Little sister


The so-called “little” Hagia Sophia / Aya Sofia (also once known as the church of saints Sergius and Bacchus) is tucked down a little side street and doesn’t seem to be hugely visited, but I thought it was actually much nicer than the big sister 🙂

All photos March 2018.

Hagia Sophia


The Hagia Sophia, glory of the early 6th century building spree that the emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora went on the 520s and 30s had to be a must see when in Istanbul recently. After all, I’d spent the best part of two months studying this history at uni and the myth-making, deliberate rebranding and reinvention and circularity of Byzantine history fascinated me.


Unfortunately it was a cold and gloomy day and large parts of it were under renovation. (Stay with me – I don’t want to be like some of those tourists a friend overheard in the Sistine Chapel drawling “well I thought it would be more impressive.”) I did find the main body of the church impressive but also not somewhere I wanted to linger.


It was initially a real shock – I’d expected something completely different, and maybe if I’d visited on a sunny day where the interior felt blessedly cool and the sunlight lit up the curves of the dome and gold mosaics I’d have had a different first impression.


As it was, it felt grand but funereal and it wasn’t till I got up in the galleries that I really started to enjoy it.


This is where the mosaics of Byzantium appeared, burial slabs for a doge of Venice who died on the Fourth Crusade, and painted ceilings soared above it all.


March 2018.

Overheard in London

Part of an ongoing series. There have been some crackers recently and the new season’s crop is in:

So my friend Jack has his friend Farid’s name on his foot, and for a while there was thing where if you had Farid’s name on you, he’d take your name too. So whilst Jack’s friends each have Farid’s on them, Farid has a LOT of names

“I’ve seen a lot of deaths, you know.”
“I believe you, scary man.”
“You don’t believe me, let me show you photos.”
“I believe you.”
“Let me show you photos.”

“Lets be clear, was it *a* vagina monologue you heard?”

(Woman) “Men like boobs, but I just think they’re gross.”

“I’ve written to the club apologising for my louche footwear and saying I wasn’t quite feeling myself last night.”

“And wherever I’ve been, I’ve never had scales. This is the first time I’ve had scales.” (Mental image of an urban dragon…)

“I just messaged her and said ‘watch yourself, I have far worse on you.’”

Lisa Milroy, mainly


A few weekends ago I went over to Bermondsey and Old Street to check out some new art. First up these installations at White Cube. An intriguing mix of colour and texture.


Then these, which I LOVED. Clever pieces of trompe l’oiel art that really messed with your mind.


Colourful, thought-provoking, fun art by Lisa Milroy on at the Parasol Unit, north London.

The still explosions

The still explosions on the rocks,

the lichens, grow

by spreading, gray, concentric shocks.

They have arranged to meet

the rings around the moon, although

within our memories they have not changed.

And since the heavens will attend

as long on us,

you’ve been, dear friend,

precipitate and pragmatical;

and look what happens. For Time is

nothing if not amenable.

The shooting stars in your black hair

in bright formation

are flocking where,

so straight, so soon?

— Come, let me wash it in this big tin basin,

battered and shiny like the moon.

Elizabeth Bishop, “Shampoo”.

Unknown girl


Excuse the poor quality of this image from the Panter and Hall catalogue, but I find her face very arresting. The listing just said “British school, 20th Century” and the collection had the good title Anonymous Muse