Wandering in Wandsworth (and Fulham and Victoria)

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Sign outside The Paradise Cooperative in Wandsworth

I rarely give myself time to wander; often my time is planned and filled with tasks from my ToDo list. I’d forgotten how magical life can be when I give myself a time boundary with no plans.

I was in London at the weekend, staying with a friend in Wandsworth and she was busy all morning. After trawling the internet for an hour (a whole hour of time wasting in a not good way!) I decided to go for a walk and see what it’s like in Wandsworth.

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I’d barely walked five minutes when I came across The Paradise Co-operative – a community garden. The gate was open so I wandered in and was greeted by a friendly couple who told me the history of the garden.

They invited me to stay so I did; I harvested some beans and tomatoes, some of which they insisted I take with me. All the veggies and fruit are organic and tasted amazing. I had the biggest smile on my face as I picked tomatoes.

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I left the garden and made my way to Fulham, this time in search of a vegan cafe – The Sanctuary on Fulham Road. It wasn’t where the Happy Cow map said it would be. Instead, there was a new cafe – Simply Vegan, which opened its doors a couple of days ago. I was after a savoury lunch, despite the tempting array of beautiful cakes and the owner directed me to a vegan pizza restaurant, Pickywops.

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Andrea and Cristiano, founders of Pickywops, and me

Oh my! It was amazing! I had the award-winning Vegan Temptations pizza, which had Violife mozzarella, kale, broccolini, almond ricotta and blueberries on it. I savoured every bite of each slice, especially the last because of saving the blueberry til the end, for the exquisite burst of sweetness. Yum.

If I hadn’t given myself time without plans, I would not have found either of these places, both of which promoted a healthier lifestyle and made me think about food, where it comes from, and my own buying habits.

Later, when I bought veggies from Sainsburys, I wondered about buying organic veg from farmers at local markets in Brighton, and about volunteering at a local community garden. Research turned up both options: the Upper Gardner Street Market and the Phoenix Community Centre Garden. I’m going to visit both at the earliest opportunity.

As I arrived at Victoria Train Station to catch a train to Brighton, I saw I had an hour’s wait so I looked on Google maps for a coffee shop and headed off to find the one I chose. It was closed, so I wandered in the general direction of the station and stumbled across Places for NOVA, an art installation by Saad Qureshi. I slowly made my way around all six pieces, photographing them from angles that I hoped would make nice photos. Then I sat on a bench and ate the vegan doughnut and drank the Earl Grey with soya milk that I gleefully bought from a cafe in the centre of the exhibition.

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I left London full of wonder. It’s quite a child-like feeling and it’s stayed with me almost all the time. I think it’s my favourite feeling.

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The illusion of 3D: are we really existing in a 2D plane?

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The folds of my curtain suggest the nose and lips of a smiling face. The lines creating these suggestions straighten and continue up to the curtain rail. It occurred to me that it could be an analogy of an idea that we exist within 2D space but the illusion of light and shadow creates the suggestion of time and distance making us believe we exist in 3D space. And, if we do exist within a 2D plane, it might be like occupying space within a painting or a film. Images of something. Not quite real but almost.

Is the easy path a fallacy?

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This strange configuration caught my eye as I crossed the road from Brighton Pavilion Gardens to the patch of green between University of Brighton and the King and Queen pub. How long had it been there like that? Looks like it might rise up to join the Zombie Walk at the end of October.

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The rotting corpse contrasts with life bursting out of the ground around it. But does it?

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Tango

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Last night I tangoed at Latest Music Bar, Brighton. It was my first lesson and it was free: a taster. A Latin American beat announced the beginning of the lesson. The teachers met in an embrace; he led her around the floor, pausing, shifting her weight. She moved only on his say so. Her eyes stared straight ahead but not at anything; they were slightly dazed in the act of listening to the direction of his energy. My heart beat faster as I watched them.

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Book Spine Poetry

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I Am A Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter
Sculpting In Time by Andrey Tarkovsky
The Film Sense by Eisenstein
The Heroine’s Journey by Maureen Murdoch
The Energy of Prayer by Thich Nhat Hanh
Why does E=mc2? by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw
Elvis Presley by Robert Matthew-Walker
How Yoga Works by Geshe Michael Roach
The Other End of the Leash by Patricia B. McConnell Ph.D.
Coach by Steve Bavister and Amanda Vickers
Your Presence Is Requested At Suvanto by Maile Chapman
The Emporer’s New Mind by Roger Penrose

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Death in India

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Yesterday I met my ex-boyfriend and we spent some time talking over some of our experiences together and since we’ve been apart. We split up in 2009. It was a relief to see him yesterday. I ran away from him when it got difficult in our relationship. Ultimately, I ran away from myself. I closed down. Meeting him yesterday and talking about our relationship allowed me a sense of it being okay and I let go. We still have this strong connection that comes from our similar worldviews. I saw how much his vulnerability frightened me because it reflected my own. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t drawn / painted / coloured in for a while – fear of my vulnerability. Those activities access different parts of my brain and drop my guard against suppressed memories and feelings.

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Andrey Tarkovsky on vulnerability

Talking about his first filmmaking experience in his book Sculpting in Time, Tarkovsky speaks about the unexpected qualities actors can bring to a project. His first film was Ivan’s Childhood. He states:

“The kernel of Valya’s acting persona was vulnerability.”

In this sentence he refers to the actor’s persona and the essence of that persona. This is intriguing and points my mind a certain way. It’s as if he’s not connecting vulnerability with Valya per se but an aspect of her that shows up in order to do the job of acting.

“She looked so naive, pure, trusting that it was immediately clear that Masha-Valya was completely defenceless in the face of this war which was nothing to do with her.”

Then he describes vulnerability as “completely defenceless”, which is what I saw in the Robert Mapplethorpe photograph of the little girl. But is vulnerability “completely defenceless”? If that were true, wouldn’t the hurts received annihilate the vulnerable person? Perhaps vulnerability is a source of strength because it is such a state of openness. While I see what he means about the war having nothing to do with her, it also does have something to do with her because it is there and she is there. He means, I think, that the war was brought to her by men who thought they knew what they were doing and they involved her without her consent. And then it’s about her reactions and responses to it.

The movie is about to start

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I took this from the uppermost sofa seat at the Duke of York cinema, Brighton. The student discounted membership I bought for £25 gives me three free tickets. It means I can sit anywhere, including the £13 seats in the gods. I love being at the top and back – it feels safe and cosy: snug in a little nest. I didn’t realise how much it changed my cinema going experience until I sat there yesterday.

In the shadows – work in progress

Yesterday I visited St Peter’s House Library with a borrowed Sony camcorder and tried out various ideas in order to work on my film project, In The Shadows. I managed to put off going to the library until 3.15pm. However, I was feeling frazzled after writing about vulnerability, watching short films at South East Dance and feeling unsure of my next steps. Some meditation helped. The allotted space given to me on the university network is about 1 gigabyte. That’s not a lot of room to make a film in. There’s more room to maneuver on the computer desktop but, if I want my work saved, it must fit into the 1 gigabyte or onto another piece of storage. Recent trips to Jubilee Library have concluded with the loss of usb sticks (where’s my head at?). My mobile phone has 6 gigabyes of space available so I tried out ways of working with that.
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