Blog of the week – chocolate

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Sometimes you just need chocolate. Lots of chocolate. I first saw the recipe for this double-chocolate brownies here, and then searching for the image I also came across this blog here and thought I’d better link that too.

Try both, make lots: buy *all* the chocolate, and then come and see me. These are so getting made this weekend. I like the comment that they last 5 days. Um, more like one?

Anyway, the blog…after a recent trip to a Venezualan cafe (delicious, by the way), I was definitely intrigued by My Colombian Kitchen. There’s a spicy (savoury) orange salad, stuffed potatoes and hot avocado sauce. And chocolate. What’s not to like?

The American Dream

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Currently being analysed, dissected and put on display at the British Museum in their fantastic exhibition of post-war art, from pop art to minimalism to photo-realism, and from the AIDS epidemic to artists dealing with feminist and racial issues.

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There were a few nods to Liechtenstein, Warhol and Wayne Thiebaud, but a lot of this art will be new to UK viewers, and that’s great too.

All photos my own.

Passmore Edwards Sailors Palace

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At a time when government seems to be relying more on old-fashioned philanthropy to keep services running, rather exert itself to help, I was intrigued to see this building in East London recently.

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Passmore Edwards was a philanthropist of the 1890s and 1900s whose other endowments include the library that is now part of the Bush Theatre in West London. In the new century, he endowed this mock Tudor gatehouse to be a place of rest for international sailors staying in London on leave.

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Poignantly the project, opened by the Kaiser and Edward VII, fell through when WW1 broke out. But the building remains, and more can be read about it here and here.

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Blog of the week

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I was searching for something else which will feature on the blog soon when I came across the blog Ornamental Passions, dedicated to noticing all those small details on buildings’ windowframes and doormantels, carved plaques and now-baffling statues that London teems with. To my delight, one of the first posts I read shed light on this statue that I often pass in Lincolns Inn Fields.

Paolozzi

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I feel I ought to go and see this Eduardo Paolozzi show at the Whitechapel Gallery – it would be like eating a bright bowl of kale (not as bad as you fear, and surprisingly energising) – and I do really want to know more about the artist whose Tottenham Court Road mosaics I’m getting increasingly fond of. But…

It’s the last weekend and I haven’t got there yet, which tells you a lot, especially as I’ve been seeing lots of art recently, like this and this. Something tells me I’m not getting there.

 

Watercolours

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A few weeks ago, I went to a fantastic free exhibition at The British Museum taken from their prints and drawings collection. It covers 150 years from Cotman and Turner to Sutherland and Rothenstein and all styles from nature studies and travel art to war studies.

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The real delight was seeing artists I’d never discovered before. From top to bottom: Joseph Brett / John Singer Sargent / Hercules Brabazon Brabazon (best name ever?!) / CW Nevison / Edward Wandsworth / Michael Rothenstein / Anna Airy / Joseph Pennell / James McBey / Elizabeth Forbes

Revisionism

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I haven’t got into Malcolm Gladwell’s writing, but I’m really enjoying this podcast, which is quite short and high-level, but has some interesting scenarios. In the two episodes I’ve listened to so far, Gladwell has talked about moral licensing (how making a small concession is used as an excuse to withdraw from wider change), and the point that intelligence failure is inevitable as each agent listens to reports through their own lens.

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These points aren’t new, but his comparison of a Vietnam project spiralling out of control in search of more data with the current war on terror ($1m in 1965, versus 1271 state agencies investigating counter-terrorism in the US today), and of an 1870s artist who nearly became the first female member of the RA with Julia Gillard are interesting.

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My only suspicion is that Gladwell’s eagerness to demonstrate that the “forgotten” situations are still relevant to today skews his summaries of the past. I’d also argue that the past doesn’t need to be relevant to the future in order to legitimise it, and it’s a complex point how far we can learn from the past in any case, but that unaddressed overtone just makes the podcast more thought-provoking.