Friday, October 31, 2008

The Sound of My Heart Leaping.

I can't remember whether or not I've discussed the US presidential stuff on this blog or not. Anyway you can take a wild flippin' guess at who I voted for (on my Indiana state ballot that arrived THREE WEEKS LATE by accident I'm sure please catch my sarcasm.)

Anyway, what could I possibly say that hasn't been said already? So I won't say much. I'll just repost this photo which was originally published in Essence magazine I think.

Because everytime I look at it my heart goes pitter-patter.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Je suis Madame K.

Not too long ago a friend and I ( you know who you are!) were having a conversation about blogging. We were chatting about ex-pat blogs, blog fade, and a bunch of other stuff, but the subject of anonymity was at the top of our topic list.


If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you've probably already noticed that I never use my real name here. Also, I call my husband, who is a big grown-ass man "FrenchBoy". (cuz it's just funny.) But on the other hand I talk about things in a way that is specific enough that almost anyone could find out my real identity. So I guess you could say I'm pseudo-anonymous? (Is that a real word or did I just make that up?)

For the record, the reason I don't use my real name here is because when people google my real name (clients, possible collectors, galleries, museums, etc) I don't want this goofy-ass blog to be the first thing that pops up, as most likely it would, since blogs tend to rank higher with search engines for many reasons. I doubt my professional contacts care about where I ate dinner last weekend. On the other hand, if after a bit of research one of my professional contacts does happen to read about where I ate lunch last Saturday afternoon, good for them. I don't mind. I'm not so naïve as to think that just because I don't use my name, that this blog is somehow more anonymous or private. If I were a private person I would never have started this blog in the first place.

I think every blogger has to draw a line in the sand at some point and decide how much they will and will not say. For me, it all boils down to what I'm truly comfortable with people knowing about me. Some things are private. And no matter how funny or relevant they might be, I won't write about them. On this blog you will never hear me talk about the many kidnappings, armed robberies, or drive-by shootings I have been involved in. Even I have boundaries. Besides, some of you clever devils have figured out who I am on your own and have tracked me down (both in New York and San Francisco!) and I don't want you showing up to my job with police in tow.

But for the most part, I think you can all agree that I pretty much let it all hang out.

Oh and those who are curious about where "Madame K" came from--technically it's is my real name. Although I kept my maiden name after we married. My husbands last name starts with the letter K. And in France people don't give a rats ass how independent and modern you are. If you're married, you get called by your husband's last name.

So alas, here in France, Je suis Madame K_____.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Almost Famous.

In the middle of the summer, out of the clear blue sky I got an e-mail from Danielle Scruggs, a photographer who is also a free-lance writer. I was thrilled to find out that she wanted to interview me for a magazine. Being that she is also an artist, she had thought up all kinds of interesting and really thoughtful questions about my work. It was a great experience. Apart from getting a little bit of press, (every little bit of ink helps!) the process of answering the questions actually helped me to clarify some issues for myself. It felt really good to try and explain what I do in English! Also I feel extra cool for being in such a hipster magazine when I am in fact so incredibly far from being a hipster myself. (I'm secretly hoping that some of the coolness will rub off on me. *crossing fingers*)

Luckily they had room for the interview in the September/October 2008 issue which is likely on news-stands at the moment. (So if you run out and buy a copy you get the extra added binus of finding out my real name.) I haven't gotten my print copy yet, so I'm not sure how much of what we talked about made it in, but without further ado here is the unedited version:

(How funny is this cover image?)

DS: Looking through your website, it was really fascinating to see how your work has evolved by looking at the different series you have made available. It was easy to see you've been working with a lot of the same ideas and yet every series l feels different from each other. (I'm thinking of the similarities and differences between Under the Mango Tree and (Re)calling/(Re)telling, how they both address issues of fragmented memories, personal narrative and history.) How do you decide which ideas to pursue and explore? And what influenced or inspired you to start incorporating photography into you work?

Me: Well, I think the main thread that connects all of my work is the love of storytelling. I love a good story! I am fascinated by the telling and retelling of things and how a story can be transformed each time it's retold. Under the Mango Tree is based off of a fairly popular African fable that I just really loved the first time I read it. There was something so simple and beautiful about the idea of a farmer going to God to ask for rain. It just stuck with me. I don't know exactly how I decide to explore an idea. I usually just hear something or read something and it sticks with me because it somehow resonates with one of my own stories or memories. And for me, all stories immediately form visuals in my head, so from there it's really just a small leap to begin thinking about how to turn ideas into images on paper or canvas.

As far as photography goes, I've actually always used it in my work. Although I primarily studied painting, I also studied photography and printmaking at The University of Iowa. I think eventually the two just merged. It was pretty seamless. I can't even remember when I actually started combining the two mediums. I think in my mind, they were never really all that separate.

DS: When I first saw the (Re)calling/(Re)telling series, it instantly reminded me of going to thrift stores and finding old photos and postcards, and creating my own stories for the people in the photos. It also made me think of the website Square America's collection of photos of African American life from the 1880s through the 1970s. What struck me about those photos and your series is that they instantly remind me of stories my father told me about growing up in Peoria. And what struck me about that is, it's still rare to see images of Black people as people living their lives, as opposed to being stereotyped or exoticized. Did you consciously set out to address the dearth of these kinds of images or did it happen the more you worked? And how long did it take you to complete the series?

Me: Aah! That's what I've enjoyed most about exhibiting this body of work. Every time I show this series of photos, people eventually end up telling me one of their own stories, which I adore! I'm a keeper of stories, so nothing could please me more! I never get tired of hearing how one of my images brought back a memory, reminded them of someone, or even reminded them of story that had been told to them as a child. It's really, really thrilling for me to hear these stories. And I think part of that is just the power of photography. In many ways it functions as a visual trigger. But the other part is that seeing or hearing someone else tell their story makes you more conscious of your own. There's a certain connection that takes place with storytelling.

Most of the images in the (Re)calling/(Re)telling series were given to me by my grandfather. Before he passed away, he gave me an old collection of large format negatives he had taken while he was a soldier in the Korean War. In addition to the photographs of young Black soldiers going about their daily routines, there were also quite a few snapshots of family and friends that he'd taken during that same time period. I was so fascinated by these people and places. My mother and I were able to piece together bits and pieces of information based on obvious physical resemblances, descriptions from other relatives, and her own childhood memories, but most of the stories I've recreated are invented. I basically used his photos to make my own stories. After looking at these images for so long, I developed a kind of intimate visual relationship with the people in the photographs. I had already started creating stories in my mind long before I had ever decided to tell their stories in my work. I like to think the narratives I constructed in (Re)calling and (Re)telling are part fiction, part history, part homage.

It's hard to say exactly how long the entire project took. I started playing with the images in 2006 I think, and then stopped and didn't really touch them again for quite a long time. Then about a year later I suddenly picked them up again and completed the whole first half of the project in just a few hours at my kitchen table one afternoon. It just works like that sometimes.

D.S. How did completing a BFA and MFA program influence your work, as opposed to being a self-taught artist? I ask because I always seem to get two responses when I tell people I went to school to study photography: "it's a great learning experience and it was a good decision" or, "you don't need school to create art". Both points are valid to a certain extent so I was wondering what your perspective is.

Me: Yeah, I totally understand both perspectives, but I obviously I can only speak from one. Personally I'm glad I went the BFA/MFA route. I had so many great experiences and met so many great people that really influenced my work. But if you can somehow manage to gain access to those things without acquiring a mountain of student loan debt, hey even better!

I was having a conversation with one of my old professors not too long ago and he was telling me that five years out, most of his past BFA students aren't even making art anymore. So, I think it's safe to say that getting a degree doesn't guarantee you'll end up as a working artist. Clearly, whether or not you have any sort of degree has very little to do with your career path in this particular field.

DS: What else influences or inspires you? (Music, other artists, literature, etc.?)

Me: Well like I said before, I'm a collector of stories. They're constantly floating around in my head, so I use them constantly in my work. Lately I've been reading a lot of African-American folktales so that's influencing a lot of my painting ideas.

I think much earlier in my career I used to look at a lot of other artists' work for inspiration, and I do still spend quite a bit of my free time looking at contemporary art, in fact I base entire vacations around which galleries and museums I want to see in certain cities, but more often than not, I go, I look, and then I just empty it from my brain. I can't think about all that stuff when I'm working in my studio. I have enough of my own painting issues to work out, let alone deciphering somebody else's! My head is already a very, very busy and crowded place.

DS: How did you find your voice as an artist; deciding on what you wanted to focus and explore? Or was it more trial and error?

Me: I think I'm constantly finding and re-finding my voice in every painting. And I'm always discovering a new area of focus and a new path to go down. It's an on-going ever-changing process. I think the absolute hardest part of making work, for me, has been learning to trust myself, my own instincts, and my own hand. There was a period of years just after I finished my MFA where I just couldn't bring myself to make anything. I couldn't even begin. Nothing inspires "painter's block" more than self-censoring. And constantly second guessing yourself.

I had to find a way to learn to trust my own decisions again, and it was a hard lesson to learn. But like you said, there is a quite a bit of trial and error. But the errors are really, really important. I think the things that fail miserably are just as important as the things that you label successes. I re-learn how to paint all the time. I mess up a lot. I mean a lot! Sometimes I make miserable cringe-worthy paintings that I never let see the light of day beyond my studio door. That's OK too. I accept that. It's all part of the process.

DS: Reading your blog, I noticed that a big part of your studio practice is dealing with the decidedly un-sexy tasks of keeping your workspace organized and taking care of the business aspect of being a full-time artist. How do you balance the business side of art with the creation of it? By extension, did you have to support yourself with a day job before becoming a full-time artist? If so, how were you able to balance outside work needs and the need to create?

Me: You know, unlike many other artists I really enjoy the business aspects of my art business. And yes, it's a business like any other. I get up every morning and I have hours of "business stuff" to do. But honestly I like it. I'm a very organized person by nature so that makes it easier for me. Going to the office supply store is one of my favorite things to do. I spend about half of my working time on the making of art and the other half making sure that the art gets out into the world beyond my studio. Maybe a lot of people would think that's too much time spent on business, but it's a balance that works for me.

But before all that, I probably had about 20 different "day jobs". I always had a job that was flexible enough to allow me to work, or to go school, or to just have medical benefits, and then if it didn't suit me anymore or interfered with my work, I'd find another. I worked odd hours or did freelance jobs. I think it's pretty common for artists to do that. It's really, really tough to find a balance. We juggle a lot. Or maybe it's more like walking a tight-rope in the circus.

DS: What made you decide to start a blog? How has it helped (or hurt) you as an artist?

Me: Well, I started my art blog after taking one of Alyson Stanfield's on-line business courses geared towards artists. I had had a personal blog for years, but it wasn't until I took the class that I realized how important it would be to join the blogging community. I've benefited so much from reading what other working artists have to say on their blogs and I've met some great people who've given me priceless advice about how to not only improve my work, but how to improve my business skills. So, part of my decision to blog has to do with wanting to put my own experiences as a working artist out there and contribute to the conversation. Ultimately I think blogging is just another tool that I can use to get my work in front of an audience and explain what I do. I think of it as a kind of "behind the scenes" look into what I do everyday, my process, and my work in general.

DS: I am really interested in getting your perspective on the connection between the arts and politics. One of our writers recently posted an essay on the blog about the current disconnection, in his opinion, between art and politics, saying that artists need to have a larger role in community activism and advocacy. Should there be a connection at all? Should all artists strive to be political in their art?

Me: I think many artists do have a strong connection to politics and work hard within their local communities, at least the ones I know anyway. But that activism doesn't always make it into their work.

And actually I think a lot of artists are making work that addresses political issues, especially in the current charged political environment, but political art can take so many forms and function on many levels. Frankly, I'm not sure I even know what "political art" means anymore. Ultimately, the choice about what type of art to make has to be left up to each artist.

DS: How has living in the US and France, and shuttling between two different cities and cultures impacted you, your work and how you and your work are received? And what made you decide to settle in France?

Me: Well, I decided to move to France when I got married. My husband is French, and although we thought about him relocating to New York, living in France was just easier. If we had moved to Brooklyn, I would definitely have had to take another day job to support my art-making, which I desperately didn't want to do. Here in France there is a level of social security that is really conducive to me living and working as a full-time artist.

On the other hand, making the cultural jump was a really difficult adjustment. I didn't realize how American I was until I was no longer in America. I had this very naive idea that as soon as I learned French everything would be just swell. Instead I spent about two years stumbling over the language and just learning how to do simple things like deposit money at the bank or make simple telephone calls. It took a toll on me and on my work. My work at that time was very frustrated because I was frustrated, but I got through it.

Most of all I was worried about how my work, which deals with ideas that are firmly grounded in African-American history and culture would translate to a French or International audience. But as usual, it turns out I was all worked up over nothing. French audiences have been really supportive and interested in my work. They want to hear my stories and they're really curious about American history in general, but especially my own history and my personal perspective as a Black woman artist.

In a way, moving to France really did help my work in many ways because it helped me redefine myself in new ways. Now that I'm farther away from "home" I feel an even stronger connection to it. I think my work has a certain level of nostalgia for what I left behind, informed by where I am now. So, in the end I suppose the whole experience has helped me better tell my story.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Who Woulda Thunk It?

Ten years ago if you'd have told me I'd be running a gallery space in the future I never would have thought it possible. Even more importantly I never would have wanted to! Anyone who knows me even casually or has been reading this blog for awhile would probably tell you that I'm definitely an extrovert, but in reality, I live mostly in my own head and damn it I like it there. I like being alone, I enjoy my quiet time in the studio, and I can get down right mean when interrupted. Specifically for this reason, I really saw interaction with the public as a necessary evil that allowed me to sell my work. Now on the other hand I'm beginning to enjoy it.
I can't go as far as to say that I love it, but in many ways it has really helped me to better understand how others see my work---which is especially important to me now that I am a foreigner in a new culture. The French approach my work in totally different ways than Americans. The experience of having this gallery space has made me realise that my art means completely different things in France. (duh?) And I've really enjoyed hearing all of these other interpretations and ideas about my work. I think it's even helped me make better work.
And then, on the other hand running any type of space that's open to the public teaches you many lessons. And so, just for kicks I thought I'd share a few of them with you here:

1. Presentation is Everything. Some of the coolest gallery spaces I've ever seen in my life have been tiny one room spaces. But their presentation was flawless, lighting was good, and their printed materials were well designed and professional. I've kept that in mind when remodeling the space and trying to give it a gentle face lift. I'm nowhere near flawless, but I always try to tell myself that even on a very small budget the presentation must be as tight as possible.

2. People are Terrified of Art Galleries. The gallery space is located in a very busy touristic pedestrian area, yet we don't get that many walk-ins. Most of the people that come to see us have already made an appointment to either buy or to chat. At first I thought that people just weren't interested in local art or art in general, but little by little I started to understand that people would stand outside and look in through the window for a few minutes before they built up enough courage to actually come in. Art galleries are scary places for non-artists. People assume they won't understand what's on the walls and they can't possibly afford to buy it, so why bother looking? I'm not sure what I can do about this. I mean, my prices are a bit scary for the average person. But dammit, that's just how much they cost!

3. Drunk and/or Crazy People Love Art. At times, sitting in the gallery I feel like a fish in a fish bowl. People walk buy, look in the window, gawk at me a bit , then either come in or keep walking. Unfortunately the drunks and the crazies always come in. At least 3 or 4 times within the last 6 months I have thanked my lucky starts that my years of living in Crown Heights and Bedstuy Brooklyn have prepared me to calmly yet firmly handle these lovely moments. My first day working alone a very stinky man wandered in and asked me for money because the Russian mafia had stolen his credit cards. And just last month a group of not so sober football hooligans from the bar across the street wandered in to tell me my paintings were too expensive. Good times!

4. Things Fall Apart. Ever since moving into the space I've been trying to improve it bit by bit. But sooner or later you just come to realise you can't do everything---either because you don't have the time or you don't have the cash. If you let it, the cost of "improvements" will easily put you in the poor house. I've learned that unless it's going to immediately help my can wait just a little bit longer. I'd rather spend the money on more paint for my canvases than for one extra coat of paint on the walls.

5. People Are Weird. About 2 months ago a lady walked in and started looking around. Before I had a chance to walk over and introduce myself she flat out asked me "Do you have anything that looks like a Picasso?" (OK, she didn't say Picasso, but I can't remember for the life of me the artist she requested. But you get my point.) I was totally caught off guard. So without any laughter or pretension (Although I wanted to laugh and then toss her out the window.) I explained to her that we were two artists that shared this space and that we each had our own unique styles and that every work in the space was an original work for sale. "Oh." she replied.

I still don't know quite what to make of this incident. Did she really think we made Picasso copies? Did she think we were a poster shop? I dunno. Frankly I'm still baffled.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Party Ovah Here!

opening 013

So it's official. The Artshop is up and running and we had our very first Opening. To say the least it was a grand success. Add 3 cases of champagne, 100 alot of people, a Mail Art exhibition, and a boat load of new paintings into a blender and that pretty much describes the entire evening.

opening 001

opening 2

I was a little disappointed that the Mayor didn't show up, but 100 alot of other people did, so I can't complain. That dude missed one of the best Art Openings this city has had in ages!

opening 6

The whole evening went off without a hitch. (With the exception of the one snarky French broad who kept complaining that there wasn't enough Champagne. I ever so politely reminded her *catch the sarcasm* that she was at an art gallery not a restaurant. That was the last I heard out of her....which is a good thing because I didn't want to have to bitch-slap someone at our first Opening. Bitch-slapping at a second or third opening? OK, Fine. But bitch-slapping at an inaugural opening? I just feel like it sets a bad precedent and therefore try to avoid it if possible.)

Oh, and I made a major painting sale (one of my largest for this year) within the first 30 minutes. And you can see from the following photos, the Mail Art exhibition was a real hit with all the visitors.

opening 8

opening 10

So, all in all. Our Opening did NOT suck. I'm gearing up to do it all again sometime in December for our Christmas show. But I'm trying not to think about all that right now. My brain might explode.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mail Art Exhibition: "Two Worlds"

Ooooh Crap. I totally forgot to tell you. So, for the Art Shops Grand Opening next weekend I organized this Mail Art project& exhbition. So far we've gotten some amazing entries from all over the world. Thailand, name it. So if you want to send something pretty to me, please do so...quickly.

For its first fall exhibition, Atelier Deux Mondes in Metz France will host a mail art exhibition under the theme “Two Worlds”. All contributions corresponding to the theme will be shown in an on-going exhibition which opens in October 17, 2008. Selected artworks will also be shown on the gallery blog from October 2008 to April 2009.

All work must be in black and white. (Gray-scale)
Size: No larger than 13 x 18 cm. (5 x 7 inches)
Postal cards & Art envelopes only please.
No e-mail submissions accepted.
No packages can be accepted.
No works will be returned.

This is an on-going exhibition, but to be included in the inaugural exhibition and opening events, your artwork must arrive before October 15, 2008.

If you have any additional questions, you are always welcome to email the gallery at:

Address Mail to:
Atelier Deux Mondes

1 rue du pont des Roches
57000 MetzFrance

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Those Crazy Frogs #13: The Silent "H".

My friend J-Rock (aka Alena) sent me this article the other day which promptly made me laugh
my ass off. One of the many many perks of having an adorable Frenchmen as a husband is
getting to make fun of his accent.

If you're too lazy to follow the link, I'll give you a summary. Basically Bernard
, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs accidentally said Isreal could "eat"
Iran if it wanted to:

"I honestly don't believe that it will give any immunity to Iran ... because you will eat
them before..."

Of course anyone who knows the French accent is aware that he meant to say "hit" not
"eat". As the article explains, and every TEFL instructor in France knows, that in
French the letter "h" is silent and most French people just forget to pronounce it when
speaking English. And when they do actually pronounce it, it often sounds quite similar
to a cat hacking up a hair ball because they tend to over-correct.

(Somewhere in here there is a great joke about the French expression "I have a cat in my
throat", but yet again I'm not clever enough to make it.)

At any rate, the good news about this particular mispronunciation is that it leads to all
kinds of hysterically funny mistakes such as the one Mr. Kouchner made.

"What? What deed eee say? I deeed not ear eeem."

And in a completely un-related matter, my FrenchBoy pronounces the word "pillow" as "pee-low".

Just thought I'd share that.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Soirée Nanas!

One of the things I miss most about the US is my friends…....and the possibility of making new ones. French people are weirdos. For cultural reasons that are way too complicated for me to go into here, the French generally tend to have a small group of friends that they have known since adolescence, and then see no point in adding to the group. Hence, if you are an “outsider” transplanted into the land of the Frogs, after sometime you realize just how hard it will be to acquire new friends in your adopted home.

I’ve been here in Froggy-land for nearly 5 years now and have managed to make a few French acquaintances, but none of these people are really my “friends” yet. You know what I mean? So what’s an expat to do? Party it up with other ex-pats of course!

girlsnightout 004

Not long after I moved to Metz I met my French, by way of California, friend Jill (the adorably crazy one pictured above on the right.) who as it turns out---knows every freakin’ English speaking Ex-pat in a 50 kilometer radius of Metz Centreville. Being the peach that she is she was kind enough to organize a “Soirée Nanas” (Girl's Night Out) so that all the lovely ladies she knew could get to know each other. And hat’s off to Jill because it was a huge success! At least twenty ladies showed up for the event. In actuality it was a mix of Americans, and UKers, and a few Frenchies thrown in for good measure. These type of gatherings are always hilarious to me because you're forced to remember which person speaks what langauge. It's total mental gymnastics.

girlsnightout 001

And an event it was, there was eating, drinking, and eventually some dancing! I forced my buddy Madame R., the Saucy Aussie, to do shots with me….very watered-down shots mind you. Also I didn’t do the one that smelled like mouthwash. I just couldn’t. Gag reflexes and all.

girlsnightout 005

girlsnightout 002

So anyhoo, there was dancing and laughing and all manner of chit chat around the table. I even met another woman who is an artist. (Who woulda thunk it?) I’m trying to convince Jill to do another party, but at her huge city house next time. I would have liked to do more chatting with the other ladies at the party, but after dinner the DJ turned the volume on the music so high that I nearly went deaf, so there wasn’t much talking after that. On the other hand, still, Fun!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

London's wicked, init?

London 024

Before I start this post, I have to make a public apology:

Dear Mom- I’m sorry I left France and didn’t even tell you where I was going. Next time I do travel that requires use of my passport I will at least email you to tell you first so that you won’t have to find out about my travel plans on my blog and then call me all indignant because I told 1000 strangers where I was going but didn’t tell you because I am a horrible daughter and I love complete strangers more than you eventhough you gave birth to me after 48 hours of labor with no epidural or something. So what I’m really really trying to say is, I’m really f*ckin’ sorry, K? *giggle snort*

London 029

So, London.

As soon as my butt muscle healed, FrenchBoy and I hopped on a plane to London. But before I get to that, let me rant a hot minute about the crap airline that is Ryanair. Ryanair maybe be cheap, but you get what you pay for. Their level of organization is for shit. In fact I had a realization on the flight home-- In the future I will not be entrusting my life to any airline that runs their business so horribly and hires morons to work for them. In the future I will be spending the extra money to take the train or to fly out of Luxembourg on Luxair. Screw Ryanair already. (End Rant)

London 020

So, London.

OK, one more interruption and then I’ll get on with it. I have a confession to make. For the past, say, 10 years, I have been harboring, a not so secret distain for the British accent. Whenever I would hear it, the skin on the back of my neck bristle like a cat and I would have the urge to punch someone, anyone, in the teef. If a character in a perfectly good film turned out to have a British accent I would instantly start hoping that the plotline of the film somehow involved said character's gruesome demise. And I love movies that have magic in them, but I refused to see the Harry Potter movies cuz the accent sent me into convulsions. At one point it got so bad that any good mental health professional might have suggested I had a true phobia. And moving to France did nothing to help matters because as you know, the French find it perfectly normal to hate all things British. In fact the French strongly support the sport of “Making fun of the British” as an up-and-coming category for the 2012 Olympic games to be held in London. So, it is with great pleasure that I announce: I have been cured of my British accent phobia.

London 031

So, London.

London 036

London freakin’ rocks. Honestly I didn’t really know what to expect and I didn’t do much planning, but we arrived and just hit the ground running. And as a couple who plan all their trips around food, art, and shopping, London is about as good as it gets. We only brought a carry-on bag and one medium suitcase. Big mistake. We pillaged and plundered every shopping district in London from Sloane Street to Camden market. It was a very bloody feeding frenzy. There was just so much interesting and totally affordable fashion in my size even.
For the record, French Prêt-à-porter ("off the rack") fashion is surprisingly predictable and really quite shitty. The average French person may be well dressed but boringly so from head to toe. Like little cloned frogs. London was the exact opposite. Even those with ridiculously bad taste were at least creative with their tacky get-ups.
(Note to women in London: Tights are NOT pants. They are meant to be worn under skirts to keep your legs warm. I repeat---They are not pants. I can see your knickers through them and it aint pretty. What are you thinking? Run into M&S and buy thyself a pair of pants already!)
Knicker viewing aside, it was so refreshing to have so many choices! Even FrenchBoy, who normally has to be dragged kicking and screaming into a store just to buy new socks, got into the act. I went into the changing room and when I came out he had picked out a whole outfit on his own! In total we came away with 4 pairs of shoes, 2 coats, 2 sweaters, 2 hats, 2 scarves, 1 pleather purse, a Dunhill wallet/moneyclip, a crystal champagne bucket, and 2 boxes of codeine which much to my absolute delight is sold over the counter!

Also, I am in the honeymoon stages of Shoe-Love with my new Terra Plana "Maple" boots that I bought at a tiny boutique called Stella at Camden Market. It was love at first site. Almost as good as cheap codeine.


Other highlights from our trip:
  • Watching a guy eat porridge. (From the grimaces on our faces you would have thought we were watching someone eat a bowl of worms on Fear Factor.)
  • Getting served champagne at Ferragamo because I faked them into believing I was gonna buy a 2000€ python skin purse.
  • Totally righteous brownie and ice cream eating at Harvey Nichols.

London 055

So, London. I like.

We’re heading back the first week in December for FrenchBoy’s birthday. I’m already dreaming about fish & chips and Brick Lane. Next time we’ll bring a bigger suitcase and stretchy pants.