samedi 30 avril 2011

My one and only wish now is to

Have a new nose.

"Allergic rhinitis, pollenosis or hay fever is an allergic inflammation of the nasal airways. It occurs when an allergen such as pollen or dust is inhaled by an individual with a sensitized immune system, and triggers antibody production. The specific antibody is immunoglobulin E (IgE) which binds to mast cells and basophils containing histamine. IgE bound to mast cells are stimulated by pollen and dust, causing the release of inflammatory mediators such as histamine (and other chemicals)."

*image by oldcatsdiet from here

mercredi 27 avril 2011

Coming up

Now many a great hour is spent between burying my head into Virginia Woolf's selected diaries and banging my head against the laptop screen featuring the dreaded dissertation - but very soon I will be writing a little paris guide for you and also for my own future reference too.

Until then. x

*Image by Imke Lee (her flickr photostream and blog!), text by me.

mardi 26 avril 2011

a (tiny) room of one's own

Sayaka Minemura lives in Kanagawa, Japan. She has the most charming room and breakfast project which reflect her idiosyncrasies and imagination. The day-to-day fun in life, as she photographed so frequently, is endless, and contagious (:

Her flickr photostream and blog (in japanese).

dimanche 24 avril 2011


If there were no eternal consciousness in a man, if at the bottom of everything there were only a wild ferment, a power that twisting in dark passions produced everything great or inconsequential; if an unfathomable, insatiable emptiness lay hid beneath everything, what would life be but despair?
- Søren Kierkegaard

I hope today will be a great day for fulfilment, reflection and celebration for you too; for life is no longer a futile, bottomless void.

Happy Easter!


vendredi 22 avril 2011

Finally, an about me page!


jeudi 21 avril 2011

Dancing to a sweet ballad

Dance till the stars come down from the rafters
Dance, Dance, Dance till you drop.
- W.H. Auden

All photos by Marais USA

In April, I...

*photos by brian at the blue hour, taken at the Duke of Cambridge

1. Went to the Duke of Cambridge for SY's birthday (Thanks for taking us there!). Sitting in the conservatory surrounded by warm light at dusk and brick walls, chatting and drinking and eating a really good smoked mackerel salad and bread and olive oil mmmmmm is pure ecstasy. Oh glorious, glorious food, the spring/summer produce in England is especially irresistible.

2. Frequented Le Pain Quotidien for breakfast, lunch and tea. Their mixed berry tart is the best!

3. Picnicked under the huge cherry blossom tree in Regent's Park.


lundi 18 avril 2011

Cinematic Writing III

'New York was an inexhaustible space, a labyrinth of endless steps, and no matter how far he walked, no matter how well he came to know its neighborhoods and streets, it always left him with the feeling of being lost. Lost, not only in the city, but within himself as well. Each time he took a walk, he felt as though he were leaving himself behind, and by giving himself up to the movement of the streets, by reducing himself to a seeing eye, he was able to escape the obligation to think, and this, salutary emptiness within. The world was outside of him, around him, before him, and the speed with which it kept changing made it impossible for him to dwell on any one thing for very long. Motion was of the essence, the act of putting one foot in front of the other and allowing himself to follow the drift of his own body. By wandering aimlessly, all places became equal, and it no longer mattered where he was. On his best walks, he was able to feel that he was nowhere. And this, finally, was all he ever asked of things: to be nowhere. New York was the nowhere he had built around himself, and he realized that he has no intention of ever leaving it again.'

- Paul Auster, City of Glass (New York Trilogy)

lundi 11 avril 2011

Ces bottes sont faites pour marcher

After wandering in markets and picnicking under the glorious spring sun, finishing two rather heavy books (in order to combat my very last philosophy essay of the year) and spilling vintage apple cider on my macbook and panicked (macbook is fine but a few keys became sticky, eek!) lately, I am back to contemplating about shoes.

In the past month, I have been trying to hunt down a good pair of suede ankle bottines, hoping that it will add to my wardrobe staples (which are actually, already filled with timeless staples in the safest shades). But when I tried on a pair at APC in New York, they just didn't look right - or rather, they are lovely, but they really don't go well with me. (It could be due to my height, could be due to the cut, how it allows space for the ankle to move around during walking cycle, how it alters my gait. This I shall never elucidate)

Another garment that suffers the similar fate for me is a blazer. I've seen many really well-cut, beautiful blazers, and many girls looking rather superbly stylish in a blazer. But whenever I try on one, it just feels so wrong, so wrong that I don't feel like being myself momentarily unless I ditch it and switch back to my faithful cardigans.

So now, I am back into searching for the androgynous, playful oxfords to be worn through winter to spring and ha, they are really the boots made for walking, let it be cobblestone paths, mosaic grounds or English countryside.

samedi 9 avril 2011

The Lofty Lofts

‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s' (1961) Holly Golightly: 167 East 71st Street, Apartment 2

‘Sex and the City' (2008) John Preston and Carrie Bradshaw: 1010 Fifth Avenue

‘Flight of the Conchords' (2007–9) Jemaine and Bret: 28 Henry Street

Dream on, dream on. Perhaps one day a clinic on Upper East Side, an apartment in West Village?

mardi 5 avril 2011


Metropolitan Museum of Art: the archive of every possible art form

Guggenheim Museum: constant flux of people and modern art, with an impressive collection of Kandinsky (they said no pictures inside and were very strict about it, having guards standing all over the place - God knows how I managed to actually take out my film slr and shot!)

moMA: for my beloved Matisse.

Unphotographable - Whitney Museum: for Edward Hopper and paintings of empty diners, à la My Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

Missed - Jewish Museum: for a major exhibition of Maira Kalman, my favourite illustratrice.

dimanche 3 avril 2011

Bill oh Bill

One of the greatest joy in New York is to see Bill Cunningham New York on the big screen. I was there early for 1:30pm monday screening at Film Forum, only to be surrounded by equally early, but much more elegantly dressed people. Most of them are old couples who are impeccably dressed in co-ordinated colour scheme, smiling and sipping coffee on the side. Oh dear tweed suits! I feel so at home.

The documentary itself is incredible - not only because its masterful filming by Richard Press, but because Bill Cunningham is such an enticing character - originally from Boston, he dropped out of Harvard, became hat-maker under the name 'William J.', started writing about fashion and introduced American readers to Jean-Paul Gaultier, started taking pictures on the streets and published by New York Times and many other influential publications, and lived in a tiny studio in Carnegie Hall surrounded by filing cabinets and 5 pieces of clothing - and on top of all these, became the first ever street fashion photographer.

Below is my favourite synopsis of the film (which was displayed in the cinema as a giant poster), by Carina Chocano - you cannot get a better description of this legendary, visionary octogenarian.


A few moments into the film “Bill Cunningham New York,” its subject — the legendary street-fashion photographer and society chronicler for The New York Times — is seen darting into the maw of Midtown traffic, unconcerned about the threat of death by taxi. Fast, intensely focused and apparently able to tune out all but the shot he’s after, Mr. Cunningham calls to mind a war photographer, which is an unlikely thing for an 82-year-old fashion photographer to call to mind.

Later in the film, however, Kim Hastreiter, the co-editor of Paper magazine and a frequent subject of Mr. Cunningham’s, makes the same observation. “He’ll do anything for the shot,” she says, as he runs into the street to get in front of a young woman in a sequined sheath. “I’ve been in deep conversations with him where he’ll just run from me because he sees someone.”

By this point in “Bill Cunningham New York,” Richard Press’s captivating and moving portrait of a singular man and a passing era, it’s possible to view what Mr. Cunningham does as the flip side of war photography, and not entirely unrelated. He seeks out and captures humanity amid the maelstrom of life, looking for what Harold Koda, chief curator at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, describes in the film as “ordinary people going about their lives, dressed in fascinating ways.” In these fleeting and otherwise unseen or unremarked moments, Mr. Cunningham finds something creative, life-affirming and free, and preserves it forever.

The film goes about its business just as its subject does — quietly, modestly, almost invisibly. Mr. Press and the cinematographer Tony Cenicola (a staff photographer for The Times) followed Mr. Cunningham around New York for two years, with no crew, tagging along to charity events and runway shows. They visited him in the lost-in-time world of the Carnegie Hall studios, where Mr. Cunningham and the 98-year-old photographer Editta Sherman, the last two residents on their floor, faced eviction after decades. Interspersing lively insights from Mr. Cunningham with affectionate stories from longtime friends and subjects — socialites, editors, models, eccentrics, dandies, avant-gardists, curators and neighbors — Mr. Press has created an intimate portrait that feels more found or captured than it does constructed.

To pay attention to Mr. Cunningham’s work, especially since his “On the Street” column became a multimedia slide show featuring his seemingly improvised commentary, is to sense that something sets him apart, that his work is animated not only by a refined eye but also by a worldview. With his raspy Yankee drawl, he sounds like Katharine Hepburn’s bon vivant cousin. But in one of the many contradictions that define him, his life is one of monastic solitude and simplicity.

He owns what look to be roughly five articles of clothing. (His signature piece is the same royal blue workman’s jacket worn by Parisian street sweepers, which sells for about $20 and comes in a plastic bag.) He favors $3 lunches. Until he moved, when Carnegie Hall reclaimed the artists’ residences there for other uses, he lived in a tiny studio with no kitchen and with a bathroom down the hall. He gets around on an old bicycle and sleeps on a cot surrounded by filing cabinets containing every negative of every shot he has ever taken. And yet somehow the patrician image is further burnished by the radical lifestyle. He’s an aesthete and an ascetic, a member of the establishment and a bohemian, and among the last of his kind.

In an essay in The New York Review of Books shortly after J. D. Salinger’s death, Michael Greenberg described Salinger’s characters as being what Tolstoy called “aristocrats of the spirit” whose “quest is for an almost impossible purity that drives them away from the workaday world, toward a dangerous, self-burying seclusion.” Mr. Cunningham could easily be the eighth Glass sibling, and the other seven would be glad to have him. He loves taking pictures of people in the rain because they “forget about you,” he says. “If they see you, they don’t go putting on airs, people are who they are.” When France names him a chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters, he spends the time up to when he is about to receive the award snapping photos of the guests in attendance.

If the film suggests that there’s something bittersweet about a life dedicated to a single pursuit cultivated with an almost religious fervor, it also stands in awe of its subject’s seemingly inexhaustible, self-abnegating capacity to remain attuned to the expression of others.

“I’ve said many times that we all get dressed for Bill,” Anna Wintour, editor in chief of American Vogue, says in the film.

By staying at a distance from the objects of his obsession, Mr. Cunningham has molded himself into the designated noticer and interpreter of the city, a kind of Lorax of New York fashion.

“I don’t decide anything,” he says. “I let the street speak to me, and in order for the street to speak to you, you’ve got to stay out there and see what it is.”


I entered the theatre anticipating a film full of fun and fashion and frivolity, then came out in awe and admiration for Bill's vision and 'knock-your-socks-off' energy, but also more remarkably, remembering the values he upholds sternly, the way he strives to live painstakingly in solitude, and how he humbly accepts the Order of Arts in Paris, acclaiming that 'he who seeks beauty will find it'.

Bill, thanks for preserving and sharing with us the fleeting beauty you seek.

Further Reading:
Bill Cunningham on Wikipedia
On the Street on the New York Times (curated by Bill Cunningham weekly supplemented with pictures!)
Bill on Bill on New York Times (his autobiographical account)

vendredi 1 avril 2011

New York {in Red}

It's not what you look at that matters. It's what you see.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Being in New York feels like the vividest dream. Still busy scanning the photos I took during the 7-day trip, and witnessing the unique images extracted from film is the best souvenir one can ever have and share with others. To me, NYC epitomises the spirit of upheaval - the way it is constantly in flux, always buzzing with uncertainties and energy and stimulating vibe. Every day, you feel that something grand and significant is going to happen, something is going to radically change.

I am trying to organise the photos in colour-coding and will hopefully compile a list of things to do if any of you is wandering in NYC any time soon. Once again I would like to thank my loveliest friend Ruby for letting me stay with her and showing me around town (the cheap, good bites! nom nom.) :)

from top to bottom: Brooklyn Flea//Greenwich Village//Cake shop in Soho//Jewellery at Flea//some little things to bring back - AA nail varnish, Sofia Blanc de Blanc from the Coppola Winery (to be popped on the day when we finish dissertation!) and a gold chain with freshwater pearl made by a Brooklyn lady