Saturday, December 13, 2008

christmas is upon us.

Dear sisters,

I am sprawled across our king size bed with one child, still fully clothed, snoring lightly next to me. The other is convinced he is going to stay up until I go to bed. We have already watched Harry Potter 3 and the Space Chimps and he is ready for sleep but he is adamant. He shall stay up so he can tell his friends he did so. His words. It is 8.51 p.m. My husband left today for a few days back to the homeland and the routine has slackened somewhat. We ate a self made pizza in the hand and the remains of the chinese take away out of the boxes. I don't think we will bother putting on our full pyjama's tonight.

I keep checking my e-bay account which I have rediscovered after years of absence, in the search for items for the themed new years party. Party like its 1929. I have become obsessed and after a history of never winning anything it looks like I am putting that right now. Sorry, honey, I think a lot of feather hats, capes and dead animal wraps are coming our way! Authentic. But as the sisters and mother need to be dressed too, it is alright, no? I also bought a quilt for the new house. So you know.

What is this new house, you speak of?

We don't know yet, but we will be in a new house 50 days from now. We have been given a 60 day eviction notice. The owners are returning from London earlier than expected. Financial services. We are waiting to hear if we can rent one particular house. Keeping the fingers crossed.

It is 9.30 p.m and Jip is out like a light.

In the meantime Christmas is upon us. What a difference a year makes. We are nearly ready to welcome you all into our house, sisters. Just a little organizing here and there. The Christmas tree is up and because A bought it, it scrapes the ceiling. He did that for you. The weather has turned colder. Bring your layers.

(our neighbors have lit up again.)

And the next day has been and passed. We did not get the house we wanted. The owner still wants to try and sell. We went to one of the three compulsory church services of the school year, and I spent the rest of the afternoon consolidating the e-bay purchases with the host of the party and a glass of wine. It is now done. I am no longer allowed on the site. Or maybe just for the auction of the outrageous 1920's pink ostrich feathered evening cape? It ends on Tuesday.


so many ways to dazzle

Dear Sisters.
Outside in Antwerp the ice was crisp this morning on my view, like a coat of frosted sugar; it dempened the scene, the colour greenish grey. Wispy bits of mist, now replaced by luminous sunshine. The pool is now frozen. There are white traces of frost smeared on flat black rooftops, frozen grease.

The opening of the exhibition went well; one gets into a different gear. Good people helped me. Now there is some kind of rest, as in, you get into a theatre, it takes three songs on the accordeon, cello and tuba for your chest to open up to what it is that you are hearing. Musicians must remember that it is not only they who need warming up and to get into the fully conscious listening mode. The trio Floorizone, Massot, Horbaczewski went from predictable to the most refined musical intercommunication. The cellist, the youngest of the three with the longest name, so young, Marine, at the end played a surprising flight of a bird on the strings near the bridge, it was magical. At times I imagined they switched between each other and were playing each other's instruments; that's how close their playing is.

I also saw this week a naked man come onto another stage, he was rummaging in a pile of earth for things, he was eating bananas and had a striking way of licking his thumbs before turning a page and when he wanted to read something he would hold the object very close to his eyes. Out of the earth he pulled clothes, champagne, out of a floor cupboard podium he would pull cassette tapes, bananas. The way he read things is with me everyday; the gesture is a miniature picture, his voice was unusual, he had a resonant wail. I don't know what the matter with him was; with his many strands of tears streaming down his face he looked like a Flemish primitive jewel. And when he came onstage 'buck naked in the eyes of the Lord' as David Byrne would say, he embodied, astonishingly, the painting of Adam, on the outer panel of Adam and Eve in the Ghent altarpiece which was in fact only a couple of hundred metres away from the national theatre in Ghent.

This I found most chilling. And the tears. More Van Eyck in the Arnolfini wedding green silk jacket which he touched like it contained a dearest person in the world but which was empty. The slits of eyes which needed some shade to fully open and let him in.

Then there were the words, which were saying one thing and sending a wholly different thing through; it is unnerving when people speak that way, I saw all kinds of images in front of my eyes, which were different from what the words were saying and this discrepancy also truly gets under your skin, or out of your skin and into another sense of space and time. It does something to your sense of gravity and time. I will have to go and see it again. Since this was the striking, lead-in-your-shoes performance of Steven Van Watermeulen in Krapp's last tape by Samuel Beckett at NTGent, which has its axis on the idea of repetition, this will be most apt. Also to see what the "genie in the bottle" (that's a better word here for actor)conveys to me next time. As the character rummaged in the pile of earth chips there was an illuminated cloud of dust that got into our mouths and eyes. Talk about sharing. The dust frankly upstaged the dazzle of my Swarovski purse that I had brought along for the occasion. There are SO many ways to dazzle and be brilliant.
Love, S2