Monday, 20 October 2008

Central Saint Martins II

I'm entering my third week at CSM and thought it's about time to give you a brief (visual) update on where I'm supposed to spend the next 2.5 years of my life at. I'll try to keep it short this time as I could go on forever and ever. Actually, I think I'll just stick with a few photographs for now. There'll be more ranting about studying there and life outside of uni later this month. (I think.)

Aurora Borealis.

For me coming to London is not just about getting that degree and having shitloads of fun but also about determining goals. Here's a little something I wanted to share with you. I've wanted to see the Northern Lights for as long as I can remember and after having watched 'Joanna Lumley finds the Northern Lights' on BBC TV iPlayer (a least 5 times haha - Unfortunately it's no longer online and unavailable to those of you outside the UK anyway) and discussing them thoroughly with my Scandinavian classmates I'm determined to see them before I die, no matter what. The documentary is about Joanna Lumley travelling all the way up to Norway to find them, she read about the lights in an illustrated childrensbook whilst living in the tropics in Indonesia and has wanted to see them ever since. Here's a small snippet of the documentary that captures the moment when she finally get's to see them. Beautiful. The soundtrack is Peer Gynt's 'Solveigs Song'. Enjoy :) 

South London.

Now that I live above the river I thought I'd dedicate a tune to the grime, the smells, the edginess, the rubbish, the cheap shit, the dodginess, the warmth, the protection, the tough love, the families, Hussain the PR HSBC employee, the street preachers, the hacklers, the dealers, the packs, the gangs, the music, the reefer smell and the hidden beauty.

Evol Intent - South London

Friday, 17 October 2008

From South to West to East.

Hello and again. It's been a hectic few weeks. First off, I moved out of the Peckham Rye mansion. The owner of the house moved back to the UK after losing her job in New Zealand and becoming gradually more mentally ill. She has now returned and has her 70-something year old mother look after her. I couldn't cope with the thought of having to deal with a manic depressive person as a landlord and with the mortgages going through the roof I decided it was time to move on. And so I found this place in Bethnal Green, 2 minutes from the tube, but this turned out to be a dodgy affair and when push came to shove, the retard landlord cunt decided not to let the room out to me (I think I asked too many questions and after speaking to the flatmates without having him around I found out he's an unreliable bastard, and I think he knew I knew.) So no loss there, if anything I was better off. Anyway, this meant that I had no place to live, as I was supposed to move into that flat the day I moved out of Peckham Rye. Luckily, I was able to spend a couple of nights at my mate's place in Earls Court, and within a few days I found this other place in Bethnal Green, 5 minutes from the tube, 30 minutes from frontdoor to uni. At first sight I got a bit worried as the interior of the place reminded me to much of my very first flat in the Netherlands and the last thing I could use at the time was having to live with annoying disrespectful people. But after a chat with Tristan, the Australian guy who's subletting his room to me, I knew it was going to be alright. I occupy a small double room with a double bed, a desk, cupboard space and it comes with a small storage room where I could keep a small family if I wanted to. I now live with 3 Bulgarian dudes; Dicho, he arrived a month ago and is studying really hard to learn English. He didn't speak a word of English when he arrived. (He's the big bloke with one eyebrow in the blue Adidas shirt.) Basically what he does, is sit in the house, he watches subtitled films, studies, cooks and cleans. He's very polite and thoughtfull and is trying really hard to explain to me what life in Bulgaria is like but when the place get's too crowded and noisy he rushes off to his room. These guys make excellent Bulgarian food. It's impossible to be hungry in this house as Des, a funny loudmouth bike courier (the bloke in the green tshirt) also loves his food and food wise, the general policy of the house is 'If iz on zhe table, iz foh everyone'. Then there's Nas, the oldest in the house, he's a barman who's well into anything eardrum-rupturing; Metal, Gabber, Techno and some other weird shit that involves a lot of crying, hysterical laughter and screaming. (He's the guy in the black Rammstein shirt) I found him quite intimidating in the beginning but he turned out the be a total sweetheart. Then there's a Spanish couple; Jade (obviously the blond chick in the photo) who's an interior designer and her boyfriend. (I keep forgetting his name, he's the gnome resembling guy in the yellow shirt) The last person in the house is Dave, an hyperactive Australian guy (the guy in the white shirt) who's addicted to his Wii and has snorted a few too many lines imo. He's incredibly intelligent and he's happy to fix my PC when it needs fixing but he lives in his own little world and very often doesn't give a fuck (about anything I reckon.) They all seem to be getting on well though, and everyone here seems to have accepted Dave for who he is. The other 2 guys in the photos are Kyro, he's French, used to live here and is into anything that contains breaks and beats and I have no idea who the oriental/french fellow is but they're part of some crew that shows up every week with a lot of illegal substances and booze. They're an energetic bunch, they all smoke, drink, work and love their rowdy times (lots of laughter, screaming, piss-taking and general wastedness) but at the end of the day it's all about respect and sharing. I feel very much at home here but not necessarily part of the household, I think I'm more like a rent-paying guest. I'm here only temporarily (until the end of my first term) and am still looking for the perfect flat on the perfect location. But for now I am content and this place will do. 

Sunday, 5 October 2008

I'm no longer a corporate girl.

Here's a wee rant before I go to sleep. I've just stashed away my pencil skirts and stockings, as of 10:00 AM tomorrow my 9-5 office days are officially DONE. Alright, so yeah I had some fun in my days but I can definitely do without the databases, the filing and certainly the 'Oh and Boya, could you please see to it that I wipe my arse after I go potty?'s. Hehe, I'm only partially kidding, if I hadn't gone through the agony of office hell, I probably wouldn't be where I am today. So here's to my ex-bosses, colleagues and customers (that includes you useless fuckwits out there who couldn't tell your arses from your elbows); I thank you from the bottom of my heart, I mean it. (And make sure you wipe dem...) My course starts tomorrow and I'm thanking my lucky stars. Check out my new school uniform by the way; those of you who know me know this t-shirt was made for me.  

My first UK dental care experience.

I was just stuffing myself with delicious traditional English pastry thingies covered in custard and realized that I haven't told you about my first time with an English dentist. A couple of weeks ago I woke up in agony, my tooth was killing me and due to financial reasons I had only been able to see a dentist once whilst my 1 year and 8 month stay in New Zealand. And only for a consultation, not a treatment. I got up anyway, forced myself to man the fuck up and went to work after skipping breakfast and taking 3 codeine enforced painkillers. By the looks on the faces of fellow travelers in the tube I could tell this was not a good idea. I arrived at work and tried to act as if everything was OK, 30 minutes later I gave up and got kicked out by colleagues who forced me to visit a clinic. My GP directed me to the Kings Cross Emergency Clinic. So that's were I went and after having waited 40 minutes, 2 more painkillers and a semi-conscious conversation with a grumpy 70-year old Indian guy named Khan who apparently had been waiting in the overcrowded waiting room for an hour, I got called in by a nurse. Their treatment area consists out of approximately 6 half open cubicles with hardly any curtains, no privacy, and people everywhere. Fuzzy as fuck, I lay down and studied the stained brown ceiling. A fresh but remarkably young looking African dentist greeted me and during our chat I sort of gained consciousness and then fully realized where I was and what was going to happen. I was about to receive a rootcanal treatment by dental/med student with other students present for observation. A petite blond girl with a strong Slavic accent, who looked no older than 22, leaned over me and explained to me what was going to happen. She was nervous and kept stressing the fact that it was of utmost importance that 'I shouldn't be feeling anything after receiving local anesthetics because the treatment was going to be horrible.' Very subtle. I've been through the joys of rootcanal treatments before and they're nothing to be upset about, really. This time I was upset though. First of, she kept stabbing me with that needle because she couldn't find the spot which resulted in me having to walk around with a sore jaw for 1,5 weeks. Second, after a while the stabbing got annoying and painfull and I started moaning. Every time I made a sound she nearly burst into tears which unabled her to find the spot. It was a vicious circle. It took her about 30 minutes to get the infected nerve out and another 15 minutes to find a senior intern to check if the procedure was performed right. He was out, having lunch. Yeah it took me about half a day to get that tooth fixed but at least I didn't have to pay for it, nor was I charged for the antibiotics and the next appointment. Jah bless the NHS, proper healthcare is relative. The people in this country that complain about healthcare really need to cut the shit and get their teeth fixed.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

A memorable night.

After a long hectic week of changes, challenges and new impressions it was time to unwind. After a quick pint with equally knackered friends in a hidden bar I got a call from my friend Saline, who's man Menno is doing a MA in Industrial Design at the Royal College of Art; apparently the RCA was the place to get pissed. And so I washed that knackeredness right out of my hair and hopped on the bus. The college is situated in Kensington, one of the richer and prettier parts of London. For a small female like myself it's a reasonably safe hood to walk alone in but two very well dressed big drunken blokes decided it wasn't safe for me to be walking alone. On my way to the RCA I stopped for a smoke and to look at the beautiful houses and suddenly these two men popped up. Without warning one started to shout at me. "Heyyy darling, where you from!?" "Not from around here..." "Alright!? Listen yeah, we are Cockneys, and we're not racists!" (Although I find it unnecessary, I think it's highly amusing when white people choose to explain and defend their racial motives for no particular reason, out of the blue.) "Good for you man." "Oi, listen yeah, we have nothing against you lot, our best friends are black people yeah!" "Cool." "You don't believe us, do you!" "Yeah, I d.." "Don't worry love, we'll take you where you need to be." And so they taught me about cockney rhyming slang and the definition of 'real' pubs while walking me all the way to Hyde Park. Who says London ain't a safe place? After I arrived, Menno showed me around the college. All students have their own working space and they have an incredible private outdoor lounging zone. Yesterday was the first Friday of the academic year, hence a good reason for prospect and 2nd year students to get together. The festivity took place in their common room house, (LOL)DJs with familiar and not so familiar tastes in choons and copious amounts of booze and other substances were present and I was surrounded by numerous artists, designers and students. I met a few Dutchies; Katrien, from Gelrop of all places (Eindhoven de gekstuh) a (graphic) industrial design student who explained to me why the RCA is mostly suitable for engineers and a complete letdown for designers and Emile, a director who like me went to the HKU, who did some videos for C-mon&Kypski and Pete Philly. He's been broke in London for 3 months and we both agreed that coming to London during this 'financiele kutsituatie' perhaps wasn't the best decision, but a challenge all the same. (I'm receiving grants and loans from the Dutch government and the Euro is doing rather well, so I suppose I'm not doing too bad.) And then there were the 'locals'; Simon, a half/Filipino-Bristol boy, also an Industrial design student who explained to me the difference between studying graphic design at London College of Communication, where he graduated and doing the course at Central Saint Martins and Freddy, a funny, all-loathing northern fine artist that made me, a co-hater, look like little goody-two shoes. As the evening progressed and the beer kept flowing I started forgetting the names of people I met. But it was all good, I swerved from one conversation to another and everyone seemed to be in the same state of mind. Generally, it seems that with all the people I've spoken so far I share the same opinions about London as a home, a creative catalyst, an abomination and a blessing. No one's ever denied that London is a two faced city, it brings out the worst and the best in us like no other city can. But we know why we're here and what we're doing it for and last night made me feel at home in London just a little bit more. 

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Central Saint Martins

w00t, I'm officially a student (again). I enrolled at Saint Martins yesterday. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!!!  It was also the first time I entered the gorgeous building but didn't get to see much of it, I was so overwhelmed by everything and everyone and things just went so fast. I arrived, showed some papers, signed some forms, registered and had a chat with Murray, the Registrar, who I never met before but with whom I had telephone/email conversations throughout the year, he turned out to be a total darling. It was nice to finally put faces to names. After I paid my fees I sat down with a black female course administrator to finalize the process. And as she looked for my IDcard she whispered "It's nice to see another person of color enrolling in the graphic design course..." Completely flustered, I stared at her and said "Pardon?" She repeated herself in an even more secretive way and I didn't really know what to say to that, so I mumbled "Ehrm ok, yeah so how many ehrm, people of color have enrolled in this course? Not that it makes a difference though." She shrugged and answered "In the past few years perhaps three or four..." Not knowing if I was slightly shocked by her answer or just the fact that I was having this conversation, I said "So, what does that say about the course, or this college for that matter?" She smiled and answered "Well, maybe it means that black people ain't really that interested in graphic design." I laughed and said "Ha, that's bullocks and you know it." (I can't believe I said that to a stranger, out loud anyway.) She smiled, looked me straight in the eye and said "You and me are going to have a little chat later on, sister..." I suppose things can only get more interesting. Either way. I'm finally there, I'm ready for it, another new chapter commences.