RCA show in the park

RCA show in the park
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
Went to see the Royal College Show on Wednesday which was largely excellent and in both the college buildings and a giant tent they'd constructed across the road in the park. Security wasn't up to the high sartorial standards of the Gagosian earlier in the week and was quite frankly casual at best. More like off duty coppers than Prada shop assistants. Lots of interesting things in product design (a stove top tandoor oven, multi-function door handles); car design (wooden structured car with low carbon footprint) and some decent painting and photography. Two things that stand out are Bianca Brunner's photos of a wooden structure in the forest which won some award that Tom Hunter adjudicated and Michiko Nitta's Extreme Green Guerillas Messaging which postulated using migrating RFID-tagged animals (birds and fish mostly) as a covert messaging system between Green Guerilla cells and also as an alternative to the postal service. Cost is detemined by speed (big fish are more expensive than slow small fish) and reliability (sardines are very cheap to use but very unreliable apparently).


Boy, am I looking forward to Die Hard 4.0

I loved the first Die Hard film when I saw it at the cinema and my feelings have pretty much stayed the same since. I've always had a soft spot for films about redemption, saving and being saved, the other redemptive film that wholly transcends unpromising material being The Terminator. Not many films can make me cry but both these do. Anyway before I crap on about my favourite bits of these films, here's a John McClane/Die Hard tribute from You Tube that despite being a little overlong has its moments and some memorable lyrics.


The New Diamond

America's Hardest Prisons on 4oD
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
OK, so from the outset I'd just like to point out that the picture has nothing to do with this entry - it's just eye candy but I suspect a lot of the inmates in America's Hardest Prisons are fans of Chinese food which is what they sell at the New Diamond. Very excellent and reasonably priced Chinese food.

We ate aubergine hotpot - a kind of delicate aubergine stew with small slices of pork in a rich sauce, sliced pork with pickled vegetables, bolied rice and tea which came to 19UKP plus service. The hotpot's from the chinese language end of the menu and if you're interested in trying more than the usual Chinese menu fare it's worth asking for recommendations. It'd be best to have an idea of what sort of things you'd like (hotpot is a fairly safe bet but check it's not one of the weirder ones as not everyone likes fish lips hotpot).

Decor's pretty good for a Chinese eaterie and the staff and unfailing sweet, helpful and patient. If I want a lunch of duck and crispy pork on rice for less than a fiver I'll still go to the Canton but for anything smarter it's the New Diamond from now on. I give it five stars.

Some user reviews from london-eating here.

Time Out's review here.


Popeye: Jeff Koons at the Gagosian, Davies Street

Friday: I figured as I was going into town to meet Yol anyway (combined with the guilt of having a weekly travelcard that hadn't been used enough) I went down Davies Street (by Bond Street) to the Gagosian's central London haunt to see one half of the current Jeff Koons show. I used to really like the old site, just round the corner from Sadie Coles HQ. It was a great space, big upstairs with a smaller more intimate space in the basement, the whole thing tucked away off Regent Street.

Davies Street is completely different, not so much a gallery as a shop window, albeit a very swanky Bond Street affair with a black suited bouncer and no signs of the usual gallery paraphernalia: posh bird dressed in a black cocktail dress IMing her mates on last years iMac, answering phone with posh voice (that's what she's there for) and shuffling expensive catalogues around while owner patronises some weirdly dressed Eurotrash millionaire in pointy shoes. Here, the office is hidden behind a concealed door and from what I could see not much happens back there.

I liked it, I like the idea of being able to see the whole show without entering the gallery, I particularly like the idea of spotting the piece you need for your Paris/London/New York/LA home while heading up to Claridges for cocktails (of course you'll be in your chauffered Lexus/Merc/Beemer so the work had better be BIG so you can see it at speed through tinted glass - somehow I find it more honest.

But onto the work...

I really liked the work. I've always liked Jeff Koons, or at least the idea of Koons. There's always been something relentlessly anti-art in his work and the modes of production. These are pieces untouched by the artist or any kind of gestural idea of art that dominates the western tradition. It's like Duchamp without the irony or the cleverness, art stripped of its artiness but packed full of artifice. Looking at the work becomes a game of wondering what they're made of (aluminium in this case) which is much more interesting than looking at a Damien Hirst and wondering why he bothered. They're very tactile pieces - you want to touch them to see what they're made off (as I mentioned) but also to see if they're heavy or hollow, hard or soft and how they're coloured so convincingly (they do look like inflatable rubber). Strangely it's not that different to looking at a Bonnard or Monet, Manet or Velasquez in that there is a sense of seeing something that has been pulled out of nothing, an image in their case (and an idea in Koons;) that is vibrant and engaging but decidedly not real.

Lobster pic here.


Netgear: Orange, Wannadoo, Freeserve

Annoyingly the wireless broadband I've had from back in the Freeserve days is playing up and it's probably time to 1. try out a new wireless modem router or 2. change providers. I've called Orange and they're claiming it's probably the box. Of course they're saying that as they don't support it because I didn't buy it from them.

The lazy option is to buy a new box and try that. See below.

The smarter one would be to switch ISPs, maybe even one that'll give me a free box, and leave Orange to stew in the cesspit of their own making.


Gubb: It's the future

Gubb: It's the future
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
My new favourite Web 2.0 thing: gubb.net

It lets you make lists. Access them online, share theme and that's about it. What else would you want?

Holmes, Darcus and me

Holmes, Darcus and me
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
Darcus told a long rambling story that involved a holiday in Barbados with his wife, a laptop, the beach, email, Channel 4's looming 25th anniversary and his friendships with all the previous heads of C4. You needed to be there really (and drunk) but I still love the punchline, even on its own: "Andy Duncan, give me my fucking money!"


4oD Homepage 11 June 2007

4oD Homepage 11 June 2007
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
'The Hole' with Thira Birch has been added recently to the film section of 4oD. "Weirdly" almost all the pics supplied are of Keira Knightley who isn't even mentioned in most of the reviews of this 2001 thriller. Bizarre.


Billy Bragg's Big Busk at the RFH

Lots of not very good events to re-open the RFH. Things we learnt: people will go to anything with free in the title; I don't like crowds; Yol's not a fan of Bulgarian choirs singing on the river; £5 is a lot for a cold chorizo baguette; you can get a bottle of OK white wine for £12.50 in the RFH; there are a lot of food joints at the South Bank; Billy Bragg is actually OK; the interior of the RFH looks fantastic. Bragg busk was OK but they didn't do Wonderwall which Yol reckons is a busking classic. She tips Mardy Bum to be a busking classic of the future.