Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Art Activity from August.


Sunday Roast Dinner - SRD

Sunday dinner, roast of course-SRD,  for as long as I can remember and hopefully for as long as I yet might live.

 "I'd rather go to hell in a basket, than miss a Sunday roast," mum would say.

From the cradle to the grave - or the gravy to the ladle - roast dinner's synonymous with the history of home.

The hot steamy kitchen and the misted up windows, tracing patterns into the condensation, then watching little rivulets of water snake their way down to the painted over putty part. I could stick my nail into that and make more little patterns.When the oven was on and potatoes were bouncing around in the boiling babbling water, the kitchen was by far the warmest part of the house. Although there was a newly fitted gas fire in what we referred to somewhat thoughtlessly as, the lounge in later years, then it was simply the front room, mum usually did not have it alight if she was cooking. Many a times the meter would run out and she'd have to scramble around for lose change so we could finish cooking the dinner, there was no such thing as spare change then, as beggars like to refer to it, it was definitely lose change. On Sundays the kitchen was warm and the front room cold, she could not run the gas in both rooms.

Sunday roast seemed to take all day to prepare in those days. The vegetables were more hardy then, more layers needed removing and there was more dirt and wild life to remove. Any thing which managed to evade preparation was apparently good for you.

" Peas are easier to prepare these days", mum would remind us, "We had to pod them when I was a girl ." But Birdseye took care of all that for us, just at the moment when the pod went pop! Apparently, well according to Patsy Kensit!

"I don't want peas!" My little sister would pipe up. "Unless I can have ketchup?" Quite why she 

thought she had the right to negotiate I could never fathom".

"You'll get what you're given and like it," mum retorted. "You'll eat your peas and your words ....and that reminds me.....someone's eaten all the ketchup....I wonder who that might have been." Pursing her lips and raising her eye brows, she paused the putting of little crosses in the brussels and cast an accusatory, somewhat ironic glance over at my sister, who's reaction was to sink back down into the kitchen chair she'd been kneeling on, so that she was now facing away from mum. Nodding her head from side to side, she poked out her little pink tongue and widened her eyes. The taunt was thoughtlessly aimed at me. I chose not to snitch this time.

It was school holidays- October and the evenings were drawing in, it was black behind the misted window pane. Mum worked during the week days and Zina, my little sister, loved nothing better than to make herself  tomato sauce sandwiches whilst we played at home. Failing that, if the sauce was all gone, she would have salad cream or sugar sandwiches. Mum hid the Robinsons jam.

Next it was my turn to moan, test mum's wavering patience. Having spotted, that is, those hideous long pointy, pasty, pale witches noses, parsnips!  They were woody and bitter and paraded themselves full of false promises. Mum thought she was clever trying to disguise them as roast 
"Mum....I don't want parsnips, you can have mine, because you like them, don't you? "I smiled my most genuinely caring smile.

"We'll you'll bloody well ave em! " she snapped back, as she lifted the Pyrex dish from the oven. The oil was sizzling and ready for the home made Yorkshire pudding batter mix she had whisked up earlier. " I grew em and you'll eat em". Her temper was being tested now. But ....so was mine.

" I won't! " I  defiantly .... 

....whispered, under my breath. " I will hide em under something on my plate," I vowed in hushed tones. Having mastered, or so I believed, the art of shifting undesirable food stuffs around my plate, just enough so as she would not notice what I had left, I decided I would have to trick her. Why are nasty flavours so much bigger when you are small?

"Keep chewing , that's what you have to do - if you practise you will like em - they are an acquired 

taste," apparently a well tested bit of psychological advice , but what did she know - she poured in the batter, I watched intrigued because I loved the way it sizzled and bubbled like an epic landscape at the beginning of time. It was quickly put in the oven and the door was popped shut. I never knew what she meant by ..an acquired taste... Perhaps it was something important and I didn't want to annoy her more by asking. She used the term in later years when she tried to turn us onto anchovies, artichokes and olives....they were better off days. Days still yet to come when she would marry Dave, Dave the wheeler dealer.


With the eyes that were in the back of her head she spotted my look of disdain and defiance, "You 'll eat em cos there are kids starving  in Africa". She always said that. Once I had made the mistake of suggesting, with all sincerity, that perhaps she should send them the bits, she'd told me off for having left, to the starving children - in Africa. It seemed honestly logical. I felt the full effect of her response on the back of my thigh. The red hand print had been a stark and swift reminder never to try to be practical in matters of unwanted food again.

Yorkshire pudding was definitely a favourite component of the SRD. Mum was always so proud when she lifted it out of the oven and her joy was contagious. Once it actually rose through the steel grids. My little sister liked to put treacle on the left over Yorkshire pudding and suck it off. Equally she liked it with ketchup. This is a good example of an acquired taste due to ends justifying means, as needs must so to speak.

When finally the vegetables were boiled, mummy would strain off the water and put it aside to use it with the meat juices  - to make the gravy. " Mustn't waste the juices, all the flavour's there," she'd remind us. Every time. As I do my daughter now.

By now my sister and I would have begun to bicker and she, mum, would have to find us jobs. I would get to stir the gravy, she would use a desert spoon to add a few heaps and then she'd pass me a well worn wooden spoon , and remind me not to let it go lumpy. This remark would probably stress me now. Standing on a kitchen chair, so as to be able to reach the blackened pan, I would with little plump hands, they are wrinkly now, dexterously stir the contents as they slowly simmered away over the intriguing pretty blue flames.

"Can I help too mummy?" My sister piped up, pleadingly ....a big lip protruding for extra effect.  Mum asked her to lay the table. Standing on her tiny tippy toes she reached up and counted the cutlery from the drawer. "One, two , three..." She counted out the knives, then forks. " Do we need spoons mummy?" Zina's little face shone with hope.

"There's no pudding", mum muttered and Zina's face saddened, it sunk and the situation descended into what could only be described as a sorry state of affairs. But only for a moment. Mum winked at me.  " But you can put treacle on the Yorkshire pudding if you eat all your peas." A deal was struck and every one smiled. My sister's eyes lit up , it could have been Christmas Day as far as she was concerned.

"But mummy, please don't let her suck it.....I hate it when she makes that noise."
But I knew my plea was pointless, by the time it came for sucking treacle off left over Yorkshire pudding mum would have gone for a fag in the front room. Leaving us to squabble and do the dishes. Kneeling up on kitchen chairs. Zina was always a noisy eater. She would slap her lips and eventually  I would have to slap her. Such was the order of things.

I actually cannot remember watching my mum eat....I suppose most of my time was spent working out how I would deal with the sound of my sisters lips smacking and the problem of the sanctimonious parsnip.

I like parsnips now.

By Zoe Crosse

Degas Little Rat.
          She had watched them in wonder. And longed to hold them still, to calm their raging angst. She had born witness to the bewildering act of genius, which poured forth from them the first time he tried to draw her. His left hand had sought subtle contours. It had moved like a million tendrils searching her features, it had quietly raped the vagaries of her peasant face. The information it was passed through a channel of secret pathways, through his soul , to the right hand, which  waged a mighty battle across a sheet of dimpled sugarpaper.
 She watched in wonder as his thumb and forefinger adeptly cast pastel promises across the textured sheet. Earthy Roche pigments stained all his fingers. Deep crevices branched like ancient deltas from the wrinkles, which formed upon them. O how she marvelled as those elegant fingers cast colour, like a spell: a crescendo of crimson kisses, each one delicately permeating the outer ranks of a barrage of Prussian blue. How, with a savage sweetness those fingers had blended almost blindly, until they had calmed the cerulean skirmishes with earthy umber hues. And she wept at the moment when she witnessed, how Viridian valour had knelt before a Vermillion Queen. All had been daubed in a drizzle of lacy leaded white. He never saw her tears. Or heard how she had screamed inside, when she watched those same wondrous hands, driven by rage and frustration, tear at that chalk covered page, shredding it beyond all hope. Delicate plumes of pigment rose into the air with each ferocious rip. Then, she watched those wondrous hands cradle his heavy sorry head, as he sobbed from strained, hollow eyes.
She picked up a candle and lit it. She placed it at his side. She took his hand in hers. Then slowly traced her fingertip over the hills and valleys of his upturned palm. It was a complicated landscape, threaded with the tapestry of a thousand tiny crisscrossing paths. It's warmth penetrated and it's stillness soothed. It was almost hypnotic - emptying. The hopeless heap of hand, with fingers loosely curled up to cradle nothing but the darkness, seemed suddenly to twitch. She lifted the candle that she had placed on the pile of long since unread books. She let the light pass and flicker before his failing eyes and then very slightly tipped the candle so that the wax dripped and trickled in a gentle rivulet along the palm of his hand. An amber light rose between them. He stood up. He lifted his hand and with the back of it he gently brushed her pale cheek. She felt his energy surge. And once more she watched in wonder, as hands she knew so well, again sought line and contour. And pinched and pressed at a small pile of previously discarded casting wax, blindly filling out her form.

By Zoe Crosse.

Little Dancer of Fourteen Years. The information below was collected from the internet.
c. 1881 sculpture by Edgar Degas of a young student of the Paris Opera Ballet dance school named Marie van Goethem. His La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans, or Little Dancer of Fourteen Years, was probably his most controversial piece, with some critics decryingwhat they thought its "appalling ugliness" while others saw in it a "blossoming."

The sculpture is two-thirds life size and was originally sculpted in wax, an unusual choice of medium for the time. It is dressed in a real bodice, tutu and ballet slippers and has a wig of real hair. All but a hair ribbon and the tutu are covered in wax. The 28 bronze repetitions that appear in museums and galleries around the world today were cast after Degas's death. The tutus worn by the bronzes vary from museum to museum.
The exact relationship between Marie van Goethem and Edgar Degas is a matter of debate. It was usual in 1880 for the "Petits Rats" of the Paris Opera to seek protectors from among the wealthy visitors at the back door of the opera.
When the La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans was shown in Paris at the Sixth Impressionist Exhibition of 1881, it received mixed reviews. The majority of critics were shocked by the piece. They compared the dancer to a monkey and an Aztec and referred to her as a "flower of precocious depravity," with a face "marked by the hateful promise of every vice" and "bearing the signs of a profoundly heinous character."[1] She looked like a medical specimen, they reported, in part because Degas exhibited the sculpture inside a glass case.
While he is known to have been working in pastel as late as the end of 1907, and is believed to have continued making sculpture as late as 1910, he apparently ceased working in 1912, when the impending demolition of his longtime residence on the rue Victor Massé forced a wrenching move to quarters on the boulevard de Clichy. He never married and spent the last years of his life restlessly wandering the streets of Paris Degas' last years were sad and lonely, especially as he outlived many of his closest friends. By the late 1880s, Degas’s eyesight had begun to fail, perhaps as a result of an injury suffered during his service in defending Paris during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. He died in 1917.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Dancer_of_Fourteen_Years

Monday, 25 November 2013

A Food Walk Down Westgreen Rd Tottenham.

Food. Walk Down Westgreen Rd Tottenham.
Hungry fat puppy fat
eat that chip fat
battered cod chop stick lolly pop chicken sticks
cheesy dips grapes with pips big hips skips crisps
toad n ole and pick n mix n
fry it lightly
grill simmer boil
and eat it till ya had ya fill
gobble it be sick
on  the way grab a bite
eat in and take away two for one on the run
big bum skinny cow
cows foot chicken broth
offle pot pigs trott cock soup jelly beans pizza chips and Pukka pies
noddles nibbles French fries
diet food starving twit
whisking wasting mixing it
share it want it vomit it
hips and thighs tongue swipe tummy tuck
too full to function breakfast brunch tinned prunes late date luncheon
touch it lick it tempting treat
bring it buy it burn it bake it scoff it yam it
slice it slurp it
chew it
chew chew chew too chewy spit it gristle hate it
grow it green stuff sweet stuff chilly pepper pickled egg Chinese Siamese Vietnamese Congolese if you please
got enough not quite enough eat stuff....get stuffed
freshfish  wet fish shell fish on dish
wild growing and gathered free time for t
little snack in a bag Tupperware organic peas free range
got ta get it eat it rough stuff....fibers good
get stuffed doughnut pies puddings pastries
rough puff
fillet it and flatten it fry it buy it..
gob smacking finger licking mouthwatering
Mind altering
if ya like a lotta chocolate on ya biscuit join our club
only the crumbliest flakiest chocolate
made to make your mouth water
moulding melting muffins need it want it love it hate it
pork belly big belly trifle waffle lemon curd and wobble jelly
lemon fizz and custard tart ....mustard Mackerel ...big fart.
Zoe crosse