February 13th, 2004


Kitchen Stories

The time is the early 1950s and Sweden’s Home Research Institute (HRI) is conducting a research programme into domestic habits, to rationalise the layout of kitchens along industrial lines. Armed with clipboards and diagrams, a Swedish delegation arrives in a Norwegian rural district, with the aim of mapping the kitchen routines of single men. Method demands that the observer cannot intervene in household life, only watch and note, and never converse with the subject of surveillance. Hapless observer Nilsson is assigned a particularly reluctant farmer, the cantankerous old Isak, who at first won’t even let him into the house. Soon, though, Nilsson takes up his vantage point on a wooden platform perched ludicrously in the corner of the kitchen - only to find that Isak is watching him, through a hole in the kitchen ceiling. Slowly, however, relations between the two men begin to thaw.

On at The Phoenix this week. Off-kilter visual style, chilly, pale-green polar look, wonderful retro pastiches. Oooo.
  • Current Music
    dream kitchen
end of a decade

the anti-romantics/a sad day for legoland/two dogs in a bag

Thanks to Mr Jennings of Sonning Common legoland will no longer be making models of their employees as awards for long-service.

And for everyone mooching grimly about Valentines, Oxfordshire has never been especially romantic; it's all about shrivelled pig's tails, stale buns, and throwing heated pennies at children.

The Museum of the History of Science in Oxford, possibly anticipating a backlash against the colour pink, is having an entire day devoted to the colour blue on Feb 21 with living history of bluebottles and bluestockings, talks to include Why is the sky blue?, and Is anything blue? Don’t ask a philosopher!, a blue trail, bluegrass music, and of course a screening of Derek Jarman's Blue.

In the covered market, the large and chaotic old bookshop is gone, replaced by Red Opia, a fresh clean bright shop of oriental crafts. I went in to look through the blue-and-white china my mum likes so much (would a duck-shaped duck plate please her or just bring back horrible memories?) and was seduced into buying candles that look like old-fashioned penny sweets and a sausage-dog shaped chopstick stand/incense stick holder. Well, two sausage-dog shaped chopstick stand/incense stick holders. They were hand-made, cheap, had cute little beseeching eyes, and I couldn't decide which one to take (you never eat chinese on your own, anyway). The shoplady ripped the paper and wrapped them carefully, so that they weren't touching each other. "To make sure they don't fight," she said, "Two dogs in a bag ..."
  • Current Music
    dark of the matinee - franz ferdinand

fecking around with tulips and scented ink

still no feckFor the first time this year I walked home and it was still light enough that the flower stall was still there; and busy, too, selling black velvet roses at £35 a shamefully indulgent bunch. I bought tulips, frilled and plain English in sunset colours and Dutch hydroponic in thick royal purple. Took them home and put them in that stupid beerglass that came free with the Belgian beer. Love to you all; here's this week's strip.
  • Current Music
    apollo 440 - electroglide in blue