Monday, 18 March 2013

Artistic Weekend

Is there a weird time continuum between weekends and weekdays? How come every single time weekends seem to fly by in an instant? You blink and you miss them! Especially, when you’re having fun…

We visited ‘Tate Modern’ on Friday to see the latest Lichtenstein exhibition. For those interested in this form of modern art, the exhibition is highly recommended. Although I had seen some of his work before, I never saw a full collection of his work, displaying his evolution as an artist through the years. And in any case, paying a visit to Tate Modern is always a great way to spend your evening.

 It’s very interesting to see how artists play with various forms of art, mediums and materials. Roy (Lichtenstein) was mostly well known for his paintings that resemble comic books. However, he has done lots of other things as well, including installations and sculptures.

What I found intriguing was the fact that many of the pieces he created were not really his own ideas, but copies of other people’s works. Even his famous comic ‘strips’ were almost identical to actual comic books published at the time. I thought he was just influenced by them and I didn’t know they were direct copies! Apparently, he was intrigued by ‘DC Comics’ or other similar publications. Roy was a comic book geek after all!

At first I was disappointed. The fact that all these pieces were ‘stolen’ and there was no originality in them, made me feel cheated in a way. However, then I remembered that there is no real parthenogenesis in art. I don’t believe there is an artist not influenced by another artist or something he saw or heard somewhere. Even the ground breaking artists, let’s say for example Picasso, started from somewhere and then evolved into something else. During his early years he was influenced by his own father and even Paul Cezanne.

Then, I started seeing Roy’s paintings and works differently. Yes, he was copying other people’s work, but he did so in his own original way, making each piece he copied his own. What’s the difference between other artists, for example Hockney painting landscapes? The landscape was there; the painter saw it, liked it and painted it. The same applies for Lichtenstein. He saw for example the sculpture titled ‘Laocoon and his sons’; liked it and painted it. The result looks like this. Don’t you find it nice?

The rest of the weekend was also very nice. On Saturday we went for a walk and lunch in Chelsea. Almost every time we’re in the area, we visit the Saatchi gallery and this time was no different. There’s an amazing installation (I don’t know how to call it) in the basement that we always visit. Richard Wilson, the artist, filled a room with oil. As an idea it’s quite simple, but the result is very nice. It looks like this:

(Ignoring the smell), the mirroring effect of the oil and the way that affects the space of the room is breath taking.

So, in general my weekend was very nice. I had such a nice time that I completely ignored the continuously horrible weather and the fact that I had a very bad journey to work this morning! The tube train I was in had to be derailed and there were lots of delays! I didn’t have a very good start of the week but I didn’t mind that much. I didn’t even complain about it… :-)

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Birthday bash

First of all, I’d like to thank every one of you who wished me happy birthday on Facebook. It was very nice and sweet of you. For the rest of my blog readers, that’s alright, you can still make amends. Lol. Just joking.

Anyway, I had an amazing birthday weekend. I invited some friends over on Saturday night for nibbles and drinks. We had prepared various dips (including my own homemade tzatziki), bread, cheeses, meatballs (‘JJ’), cupcakes (my lodger), egg bites, fruit, crisps etc with spirits and wine.  I was introduced to my most recent best friend called ‘Zubrowka’. In case you haven’t met her. I highly recommend it.

My next best friend

I'm blowing my cupcakes

So, around a dozen of people arrived to our place, making it nicely full. Music was playing and drinks were flowing. I believe and hope that my guests had a real nice time. At least I had a blast. To give you an idea we were dancing long after 1 am. The combination of the vodka with champagne made a bit tipsy to say the least.


I love these camera shots

So, I spent my actual birthday with a slight hangover. It wasn’t very bad though. I just needed some rest. In any case the weather here in London has turned for the worse and the last days it’s been freezing outside. It was sunny last week and generally warm, we were hoping to get some spring but now it’s snowing again!

Do we look drunk?

Friday, 8 March 2013

Alpha Gays...

There is something I’ve been thinking about lately, which I’m not sure how to describe because I don’t want to appear petty or jealous or something. I have mentioned in the past that I’ve been working out with a friend of mine (‘gb’) when we have our personal trainer sessions. It’s very nice sharing the PT. We might accomplish a bit less than working out alone, but at least it’s more fun and not to mention cheaper.  I don’t have that much in common with gb though. He’s a very nice guy and a good friend, but he can be too much of an attention seeker. He loves being the centre of attention, a party animal and constant club goer. He’s very fit and loves the gay scene and everything related. He is considered what I call an alpha gay, one of the people with the six packs who always manages to lose his t-shirt now and then to slightly show off.

‘Gb’ is of course not the only one in this category of people. He surrounds himself with similar people, some of which tend to be ridiculously superficial and fixated on looks. OK, I don’t know if surrounds is the right word, but at least he knows a few (many). He’s a gym bunny, so he knows lots of people that spend all their lives in the gym. The last time I went clubbing with him, he said hello to everybody missing various pieces of clothes and striking poses on the dance floor. I couldn’t but keep rolling my eyes to the things I heard. They’re like a brotherhood and you can only get access according to the muscle ratio of your body.

Since I am more of the nerdy / geeky and bearish kind of guy, I don’t generally fit in. I don’t put that much attention to my looks. Maybe I’m wrong and I should, but each to their own. I refuse for example to use an eyelash curler that I’ve seen a guy use in the gym. It’s getting a bit too much. However, what I refuse to accept is being openly rude and degrading. And I don’t even care much when that rudeness is targeting me. However, some things make me furious. I’ll give you a couple of examples.

While at the gym’s locker room, we had just finished our session and gb and I were getting ready to leave. One, of his friends, I’ll call him Ben, arrived and came over to talk to him. I was in my towel getting changed and the distance between me and a normal twink was very obvious. Ben gave me a very criticising look and checked me up from head to toes. ‘Gb’ introduced us, but Ben started talking to him only in French, completely ignoring me. Apparently, I wasn’t good enough. I can speak French, so I could understand what he was saying anyway (not anything of any importance) but that rudeness was inexplicable. Since then, I still run into Ben at the gym, but he pretends he doesn’t know me, which is fine by me. I don’t believe I’m missing much.

Recently, I met a new of my personal trainer’s clients. He’s from the northern part of England who just moved to London and just went through a very bad breakup. He was in a relationship for more than 6 years that ended badly. His confidence was hit very hard and he’s looking for a new start. He’s what you call a very nice and sweet guy. He needs to create a new circle of friends, get out more and meet someone new. I don’t know many available single gay guys to introduce him, but I tried to take him out for a few drinks and talk about things. At some point however he mentioned that some of the people that gb tried to introduce to him, the alphas of our gym, were a bit patronising and made him feel really bad about himself!!! That fact really annoyed me. I can imagine them being like hyenas picking on the weak of the herd.

I’m not really sure, what I’m trying to say with this post. Of course not every ‘alpha’ is a horrible superficial person. I don’t even know if I can define an alpha gay guy properly. Maybe I could say he’s the leader of group, the captain of the rugby club like in an American high school or the leader of the cheerleaders. And it’s not only the twinks with leaders and trends. I assume bear groups can be as nasty as well. The gay scene can be ridiculously superficial, fixated on looks and mean. Maybe that doesn’t apply only to the gay scene, but sometimes on society overall. Why so much jealousy, misanthropy and meanness.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Random thoughts Wednesday

Last Sunday our new lodger arrived. It hasn’t been a full week since she’s been here, but I have to say that everything has been going quite well so far. She loves her new room and seems to be adjusting quite well. She also seems to get along very well with JJ. They knew each other, but not that well.

This Sunday it’s my birthday and I’m having a few friends over our place on Saturday. It’s not going to be a massive party, just some friends meeting for drinks. What better way to spend a birthday than with a massive hangover, right? I’m also planning on offering some nibbles / finger food. It’s been a while since I last organised something like that. I hope it goes well and people will have fun. Typically, I learnt today that there are planned underground engineering works this weekend and by tube station will be closed! Fortunately, the one before my stop will be open. It causes a bit of inconvenience, but I hope not too much and people will attend.

Recently, there was an offer on Amazon, about a book published by the eggheads of the TV show QI. I had to buy it. I just love trivial knowledge. How can you progress in life not knowing that kangaroos have three vaginas? Or ignoring the fact that earning more than £14,000 a year puts you in the 4% richest people of the world? Talking about perspective…

Speaking of Amazon (wow, this turns out to be an advertisement for them), I was happy to learn that they joined forces with other colossal companies like Google and Facebook against cancer, forming a collaboration with British charity ‘Cancer Research UK’. Although I wasn’t able to get lots of information on this matter, it appears that a new smartphone application will be released soon that helps the battle versus cancer. We’ll see…

Friday, 1 March 2013

Geeky Update

It’s been a while since I’ve last done one of those.

Firstly, I want to mention a Marvel graphic novel that I read recently. I’ve been reading comic books since I was a small boy. I remember laying wake from excitement in my bed in anticipation to a trip to the city where there was a proper comic book store, where I could buy things that were not available in the small town I grew up in. Since then, lots of things have changed. I’ve lost that children’s excitement, but not my total interest in them. What I do now is instead of purchasing the bi-weekly or monthly releases; I wait a bit and buy complete graphic novels or collections.

Lately, I bought a graphic novel titled “Avengers: the Children’s Crusade”. It features mostly the group of heroes called Young Avengers. I had a glimpse of them in the Marvel’s “Siege” storyline but I didn’t know mostly anything about them. They are as the name implies the new generations of super heroes that aspire to become like the proper Avengers and were formed during the time the senior Avengers team was temporarily disbanded. The graphic novel overall isn’t bad. Its art is quite nice and the storyline good. I would give it higher marks if it didn’t include dead people from the past coming back to life. It always puts me off when that happens.

 In any case, I was happily surprised to find a proper gay couple in the team. Wiccan, a powerful wizard who could be the reincarnation of Scarlet Witch’s son, is in a relationship with his alien shape shifting male teammate Hulkling. They properly refer to one another as boyfriends; they kiss and complain when given a room in the Avengers mansion with separate bed. The whole situation is written in a very realistic and respected way. There aren’t many gay characters in comic books and it’s always nice when I come across them. The Young Avengers series was discontinued, but a new version is coming up that still features both Wiccan and Hulkling, even if changes to the rest of the cast have been made:

Since, it is the beginning of March, I can’t not mention my upcoming birthday. It’s next week! Yay! Anyway, I was looking for a present for myself and I was delighted to find out that the new SimCity will be released on the 8th of the month! That’s so very appropriate. I’ve been a SimCity fan since the very beginning. I used to play it when the game still looked like this, back in the 80’s:

So, I can’t really miss it, when it looks like this:

I don’t normally pre-order stuff. I’m generally cautious before proper reviews are written and games are properly tested. I’ve made an exception in the past for the Elder Scroll’s latest release, Skyrim, and I didn’t regret it. I was extremely confident that Bethesda would deliver. In SimCity case, the preliminary previews I’ve read are quite good. Also, I trust the development company ‘Maxis’ and Will Wright. I’ve played every SimCity release there was. I love this type of strategy, resource management and control games. Another amazing example of the genre is Civilization. That’s another series of games I utterly love.

Finishing this post, I’d like to mention that EA, the company that now owns Maxis, is hosting next week a one-day conference in New York to discuss lesbian, gay and bisexual issues in the video game industry. That same company is the one that published with Microsoft the games in the ‘Mass Effect’ series. It was highly criticized when same sex couples could be formed in the last release of the game as I mentioned here.