I love technology as much as any other person. I am one of those people who cannot live without her smart phone and spends most of her waking life looking at a computer screen. After all, it’s because of this technology that I can keep in touch with my husband in America and my friends back in Portugal every day, not to mention writing this blog and reading all the other fab blogs out there. Saying this, I discovered I can be equally be creeped out by some technology.
A few months ago my friend Sebastian and I visited a Post War bunker in Scotland, which has now been deactivated and turned into a museum – Scotland’s Secret Bunker. I’ve been trying to put my finger on what was it that bothered us so much about it but spending time in a tunnel under 10 feet of tungsten reinforced concrete with no sunlight may have been one of the reasons.
Apparently there was a Russian incursion in British airspace in the 80’s (in the heat of the Cold War, if that’s possible) and it was detected with this equipment.
The mismatched mannequins in ill fitting uniforms also helped create that creepy atmosphere. Nothing more disturbing than walking around a tunnel, being stared at by empty plastic eyes.
In the several rooms you can see the War Rooms, throughout the decades – the rooms where the enemy was monitored and decisions were made. As this place would be hermetically closed to avoid fallout contamination in case of a nuclear war, there were also sleeping quarters, canteens and offices. No windows, obviously.
As we progressed through the museum and the eras, the whole idea of why that bunker was built really sank in and it really bothered me. The rooms, the objects, everything was ugly and disturbing. This was a place where function is everything and there is no beauty to be seen. That also made me uneasy.
They had some giant Bic pens there as well.
Mostly what felt particularly creepy was the obsolete technology present in this place, that seemed somewhat crude to my modern sensibilities, even though some of it wasn’t that old. It is something I had never felt before regarding old stuff – I love old clothes, old decorative objects… but this place? Brrrrr.
That was old technology and the Cold War and all that paranoia… The future can be equally disconcerting, if you’ve been watching some post apocalyptic, revolt of the machine Sci Fi in the last few years. In the advent of Artificial Intelligence (apparently the Singularity will happen sooner than expected) there is nothing that creeps me out more than seeing videos like this, starring Big Dog, Cheetah Robot and PetMan. It does makes me wonder about the future.
Today is Sunday and time for another weekly roundup of what’s in my phone. I decided to change the format a little. What do you think? I’ve been thinking about changing things a little around here and try to avoid huge posts you have to scroll for hours to read. Let me know your opinion.
So…. last Sunday I went to the movies with Filipa and Daniela and watched The Host. Whatever you do, don’t bother with it. Filipa and I were both sleeping at some point. It’s slow, pointless and they drag the non existent plot for 2 hours too long. In the end we were making jokes and giggling as otherwise the pain would have been too excruciating. Daniela is now forbidden from picking a film for all of us to watch for a while hehe.
I wore the forest print dress I got from Primark and a little bird ring I got from Matalan years ago, as no forest is complete without a little birdy.
One of my favourite badges ever. Daniela and I wearing shoes from Office we both got from Ebay.
This week Iain took me to the stables to see the horses to cheer me up. It worked. This rude horse kept sticking his tongue out at me. I think he just wanted treats.
Horse footsteps. First rays of sunlight I’ve seen in a while.
This old girl came around asking for some cuddles. Of course I obliged. There were some ponies around. They’re so cute 🙂
The lovely heart trousers and Jeffrey Campbell shoes. This is what I wore yesterday, on my way to visit Curtise of The Secondhand Years in Sheffield.
Waiting for my train in Doncaster. After a walk around charity shopping we went for a couple of drinks and lots of talking.
On my way back I saw the sunset. Possibly the first one I’ve seen properly in months. The quote is from a magazine I was reading on the train and that was said by Jessica Alba.
As mentioned yesterday, Saturday was spent travelling with my friend Filipa. We hopped on a train and 2 hours later we arrived in the North, in the lovely city of Manchester. I have been there a couple of times before ( see the posts here, here and here) but it was the first time for Filipa. My original plan was to see the Morrissey and the Smiths photography exhibition by Kevin Cummins and go to the Manchester Art Gallery, walk around and do a little shopping if time permitted. Fortunately everything went according to plan and we had a nice day out (no rain, can you believe it?) even if tiring, but we did everything we set off to do. Great success! As I took many photos I decided I should break the day’s events in 2, so today I am showing the arty bit and on Wednesday I’ll publish the details that have caught my eye while walking around the streets as well as the Smiths exhibition.
We started the tour at the Manchester Art Gallery and had a few pleasant surprises.
The first surprise was on the Manchester gallery area of the museum, the exhibition Dreams Without Frontiers- a few pieces inspired by the idea that the music makes the mythology of the place. There are so many good bands that come from Manchester and made it known to the world, it becomes part of everyone’s cultural landscape. I thought this was a most interesting concept to be explored.
I made a little vid of the video installation The Smithsons by Cyprien Guilliard (2005). I love this song (possibly the most melancholic of the Smiths repertoire) and it made the images that go along with it feel so desolate and sad… It is also interesting to point out that none of those images were filmed around Manchester, in fact they are from the Palissades, the Bronx, etc, all around New York. Manchester becomes a cultural state of mind rather than just a physical place.
Mixed media installation by Kelley Walker.
Another great surprise was the exhibition by artist Raqib Shaw. I had never seen his work before but I was immediately smitten! Working in two and three dimensions, his work was the revelation of the day. I have taken a few photos but I’m afraid these do not convey how beautiful his pieces are in real life- some of the detailing is made with crystals and unfortunately the camera doesn’t capture all the sparkle in the same way our eyes do.
This image is Raqib’s mirror of this:
Some details of this painting, that really amused me – the picnic basket and the female monkey with nipple tassels just killed me!
It was good fun going through the galleries and spotting some of his pieces hiding and mixed in with the more traditional pieces from the museum. In the end there was a whole floor dedicated to his more monumental pieces and I took loads of photos!
Raqib Shaw is a Kashmiri artist who now lives and works in London. I find the influence of Asian culture quite evident – the colours, some of the themes (the monkeys in outfits), the use of gold and glitter. It kind of reminded be of this Indian panel I had at home with a very colourful depiction of Ganesh, with gold beaded accents. His work is also violent and kinky – some of the monkeys in his paintings are quite cheeky! Just look at the images and you will see, no need to explain. 😉 Regardless of this, it also feels like he has a big sense of humour and I couldn’t help myself from grinning like an idiot while going from piece to piece.
Some close ups for detail- you can see clearly on this one the sparkly crystals and the gold detailing which is drawn using a porcupine quill.
I took a few more photos but as this post is getting long, you can peek hereherehereherehere and here if you fancy taking a look at them.
We also saw a couple more things in the museum- their collection is pretty much the same but they keep adding different points of interest and sometimes change things around so although this museum isn’t one of the biggest I’ve ever seen and I’d been there twice already, there is always something different to look at. An example of this were the tags that had been added next to some of the pieces, advising the visitor to the fact that some of the glasses on paintings had been smashed by suffragettes as an act of protest in April 1913.
Top image: Emmeline Pankhurst, a suffragette and women’s rights leader at the time, bottom, some of the political paraphernalia of the group.
Some of my favourites pieces in this museum are the Pre Raphaelites, they have a fairly decent collection and some very good quality pieces. Names like Millais, Rossetti, Waterhouse and some more can be found there. I don’t know about you but I always find their languid portraits of women, with so much attention to detail and rich colours very fascinating.
Autumn Leaves by Millais. Such vibrant colours!
Ophelia by Arthur Hughes
Detail of Derby Day, a fine example of the Victorian era’s romantic fascination with an idealized every day man.
Detail of the gallery wall.
Admiring the naked ladies.
A vase by artist Grayson Perry. The other side can be seen here.
Another thing I like to look at in old paintings is the details on the costumes, it is very inspiring. The way the fabrics and textures are depicted can be extremely satisfying to look at.
A dress made of nails. Who volunteers to try it on?
View from the window.
This one was very cool – a mouth camera! Basically the film was inside the artist’s mouth, who used the lips as the shutter. The photograph has a red tone because there’s always light that goes through the skin.
This mirror is all faboulousness. I want to have it at home.
On the revolving kaleidoscope, wearing lots of stripes.
Aaaaand that’s it (for now). Next post will be the second and last part of the day with all the other nice and interesting things I stumbled upon. I hope you enjoyed it. Please let me know if you think this is too long. I am trying to make the blog as pleasant for my readers as possible. xx
Happy Easter everyone! I’m now talking to you from my bed as I am completely and utterly destroyed after all the walking around in Manchester yesterday. It was totally worth it though, I’ll post about it tomorrow! For now, here’s a sneak peak into the past week as seen on my Instagram feed. Don’t forget to follow me @hellothemushroom if you haven’t done so yet.
Last weekend I started this DIY project. I hope to finish it today or tomorrow and wear it this week.
It’s been horrendously cold and snows every now and then. Apparently the temperatures are going to stay low throughout the month of April. This leads me to conclude that my Summer clothes will not leave the crates in the garage this year. (Topshop jacket, Mod Dolly dress, flowered boots from Ebay)
These are some resilient flowers. Go Spring!
This week I took my lunch box to work. I’m kind of thinking I should be using it for something else as it’ll eventually get manky and I like it too much to see it ruined!
I’m absolutely in love with Iris Apfel and her sense of style. I got the book Rare Bird of Fashion and took to sharing some of my favourite ensembles on Instagram. I won’t bore you with all of them.
I love these bracelets. I am totally going to DIY the hell out of them. I’ll show them when I do 🙂
This red dress totally looks like the red dress I wore here. I will wear a similar combination just for fun as I also have Harlequin flats!
I want a red stole! Now!
This one has been my favouritest of all I think. I love the shape of the little jacket, the colour and the piling up of jewelry. Although it is something I don’t do myself as it doesn’t feel ‘me’, I love seeing it on other people!
I found these tabi style boots from Irregular Choice on Ebay for a song. They are from one of the first collections Irregular Choice ever made (beginning of the noughties, maybe?) and I wanted to have them in my IC collection since forever. They’ve never been worn but they weren’t properly stored so they’re a bit stained (The Instagram filters softened the stains but trust me, they’re there). I am planning on painting them a soft Spring inspired shade of light yellow so I can wear them without looking bad! I’ll keep you posted on that one too.
Finally got my hands on a copy of Advanced Style. If you don’t know the blog all I can say is “where have you been all this time?” (and to click on the link too). Lovely Judith from Style Crone is in it!
I also finally own some of the Aranzi Aronzo books. They are some of the craziest silliest kawaii stuff I’ve ever seen (plus they make me laugh). I remember lusting over them on my visits to the Fnac store in Lisbon but as everything else in that place, they were overpriced. It’s the kind of stuff that never fails to put a smile on my face.
Fairy clothes. It was a bit too much for the office. Skirt from Ebay, booties from Primark!
Some lovely landscapes on the way to Manchester yesterday. I wish these little photos could convey how beautiful it was. Snowy hills and sheep and their babies along the way, some rustic farm buildings… a lot of beauty to take in.
Some bits reminded me of the Alps. I miss skiing 🙁
Yesterday’s lunch at the Manchester Art Gallery. Hake fillets with sweet and sour peppers. Nom!
Monkey King! Detail of a fabulous tableau by Raqib Shaw, who I have to say was a surprise. More on this in tomorrow’s post!
On my last day in Florida we did some shopping – we found a couple of charity shops near Sarasota when we went looking for a different place to eat. On our way back home we decided to stop by one of the many State Parks you can find on the side of the road in Florida. This time it was the Oscar Scherer State Park.
It was a great idea, as the place was nice and the weather was sunny, making the trek around the lake a pleasant and relaxing experience.
Bug dress – Forever 21 (from a shopping trip to the mall a few days prior) ; Shoes – Zara ; Necklace– present from Mr D’s Grandma.
Hubby was looking good in his skinny jeans, 70’s vintage shirt and Clark’s shoes.
By this time I was already sad about having to leave the next day and we ended up having some good moments there. As there are camping facilities in the park, next to the lake there was an activity room and as it happened, there was a group of people playing music, just jamming and singling along. It was very pleasant and as we were about to leave they started playing ‘Rock me Mama like a Wagon Wheel’, a song Bob Dylan drafted and was finished by Old Crow Medicine Show and also covered by the more popular Mumford and Sons. It’s a song about travelling across America and see the loved one. We just stopped and listened and that moment stuck in my mind and the song gained a lot more meaning. Just go listen and you will understand.
On the way out I saw a little cardinal bird. Although it’s been for a long time one of my favourite birds I had never seen one up close as they don’t live around here. It made me very happy and it was a great way of ending that day. I tried to take a closer photo but he wasn’t having any of that.
The next day I got back to England with happiness for the good times we had but also a lot of sadness in my heart, as once again we will have to spend a few months without seeing each other. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.