and maintain that as long as I can before going back. The longest I’ve previously maintained a manicure was a whopping 3 hours. I had a lovely French manicure, my nails were looking fabulous, but then I stopped by the laundrette later that afternoon and as I was removing my towels from the dryer I noticed the heat had melted the tips off my French manicure. I realised there and then that manicures and me weren’t a good match, however with Steph to keep me company this time I held my hands under the nail dryer for a full 30minutes and so the polish dried fully. For the first time ever my nails were perfectly manicured and chip free for over 24hours, almost 48hours in fact, even surviving a shower post manicure when I was getting ready for the wedding. It was a big novelty for me and all weekend I was unnaturally fascinated by how great my nails looked - I can highly recommend Essie’s ‘Spaghetti Straps’ polish; it’s a very natural looking shade of pink – and couldn’t stop admiring them. If you were walking in Manhattan over the weekend and noticed a woman staring at her nails in goggle eyed wonderment, well that was probably me.
Melissa arrived at my place at 4pm and the 3 of us took a cab downtown to the church on Mott and Prince, we were worried that we might struggle to find a cab due to the 4pm shift changeover, but we got one straight away and traffic was surprisingly light so we were at the church by 4:25pm. We were among the first to arrive and had our pick of the pews. The church looked stunning, it was full to bursting with flowers since the wedding was just a week after the Easter Sunday service and the priest had asked Ash and E to hold off on planning any more flowers, which was just as well. It would have been overwhelming with any more.
Despite being Catholic by default – Irish grandparents – and attending a Catholic high school, I couldn’t tell you the last time I was inside a church for a mass. It must be more than a decade. Surprisingly I remembered all the appropriate responses to the mass – ‘it is right to give Him thanks and praise’ and all that – and the correct moments to stand, sit or kneel. My knees weren’t so happy about the kneeling. I had to laugh when it came to Communion and a starving Steph nudged me and asked me to “go up there and get me one of those little wafer things”
Eye-roll!! Honestly some people, it’s not a buffet Stephanie :-)
There were quite a few latecomers to the service and Melissa and I looked at each other and raised our eyebrows – perhaps uncharitably – at one woman who scurried about 10minutes before the end of the ceremony, after the vows, and carrying a bag from Intermix – a chain of pricey boutiques – which didn’t look as if it contained a wedding gift. I know the church was convenient to SoHo, but shopping???? C’mon. The latecomers also included one incredibly attractive guy who we pegged for an Italian based on his suit. “I’ve found you a date” whispered Steph to me as he sat down. I should probably point out that Steph is married – her husband is in the reserves and is currently off in Iraq – so with her own romantic life all sorted – she met her own husband when he was the best man at our friend Val’s wedding - she was focusing all her energies on finding me a nice guy. She’s a sweetheart. ‘Italian guy’ was cute – we later found out he was American and gay - but by then I’d already spotted Cute Photographer Bloke and pointed him out. She agreed he was easy on the eye.
After the service the three of us plus our friend Niamh and her husband decided to take the subway down to the reception at Bayards in the Financial District instead of trying to hail a cab with 105 other wedding guests. We took the R train to the Rector St station and passed Tel Aviv’s apartment building as we walked over to Hanover Square. I felt a bit of a pang at that, I’ve missed him on and off since we broke up, but hey what can I do, he wanted someone who could fully commit to moving to Israel and I wasn’t ready for that. Next!!
Hobbling down to Bayard’s in heels is not the best decision we could have made. There are far too many cobblestone streets downtown to make walking it each, however if you’re looking for a place to hold a wedding reception in New York you could do a LOT worse than Bayard’s. I have nothing but good things to say about the place, from the decor, to the food, staff, it was perfect. In fact if I have one complaint it was that the staff were a little too good at making sure our wine glasses were always topped up. I lay the blame for Saturday’s hangover completely at the feet of Bayard’s efficient staff, I eschew all responsibility, my hangover had nothing whatsoever to do with my own lack of discipline ;-)
Our table was right behind the table where the wedding party was seated and as the Bride and Groom were announced and came in to take their seats for dinner Steph nudged me in the ribs to let me know the cute photographer was crouched next to her taking photos. The next thing I overhear is Stephanie say to photographer “my friend thinks you’re really cute, are you single?”
Fortunately he just laughed and told her he was working, before she had a chance to start nudging me and introducing us.
The rest of the evening was a lot of fun, the DJ was great and I danced up a storm with the Groom’s father and Ash’s friend Brendan. In fact some of my dancing was a little too energetic given all the wine that was in my stomach and at one point, as Brendan was leading me around the dance floor; he spun me a little too hard and I spun off and bumped into a table. It could have been worse; I could have grabbed hold of the table cloth and pulled a table setting for eight to the floor, but still I felt a smidge embarrassed by my dance floor mishap. I also felt a little queasy from all the spinning and as I went to sit back down at the table I decided it was probably a good time to be making tracks. It was close to 12:30am by then and Steph and Melissa decided to come with me
As we were saying our goodbyes to Ash and E, Steph informed Ash I had a thing for the photographer. “Oh I’ve known him for years” she said “I’ll get right on that when I’m back from my honeymoon.” We’ll see what happens, although to be honest I’m not entirely sure I want to be set up with a guy who was potentially a sober witness to my intoxication and with photographic evidence no less. Shudder!!
I woke up at 8:16am on Saturday morning expecting to see my dress in a heap on the floor and my mascara smudged under my eyes, but remarkably I’d hung my dress up, put my jewellery away and washed my face when I got home. I don't remember doing that at all. I also didn’t feel too bad considering all I’d had to drink, although I did my fair share of wincing over the fact that I spun into a table while dancing with Brendan. However I don’t think I did anything too crazy as I didn’t wake up with any mysterious bruises – or any mysterious Italians for that matter. Darn it ;-) I'm not one for sleeping late, so I got up and made myself a cup of tea. Steph joined me around 9am and we sat on the sofa piecing together the previous evening.
“I pretty much chased that photographer around the whole evening telling him that I thought you and he would make a great couple. He asked me why I thought that as I’d never met him before and all I could say was ‘well you’re cute and she’s cute, you’ll look good together’” said Steph
“You didn’t point me out to him did you?” I asked
“I don’t think so”
“I hope not. I was so drunk, I was not attractive”
“You didn’t seem so bad to me, you weren’t slurring your words or being loud or anything. You seemed fairly sober. You just kept saying you felt sick and wanted to leave“
“That must have been because of all the spinning when I was dancing with Brendan”
“You were both dancing really fast.”
“Hmmm, not the wisest move after all that wine”
“There were other people who were much drunker than we were, like Judy for instance and Susan. Susan left me a voicemail to make sure we got home okay and she sounded really drunk. She’s supposed to be flying to Phoenix this morning for her UCLA game. I wonder if she made it.”
Steph sent me an email later that day to say Susan did make her NCAA game in Phoenix. Apparently she got home after 4am and had 15 minutes to pack before her car picked her up to take her to the airport at 5am. “She didn't sleep except for some on the plane. Wild woman!!! She said she was drunk and shouldn't have gone to the after bar at Ulysses but had a lot of fun!”
I can’t wait to hear the goss ;-)
Unfortunately my tiny handbag wouldn’t fit my camera, so I don’t have many photo’s, I'm waiting for Melissa to post her's to Snapfish or some such, but here’s a couple from Brendan of the bride and groom and a posse of drunken Italian men. The others are exterior shots of St Patrick’s Old Cathedral and of Bayard’s.
Monday, 31 March 2008
It was news to me I can tell you!! I happened upon this piece of information when Steph and I stopped by Grace in Tribeca for pre-wedding drinks last Thursday night and one of the guests, Martha, asked “would you be joining us at Puck Fair tomorrow?”
Thursday, 27 March 2008
So, don’t hate me, but I have a 4 day weekend coming up!!
The policy where I work at is that you can carry over 5vacation days from the previous year, but you have to use them by March 31st. Somehow I managed to carry over 4.5days last year and I have to use the 2.5days by Monday, so technically I have a 4.5 day weekend coming up as I’ll be leaving after a 2pm meeting today to start my long weekend.
I’m using the rest of the day to give my apartment a thorough scrub down before my pal Steph arrives in New York from DC this evening. Steph’s in town for a big event, Ash & E’s wedding tomorrow evening. Ash is a good friend of ours and one of the first people I met when I moved to New York. She happened to move here – from Dublin - the day before I did, on the 14th June 2000, we used to celebrate our NYC anniversaries together and tomorrow she marries E - a nice Italian boy from Vicenza - at a church in downtown Manhattan.
I’m thrilled for her, she’s the happiest I've ever seen her, plus it should be a really fun wedding, what with the Irish and the Italians flying in, all the New Yorkers and a sprinkling of non-local Americans coming into town. Believe me; I’m going to need a 4day weekend to recover ;-)
Wednesday, 26 March 2008
Well so much for continuing my streak of managing to get a full seven hours of uninterrupted sleep and therefore not feel like crap at work. There was drama Chez Fish last night kids. There I was, settled on the sofa, relaxed and awaiting the start of The Daily Show when I heard a noise coming from the vicinity of my kitchen and bathroom – my bathroom is off my kitchen. You’ve gotta love the bizarrely confabulated apartments of New York City.
Cautiously I went to investigate…
Urk…water, horribly disgusting dirty brown water, was pouring, nay gushing it was like someone had turned a faucet on full, through my bathroom ceiling directly through the light fitting.
I emptied a bucket full of cleaning equipment onto the kitchen floor and positioned it where the stream was strongest to try and catch most of the water, although it was coming through everywhere, before dashing upstairs to let my neighbour know what was happening. I could hear water running as I stood outside her door waiting for someone to answer the bell and assumed she was in the shower, unaware of the fact that she was flooding my bathroom, but then I heard footsteps and a loud ‘oh my God.’
She fumbled with the lock and opened the door looking stunned. She motioned me inside to see her bathroom. If mine was gushing, hers was like Niagara Falls. I had about 3inches of water on the floor of my bathroom seeping out into the kitchen, but there was easily 4times the volume pouring through her bathroom ceiling. She hadn’t been aware of it until I knocked on her door as she’d gone to bed at 10pm and was fast on. I left her standing there shocked in her pyjamas as I dashed upstairs to the sixth floor, the top floor of the building, and hammered on the door of #28.
Visions of someone having slipped and knocked themselves out cold - or worse - with the tap running ran through my head.
I’ve watched too many episodes of CSI I really have.
As I ran back downstairs to phone the landlady I ran into Vinny, her brother who lives in the apartment below me and owner of the pizzeria. He ran in to check the state of my bathroom before dashing off to turn the water off and see what was going on with number #28, while I was left to soak up as much of the water I could with old beach towels.
Finally the water abated and Vinny returned to check on the light fixture in my bathroom and check for any the damage. Vinny is not by any stretch a small man, he’s well built and of ample girth and unfortunately as he bent down to examine the floor his trousers slipped and I was given a full on flash of his big hairy arse. Ugh!! That was the cherry on top of this particular Tuesday evening sundae I can tell you. It’s a wonder I didn’t have nightmares.
Fortunately there was nothing serious and we didn’t have to call in Gil Grissom and team. The pre-teen kid of the family in the apartment on the 6th floor had been taking a bath as the rest of the family slept and had managed to flood the bathroom. Vinny told me that the water had gone through all the apartments below them and had even leaked through the ceiling of the pizzeria on the ground floor. No permanent damage, but I was up late cleaning the mess up and my apartment has that uniquely stale aroma that can only come from being doused in the used bathwater of a pre-teen boy and then filtered through 2floors of a pre war apartment building.
Monday, 24 March 2008
Not much blogging going on by me recently as quite frankly nothing much is happening in my life that’s worth sharing, not unless you want to hear all about Saturday’s pursuit around Manhattan for toeless hosiery – such bizarre looking leg wear and not exactly comfortable either, but you have to make sacrifices to look good - to wear with my lovely peep toe heels to Ash’s wedding this coming Friday evening?
I can’t say I blame you.
So, I hope you had a Happy Easter if you’re of that persuasion, if not, I hope you had a lovely weekend. Easter kind of passes me by a bit in the US since we don’t get Friday and Monday as a bank holiday like in the UK, so I always forget it’s a ‘holiday’. A public holiday is only significant to me if I get time off work to celebrate, I'll celebrate anything if you give me a day off work, I'm tarty that way, but if not, forget it, I'll barely acknowledge it.
Even the religious significance of Easter is, for the most part, completely lost on me since I’m a thoroughly lapsed Catholic, so the notion of going to church doesn’t even enter my head. Still, Easter Sunday was very nice; I had a long leisurely brunch with my friend Andrew at Chat Noir on E 66th St. The restaurant was nice if not really my scene, it was a bit on the stuffy side with wealthy, older Upper East Side types making up a significant number of the clientele, but it’s good to have a change from time to time and one of the hosts – a tall, lean dark haired blue eyed French man – was marvellous eye candy. I may well return to gaze upon him ;-)
Anyway I’m going to keep this post brief as I am extremely tired. I’ve been suffering with a touch of insomnia recently and I’m having a hard time focusing at work. I’m going to stop by the chemist tonight and get some Tylenol PM or something and see if that helps as I have a new client in for a full day meeting tomorrow, so I need to get a good night’s sleep, so that I can impress him with my intellect instead of falling face first into my lunch due to sleep deprivation.
Tonight, I shall be pulling out all the stops, leisurely bath with relaxing lavender aromatherapy bubble bath replete with a small glass of wine, Tylenol PM and maybe even a turkey dinner to increase my levels of snooze inducing L-tryptophan, although maybe it’s wise to have that with the Tylenol after my soak in the tub so that I don’t fall asleep in the bath and accidentally drown myself. That wouldn’t be a good move.
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
.....you sign off an email to a client like this…
Yup I signed off a note to my client with hugs and kisses.
It was an accident of course. I had one of those days yesterday where I bounced from focusing on one account to the next and then back again with barely a pause for breath. Add to the fact that I was also dealing with befuddling emails from Miles suggesting I join him and his boy in taking up a fruitarian diet for a day when they are visiting in April.
A fruitarian diet???
Apparently this is all part of some scheme of theirs to be healthier, so they’ve decided to adopt this diet for one day a week in April, the very same month they’ll be visiting me.
According to Miles “dinner is tomato and avocado! Lunch is mango soup and true fruitarians only have fruit which has dropped naturally from trees…”
Erm…right you are then Miles. Let’s be honest here, subsisting on fruit that’s fallen from trees may be achievable if you lived in, say, Southern California, but exactly how much edible fruit does he expect to find on the ground in New York in April? Honestly, do I look like a squirrel?
“But we don't have to be that strict.”
Oh well, that makes it all okay then. Eye-roll.
“Bad news is you can't drink alcohol either... though on a holiday with an old lush like you we will probably both benefit!”
Old?? Cheeky bugger!! I’m 5years younger than him. Seriously though, no alcohol, is he out of his mind? How could I get through the week without a delicious glass of pressed Malbec grapes (that’s fruit right?) to look forward to? Besides, as a pseudo-veg I need the red wine for iron. I’m often borderline anaemic when I have my check ups, it would be a health risk for me to give it up.
“I assured B that you were a health freak too and that you would be more than happy to join us for the day as a fruitarian when we are over!”
Over my dead body. I think somebody might be searching for a hotel in April if they’re not careful ;-)
Nevertheless I’ve come up with what I think is an excellent compromise. Instead of foraging around like a squirrel for fruit that's dropped from trees, I’ve suggested we go for a lovely dinner at extremely healthy vegetarian raw food restaurant, Pure Food & Wine. Doesn’t that sound much nicer?
Left and centre photos vs. the one on the right. Note PF&W have alcohol :-) Infinitely preferable correct? Of course it is, no question about it.
However if you should happen to see 3 people foraging for fruits and nuts in Central Park between 12th and 18th April then you know they've coerced me into their hare brained scheme. Urgle.
...but enough of Miles and his crazy ideas and back to the work chat, as I mentioned it was a frantic sort of day, but in the back of my mind I was aware that I owed my friend Ariel a response to her email.
I still had a few things to do come 5.30pm, including a note to a client and a project plan I’d promised my boss by the end of the day, but I was in need of a break. To hell with it, I thought, I'll shoot Ariel a quick note and dashed a missive off to my pal signed with my usual xox's of affection. The note out of the way I switched my focus to the email I still had to send to my client.
I typed it rapidly, checked it for mistakes and then added my sign off, but instead of the usual ‘regards’, ‘best’ or ‘cheers’…
I hit send and immediately realised what I'd done.
My typing muscles clearly had fond memories of my earlier sign off to my friend and were still on autopilot.
Ahh well, no matter, there are much worse things I could have said to a client. I've been tempted let me tell you. I'm sure he - yes to make matters worse it was a he - will get a laugh out of it.
Maybe he’ll be as bemused as I was when, going through the whole rigmarole of applying for my Greencard, I would receive letters from my lawyer signed ‘Very Truly Yours’ ha ha!!
However if you should happen to see 3 people foraging for fruits and nuts in Central Park between 12th and 18th April then you know they've coerced me into their hare brained scheme. Urgle.
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
This email from a colleague just gave me a laugh this morning...
Subject: Official st paddies day score
Guinness: 1 Me: 0
I'm sure the escapades will be on facebook by lunchtime!!
I think there was a foam shamrock involved...
I'm guessing someone might be a tad late into the office today hee hee!!
Monday, 17 March 2008
Happy St Patrick’s Day!!
Hope you have fun if you are planning to celebrate.
Despite my Irish heritage I am not one for commemorating this particular holiday, in fact it’s fair to say I avoid it like the plague. This is not so easy if, like me, you live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The area is chocka with Irish themed bars and having to run errands on the Saturday closest to St Patrick's can mean having to play a game of 'dodge the vomit', not to mention the wandering hands of drunkards who have tumbled out on the street after their fill of green pints. Oh fun!! Everyone and their dog seem to claim Irish heritage on St Patrick's in
Bizarrely the best St Patrick's Day I ever had was when I was on holiday in
This year I didn’t really venture out on Saturday except for a hairdressing appointment a block east of my apartment, far away from the bars. I was feeling pretty tired after my jaunt to the Barnes Foundation with Melissa on Friday. We had a long day; it took us about 6 hours to get there and back. It was worth it, the art collection is amazing, but it’s huge and with nowhere to take a break – the place is just begging for a small café - we both suffered from a bout of sensory overload after 3hours. There are over 800 paintings, 180 of them are by Renoir; there are 69 Cézanne paintings and 60 by Matisse. The collection is worth over $2billion.
One hundred and eighty Renoirs!!! 180!! I was Renoir’d to death let me tell you. Right now I don’t care if I never see another Renoir ever again.
Anyway I am sure some celebrants will cross my path this evening, I'm steering clear of Irish bars though, instead I’m off to see Welsh chanteuse, Duffy, at the Hiro Ballroom.
I have to say one of the coolest things about being a British music lover living in New York is the number of rising British bands I get to see for peanuts – we’re talking at most $25, that’s a mere £13 Brits - because they’re under the radar in the US and come over and play small venues.
The Scissor Sisters for example, a New York band no less, who sell out stadiums in the UK, who I initially saw for the price of admission to Warm Up, a fabulous weekly Saturday afternoon party held at PS1 during the summer months. They’d had two or three singles out in the
Or Keane, a band I saw for $10 at the Knitting Factory, which holds about 200people when they already had the #1 album in the
Anyway I’ll love you and leave you to shimmy along to a little Duffy. Enjoy!!
Thursday, 13 March 2008
I’ve been quite busy this week so I haven’t had much opportunity to post, although to be honest there’s been very little going on beyond work so I’ve not been inspired to post so much.
I have the day off tomorrow – lots of carry over to use before the end of March - so I’m going on a jaunt out to the Barnes Foundation in Pennsylvania with Melissa. I’d never heard of the place – Melissa so has her finger on the pulse of these things - but according to their website its “home to one of the world's largest collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings, with extensive holdings by Picasso, Matisse, Cézanne, Renoir and Modigliani, as well as important examples of African sculpture.”
I’m looking forward to it anyway, even if I do still have to get up at 7am to make a 9am train from Penn Station to the middle of suburban Pennsylvania.
The unfortunate thing about taking a day off is that I’ve been squeezing 5days worth of work into 4days, since my deliverables won’t wait. Today I’ve been pretty much keeping my head down with iTunes on shuffle. I store a lot of my music on an external hard drive that I often play through iTunes while I’m working. It helps drown out the cacophony of Jose B in the cube next door. The man needs a mute button.
Anyway this fabulous ditty just rebounded off my eardrums, it’s an oldie, well 1999, but such a goodie. I mean how can you not adore a songwriter who is capable of crafting a catchy tune about the UK’s national bus service? Especially when the aforementioned song includes the lyric “but it’s hard to get by when your arse is the size of a small country”?
The British people I know say they cannot help, but hum this tune whenever they take a coach service. I’m actually quite disappointed by the video though. It’s the first time I’ve seen it today – don’t you just lurve YouTube – and…well…where are the BUSES dammit!!!
Anyway, enjoy National Express by The Divine Comedy, but don’t blame me if “ba ba ba da ba ba ba da…” runs through your head for an entire day afterwards ;-)
Tuesday, 11 March 2008
I'll give you advance warning that this is a bit of a lengthy post, but it's image rather than text heavy. I was a busy bee this past weekend, because as well as attending Ash's sex toy party, I also went on yet another Chelsea gallery tour with my building buddy Betsy.
I was in two minds whether to go as it was teeming with rain early in the morning, but by noon it had abated signifcantly, so we took a risk it would stay that way. Unfortunately it didn’t, it got worse, much worse. High winds and rains pounded down on Manhattan later that day and as we ran from gallery to gallery the streets became wind tunnels. Very wet wind tunnels, we were all bent double trying to hold our umbrellas against the elements. Happily mine held out, but others weren’t so fortunate and the odd umbrella carcass littered the streets. I didn't enjoy the art on this tour quite as much as the last one, but I'm still glad I went.
The first exhibit we saw at the Lombard Freid gallery on West 26th St. It was called RMB City, by the Beijing based artist, Cao Fei. It’s a virtual city created by the artist via her avatar, China Tracy, on Second life. The gallery was set up to resemble a real estate office with a model of the city in the centre of the room and photos of the piece hanging from the walls. They also had a computer set up where you could explore the piece in Second Life. Below is the picture of the model for the city which I nabbed from the gallery site.
The real estate angle was because you can buy buildings in RMB City. Yup, you can spend your hard earned first life cash on a virtual building you can never live in.
Interested in making a purchase?
Well, the gallery said that prices are negotiable, but start at around 10,000 Euros (approx. $15,400) for a small space to around 135,000 Euros (approx. $207,300) for the whole thing. Below is how the city will look on Second Life. It's pretty cool looking I think.
Personally I don't really get the whole Second Life thing, First Life is complicated enough. I did register and played around with it briefly about a year ago, but I couldn't get into it and I had awful trouble making my avatar fly. I had to laugh when I read a story about a group of Second Lifers who got together to form a group of freedom fighters/terrorists to resist all the retailers that were developing Second Life stores. If I call correctly they took a bunch of American Apparel shoppers' avatars hostage in protest.
I liked the digital images of this work that were hanging on the walls and I loved the model, but I'm not so interested in the whole virtual angle of the piece. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer something tangible for my sideboard, however the tour guide, Rafael, reckons this is where art is heading, especially with the generation of children who learn how to use a computer before they hold a pencil.
Next up was Andrea Mastrovito, an Italian artist exhibiting at the Foley Gallery. These were beautiful collages made entirely from tissue paper, held in place by pins, since any kind of glue would damage the fragile paper.
The artist was apparently inspired to use tissue paper - I believe he doesn't usually work in quite such a fragile medium - by an essay by Edgar Allen Poe where Poe discusses the need for transparency in the writing process. The tissue paper supposedly represents transparency in the artist's creative process. An excerpt from Poe's poem, The Raven, is also posted on the wall of the gallery.
If you look at the images below you’ll see there’s a black plastic bag, which is common to each piece. A "unifying element" apparently. It's often used in a disturbing way, to cover the head of the man hanging from the tree in the first image for example. In the second image of Pablo Picasso at work in his studio it represents the bag of tools Picasso used in his work.
Afterwards we walked down 3 flights to the Priska Juschka gallery to see an installation piece, Yardsale, by Jade Townsend, an inside out house, entirely made of wood, taking up the whole gallery space.
What you can't tell from this tiny photo is that you could walk around the back and inside the house where there's an earth floor, with a picket fence in the centre and stars hanging from the ceiling. Inside-out y'see. It was a pretty cool concept I thought. The artist also stopped by to talk about his work and answer our questions. If I am remembering correctly the work is a comment on American consumerism and how we have so much stuff in our lives that we don't need, hence the scatteredness of the stuff from inside the house. He seemed fairly young and had a very sweet way about him. He came across as very humble and touched that we were interested in his work. He won me over when a guy asked him who he expected to buy a big piece like this and he laughed and said genuinely "who would buy THIS?"
Sunday, 9 March 2008
I’m lounging around at home this morning dithering whether to get dressed and go out for a walk. It looks beautiful out, but looks can be deceiving. Apparently we’re in for 35 to 40 mph gusts of chilly winds, which is giving me pause for thought, especially as at Judy's last night, her neighbour knocked on her door - as we were all sat around with flavoured condoms on our fingers - to let her know that part of the scaffolding had collapsed on the south side of their building and that the fire department had sealed off that part of the street. Eeek!! Fortunately no-one was seriously hurt, but it’s making me carefully consider venturing out. There's a lot of scaffolding in my neighbourhood right now and it’s not like I don't have enough food to hole up at home for the day. I was given a wee care package to take home after Ash’s hen party at Judy’s last night. I have enchiladas, a whole tiramisu cake from the divine downtown patisserie, Financier, and loads of beautiful mini cupcakes and lemon bars - mmmm my favourite - made for us by a pastry chef from Nobu who is a friend of one of the girls at the party. My waistline just winced at the thought of all those cakes. I think I’ll take them into the office tomorrow; my God I will be soooo popular ;-)
The party was excellent anyway, I have to say I was worried the instructor might single people out with questions, or worse, for demonstrations, but she didn’t. Darlinda from Babeland was lovely, arriving at Judy's with a humungous suitcase of sex toys. She says she had quite a few interesting moments at airport security and had us laughing about the time she was once had to explain a vaginal barbell.
Does my vagina REALLY need home gym equipment???
Some of the toys were eye opening I have to say, I was just looking on their site to see if I could include a link to one thing that looked a bit like a nutcracker - no pun intended - but I can't find it. We were all quite coy with the exception of one woman whose husband had slipped a roll of twenties in her pocket with a note that said “have fun, spend lots of money on toys and don't worry, I won't feel inadequate.” I think he might have reconsidered the inadequate comment had he seen the Rabbit – one of their best sellers ever since the famed Sex & the City episode. I never knew the tip of that thing rotated like that. Seriously, some of the vibrators she brought with her were so powerful that if you were to dip the tip in the bath...hey presto....you'd have yourself a whirlpool tub ;-)
After the toys, Darlinda passed around the different lubes for us to test on our hands and discussed the benefits of a product called Pink Lube, one of her favourites. Apparently Pink Lube also doubles as a marvellous hair styling product. Who knew? The only issue is that it can stain, so if it gets on the sheets…it’s not such good news for your linens. I had to laugh when the conversation then took a turn away from sex toys and towards.....laundry and everyone, especially the ones with kids, started exchanging tips on stain removal, it was hilarious.
Friday, 7 March 2008
Damn it, my 4pm meeting overran and now I am too bloody late to make the 6pm cardio kickbox class. I could have done to exercise a few demons this week too – okay, sorry, bad pun – as I have a new client who is driving me crazy by sending me emails that are entirely lower case and have ZERO punctuation. It hurts my head trying to fathom out what he's saying, but how do you nicely say to a client....um....could you use punctuation and um…y'know, generally write like a fucking grown up for chrissakes!!!!
No, I don’t think that would go down too well.
Apologies for the swearing anyway, he’s been really irritating me over the last few days, although admittedly I’m slightly more impatient than usual today due to a slight headache and a gritty eyed feeling from drinking ever so slightly too much wine last night.
Now, regular readers of this blog may be thinking, “erm…weren’t you hung over last week too you big lush?” And yes, I was, but today’s discomfort is nowhere near close to the head thumping, stomach churning pain I was in last Thursday after a get together at Cibar. Today I’m just feeling slightly dehydrated and sleep deprived after another night out with my gal pals group, or my “Wino Wimmins Group” as Miles has taken to referring to it due to everyone’s tendency to suffer from a teensy bit of hangover the following day. He’s is both disapproving and envious of these evenings out with the girls telling me “it's not big and it’s not clever!! But it sounds fab!! Can I come when I'm over**?”
Um….no, I’m afraid not Miles my sweet. We practise gender discrimination in the Wino Wimmins Group ;-)
Last night the WWG had drinks at Japonais, an Asian influenced bar and restaurant on Park Avenue South and 18th St. It was fun; the company was excellent, although I can’t say I was so keen on the venue. It was okay, but I found it more than a little formulaic in its Asian themed décor and there are more than enough of those places in New York already, Tao and Buddakan to name two right off the top of my head. For me these restaurants have too much of a mall-like quality, I swear the interior designers have a list for these restaurants:
"Let me see....Buddha statues. Check. Oriental drapery. Check. Lacquered trays. Check. Orchids. Yup. Do we have enough Bamboo? Yes.....righty ho Ermentrude, I think we're ready to open to the public."
I'm pretty sure they have that exact conversation :-)
Personally I prefer a place that looks a little rougher around the edges. I like the shiny worn look of seats that have supported 1,000s of bums - by bums I do of course mean arses, as opposed to people less fortunate than our selves. I like glamour, but it appeals more when there's something a little faded about it. The service was great though, our waitress was very sweet, and those who ordered bar snacks said the food was delicious. I got there early as I was supposed to meet Janine for a drink and a chat, but just as I arrived she texted me to say she was running slightly late. She’d made the mistake of answering a phone as she was on her way out of the office and got drafted into a mini emergency, so I let the hostess know I was there so she could direct the others my way when they arrived and sat at the bar sipping a saketini as I waited for social reinforcements, all the while trying to avoid catching sight of the old couple next to me - somewhere in their 60s or 70s I'd say - who were mauling each other like a couple of teenagers. I'm not a huge fan of overt public displays of affection and while I'm happy for them to still have some passion in their lives, these two practically had their hands in each others pants!!! Yes….right next to me!!! My God I was inches from accidentally being pulled into a threesome with them. Ugh, what a horrifying thought. Sometimes my own mind goes places I really wish it wouldn’t.
Anyway I hope you have fun plans for the weekend. I have the social obligation of attending Ash's hen party on Saturday night, the second such event I’ve been to in the last couple of months. This one is for friends in New York with the entertainment organised by Ash’s sister and held at our friend Judy's apartment. I have to say I was slightly concerned when Ash told me her sister had inquired if any of her friends were easily offended. She’s got a devious mind that one, so I did worry what vile things might be afoot, but relieved when I learned it would be at Judy’s. How bad could it be? Although then I started to worry she might have organised a male stripper to come to the apartment and ewww….no, no, no, the idea of being dry humped by some hairless, semi-clad and overly baby oiled bloke does not appeal in the slightest. If he’d have dared come near me he’d be likely to be on the receiving end of a swift kick to the nuts and a bill for my dry cleaning.
Thankfully I learned yesterday that there will be no stripper. Instead, for the sum of $700 - or was it $800, I know it was quite a lot - a woman from Babeland - a purveyor of bedroom gadgets – will be showing us "how to please a man", so I no doubt there’ll be a lot of tips on ironing, cooking and pouring beer ;-)
*Noooooo, I won’t be losing an hour because I will be hungover. Certainly not, what kind of lush do you take me for? Don’t answer that. No, I shall be losing an hour because the clocks are springing forward this weekend.
**Miles is coming to stay for a week in April. Yippeeeeeee!!!!
Wednesday, 5 March 2008
....cheeky bugger :-) However I like to dance around and I stand by my choice of Taio Cruz.
Nevertheless I'm posting a new one that will hopefully reinstate my musical credibility. It's not as dancey as Taio Cruz, but I defy you not to bounce along to it just a little. Go on, you know you want to :-)
My friends back in England have been busy breeding lately. Here’s the latest arrival, Amy Jane, brand spanking new daughter of the aforementioned cosmo drinking Nick and his gorgeous Polish wife, Magdalena.
Congrats!!!! She’s just a day old in this photo. Look, her wee hands are still a bit wrinkled. I do like the self satisfied smile she has on her face though. This baby knows she has it good.
I seem to be surrounded by people getting engaged, married and having babies at the moment. It’s causing me to realise that I must be missing a couple of the female genes, as evidenced below:
1. Diamonds do nothing for me. I’ve had to fake some gushing over various engagement rings big time recently. I’m convincing too, seriously, if the Academy could see me I’d be a shoo-in for next year’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar. I’m sorry, but I just don’t get the diamond thing, although I do like me a sapphire or an emerald. I get the jewellery part, just not the diamond fanaticism that seems to have swept every other member of New York’s female population.
2. Ditto the above on weddings. Ugh, the very thought of having a big wedding – and by big I mean more than say 30people – makes me feel sick to my stomach. I’m not even dating right now and the very notion makes me want to vomit, can you imagine how much worse I would feel if this were a possibility? Shudder!! I’ve never been big on the idea of a wedding. I think this has a lot to do with my spotlight shunning nature. I’d only have a big wedding if it was important to my groom. As I’ve aged I also think there are other things I’d rather spend the money on, such as a great vacation or the down payment for an apartment. I’m very practical that way.
3. Babies make me feel a bit awkward. I’m very capable with babies, I’ve babysat enough of them, and sure, they’re nice and all, but I don’t melt when I meet one. Maybe I would feel differently if I had my own, although I don’t have a strong urge to reproduce to be honest. People are always surprised when they hear this as I'm apparently a nurturing kind of person. However this is not to say I wouldn’t have one should the right man come along, but equally if I met someone that didn’t want children I don’t think my life would feel incomplete.
Who knows though, this is a snapshot of how I feel today, my thoughts on all the above could change if I met the right man tomorrow. Woman’s prerogative :-) That's also the fun thing about life, you never know where it will take you.
However there is definitely one area where I am most certainly not missing a female gene. Shoes. I love shoes...now we’re talking my language. I’m wearing these today, they're girly, but I love them ;-)
Tuesday, 4 March 2008
...but I like it. It's keeping me going at the office this week. I'm definitely going through a bit of a dance music phase at the moment. Join me in a little chair dancing to Taio Cruz kids :-)
Sunday, 2 March 2008
So, despite a very perturbing start, what with Sassy’s comparisons of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke to Clay Aiken, it turned out to be a lovely old weekend.
Before I go on I have to stop and ask you readers, what are your thoughts…separated at birth????
Not at all right? How could Sassy suggest such a thing? Tsk, honestly!! I think someone needs her eyes testing ;-)
By God that photo of Clay (that’s the guy on the RIGHT obviously) is disturbing. Just look at the Val Doonican style jumper. Hideous!!
So, I hope you Brits living away from the UK didn’t forget that today was Mother’s Day back in the homeland!! It was a week or two early this year, so a little easier to miss. Each year at the office there’s usually a flurry of emails between the Brits reminding each other of its approach, but this year nothing, so I hope they all remembered. It’s not until May in the US you see – Father's Day is the same date as the UK, but Mother’s Day is different for some reason – so there are no window displays weeks in advance to remind you to buy a card and order flowers.
Touch wood I haven’t forgotten it yet and was organised enough to sort a bouquet from M&S a few weeks back - Mother's Day is so early this year they were still selling flowers for St Valentines when I ordered - so my mother received her bouquet this morning. There were lots of “Oh you shouldn’t haves” when I spoke to her later in the day, but I could tell she was secretly thrilled.
Weekend wise it was another quiet one which I’m thankful for as I have some busy ones ahead what with Ash’s hen party next weekend and then her wedding at the end of the month. My only plan this weekend was dinner and drinks with my neighbour, Betsy, on Saturday night. As we met quite early, straight after Betsy’s dance class, I suggested we try our luck at Kingswood, a cosy looking restaurant at 121 W 10th St Greenwich Ave, which I’d passed several times over the last few weeks. I'd looked it up and was intrigued when I read the chefs previously worked at Rick Stein’s – a well known British chef – much lauded seafood restaurant in Cornwall. We didn’t have a reservation, but as it was only 7pm we popped in on the off chance they might have a table.
“You’re in luck” beamed the rather attractive and charming British host. “Had you come in 5minutes later I would have probably had to say no, but if you’d like to come this way.”
The host seated us at a table on the side wall and two tables down I picked out the fashion designer Betsy Johnson. She’s got a hair cut that’s hard to miss that one.
I loved the restaurant; it could definitely become a new favourite. The décor is so warm and inviting with Red Admiral butterflies dotting the ceiling, the lighting beautifully flattering – everyone in there looked drop dead gorgeous – and service that was casually friendly, but very attentive. Oh, and the food, my God, I will remember the taste of the striped bass I had for quite sometime to come, it was divine!!
It was still early when we left the restaurant so we walked along 10th street to Employees Only at 510 Hudson for a post dinner cocktail. I love Employees Only, the cocktails are great and the service is top notch, but admittedly it can be a bit of a meet market come 9pm on a Saturday night. It’s fine if you have a seat at the bar, but not so much fun if you are only 5ft 1, like me, and standing face to elbow with the heaving throng!! There’s many a time I’ve walked in, only to walk straight back out and head down to LelaBar on the corner of Hudson and Leroy for a glass of wine instead, but it wasn’t so bad when we arrived around 8:15pm, so we decided to stay for a drink.
As I walked in, the bartender waved and smiled a hello and my knees weakened slightly as I smiled and waved a greeting in return. Employees Only is the closest I’ve ever come to regular status at bar in New York – I love that I am greeted like an old friend when I walk in, it makes me feel like Norm on Cheers - due to the fact that about a year and a half ago I was in there 4times in the space of a week. I know I know, I'm a big lush. Actually it wasn’t my fault at all, I lay the blame entirely at the feet of my friend Nick who was visiting from London. He arrived late on the Saturday and was staying with a gay friend of ours who, at the time, lived with his boyfriend in the West Village. Nick loves himself a cocktail, and as Employees Only was a mere stone’s throw from our friend’s apartment I suggested we meet there for a drink and a catch up on Sunday evening. We had a lovely time chit chatting over Kir Royales.
I’d taken the day off work on the Monday to hang out with Nick, so we met for a leisurely breakfast at Balthazar and then blitzed our Christmas shopping in SoHo before heading up to Bryant Park for a twirl around the free ice rink. Afterwards we were ready for refreshments and Nick decided he wanted to try a proper martini. I rattled off a few suggestions of bars we could go to.
“Well, what about that place we were at last night? I really liked it in there.”
Fine by me. We hopped on the F train and headed downtown for martinis
“It’s just a bloody big glass of vodka” was Nick’s reaction to his first martini.
“Yup, it is. Well, there’s a smidgen of vermouth and a twist of lemon too, but yes, it’s mostly vodka. Don’t you have even more admiration for James Bond fighting the bad guys after a couple of these? Can you believe that in the heyday of advertising, business people were renowned for their three martini lunches? After just one of these I feel the need for a nap.”
Friday night was Nick’s last evening in town and as his so-called host had planned a romantic evening in with his boyfriend – can you believe he did that when he had a guest in town sleeping on the sofa bed in his living room? Could he not have waited until the Saturday, when Nick would have left, to have his romantic evening? I chuffing well think so. I hate to speak ill of a friend of mine, but he’s clueless as a host he really is – Nick needed to make his self scarce, so he and I planned to meet at 7pm and go out for dinner and drinks. This time I was determined to steer him towards somewhere new; but my plan was thwarted when I received the following text from him around 6.30pm
“On my way to that employee bar. Meet you in there. N”
Again? Oh for God’s sake, I’d created a monster.
The truth came out when I arrived at the bar and spotted Nick hunched over a barstool sipping a Cosmopolitan. I do love that for a big hetero guy – he’s 6ft 4 and built like the proverbial brick outhouse – Nick is unafraid of ordering a girlie pink drink. He does love a Cosmo that one, whereas I, a petite and fairly girly girl, am much more likely to be ordering a whiskey. They always mix up our drink orders in bars. He'd decided to seek the sanctuary of the bar when, on arriving back at our friend's apartment it was to find our friend’s boyfriend lounging around the apartment dressed only in his boxer shorts and Nick felt more than a little uncomfortable at seeing quite so much of him.
“I was out all day and thought he would have got dressed by the time I got back. He was like that this morning. I’ve spent a week walking around New York, my feet ache. I was hoping to stay in and relax a bit this morning, have a cup of coffee and read the papers, but I didn’t feel comfortable with him dressed in just his underwear, so I went out. I’ve been walking around all day in the freezing cold. When I got back and he still hadn’t got dressed I stayed for 10minutes before deciding I’d come here and have a drink.”
Nick flew home on Saturday afternoon, but that evening he was replaced by my friend Shafi who was in town briefly from London on business. As well as visiting me he’d planned to catch up with another friend of his who was in town from Boston with his wife and another couple.
“I’ve arranged to meet them at 9pm in a bar called Employees Only. Do you know it?”
I couldn’t believe it.
I got quite the welcome from the bartenders that evening.
I didn’t go back to the bar for about 6months after that, there are too many great places to discover in New York to keep returning to the same place time after time, but it is one of my favourites and no matter how many months it’s been one of the bartender still remembers me and gives me a wink and a big smile when I go in. More often than not he’s the reason I return. The man is sex on a stick, a tall, skinny, sexy, Eastern European, twinkling brown eyed stick. Sigh. Great hair too, he’s a man that wears a well tended sideburn extremely well. I love a well tended sideburn!!
I’m quite smitten from a distance.
Given his warm and friendly manner towards me, and my attraction to him, a few of my friends have been trying to push me to pop in on a quieter night and chat him up, however, to put it mildly, I’m a little reticent because…well, let’s face facts, he’s a bartender. He’s PAID to be nice to people and I’m not convinced that his obvious pleasure at seeing me walk into his bar is anything beyond a warm welcome to a semi-regular customer. Besides, damn sexy as he is, I quite enjoy just exchanging sparkly eyed smiles with him. I’d rather not take it further and ask him out, only to discover he’s married or gay or whatever. That would ruin my fun. Ignorance is most definitely bliss in this instance.
When I got home I found a card from Catweazle (my date formerly known as Bill) waiting for me in my postbox. I was surprised – I’d kind of given up on hearing from him again and had chalked up our fabulous date to a nice day out – and thrilled to hear from him again. He sent me a card with a photograph of a garden in North Carolina and wrote inside that after I’d mentioned my love of stationery – I'm a complete stationery fiend I really am; I don’t tend to buy it so much, but I love all the paraphernalia that goes along with writing by hand. It’s only relatively recently that I’ve stopped writing in ink pen. If I do say so myself I have fabulous handwriting and I love the way it looks in ink, but if you spill coffee on it you’re screwed. I could easily bankrupt myself in Kate’s Paperie - he decided to pay a visit to a store he knew in North Carolina to pick up a card especially for me which feature photos by a local photographer.
I was touched, I thought that was such a sweet gesture. It was also really nice to receive something in the post that wasn't a bill or a catalogue. It's the small things that can be the most heart warming.
Anyway I’m going to stop here and finish watching “To Catch a Thief” that I DVR’d a few weeks ago. I had to stop it as the girls upstairs from me were making a lot of noise earlier and it was disrupting my enjoyment of Cary Grant. Don't you just LOVE him!!! There were a lot of heavy dragging noises going on. It kind of sounded as if they might have been moving a body*!! Btw check out the pic below for one of Cary’s outfits in the film. Do you think a straight man could carry off that get up in this day and age? A red polka dot ascot? I don't think so.
*but then I’ve always had something of an overly active imagination when it comes to things that go bump in the night.