Thursday, 14 February 2008

valentines day

Thameside view, LondonAnother one of those occasions designed to make much of the population feel inferior. My teenager, however, got a dozen long stemmed dark red roses from a suitor at school, along with a hand made card featuring a cracked red heart, a hand with black painted pointed fingernails, and an intense poem. Ah, to be young...

Had a lovely time on Sunday discovering the Thames riverside, this time near Tower Bridge, Shad Thames. Took some pictures and did some sketching. London is pretty amazing especially when the sun is shining. I saw a scene which to me described the 'noughties' in london; a young man sitting by a tree writing on his laptop, while a woman in a muslim hijab walked by with her children, surrounded by the red, blue and white paintwork of Tower Bridge and the bright green of English grass.Tower Bridge, LondonFriday night had dinner with an architect friend who is partly responsible for some of these new London landmarks as she worked for Norman Foster for some years. I saw pictures of his homes: the interiors are incredibly sterile, all white and grey, no children could live there. People who work for Foster joke about the limited palette they get to use for his house style: light grey, dark grey, silvery grey, bluey grey, metallic grey...
Obviously he has an army of staff to keep his homes impeccable, not available to us ordinary mortals. But I find his style so male, the antithesis of 'home', the female lair. (His style reminds me of David Lynch the film director who is said to have banned all cooking from his homes. He cannot abide the idea of food being prepared or heated at his houses.)
My friend said that Foster comes from a poor Mancunian background, brought up in a dark tiny terraced house. His architecture, which dwarfs humans, is a long running scream away from his roots. As his assistant, she got to be a passenger in his private plane, flown by him, while he jetted over Europe attending meetings. Foster is in his 70's but looks 60. My friend talked of his amazing energy and drive. The working rich are different.HP sauce, Tower Bridge, London He's had a few wives, the second one I believe, the journalist India Knights' mother. I've always liked India Knights' writing and books, but she clearly is very well connected, which can't have hurt.

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