Switch House, Tate Modern

DSC_0009

If you have a thing for over-processed photos of concrete, then boy you are in for a treat.

Holy crap, I love the Switch House – the new addition to the Tate Modern building.  I’ve watched it spring up at the back of the Tate Modern over the last couple of years but could never imagine that it would turn out as beautiful as it has.

It had been open for about a month when Tim and I visited a couple of weeks ago.  We assumed it would be rammed so got there for just after opening time, but we had most of the space to ourselves – it was amazing.

We couldn’t have picked a better day to visit as the sun poured in through the windows.  We did look at the art – the Marina Abramović exhibit sticks in my mind for many reasons – but this visit was all about the building.  The concrete, the sharp lines, the sweeping curves.  It feels very deliberate and unapologetic, completely unpretentious, and like it’s always been there.

The floors become narrower as you get closer to the top, before it opens out to amazing views of London from the roof.  And an opportunity to be nosy on the neighbouring buildings.  I don’t necessarily recommend taking the stairs all the way to the top floor as it does get a bit constricted towards the top.  Also, it’s 10 floors.  Oof.

At the top, I of course had to take a few tilt shift photos.

Switch House

But my absolute favourite thing of the whole building was the staircase.  The smoothness of the concrete was just so satisfyingly touchable.  I’ve decided that any future house I own will have to have an epic formidable staircase.  I think that might mean I need to buy a huge Brutalist mansion, but it’d be worth it.

SwitchHouse3

Just looking at that shiny concrete floor is giving me all the feels.

It’s French, he said. From M’aidez.

IMG_20160501_112721I had a damn fine couple of days over the May Day weekend.  After an entire season of enforced hibernation, it was just what I needed to kick start the rest of my 2016.

I had Friday afternoon off so sped down the A3 to Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth.  I wasn’t really intending to buy a lot, but the Cosmetics Company Store was closed so I overreacted by splurging in Lulu Guinness.  It’s my second fancy bag purchase in two months and I need to calm the heck down, but the magenta Small Edie was calling my name (and with 20% off, who was I to turn her down).  Good god, I love her.

Saturday was spent fending off knuckle chilblains (no really) in the Tatty Devine sample sale already documented.  And once I was home, sitting in a pile of plastic jewellery on my bed trying to figure out where the hell to put it all.

Fortunately, Sunday weather was blissfully warm and allowed me to wander from Somerset House to the Tate Modern with my BFF.  We haven’t seen each other for months, so I feel really bad for all the art we ignored as we caught up.

We had tickets for the Pick Me Up Festival which we went to last year, but nothing grabbed me as much this time around.  That might have been because of our constant chatting or because it was towards the end of the festival, but there didn’t seem to be as many ‘collectives’ in residence for us to explore.  I did really like the Clay Collective‘s pottery though and the big typographical glittery prints from Best Brighton.

IMG_20160501_115801I really want that Adequate print!

After Somerset House, I forced Tim into the funicular railway over by the Millennium Bridge, mainly because Husband is far too responsible and will never let me in it.  Across the bridge and into the Tate which was rammed with children where we conversed our way around the Media Networks exhibition.

Lunch was at the Refinery where we confused the hostess, elbowed a waitress in the legs (mainly me), and ate breakfast food.  I think I nearly broke Tim’s brain with his birthday present as for a moment, he couldn’t quite comprehend what he was looking at.  I hope he loves it!

It was a pretty perfect Sunday, despite the 3 hour round trip (I may have whinged about this on a couple of occasions) but I think next time, we’ll just forego the art and have a solid 5.5 hours of talking.  And breakfast food.  And funicular rides.  IMG_20160501_123744

Every single night, the same arrangement

Last three weeks

I haven’t had the internet for over a week.  Sadly, with my tech support/Husband overseas, I had to make do with just my data allowance on my sparkly new Nexus 5X, which I very quickly blitzed through.  So what have I been doing without my beloved internet?

Working
I started my new job on Monday and so far, so statutory.  I’ve been reading insanely long government documents, and trying to decipher wordy guidance.  It has not been the most fun ever.  It’s also very daunting that I now have 8 people working for me.  8!  I can’t even count all of them!  Next week, I move desks and do yet more reading, and maybe one day I’ll be able to finish something I start without having to go to a meeting or getting distracted by a Very Important phone call.

Shopping
My parents took me to the Ashford outlet last weekend where I compulsively bought some new Skechers.  I don’t even need them.  Ashford was actually a bit disappointing and in no way matches up to my trusty Swindon outlet, but it was good to have a change.  I’ve also bought a lot of Tatty Devine, including two wishlist items.  Ooo, and the Liberty beauty advent calendar which is tempting me from the bedroom as I type.  When is it December?

Brunching
Like the trendy, young people we are (ahem) Tim and I went for brunch at The Refinery at Bankside.  We’d been there once before for his birthday which was most enjoyable then and brunch was equally enjoyable.  I was very surprised that it wasn’t really busy – my pancakes were delicious and not expensive so it’s surprising to me that we walked straight in.  I’ll definitely be going back for yet more pancakes.

Culturing
After brunch, we visited the Tate Modern to see the World Goes Pop exhibition.  I hadn’t really considered that most of the Pop Art I’ve seen and appreciated is American and British, and this exhibition showed stuff from all over the world – Asia, the Middle East, Latin America.  It was political, feminist, folksy and all very mind-expanding.  Many vaginas with mirrors, including some in a beautiful room byJana Želibská that I really liked.  The final room was really disorienting – repeat pattern wallpaper by Thomas Bayrle which made my eyes dizzy, sexually explicit films which a bunch of gay men seemed really into, and a radio advert on repeat which almost drove me insane.  Lovely bit of neon by Chryssa Vardea in there though.  We then had a lovely walk down the river, and sat outside the Oxo Tower until we were frozen having one of our legendary conversations.    

More shopping
As we made out way into one of the Tate’s shops, I told Tim a fascinating story about how one of my biggest regrets was the day I didn’t buy a Tatty Devine/Tate necklace that I saw in the shop years ago.  I could see the jewellery cabinet was still in the same place it’s always been in, and thought I’d have a look at their current selection. AND SAW THE REGRETFUL NECKLACE!  I hesitated for a moment – originally £160 and now at half price, it was still more than I’d budgeted for the day.  But Tim’s wry knowing smile gave me all the encouragement I needed, and I snapped it up – the last one they had.  He really is a bad influence on me.

Buffy-ing
I’m now done with my Buffy rewatch, having watched almost 2 and a half seasons in the last three weeks.  Angel’s on hold for the moment, mostly because I couldn’t be bothered to chop-and-change the DVDs in the drive.  I forgot how ridiculously melodramatic season 6 was, and how season 7 all runs into one.  I could never remember the difference between “Bring on the Night”, “Showtime”, “Get It Done”.  The whole middle of season 7 was just pointless.  However, I do still think “Once More With Feeling” is one of the best episodes of television of all time.  And 7 improved dramatically when Eliza Dushku turned up.  God bless Faith.

Waiting
But the waiting is now over, as a very jet-lagged Husband has returned.  I got to the airport way early as I was far too excited, and then burst into tears when I saw him walk through the arrivals hall.  The relief at finally being able to see him, be able to talk to him, is almost overwhelming.  He crashed a couple of hours ago as the time difference has broken him, but hopefully we can quickly get back back into our happy routine.