a wall of memories and a view of dreams.

darlings

just a Very short post as we’re in between washing machine then drying cycles……*slightlypaniclooktocamera*

#sigh – oh for a Jeeves!

Very Good Jeeves Volume 1

and (looking at that lovely audiobook image) for a 1930s pied-a-terre and a snazzy pair of purple socks with black shiny lace-ups too, actually – that would be splendid (or Topping, as Bertie Wooster, would have said).

we digress (*looksnervouslyatalarm*) and just have 7 mins before having to Dash Downstairs to the Laundry Room (which is actually very nice and bright and has a window which looks out onto the paparazzi who are hanging around – must be someone Famous staying nearby – this is Most Definitely L.A, darlings).

we moved some furniture around today because we wanted to create a Picture Wall – or a wall of memories with:

* some of our articles from when who we are in RL was a Journalist in London, England

* a few landscapes (from our camera lens, not paintbrush) from the book – we thought we could rotate them in and out so at the moment there’s Hong Kong, Norwich and Madrid facing us as we write reminding us of So many things we’ve seen and So many hours of Jet Lag. 

* recent portraits

* one or two portraits from (a long time) before we came to the USA

* an original LP (that’s a Long Playing Record for the young people) of Edith Piaf’s Chansons Parisiennes (we’ve never actually played it as we don’t have a vinyl-playing-machine but the LP is still in the beautiful rendering of a map of Paris and a flirty gendarme from when we found this treasure at the Lincoln Center of Performing Arts Library Sale.

url

and then there’s also a few other esoteric ephemera from our Travels and Travails to numerous (and numinous) to recount.

so here it is!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAdo you like it?

we’re Ever so Pleased.

and it means we have re-orientated the table so we can see this View every time we look up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAdoesn’t Los Angeles look Rather Tuscan Village at twilight?

so – darlings – hence why we called this post thus:

a wall of memories and a view of dreams

ALARM RINGS

ah.

the Laundry Calls.

see you tomorrow (by the way, lovely to see you, as always)

EXITS STAGE LEFT BY THE PICTURE WALL.

in manhattan, reading maugham…

there are three rules for writing the novel.
unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
W. Somerset Maugham

we found a copy of W Somerset Maugham’s The Skeptical Romancer: selected travel writing in malibu, during our recent trip to the Other Coast.

I prefer to wander in old streets at random without a guidebook, trusting that fortune will bring me across things worth seeing; and if occasionally I miss some monument that is world-famous, more often I discover some little dainty piece of architecture, some scrap of decoration, that repays me for all else I lose.
W. Somerset Maugham

well, not Randomly in Malibu, just lying around on the sandy beach, waiting for someone to pick it up – or perhaps abandoned in despair by a screenwriter on-a-deadline, looking for inspiration and finding only distraction, in a cafe near the Pier, where tousled white-blond youths drag their surfboards at a pause in the stop lights.

no – the copy of Maugham was purchased at diesel books, which used to be on the other side of cross creek (near Marmalade, the brunch place where we once saw Kathleen Kennedy yet more often overheard slightly tense conversations about plaid and decorative features in a newly overhauled, once beautiful, Spanish-style hacienda, now richly covered, probably, in brocade like something out of Balmoral) and is now under the cool white stone walkways on the far north side.

here’s a helpful map so you can picture exactly where diesel books is.

we visited a lot of bookshops during our trip – we always do – but we know malibu is where we bought Maugham because we have the bookmark which came as a perforated extra to tear off from the card we bought there (are you keeping up with all this detail? we’re not sure We are – it just flows, sometimes – need to pop to the kitchen-ette to pour more coffee – don’t go away, darlings.)

pause.

gosh. that was a lovely sip. did you enjoy yours?

where were we?

oh yes.

Malibu.

so the perforated card had a photograph of Shakespeare & Co on the front (yes, in Paris, yes, we’ve been, no we don’t believe George invited us upstairs to the Hotel Tumbleweed but it is possible, our memories from those far-off-radical-student days of wandering paris with half a baguette, some libations and not much money, are Somewhat Hazy). and, on the back, a deliciously poignant quote from Joan Didion (who does poignancy so heart-breakingly-well):

Another thing I need to do,
when I’m near the end of the book,
is sleep in the same room with it
Joan Didion

of course this quote is about Writing a book, not Reading a book (many have imagined the latter which is probably why it makes a Good bookmark).

the source?

oh, forgive.

it’s here: Paris Review, 1978

we Started talking about Maugham and got really off track…….

so we bought Maugham in Malibu and finished reading The Skeptical Romancer in Manhattan (but read most of it at the Hotel Chamberlain, wrapped in a cool towel under the striped shades of the gazebo at the east side of the pool, staying out of the sun when it got too high up in the sky and we feared burning).

in fact the book is quite sun-burned itself – you know how paperbacks get that toasted appearance when enjoyed in the high heat of summer and bits of salted pool water drip onto the pages and cause ripples in the fabric? that’s what our copy is like now. just picking it up makes us remember applying a little more Factor Whatever and sipping some cool, cool glass of water and lying back with a Very satisfied Sigh to read for another hour (the bliss of vacations).

we Hesitate to recommend it because it was written a Long Time Ago when, how can we put this, people (ok, the British) had attitudes towards People of other places that make one squirm and feel Rather upset and pretty angry, actually (especially if one contains the blood of three-waring-nations oneself and is an immigrant to yet another land so feels Part of as opposed to Separate).

so that caveat out of the way (we do mean it – be careful if you attempt to read this book – some of the words and ideas will not be Kind to one’s Modern Sensibility), we wanted to share some of our favourite/favorite/choicest allusions and passages.

shall we read on?

are you snuggled up with a morning coffee or late tea or, if you have the enzyme, a glass of something rather-more-potent?

(clears throat)

(adjusts reading lamp)

to set the mood (quote coming up from Maugham’s sojourn in seville) here is a photograph of a shady entrance hall in Madrid (we are sorry we have nothing from Seville but at least it’s the Right Direction).

P.144 |

I had already published a novel and it had had an unexpected success. I thought my fortune was made, and, abandoning medicine to become a writer, I went to Spain. I was then twenty-three. I was much more ignorant than are, it seems to me, young men of that age at the present day. I settled down in Seville. I grew a moustache, smoked Filipino cigars, learnt the guitar, bought a broad-brimmed hat with a flat crown, in which I staggered down the Sierpes, and hankered for a flowing cape, linen with green and red velvet.

P. 145 |

It was heavenly to live in Seville in the flower of one’s youth. I postponed my education to a more convenient moment. The result is that I have never read the Odyssey but in English and I have never achieved my ambition to read A Thousand Nights and a Night in Arabic.

P. 147 |

Later on I joined the Intelligence Department……the work appealed both to my sense of romance and my sense of the ridiculous. The methods I was instructed to use in order to foil persons who were following me; the secret messages in a mysterious fashion; the reports smuggled over a frontier; it was all doubtless very necessary but so reminiscent of what was then known as the shilling shocker that for me it took most of its reality away from the war and I could not but look upon it as little more than material that might one day be of use to me.

P. 147 – 8 |

I went, looking for beauty and romance and glad to put a great ocean between me and the trouble that harassed me. I found beauty and romance, but I found also something I had never expected. I found a new self.

isn’t that glorious?

would you like one more passage?

let’s see….

(flicking swiftly through turned-down-tops-of-pages with a slight, yet attractive, frown)

ah yes!

INDIA.

(looking over at the photo files, looking for a suitable shot)

P. 193 |

As the sun was setting I wandered into the Mosque. I was quite alone. As I looked from one end along the chambers into which it is divided I had an eerie, mysterious sense of its emptiness and silence. I was a trifle scared. I can only put into words that make no sense: I seemed to hear the noiseless footfall of the infinite.

this is not a post about Our interpretations or experiences of both Spain and INDIA but just to say that both have a distinct and rather curious scent-on-the-wind. We found that Spain had a toasty-dark-coffee-charred-meat (the smell of excellent cafes with windows open through tiny twisty winding streets) and INDIA had extreme-heat-sweat-cinnamon-incense.

small observations – but potent, we feel.

so we leave you in India (metaphorically) as we take the book and carefully place it into the Victorian style (glass-fronted, dark wood) cabinet as a “book to keep” (most of our books are donated after reading – we like to share and let go and have Very Little Clutter as people who know us in RL are often shocked to find – “where is everything?!” said someone who visited us recently. “What sort of Everything?” we asked, innocently. “STUFF?” they said, perplexed. “Oh,” we smiled, “we don’t have stuff.” They left, confused. We took a soft pashmina from the side of the sofa and curled up back with the Maugham once more.)

we wish we could have read this to you Out Loud (we have a lovely speaking voice and if you knew us in RL, you know we like to pounce on people, open the moleskine-of-the-moment and say “oh god, can we read you this?”)

maybe one day we will……..

a teamgloria booktime-at-bedtime?

delicious.

(head slightly cocked sideways and smiling at you via the interweb).

by the way (or “btw” as the Young people say), thanks for all of your emails and notes and comments saying how glad you are that teamgloria is back.

at the risk of being Totally Post-modern: we are too.

we’d missed you.

we’d missed being us.

ok. now That was very confusing.

(potters off to make another pot of half-caf/half-decaf from the French Market in New Orleans.)

Lisbon – Madrid – NYC – may day protests

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Changed plans at Madrid after leaving Lisbon this morning.

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7 and a half hours later, landed in NYC.

And then drove around with a demented cab driver as all the streets were closed due to may day protests

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An interesting combination of former radicalism (Poll Tax Riots, student protests back at London University days), a moment in our life in shared housing, signing on (the dole) and getting immersed in various out-there-movements-surging-on-coldharbour-lane………all mixed up with tiredness and jetlag (from a very well-heeled business trip in Europe) and, we’ll be Honest, fear around Immigration that keeps our desire to participate somewhat muted at this juncture of our life and yet, and Yet, teaching certain people to become Clandestine Columnists and feel comfortable around Technology and thus Have A Voice feels like the Most Radical Acts we’ve ever done, darlings.

We made it home.

Let’s see what’s next.

en route once more: Madrid to Lisboa

after a Most delicious desayuno and a quick teaching-someone-Very-glam-and-Spanish-to-set-up-a-blog (welcome to the interweb new Clandestine Columnist!) and a swift’ish walk in the (surprising but sadly covering Much of Western Europe or The Continent right Now) rain – we set off for the airport and for the Next country (literally – turn Left for Portugal – if one is facing North, of course, and one Often doesn’t have a Clue which direction one Is facing and we Rather enjoy it, darlings).

beyond Tired.

and rather grumpy and feeling non-body-love (the new word for fat, apparently) or Rather generously curvy due to sitting on bottom for DAYS and not swimming and………

#sigh

Eating cake.

got to get off the sugar again.

Oh god.

we just don’t have the energy to detox.

Maybe (once we return to the USA) we’ll slip some Ridiculous amount of cash to the juice people and they can have those bizarre re-fridge-a-rate-Or bags at the ready so we can weep and wail in the comfort of our own apartment while Reducing.

This is turning into one of those Lady’s blogs about increasing/decreasing bottom size.

Not Happy.

We’d prefer to go back to the Scar.

Which says hello, by the way.

It’s an awfully polite scar.

Unlike its Disgruntled owner today.

And we Must get a better attitude because – at the other end of This Flight – members of our Family of Origin will be waiting.

Strewth.

As our colleagues from the New New world might say.

One must Be Prepared.*

*we were never a scout. But we did get asked to leave the Brownies for an incident involving our jealousy and apparently unwarranted accusations of nepotism – yes – we had a Large and vibrant vocab even at 8 – of Brown Owl’s daughter’s amassing of Badges at a more Rapid pace than teamgloria. There were insults thrown (guilty) and perhaps a Tantrum Thrown (not much change there then). We resolved never to submit to Wardrobe Inspection again – outside of a dimly lit nightclub in Sarf’ London or was it the East end of the East End? No matter. You get the idea, darlings ;)

star strewn comforter and english roses fabric at the window

And so our work event ended, at last and we got our spirit attended to (friends, conversation and a walk in the sunshine between cloud bursts) and our poor tired body back into the swimming costume and Into The Pool (our concierge found us a hotel about 30 mins away with a delicious spa set-up.) We winced slightly at the amount it cost, considering we’re paying for the high end corporate warrior place back in NYC too, but heigh ho, needs must and the curves were bursting and Not Happy until Several Lengths had been achieved, after three nights of Dinners and hours sitting on a clear Perspex chair For-three-whole-Days! (apart from our speech giving moments when we stood behind a podium (also Perspex).

Now?

Ah.

We’re outside the centre of Madrid, in a lovely tranquil spot, with our friends L & m at Their House, under a star strewn comforter next to the window softly draped with English roses fabric and an old-fashioned atomizer/room fragrance (fig, in case you’re curious, darlings) on top of a Balenciaga monograph, the paper lantern diffusing happy light spots on the tartan/plaid blanket.

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More pictures from our day?

Why, of course (and thank You for the lovely text from the Other Coast saying how much you were enjoying such Spanish scenes ;)

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Waving from Spain!

Off to Lisbon tomorrow………

to the casino, by night.

Tonight’s event was at the casino de madrid

And it was glorious…….

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We are Beyond exhausted…..but have to admit it was Rather Glam at the casino de madrid this evening, darlings.

Gosh.

No.

Not gambling.

But celebrating.

That’s all we can say.

The scarlet pashmina was a (Spanish-themed) success.

And now we can pass it on to a new home…….

The ballet shoes are a keeper.

We bought those very good quality leather soled Italian ones and Thoroughly enjoyed the way they encourage one to g l i d e through the streets of late night Spain, pashmina pulled tightly around one’s shoulders, satin clutch-clutched-to-the-bosom, long (black satin) bias cut skirt floating prettily like diaphanous butterfly wings beneath the tightly woven helmut lang knit-to-the-ground.

Not sure we Really want to dress like A Lady that Often (one feels awfully stared at and yet invisible and powerless and a Bit Silly all at the same time).

But occasionally, we now know, it’s something of a Pleasure.

And a Certain Very Chic person gets a kick out of it (you know who you Are) and that Pleases us Tremendously!

;)

Sleep well, darlings (or have a safe commute home to our American friends and good morning, Asia!)

So Modern, as William says.

Buenas noches, jet-lag. #madrid

Oh dear.

We felt we had Quite Escaped.

But no.

Jet lag has Arrived.

We have a Long Day ahead.

And it’s now 1.27 AM, precisely, in Madrid.

Lying here helplessly.

Despite watching Korea Today (the presenters had Most distracting Ivy League accents) and comparing news bulletins on american, middle east and the BBC channels and a dubbed soap with some of the actors from beverlyhills90210 (could not Quite place the year – the skin tone was ultra smooth and tank tops in vivid brights have never gone Out of fashion in L.A, it seems) and then an Arabic sub-titled quarter of an hour of Atonement (lovely satin gowns and drop waist cotton sprigged dresses and bobs and Black Tie for Dinner and mind your manners, Briony) until it got to the sad bit and then……..oh, you get the idea.

Jet Lag is hideous.

Still.

Thanks to diptic (app-thingy), we had a Burst of creativity.

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We’re going to be Ever so cross in the morning with Frown Lines.

#sigh

How was your day, darlings?

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shoes and chandeliers. #madrid

Not Doctor’s Orders to do three night-time-day-job-engagements so we fulfilled our commitments today (two speeches, both went Very Well, we thought Modestly) and showed Up to the fiesta this evening (long black dress, ballet shoes, sleek hair, pearls, pashmina – black one tonight, scarlet went down Rather splendidly Last Night) albeit Briefly.

and then took a little walk back to the hotel for an Early night, following a Light supper.

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The hotel is lovely.

And we did enjoy a chandelier supported by a more Modern lighting rig ;)

Oh! Forgot to share……..our lady colleagues wore quite Delicious shoes – we took a few snaps…….

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Impressive, non?

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piazza lunch to candlelit parties

In between the work-y moments there was a real respite over a proper Lunch in a Piazza…

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A walk through the winding streets, in vivid sunshine.

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Admiring Rather virile sculpture.

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And then, this evening, there was a festive moment or two – mostly by candlelight ( which is By Far the Kindest glow when one has a Scar, darlings).

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Even the statuary en route was Ever so Beautifully lit.

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