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Sunday, 16 October 2011

An evening with the Minotaur

I have frequented the Old Vic Tunnels once before for a play, but last Friday it was time to return to experience it in a slightly different, more culinary way called 'Pret a Diner'.

The experience was a collaboration between gallery group Lazarides and catering provocateurs Kofler & Company so therefore included an arty bit and a dining bit. We arrived a little early to have a poke about the tunnels and happened upon some very interesting pieces.

The below kaleidoscopic work is by Zak Ove:

Surreal portraits by Michael Najjar. We never did work out whether it was photography, or hyper-real painting:

Atma is behind the installation below:

Vhils describes his technique as 'vandalism art', having chiselled this portrait directly out of the wall.

Stanley Donwood is apparently Radiohead's official artist. Behold his mine made of rats:

In case you didn't believe me about the rats:

One of my favourite pieces was Doug Foster's ever-evolving projection. Oddly mesmerising and relaxing, it was possible to let your imagination run wild and see everything from faces to jellyfish, ever changing and reflected in the water beneath the screen:

We also found a labyrinth. Obviously you can't have an art exhibition centred around The Minotaur without one. It seemed dangerous:

Thankfully it wasn't all that scary. Just a lot of darkness, black lights, weird noises, mirrors and the odd flashing lights.

The Minotaur herself? Nope, just me and my glowie teeth.

Ah, so then came our turn to dine. One of the side tunnels had been decked out in a sumptuous, baroque-derelict style:

It was rather hot and humid in there, but we were soon brought refreshment in the form of wine, and a bag of bread:

There appeared to be two set menus to choose from (Ollysan & Nuno Mendes), each with three courses. Sadly two of the courses from each menu appeared to feature fish, much to M's disappointment (he generally feels that fish reminds him of public loos and is hence unable to bring himself to eat it). The waiter helpfully informed us that there was no alternative, and that we weren't able to 'mess with the food' as he eloquently put it.

I am a huge sushi fan, but can understand that it's not to everyone's taste so couldn't quite fathom why they didn't at least have a veggie option..

More fish-fest:

Half-way through the meal two manager-looking types stopped by our table and asked whether everything was alright. When we mentioned the fact that it was a shame there was no veggie alternative they looked shocked and told us that of course there was a vegetarian menu! Argh. None of them actually offered to bring it to us though.

Oh well, when the third course arrived M could finally tuck into some very nice steak and we all agreed that this was the best of all the food we had enjoyed that evening - even though it did take an age to arrive.

In the end we got a free bottle of wine, 20% off the bill and various serving staff coming up to us and make heart-felt apologies about either the waiting time or the lack of knowledge about the veggie menu. We were also offered one free dessert, but what use was that when we were six people dining? We did all have a fabulous evening though, despite the slight service disaster.

On the way out, we spotted this sign combo: "This is not a pop-up restaurant. This is a dining experience." You can say that again! Time to head for the exit..

We were secreted into the 'graffiti tunnel' that links Lower Marsh to the Southbank and took a while to admire the various layers of spraypaint. We also took in 'the car that wasn't there':

Then we dispersed, sated and happy after an interesting evening of weird art, waiters with weird moustaches and weird food. We all felt very urban-cool indeed.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

P.E. and the Bunny Nuggets

So it was E's Birthday and I was feeling crafty (and for once I actually had enough time to make something without giving myself a stress-related hernia). I recently stumbled upon this little pajama eater pattern, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

One magenta zip purchase later I was ready to get started! The pattern was fun and easy to do, leaving me with one creepy/cute creature. Let's call him P.E.

Obviously my creative urge wasn't completely sated, as I then decided that E needed a *knitted* Birthday card in the form of a Bunny Nugget. And I decided that M needed a one too, as he usually looks enviously at all the knitted animals that are hastily wrapped up and rushed out of the door to live with one friend or another.

Introducing the Bunny Nuggets:

And here is P.E. with the Nuggets:

They seem to like each other:

Ha ha, yes it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye isn't it?

It was almost a shame to separate them, but E seemed happy with her gifts so it was all worthwhile. M also seems very attached to his new knitted companion which keeps cropping up in various places in the flat when you least expect it...

Kitty madness

Ok, I probably like Hello Kitty as much as the next person but when said mouthless cat is combined with Liberty print fabric and made *limited edition*, that somehow counts as a 'must have' in my mind. Hence Friday's impulse trip to Liberty.

Sign says: "We've joined forces with every girl's best feline-featured friend Hello Kitty, who has invaded our iconic Liberty floral prints as part of this exciting collaboration. The result is five gorgeous fabric patterns in eight colour ways. The Hello Kitty Liberty Art Fabric is exclusive to Liberty."

Liberty has always had a special place in my heart (that oak panelling, those balustrades, that lovely flower-shop entrance), even though I hardly ever have occasion to go there on account of their slightly out-of-my-league prices. Even when they shrunk their haberdashery section for no apparent reason, I still forgave them (I'm not forgiving John Lewis though - what were you people thinking?! Crafty people DO NOT want to share floor-space with crap for children!!).
So although I have yet to buy an actual item of clothing from Liberty, I have been known to moon around the yarn, ribbons and fabric, occasionally treating myself. Well, now it was time again.

Not surprisingly, the fabric had proved quite popular despite having only landed last Sunday:

I was after the 'apple' prints which I eventually found in both colours on a cutting table. After some agonising minutes, I decided to go for a metre of each as I just couldn't decide between the pink and blue.

I made it home without one of these though:

Or any of this, cute as it was:

So here's the swag:

And in close-up:

The idea is that these eventually are manipulated into boxy, zipped project bags a bit like the one made for D a while back. Well that's the idea anyway. I may just drape it somewhere prominent and marvel at it's prettiness..