Johannes had a birthday. So we bought some steak. We never buy steak, here, bewildered by its price. But this is a birthday. Which meant we also drank the last of our special occasion Hendricks gin, and ate the steak with roasted potato and, because we were too tired to make a proper béarnaise, added a lot of chopped fresh tarragon and a little bit of garlic to mayonnaise, and it was delicious. This weekend I’m finishing a skirt, and preparing for the (very first) houseguests we’ll be receiving here in Toronto.

In the meantime, I leave you with this:

Since The Toast stopped posting I’ve been rereading old favourites, like this one on how the comment section of all articles on pubic hair grooming always look the same.

If you’re sick of washing the dishes today, go read Silvia Federici’s Wages Against Housework manifesto, originally published in 1975.

The War Room, a fun documentary on the 1992 presidential race, which Bill Clinton eventually won, featuring a very young George Stephanopoulus and directed by Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker. Sadly Hillary Clinton only makes a few sparse appearances, but her hair makes up for it.

This episode of This American Life, on being fat, has stuck with me for weeks after listening to it.

And to end things on a happy note (ha, got you there, no happy notes here), Andrea Dworkin’s short story The New Woman’s Broken Heart, part of an anthology under the same title. You can download the anthology here for free (along with most of Dworkin’s other books, too! )






I’m running out of ways to say We’re working too much and I’m very tired, except to say that yesterday, in the midst of this April snow, I was thinking of But These Things Also by Edward Thomas, which I believe I first read in a book about suicide in high school –

But these things also are Spring’s –

On banks by the roadside the grass
Long-dead that is greyer now
Than all the Winter it was;

The shell of a little snail bleached
In the grass; chip of flint, and mite
Of chalk; and the small birds’ dung
In splashes of purest white:

All the white things a man mistakes
For earliest violets
Who seeks through Winter’s ruins
Something to pay Winter’s debts,

While the North blows, and starling flocks
By chattering on and on
Keep their spirits up in the mist,
And Spring’s here, Winter’s not gone.

Spring’s here, Winter’s not gone. So I walked to the store and bought tulips, and came home and baked a cake, but I was so tired that as I took the cake from the oven it fell, so now I have a cake that seems as if someone absentmindedly sat on it. At least the tulips are pretty.

This weekend I am RESTING. But we’re also going to a screening of Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures and Ken Jacobs’s Little Stabs of Happiness, and I’m buying leggings. I also need to finish the bloody shift dress I’ve been sewing for a month, and I’m going to this exhibition of paintings, at a hipster gallery in Parkdale. For now I leave you with this:

The beautifully Modernist aesthetic of Willard Maas’s Geography of the Body.

Ariel Levy’s fabulous feminist reading list.

This most moving Dutch documentary, on Afrikaans poet Gert Vlok Nel, described as “Gert Vlok Nel woont in Beaufort-Wes, een troosteloos dorpje in de Groot Karoo, het platteland tussen Kaapstad en Johannesburg.” Een troosteloos dorpje could be the title of every book I ever write.

This glorious reading list from the women at Femina Ridens, which should keep you in reading material for quite a while.

A series of podcasts on Charles Manson and the Manson Family, on You Must Remember This, which I found especially interesting for the way it sketches the larger cultural context of the sixties in America. Good for listening to while working on a project – I’ve been listening to it when I sew.

And finally, the titular poem from Saeed Jones’s Prelude to Bruise – 

In Birmingham, said the burly man—

Boy, be
a bootblack.

Your back, blue-black.
Your body,                     burning.

I like my black boys broke, or broken.
I like to break my black boys in.

See this burnished
brown leather belt?
You see it, boy?

Are you broke, or broken?
I’m gonna break your back in.

Good boy. Begin: bend
over my boot,

(or I’ll bend you over my lap–rap rap)

again, bend. Better,

butt out, tongue out,
lean in.

Now, spit-shine.

My boot, black.
Your back, blue-black.

Good boy.
Black boy, blue-black boy.
Bad boy–rap rap.

You’ve been broken in.
Begin again, bend.


The work is not letting up, and I’ve had to forsake this space this week so that I can do the things that pay the bills. There are a lot of food I’ve been making I’d like to write about, so that’s my plan for the weekend – hang out at a delightful café named The Walton, and write. I should also really finish the damn dress I’ve been sewing for a couple of weeks now, and hopefully we’ll get to see Yumen, an experimental documentary about urban decay in China, that’s screening in Toronto on Sunday. In other news, my week was made much better by finding out that my old friend Gerhard is writing again, this time on a blog about food and books and flowers named The Dutch Oven. For now I leave you with the work of Serban Savu, whose depictions of the Romanian everyday I find so moving.

4_blocks-and-gardens-190x150cm-20000Blocks and Gardens, 2012, oil on canvas, 150 x 190 cm

4_unveiling-the-new-furniture-webUnveiling the New Furniture, 2010, oil on canvas, 137 x 109 cm

4_serban-savu-galeria-plan-b-summer-kitchen-oil-on-canvasSummer Kitchen, 2009, oil on canvas, 130 x 106 cm

4_early-days-of-summer-20x30Early Days of Summer, 2008, oil on canvas, 20 x 30 cm


a457a4c663e2a40598357329315a87dcSmall Talk after Lunch, 2012, oil on canvas, 103 x 130 cm


4_34-weekendWeekend, 2007, oil on canvas, 64 x 100 cm

93d0172af964ecc3d250ab34b3ccb3c5The Card Players, 2011, oil on canvas, 135 x 180 cm



This has been a week of working very long hours. So we’re heading out of town for two days, to the garish streets of Niagara Falls and the wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake. And we are, for the first time in North America, staying in a motel. I AM BEYOND MYSELF. I’m bringing Dirty Old London: The Fight Against Filth, to read to Johannes in the car and in the mornings in bed.

In the meantime, I leave with you with this:

Watch these two bizarre documentaries I recently came across, Once We Were Naked, and Africa’s Naked Tribe, made by infamous South African nudist Beau Brummel, which features Charles Darwin, Beau Brummel’s ample chest hair, and the phrase “genetic urge” used far too often. Also, you get to see naked people go on game drives. BEST. (I shouldn’t have to add that there’s a LOT of problematic elements to these two films, including on the level of representation. You’ve been warned.)

Listen to the episode Status Update on This American Life. I am an unabashed fan of this radio show as many of you know, but this episode struck me especially on account of the first story, about teenage girls and how they use Instagram. The other stories on the episode are good too – an interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates, and a story on debt collection in an African-American neighbourhood in the States.

Look at Jim Shaw: The End is Here, a Tumblr that is part of an exhibition of Jim Shaw’s work, including his collection of thrift store paintings, where people can submit paintings they themselves have found at thrift stores.

Watch this footage of the remarkable piece of protest art, In Mourning and Rage, from 1977, when a group of feminist artists moved on City Hall in the wake of a series of violent rapes and murders in the Los Angeles area. It feels particularly apt after yesterday’s news about Jian Ghomeshi’s acquittal.

Ps: I spent most of the week working at Café Pamenar in Kensington Market, and on Tuesday we discovered that Trinity Common, the beer hall next door, has buck-a-shuck deals happening. See, there really is no reason to ever leave the Market.





This weekend we’re watching some films by George Kuchar and Arthur Ginsberg, bottling wine and buying plants for the apartment, because It. Is. Spring. On Sunday we’re cooking brunch for some friends, which means we’ll also spend a substantial part of the next two days cleaning the house.

I leave you with the work of Paulina Olowska, which I discovered this week. These paintings are all from the 2010 series Applied Fantastic, and are based on vintage Polish knitting patterns. (I know. I know.)

PO_580Klaun, 2010. Oil on canvas, 68.9 x 49.21 inches

PO_630Wooly Jumpers, 2010. Oil on canvas, 68.9 x 49.21 inches

4e894c61-lgCardigan Jedrek, 2010. Oil on canvas, 76.77 x 55.12 inches




Images from Metro Pictures Gallery and Contemporary Art Daily. Titles and dimensions included if they were available.




Plans for this weekend include having a drink at Bar Begonia in the Annex, spending a day finishing my Ginger skirt and making headway on my Cabin shift dress at The Workroom, and having a waffle brunch at the home of some friends. And reading! I’m currently stuck into Attica Locke’s Pleasantville, and dipping in and out of the delightful Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets.

But I’ll leave you with a list of good things to watch, read or listen for the next few days –

Watch The New Rijksmuseum, a documentary by Oeke Hoogendijk, which chronicles the painful renovation process of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I especially love the parts of the film that deal with the ferocious fietsersbond (the cycling union), and the mere fact that a union for cyclists is something that exists makes my heart weep with joy for the beauty of the Dutch. Also, getting to see how an institution like the Rijksmuseum stores the hundreds of thousands of pieces in its collection is astounding.

Read Ariel Levy’s devastating Thanksgiving in Mongolia. This is one of those pieces of which it is better to know nothing about beforehand, so I’ll leave it at that.

Listen to the episode Ask Leah from the now-defunct TLDR podcast, about a young woman who, quite by accident, became the giver of advice to geeky teenage boys in the early days of the Internet, on the gaming website IGN. This podcast reminded me how the best part of being an adult is that I never have to be any of the ages between fourteen and twenty-one again.

Read this article on the preppers of Pinterest, about one of the best intersections to come out of the Internet, and –

Watch this delightful compilation of advertisements on douching.

British Pathé

For this weekend, I leave you with a list of amazing videos from the British Pathé archive. They are sexist and problematic on a number of levels (Orientalism, anyone?), but fascinating nonetheless.

This is the video that led me down the rabbit hole, on wallpaper and matching fabrics.

If you’ve ever wondered how textured wallpaper is made, there’s this. Be still my beating heart.

These gorgeous colours and textures, on the manufacturing of wool.

Sexism and a paint job.

A bizarre fashion show.

Silk worms!

How sublime is this pasta harvesting?

The doll head contraption is my new favourite thing.