Archive for Spitalfields

I’m leaving, on a jet plane…

Posted in Derelict house, digressions with tags , , , on December 31, 2011 by pimpmybricks

I thought I’d be spending New Year’s Eve at the Regency Wreck, watching the fireworks over Sydney Harbour Bridge.  Maybe even camping there overnight on a mattress.  Instead I’ll be on an airplane, somewhere over the Indian Ocean without so much as a sparkler.   I’m off for five weeks – back to the Dorset countryside and to London. I shall go stamping all over, and spend a day pottering in Spitalfields (where the streets are paved with iconoclasts); a few days in Marrakesh  (where the streets are paved with Berber rugs); and a few more in Venice (where there are no streets).

(And if you don’t believe me about Spitalfields, take a look at, which is a true delight).

Right now I should be packing, stuffing things willy nilly into my bag.  Piles of clothes mushroom at the periphery of my vision but here I am instead, at my machine.  Odd – when I have time draped in folds around my feet I can’t get a post together but when I’m on my way out of the door it becomes The-thing-which-cannot-be-put-off.

The highlight of this last year was buying the Regency Wreck.  This time next year I want to be living there (oh, dangerous thingses, these predictions).  The rest of this year has been one of drudgery – an attempt to cobble together the right conditions for health and recovering still (STILL!) from the psychoanalytic training – my sense of humour is not yet inflated, my sense of joy still fugitive. At the end of it all I feel a little colourless, a little pressed flat.    These last few days a poem by Denise Riley has been blowing around inside my head.

As iron sharpens iron

I sharpen the face of my friend

so hard he sings out

in high delicate notes.

A struggle for mastery to most speak

powerful beauty would run any

attention or kindness clean out

of town in angry rags.

Ringed by darkness the heat pulsates.

And power comes in like lightning.

A lion in the room, fair and flowing

twists with unsparing eyes.

Whitely the glance runs

to it and away.  But let it

talk its golden talk if we

don’t understand it.

Grabbed by remote music

I’m frightening myself.  Speak

steadily as is needed to

stare down beauty.  That calms it.

Denise Riley

In this coming year I hope for a lion in the room.  A pulsating heart. Some powerful beauty to try and speak.  For you I wish whatever it is you need and much of what you want. Happy New Year!

On gluttony and a new suit of clothes

Posted in Derelict house, Inspiration, Renovation with tags , , , on April 12, 2011 by pimpmybricks

When I first stumbled out of the sensory deprivation chamber that was Psychoanalysis, I sat about in my pyjamas for a full two months, gorging myself mindless (that was the hope – mindlessness) on images of colour and design. It was a sort of deprogramming, a need to plump up the membranes.  I am not exagerrating, btw – one goes into an analytical training variously hued and emerges a greyified creature.  I still remember a shawl some woman wore to a conference – orange bleeding into magenta, a form of cashmere tequila sunrise that had me in a drunken swoon all day. I remember it precisely because of its rarity – a mirage of life in a desert of ideological battles and political agendas.

During my two months of pyjama time  I was fairly indiscrimate in my viewing – if it had sudden flares of colour and solid shapes,  more or less I filed it (hence all the pictures with no attributions).  Now that the house has arrived and my feeding frenzy has somewhat abated, my viewings are a little more focused.   I still have no idea how the house will be dressed when its bones are set and its wounds mended, but there are a number of sartorial styles constellating. 

When we interviewed various architects I asked each of them what their preferred aesthetic was for old houses.  I wanted to get an idea of which direction they might try to steer things in (though I am not generally a very steerable boat).  One was non-commital, another favoured sleek white and modern in honour of the Age of Enlightenment, another had a fancy for the Shaker style. Having recently emerged from my own decade of minimalism, I find myself bored by that reduced intellectual look (seemingly so beloved of architects) and have been longing for a bit of flounce and furbelow, a splash of dash, a dash of verve. Visions of chinese silk paper dance at the periphery of my vision and the architect rolls his eyes.

But anyway, my mind went from Shaker to Spitalfields though it’s not the same thing; the houses being smaller and older and altogether more sober.  I don’t think it would do and I don’t think I want it, but I put it in the compendium, anyway.