New York for a while

New York is Groucho Marx, Blondie, Dog Day Afternoon, JD Salinger’s Glass family, Mark Rothko, Run-DMC, Sesame Street, Nora Ephron, the Guggenheim, Easter Parade (but let’s ignore The Band Wagon), early Madonna, The Royal Tenenbaums, Annie Hall (yes I don’t like him either but), Cynthia Heimel, The Cosby Show (again, problematic), Diane Arbus, 30 Rock, Cyndi Lauper, The Wiz, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankenweiler, The Rock-Steady Crew, 42nd Street, Vampire Weekend, Pi, Ronnie Spector, Working Girl, Dorothy Parker, The Hudsucker Proxy, Cary Grant in the UN Building in North by Northwest,  Bonfire of the Vanities, The House of Mirth, Philip Glass, and fine, also Andy Warhol and the Ramones, and Keith Haring and Studio 54 (I’d never have gone, I would’ve been terrified), and also – oh God, all right – When Harry Met Sally, to pick an incomplete list of variable quality and coolness. Jogging in Central Park. Ordinary people looking like demigods in Harlem. Sour pickles and knishes and rugelach, whatever they would turn out to be. A Greek shipping heiress asking Joan Didion ‘on the second day of a paralysing New York blizzard’ if it was snowing outside. Community gardens. There is no city I want to be my friend more.

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A quick word on International Women’s Day



Women in Whitby, courtesy of the Preus Museum

So this – hopefully – short post is borne out of my mild irritation with something that started with the best of intentions: every year on International Women’s Day (day after my birthday, which is International This Woman’s Day) Richard Herring makes a point of finding idiot men tweeting ‘When’s International Men’s Day???’, and publicly telling them that it’s on November the 19th. Well and good, but now what happens in my timeline is men rubbing their hands with glee about the chance for a man to be sarcastic to other men meaning that – imagine my surprise – an opportunity to celebrate women ends up as an opportunity for men to receive attention.

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The Valentina Experiment


That’s Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space. It is, really, and you definitely don’t need to do anything like finding photographs of Tereshkova to compare it to so you can check. I made this linocut print as the latest in my attempt to make a print a week and then post it on Twitter on a Monday. Don’t check against a photo, really. I have my own hashtag and everything (#linomondays) and though it is wrong and bad of me I’m a bit glad that no one else thinks that doing the same is a good idea because it makes it easier for me to find all of my linocut tweets. I’ve also just started putting all of my lino pictures in an album in Flickr

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Knitting part 3: all this useless beauty


You see that there? I did that. It’s a circular or maybe nonagonal shawl, made from Icelandic lace-weight wool. The pattern is based on a Victorian pattern for a baby’s cap, but scaled up. It took me about a month and a half, but remember the weather in the first half of this summer was terrible and also I don’t have a job. There’s eighty thousand stitches in it, or slightly over.

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My brilliant idea for making all the money while saving your workplace that cannot possibly fail


My husband and I found ourselves needing some coffee and half an hour’s worth of shelter on Old Street this last weekend. He’s a cycling type so the first place he thought of was Look Mum No Hands. We found it looking like the staff had carried out a trolley dash in the Disney Princesses aisle at Toys R Us. The Giro d’Italia would be on later on in the day, and Alberto Contador would be confirmed as the winner of the maglia rosa, and thus all the pink. Alberto might be more of a fan of bunting than I am.

While waiting for my coffee I was flicking through the flyers left on the counter. Everything was pretty much as you’d expect: green film festivals, bespoke bike makers, exciting new black cycling jerseys with words on them that the other jerseys don’t have, season leaflets for theatres on the other side of town. I picked one of them up and pushed it under my husband’s nose. It was advertising corporate events at the Lee Valley Velodrome. He nodded and mumbled something, again, about cycling being the new golf. I didn’t understand: how are you supposed to network while you’re whizzing round on a single-speed bike at 45 degrees from upright? No, no, he explained. You probably have drinks after, and talk about all the amazing times you’ve set and how the boss looked like the last bike he’d ridden had three wheels and now let’s have a quick chat about the deal.

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