Saturday, May 30, 2009

Red Rubber Bands

"They're everywhere it seems , and we're nothing if not helpful.

So, as a public service, we're going to collect the nation's discarded Royal Mail red rubber bands. Don't ask me what we're going to do with what we're sent. We're not sure yet.

But please, send YOUR discarded red rubber bands to:

iPM Red Rubber Band Collection
Room G601
BBC News Centre,
W12 7RJ.

BBC News magazine has these ten OTHER uses for them...."

Eddie Mair, BBC Radio 4 PM, 6.4.2009,
We want your red rubber bands!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Honest Threads

“The concept is simple: Häussler borrowed items of clothing from individuals who provided her with a story about them and a photo of the item in use. So a pair of black patent leather shoes loaned by the Mirvish family was accompanied by a text attesting that these shoes were a part of Ed’s everyday apparel and a photo showing him wearing them to throw out the opening pitch at a Toronto Blue Jays game.

Other stories and artefacts were more moving, even heartbreaking. Georgiana Uhlyarik’s yellow hat, for instance, was knitted by her mother in Romania the year Georgiana was born. Molly Sukaitis’s white wedding dress honors her marriage to the man whole life included escape from a Nazi concentration camp and eventual emigration to Canada, where, she writes, “he reckoned that everyone except aboriginals were foreigners. And Leo Kabilisa’s plain white shirt was given to him by a friend as they made their narrow escape from Rwanda in the midst of the 1994 genocide that devastated the country.

Honest Threads presented clothing as objects that have become invested with extraordinary significance and poignancy. To intimately share in these stories can be an emotionally costly experience, but if Iris Häussler has accomplished anything, it is to remind us that this is a price well worth paying.”

Gil McElroy, Iris Häussler: Honest Threads, in FiberArts Magazine, Summer 2009, Volume 36, Number 1, p.56

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pablo Neruda: Oda a los calcetines - Ode to My Socks

Oda a los calcetines

"Me trajo Maru Mori
un par
de calcetines
que tejió con sus manos
de pastora,
dos calcetines suaves
como liebres.
En ellos
métí los pies
como en
con hebras
y pellejo de ovejas.

Violentas calcetines,
mis pies fueron
dos pescados
de lana,
dos largos
de azul ultramarino
por una tranza de oro,
dos gigantescos mirlos,
dos cañones:
mis pies
fueron honrados
de este modo
tan hermosos
que por primera vez
mis pies me parecleron
como dos decrépitos
bomberos, bomberos,
de aquel fuego
de aquellos luminosos

Sin embargo
la tentación aguda
de guardarlos
como los colegiales
las luciérnagas,
como los eruditos
documentos sagrados,
el impulso furioso
de ponerlos
en una jaula
de oro
y darles cada día
y pulpa de melón rosado.
Como descubridores
que en la selva
entregan el rarísimo
venado verde
al asador
y se lo comen
con remordimiento,
los pies
y me enfundé
los bellos
luego los zapatos.

Y es ésta
la moral de mi oda:
dos veces
es belleza
la belleza
y lo que es bueno es doblemente
cuando es trata de dos calcetines
de lana en el invierno."

Ode to My Socks

"Maru Mori brought me
a pair
of socks
knitted with her own
shepherd's hands,
two socks soft
as rabbits.
I slipped
my feet into them
as if
jewel cases
with threads of
and sheep's wool

Audacious socks,
my feet became
two woolen
two long sharks
of lapis blue
with a golden thread,
two mammoth blackbirds,
two cannons,
thus honored
my feet
They were
so beautiful
that for the first time
my feet seemed
unacceptable to me,
two tired old
fire fighters
not worthy
of the woven
of those luminous

I resisted
the strong temptation
to save them
the way schoolboys
the way scholars
sacred documents.
I resisted
the wild impulse
to place them in a cage
of gold
and daily feed them
and rosy melon flesh.
Like explorers who in the forest
surrender a rare
and tender deer
to the spit
and eat it
with remorse,
I stuck out my feet
and pulled on
and then my shoes.

So this is
the moral of my odes:
twice beautiful
is beauty
and what is good is doubly
when it is a case of two
woolen socks
in wintertime."

by Pablo Neruda
translated by Margaret Sayers Peden

"Ode to My Socks - Oda a los calcetines" from SELECTED ODES OF PABLO NERUDA.
Edited /translated by Margaret Sayers Peden. Copyright (c) 1990 Regents of the University of California, (c) Fundacion Pablo Neruda.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


"PALM BEACH, Florida - Long before the number was redolent of bailouts and bank failure, David Neff decided that Trillion was the perfect name for his clothing store here on Worth Avenue, the town's boulevard of luxury retail.
The idea was to brace customers for the astronomical price tags - $6,800 for a sport jacket, $800 for a button down shirt - and to convey unparalleled opulence.
Then the meltdown vaporized the portfolios of multimillionaires here and, soon after, a beloved Wall Street wizard and Palm Beach homeowner named Bernie Madoff was unmasked as a fraud.
In Trillion, a lot of regular customers haven't been since Hurricane Madoff struck in December - including, of course, Mr. Madoff himself.
The last time he was here, he became enamored of a $2,000 pair of worsted spun cashmere pants, which Trillion didn't have in his size, and had to be ordered from Italy.
After the slacks arrived, but before Mr. Madoff could come by for a fitting, he was arrested.
'I remember I heard about the arrest and I went directly to the store to charge those pants on his credit card,' recalls Mr. Neff. 'But the card had already been canceled.'
So, what happened to the pants?
'They're in the racks,' Mr. Neff says, nodding toward the trouser section, 'over there.'"

David Segal, Poor in Palm Beach, or Feeling That Way, in:
The New York Times, Articles selected in Association with The Observer, 17 May 2009, p.7

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tea and mending

"So then Arthur settled to his law work and I to my 'parlour work'. We gave this name to any kind of sewing, from a story of my mother's. She had invited an old servant to come for tea, and the reply was: 'thank you, mam, I'll come when I have a bit of parlour work that I can bring.' When she came she brought a pair of her husband's trousers to mend."

A London Family 1870 - 1900, A Trilogy by M. Vivian Hughes, Geoffrey Cumberlege, Oxford University Press, London, New York, Toronto 1946, p.555

"Quaint aberrations"

"My late students [...] were pleased, I'm sure, to be able to turn the tables on me by giving me instructions in domestic work. They knew much more about sewing than I did, and taught me how to cut out, how to place a pocket, put in sleeves and other mysteries. As for knitting, I could soon turn a heel and was able to make quite elaborate patterns in fleecy white wool. Arthur assured me that he could knit too, but didn't hold with patterns. One evening when I was making a little woolly jacket of basket pattern, I left it to go into the kitchen. On my taking it up again, I found that Arthur had done a row to help me.
'But it's all wrong for the pattern,' I cried.
'No matter,' he said, 'you'll find such quaint aberrations all the time in really artistic work. Look at the Persian rug. And the small wearer won't notice the oddity, you'll see.'
So I kept it."

A London Family 1870 - 1900, A Trilogy by M. Vivian Hughes, Geoffrey Cumberlege, Oxford University Press, London, New York, Toronto 1946, p.547

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Motherhood & tea-towel

"This Kahlil Gibram-esque sense of parent-as-caretaker rather than as owner is of course also the thing that, as they slam the front door shut for the last time, [...] ensures that I will feel like an old torn tea-towel, crumpled up, chucked into the cupboard under the sink and duly consigned to a future of dusty pointlessness after years of domestic frontline duty."

Kathryn Flett, Upfront
The Observer Magazine, 10 May 2009, p.5

Shirt and Self

"Seeing a white shape in the garden in the half-light, Nasrudin asked his wife to hand him his bow and arrows. He hit the object, went out to see what it was, came back almost in a state of collapse.

'That was a narrow shave. Just think. If I had been in that shirt hanging there to dry, I would have been killed. It was shot right through the heart.'"

Idries Shah (1993), The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin, The Octagon Press, London, p.57

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Body and cloak

"Nasrudin's wife ran to his room when she heard a tremendous thump.

'Nothing to worry about,' said the Mulla, 'it was only my cloak which fell to the ground.'

'What, and made a noise like that?'

'Yes, I was inside it at the time.'"

Idries Shah (1993), The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin, The Octagon Press, London, p.61

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


"Some time after her father's death, she took his 'Lodenmantel' - the green Austrian overcoat which he had worn - and after carefully cleaning it and repairing it, hung it in the wardrobe of her own bedroom. There it would remain, unused, almost until she died. But for as long as she lived she would wear the mantle of her father's authority, endeavouring as she did so to guard the kingdom that was her inheritance."

Richard Webster, Why Freud was wrong: sin, science and psychoanalysis, Harper Collins Publishers, London 1996, p.430

Friday, May 01, 2009

Mailied - May song

"Am Ersten Mai
Gehn Vater und Mutter in einer Reih
Kämpfen für ein bessres Leben.
Fron und Armut darf’s nicht geben:
Da sind wir auch dabei.

Grün sind die Zweige
Die Fahne ist rot.
Nur der Feige
Duldet Not.

‘s ist Monat Mai.
Im Acker die Hälmchen stehn Reih an Reih.
Gute Ernte – gutes Leben!
Lasset uns die Hand drauf geben
Dass es die unsere sei.

Grün sind die Fluren
Die Fahne ist rot.
Unser die Arbeit
Unser das Brot!"

(On the first of May, Father and Mother walk in a row, fighting for a better life. There should be no drudgery or poverty, that's why we join in.

Green are the branches, the flag is red. Only the coward tolerates need.

It's the month of May. On the fields there are rows of green shoots. Good harvest - good life! Let's shake hands that it may be ours.

Green are the fields, the flag is red. Ours the work, ours the bread!)

Bertolt Brecht, Kinderlieder (1950)
Die Gedichte von Bertolt Brecht in einem Band, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt, 1984, p.974