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Man, Instinct, Risk, Stupidity

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Fables - The Dodos (mp3)
Dark Turn of Mind - Gillian Welch (mp3)

“It’s definitely too rough out here for your brother.”

One of the bigger indicators of gender is the inability to heed one’s own better wisdom. The better half has things called “mother’s instinct” or “women’s intuition,” and we act like this is because men don’t have the ability to foresee dangers or portend calamity.

But it’s not true. Men have tremendous intuition; they just ignore it.

Last week, after three days of overcast skies, three days of an oceanfront experience as if we were vacationing inside the caves of The Lost Sea, we were all desperate to squeeze out some cloudy time in the sand and sea. With my 3-year-old son on the shore building sand castles merely for the chance to stomp them, my daughters and I braved the testy tides. The choppy waves and strong undertow, tugging us northward, were great fun because they were just a bit risky.

My younger daughter, not quite yet 10, is the more cautious soul, and trepidation always accompanied her into the ocean. She’s a little too short and scrawny to fight the ocean pull, and she was having to work twice as hard to keep from drifting further away from us.

“I bet Turner will want to come out here,” she said. On our first day down, we had beaten the rain to the beach for a desperate hour of celebratory arrival swimming, and he had stayed glued to my shoulders or waist as we jumped waves. He'd loved it and been wigged out by it at the same time.

My response to her -- it's too rough for him -- was the right one. And it was obvious.

Hardly had the words drifted away from my mouth in the word balloon than I heard him at the water’s edge, calling out to me. “Come get me, Daddy! I wanna go!”

Twenty minutes later, as I stumbled and wobbled back to shore, Turner screaming and fighting to spit out all that salty nastiness from his mouth, my daughters both laughed at how quickly I had ignored my own observations, and I could only shrug in resignation.

Something in dads, in men, in boys, is desperate to downplay risk. And it doesn’t even have to be a “risk/reward” calculation. The reward for taking Turner out into the torrents was low at best. I would receive no medals. My son wouldn’t “cherish this moment for the rest of his life.” My in-laws and wife wouldn’t look out on the waves, crashing in above our heads, and then tilt their heads adoringly at each other with that “Isn’t that the greatest dad alive?” look on their faces.

Yet there I was, picking up my small child, pulling him into my waist and chest, and trudging out into the foamy tuggy waters.

I could have said no. He might have pouted or objected briefly, but I’m not the kind of dad who worries about that stuff. I render my children painfully disappointed and pouty all the time and never think twice about it.

But I wanted us out there, together, doing something a little risky and stupid and fun. No defense attorney, no psychologist in the world could rightly defend me.

We hadn’t gone 20 yards into the water when my decision paid off. A wave hit us so intensely that it buckled my knees, and I barely managed to prevent our mouths from taking in ocean. Turner thought it was hilarious, which made me proud and giddy. This was all the reward I was to receive. Soon after, a wave that seemed to curve at least three feet above my noble leap slammed into us, and it took intense focus to keep any kind of balance while keeping hold of my son.

As I recovered, and as I tried tending to his drenched face and screaming panic, I'd barely even cleared the water from my own eyes when another wave hit us full force, knocking me to my knees and Turner briefly under the water. This second attack did us in, and he was (understandably) inconsolable.

The reward for ignoring my instincts? A son it would take two days to coax and coddle back into the ocean.

Oh yeah, and that first wave knocked the glasses off my face. Didn't even know it until I got back to shore. I spent the rest of my vacation with only a pair of prescription sunglasses. Until I can get an eye appointment, I either wear my sunglasses at night, or I view the world in a strange blur.

Yay me and my instincts.

minus sun

Monday, 18 July 2011

On Sunday I went to Brixton Village to see the Minus Sun launch exhibition at Circus. Displayed on hand-made cardboard dolls with articulated limbs that were partly inspired by the photographic works of Hans Bellmer, the collection was curated in a carefully considered way that invited, and even seduced, the viewer to focus on the details.  Each item has been lovingly hand-made and embroidered by the designer, Yuka Maeda. The result is stunning, with crochet-trimmed lingerie hanging alongside resin-encased embroidery rings, and pleated linen pinafore style dresses next to cleverly illustrated vests that are intended to teach the next generation the traditional techniques Yuka has employed. Besides being beautiful examples of crafts that are being lost, Yuka has embedded another layer into the garments by creating a narrative in which each item plays a role. This story is recorded in an exquisite fabric book that is hand-written and hand-embroidered. 

Here is the synopsis from the Minus Sun website:

No.0 is a 17-year-old girl who has been 17 for almost 7 years. She has 9 friends, who are numbered No.1~No.9. They have been living together for a long time. They all look similar to each other; long dark hair, fair skin, and petite figures. Though they look so much alike, No.0 makes clothes for them according to their unique personalities. Every day, she enjoys dressing the girls in the morning and undressing them at night. However, strange things start to happen when she decides to become 24 on her next birthday. One by one, her friends go missing until only No.0 herself is left. When she turns 24, she discovers the hopeless truth that her best friends didn’t exist after all and all of them were her split personalities which became her imaginary friends in her refusal to grow up. 


The Minus Sun collection is reminiscent of antique clothing, with it's limited palette, exceptional craftsmanship and use of natural materials such as calico and linen. Yet there is something distinctly modern, and even cinematic, about Yuka's approach to production and presentation. Her designs mix sexuality with innocence, recalling early collections by Tao for Comme des Garcons, while the dark undertones of the narrative that holds the collection together reminded me of a Haruki Murakami novel.

All in all a highly recommended exhibition and a label definitely worth watching. Minus Sun is being featured at Circus until July 22nd, so be quick! In case you need another excuse to visit, Brixton Village is open late Thursdays until 10pm and there are a heap of wonderful and affordable restaurants, so check it out! 

Images via My Mum Made, Minus Sun and my iphone. 


Thursday, 14 July 2011

1, 5: I really want some Sincol x MT Wall Tape. Found via Hello Sandwich.
2, 3, 4: New Kanken bag, Bobble water bottle, MT tape and Ikou Tschuss scarf. 
Today's outfit put together with comfort for walking in mind - Steven Alan Reina sweater, Cos jeans, New Balance. I recently dropped my iphone and it got a little crack in the screen, but not enough to warrant to spending money getting it fixed so a band-aid is currently doing the trick. Make do and mend all the way. 


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

More lo-fi (or more accurately lazy - forgive me Jackie!) iphone snaps from this weekend. 

I've been trawling through old issues of Apartmento and dreaming of antique rugs and bathtubs, cave dwellings, shearling, potted plants on old stools, cacti and yellow jumpsuits. I also went back to the Barbican for a quick wander after visiting nearby cafe St.Ali in Clerkenwell for a taste of home and good coffee (the original and only other St.Ali cafe is in Melbourne). I've also been enjoying the grey weather London is experiencing as it is giving me lots of opportunities to wear my new A.P.C raincoat which I recently bought on sale at Urban Outfitters. Today I also got to pick out my staff clothing allowance at work, a sneak peek of which you can see in the second last photo. With my newly acquired staff discount (hoorah for finishing probation!) I bought some MT Tape which I am looking forward to using on letters to friends back home.

Dagmar Rousset

Sunday, 10 July 2011

 Following on from my recent post about cool girls, I wanted to write about another cool girl from Melbourne, Julia. She was my first, and best, French teacher ever and besides providing me with weekly style entertainment in the form of her amazing outfits, she also owns a boutique in Fitzroy called Dagmar Rousset.

I haven't visited the store since it changed locations from Brunswick, but from the photos I've seen and the designers Julia has chosen to stock, I can tell you it is a must visit if you are in Melbourne. From Emma the Shoemaker (whose glorious handmade shoes I pined over here), to ALL Knitwear, Osborne Shoes, Opening Ceremony and emerging label MISU a Barbe (who I posted about here), Julia has selected a collection of clothing and objets d'art that perfectly reflect her own vibrant personal style.

What is even more exciting is that Julia is a self-declared fashion outsider who, with no retail or fashion background, is "having a lot of fun making it up as she goes along". Besides housing so many desirable things, Dagmar Rousset is also home to French language classes in the evenings.


Thursday, 7 July 2011

All images from Vrag Magazine via Stine Vikne.

I am craving colour and print more and more by the day. 

time's up

Monday, 4 July 2011

I am in love with Time's Up Vintage, which I recently re-discovered (having first stumbling upon it a few months ago and promptly forgetting all about it) thanks to Lena at Cut the Cute. From Moschino, Versace and Missoni, to 1920s lace blouses and 80s mint trousers, if I had cash to burn this is one of the first places I would be heading. For now I'll just enjoy the beautiful styling and keep polka dot prints, yellow knits and pale blue jumpsuits in mind next time I'm at the charity shop. 

shall i compare these to a summer's day?

 From top left: Natalie Portman photographed by Ellen von Unwerth 1996, Kelly Wearstler's amazing style via Still the Sky is Blue, Rowena Sartina linen apron via Iko Iko, Matt Merkel-Hess spotted bowls via Iko Iko, Ingrid's genius outfit via Anywho, beautiful ceramics by Stuart Carey seen at the Royal College of Art exhibition, C Sathal crocheted leather and chain bracelet.

slow burn

Some recent snaps taken while walking around Kensington, Little Venice and the always surreal Barbican Centre, while admiring the view of central London rooftops from the Rose Bakery at DSM, while breaking in new brogues and wearing clothes made for exploring, while trying on my new Ikou Tschuss scarf and while enjoying the sight of potted herbs and plants sitting alongside a summer salad in my room.



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