Disgrace, Princess of Monaco

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Nice Panorama

Traveling is both an agony and the ecstasy. Everything is a pain in the arse until you get to your destination, and once you get there – everything is rainbows and unicorns. Last week I set off to explore Cote D’Azur. I desperately needed a break on my own – an escape to a fantasy land where every step has a potential to grow into adventure of a life time. Being a francophile as much as I am there was no need to wreck my brain about which destination to go for.

Early on Wednesday morning, I kissed the moody London goodbye and jumped on a plane to Nice. Only a short sleep later, I woke up to the most beautiful dream I ever seen. Recent weeks in London weren’t the best weeks I had since arriving in UK ten years ago. With the impeding gloom and doom of brexit which was progressively getting worse with each news headline, it was effectively completed with perpetual rain which was affecting me on the emotional level. This trip was so overdue,聽I was ready to run away.

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C么te d’Azur

Mediterranean air instantly brought me back to life. I craved for nothing else than to stretch out on the beach and forget about everything that burdened me over the past six months. Like a new born baby, I baptised myself in the Mediterranean sea, smeared some sun lotion and reborn as a pilgrim on the journey for inner peace and fulfilment. I had six days of freedom and I was going to use them to the max potential.

Like any brit tourist who hasn’t seen the sun for the past 100 years, I was doomed to get coup de soleil within first 3 days of my beach session. I also granted myself a permission to do two things which I rarely allow myself in London 聽– smoke and drink to an excess which came naturally in Nice since smoking and drinking wine even in AM hours was a conventional thing to do. Long walks around the city, the promenade, the train journeys along cote d’Azur 聽were soothing.No wonder this region was favourited by worlds elite and royalty over the decades. It’s picturesque landscapes and vast horizons became synonymous with happiness and good life. It has a certain quality of indulgence, a permission to celebrate each day as a gift, rather than living in struggle hoping for the better times ahead. Living in a moment has never been easier, better yet, it was inescapable.

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Monaco, C么te d’Azur

Of course, I was aware of my budget and I could not deny the fact that in order to live the life of fairy tale which is so beautifully advertised on instagram, you must be wealthy. Wealth is another synonym of cote d’Azur. It’s hard to be oblivious of it because it’s stares you directly in the face where ever you go. Luxurious hotels, cars, yachts, designer shops, restaurants, fancy dames with pampered pooches, villas with private swimming pools – all makes a fantastic parallel universe which is equally attainable and lightyears away for ordinary human beings. Yet I have never been to a place which would motivate me more to pursue the good life, to follow my dreams and to make cardinal life changes. And I wasn’t the only one.

There are always two sides of the coin. I was always susceptible to harsh truth which I still greeted with pragmatism. While I was feeling completely free and independent enjoying this trip alone, I had to endurea certain level of abuse which was totally underserved on my part. Not many people will relate to this because majority of people don’t travel alone, but I felt constantly subjected to a judgement which only a young woman can be subjected to on the occasion. I discovered that people in Cote d’Azur have a rather savage perspective on female travellers, especially if they arrive unaccompanied. In my case, I was constantly seen as a prostitute which was at first infuriating to the point I wanted to hide in my room just so I don’t have to explain another man I don’t wish to have his home address or pretend I didn’t hear how group of guys just called me une pute. Must say, you do get used to it after a while.

While I never had to face this type of judgement while living in London since the concept of the prostitute can only be applied to women in west end night clubs, a guy I met in Nice explained to me that south of France, especially places like Monaco and Cannes, is a magnet for women looking to gnaw the piece of that cosmic wealth accumulated in the region. C’est terrible after dark. Meeting a wealthy man is an aspiration for many women and while the cinderella phenomenon was possible few decades ago before dating apps came into place, now it’s so rare, it’s practically impossible. However it doesn’t stop flocks of young Eastern European women from traveling to Monaco looking for a better life.

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Streets of Monaco, C么te d’Azur

This realisation repealed me from even entertaining the idea of meeting the prince charming with a yacht on this holiday. Even if I could compete with model looking 聽courtesans, I would be seen too unsophisticated in my appearance and attitude, leave alone my hostility towards this exchange economy. What I saw instead, under the veneer of endless luxury and sophistication, lies rotting culture of exploitation and objectification. I stayed walking around Monaco until the dusk and left right before, once I again I was subjected to further abuse.

Cote d’Azur still puts me in a dream like state. If you choose to close your eyes on everything what happens in the privacy of luxury apartments, you will witness the beauty of the landscape, joyful holiday makers, and never-ending celebration of life which is so appealing to people around the world. I came back refreshed and full of ambition which I never had before. I am not the one to demonise the wealth, it’s not the money that’s bad, it’s what you can do with it. Princess, Grace of Monaco is a wonderful story indeed which is still being seen as the greatest cinderella story there ever was, but in the changing world we must look for new stories. Stories where women are able of creating their own fairy tales by creating a dream life for themselves without having to sacrifice their ambition or dignity. Until next time, C么te d’Azur! Merci and 脿 bient么t!

A NOTE:

This post 聽was written day before tragic events in Nice this Thursday so please don’t treat it as insensitive. I was still deeply in my holiday mode when I heard the news. I am experiencing immense sadness and regret for all the lives lost. The fact that was walking down the promenade des Anglais only two days ago was the closest I have ever been to a tragedy. Every one I met on this trip are safe and sound. #prayfortheworld

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Disgrace, Princess of Monaco

The Parisian Sensuality

e8357271cd0cc6adfbea61ce1caea9ffAfter yet another long break,聽I am back with a new post about Paris. So yes, I am obsessed with this city! Paris is the city of my dreams and I take it in with all it’s poverty and flamboyance, arrogance and sensuality, and let’s just throw in a dash sleaziness for the good measure.

Couple of weekends ago my friends and I, yet again, jumped on the train and traveled to the city of love. We had 4 fabulous days ahead of us, full of great events and lots and lots of wine. Although I have been making little Paris trips every few months, I never really experienced Parisian night life. 聽Except may be that one time when I tried to go home with a Belgian equivalent of Spartacus, which happened to be a total fiasco on my part as he decided not to get involved in a聽dysfunctional m茅nage 脿 trois with me and my friend, calling it the act respect to my male friend as opposed to blinding rejection. Anyway, new year – new me. This time I finally got to go out in a chat friendly environment where I felt my french was strong enough to introduce myself at the very least.

7433e3597a6294b9d124a2fa99a18fb8Saturday night was the opening of the club night season at the l’ Opera Garner restaurant La Boumette. Hello glam of my life! The event itself was organised through a french version of the meet up. To this day I still don’t know whether we walked into a mingling event or was it a pure coincidence we were mobbed by four parisian guys within minutes. The event was held sur le ciel du Paris in a fashionable L’Opera area.

Parisian events are slightly different to London. You still have your mixture of rich arabs and their blond bombshells girlfriends, but you also get creme de la creme of the parisian style front runners who look like they have just stepped down from聽the Montblanc ad campaign – perfectly groomed, sleek looking and of course, the look wouldn’t be complete without vintage tortoise shell frames. They all look equally nonchalant and self aware at the same time, which was incredibly pretentious聽and sexy.聽Perhaps parisian social scene hasn’t moved far from 19th century Dandyism which has always put image ahead of morals, the scene inspired聽Baudelaire himself.

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Of course, I didn’t get to meet any of these classy guys that night. As it usually happens, there was another type of men who prefer to overcompensate their absence of creativity聽with pushy enthusiasm and sleazy confidence which cannot be combated with anything except for a change of location. Efficient yet very impractical. These guys don’t wait around bombarding you with subtle hints, they go straight in for the kill, latching onto any possible flare of interest or mere politeness to spark the proverbial flame of passion. It was like a romancing the stone on my part. Despite my best efforts of assuming the role of cock block聽in vain hope I may have a chance to have a great night with the girls, I lost the battle to the latter group.

Despite all that drama, what is refreshing about parisian men, however, is you can have a pretty decent conversation, which can be both a fun banter and an existential debate. I got relatively lucky with one of guys at the party. Ryan was a half french half Arabic blue eyed blond hair mec who had quality flirting skills, who also聽introduced himself as a stripper for Chippendale. It wasn’t hard to believe because he certainly had the body for it. After 10 minutes of conversation and vivid x rated fantasies (taking聽place exclusively in my head!), he finally announced he works in marketing which left me both aroused and furious, but I didn’t mind to be played like this at all. As the night was getting busier, I found myself talking to new men who were all equally interested in me. If it wasn’t the dating event after all, 聽I would definitely say, in Paris, we were more popular than a kebab place on Saturday night. I was on fire! Trailblazing across the room, feeling fabulous. All a gal need to shine is a guys attention.

This may as f6a8641fcb42540d6881c9669306699cwell be a parisian thing. And just as other parisian things I like, I like the straight forwardness and confidence which parisian guys have. British guys may have a great sense of humor (which is a truly great advantage), but when it comes to making a move, it’s usually so subtle, almost like a metaphorical dog whistle perceived only by a certain type of women, if any at all.

Parisian sensuality felt like a breath of fresh air. In a modern world, plagued by extreme feminism, seduction has become closeted聽part of romantic interaction to the point where men decided to skip it all together. Of course, french guys don’t linger too long on platonic chit chat either and they don’t call if french banter after all.聽It wasn’t really my intention to meet anyone that night because I only had 2 days left in Paris and I wanted to spend them wandering the streets, drinking wine and daydreaming about how one day I book my one way ticket to Paris.

 

 

The Parisian Sensuality

The Time I Went to a Model Party

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Last night I was invited to attend my very first model party so without much thinking I donned the highest heels I could find in my possession (which elevated me just high enough to put me face to face with a commercial model) and ventured out to explore the world of glam. To my enormous surprise (and relief) I enjoyed it, courtesy of free drinks and a glam goodie bag which consisted of everything a conscientious model needs – an energy ball, some healthy suspiciously tasting beverage, notepad, pen (you know… to write down castings n’all) and of course – portable mobile phone charger, which actually was the only thing I used.

Anyway, I approached the subject of model world carefully. Attending parties and events is becoming about gaining writing material, and although, at some point in the night I was carried away a little bit while having my photo taken by a man with a big camera, I was on a constant alert trying not to miss any scandalous detail of the night but for a change I decided not to make travesty out of literally everything,  I chose to keep my childish curiosity present as much as humanly possible.

What is model industry about anyway? Apart from rich man’s petting zoo, it’s also a business and for the first time instead of seeing models as pure gorgeous creatures, now I also see them as money making machines which too have their expiry date and for some of them, it is way less than Macbook warranty. Unfortunately, if you look past the glam and thigh gap,  behind the allure of velvet skin and pouty lips, all you will uncover is bunch business people trying to make money. Model industry is grossing over $900m in revenue each year and the demand for it continues to grow. It’s under constant media scrutiny and despite being seen as a glamorous industry, it’s ruthless and exploitative, causing more damage than meets the eye. But I’ll stop here because I’ve done my piece of criticism in my earlier posts. Lets just enjoy the harmless experience of the party and, of course, beauty.
london picYou can’t deny, it’s a fascinating world out there. Couple of hours of being surrounded by the best looking people in the city is like a luxury balm to our sore, excel-spreadsheet tired eyes. The party was hosted at the high end London hotel. The setting of course was spectacular, beautiful London skyline basking in the rich velvet purple and pink sunset, funky music, delicious cocktails – in short an environment where anyone with some charisma points could be somebody. It provides you with an uncanny validation, as if the the proximity to the lavishness itself pushes you through some magical wormhole to the world devoid of world hunger, ISIS, global warming, drug cartels, or Donald Trump. Instead you can enjoy the perks of the party world where cocktails are free and people are happy. However I wonder whether this festive feeling lasts beyond couple of weekends?

Being a model is not just about the looks – you tell them miss Tyra Banks, who taught me nothing about model world apart from it’s a vile jungle where you are either loudmouth fierce bitch or a quirky quiet girl who sits in the corner trying to avoid the drama. Regardless of your social skills and proverbial personality (a word which Tyra Banks used to cover up the complete lack of intellectual activity on behalf of certain contestants) high cheekbones always trump sweet nature or science degree. As I sat in the hotel lobby observing who’s arriving, I experienced some unknown, mind boggling symptom resembling twisted D茅j脿 vu. All arriving girls wore black, all had lovely long dark hair and they all looked the same. It’s as if Christian Grey opened his own model agency where all women look liked like Anna Steele. Was there some dress code which I didn’t know about, but even so, I’d have to travel back in time, 15 years to be precise to fit the scene.

We aren’t talking Victoria Secret here, where models are literally made out of sugar and spice and everything nice, whose trained, post child birth bodies would put my three-times-a-week gym bod (sounds a lot better than it actually is) to biblical shame. We are talking 17 (let’s hope at least) year old girls, hardly anywhere near full development, flocking to the bar to be admired (in the best case) or objectified (in the worst). Still, they carry this uncanny sense of demureness and innocence, which I scattered away so carelessly over the years.

Suddenly the quote: I felt like I was wearing patchouli in a room full of Chanel (Sex And the City) began echoing in my mind reminding me that for a brief moment I forgot who I was and what I came here for.  The daze of the party feeling was dispersing in the air along with the guests leaving the scene. Magic has left the building.  It was beginning to turn into an average club night with it’s lingering red-eyed guest looking for trouble. I grabbed my goodie bag and saw myself out. To answer to my  earlier posed question, the festive feeling not only doesn’t  last for couple of weekends, it wears out the moment the bar stops serving free drinks. But still, like every new addict, I’m looking forward to my next fix.

 

 

 

The Time I Went to a Model Party

Keeping it real in Manchester

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My jaw literally dropped open this morning as I realised it has been 21 days since my last blog post. 21 days is like a very short month (or a very long one when you had spent all your wages in the first week) and I can hardly come up with an excuse. Although I have an excuse, but it’s embarrassing to admit that I haven’t had a date or even remotely an invitation to go out since my last dangerous liaison with Houdini. However yesterday I was stopped by a scruffy punk guy in Manchester who thought I look very eastern european and that’s why he decided to chase me down the street and talk to me. Sometimes I look back at my stories and wonder why did I follow dating rabbit hole and didn’t stick with politically charged content for my blog?

Anyway, Manchester. I wouldn’t necessarily say “eastern european style” exists by definition, meaning we don’t walk the streets wearing traditional folk attire, but I’d say eastern european style differs from from say, London fashion (to be put lightly). Still, somehow, wearing gym bunny trainers made me stand out form the crowd. As I walked the crowded shopping alley of Manchester, I couldn’t help but notice how well groomed and glammed up everyone is. Not surprising, I was in the northern capital after all. May be it’s because they don’t spend as much time in public transport trying to get from point A to point B, but rather, use their time to make them cheekbones highlighted. I, on the other hand, woke up at 5.30 am, spent 2.5h on the train, hardly wore any make up and shamelessly paraded my gym outfit (once you get into sweat pants, it’s hard to get out) and I’m not the person who can pull the sexy gym look.

I can’t do that.

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I recently remembered an article I read somewhere, as it turns out it was Daily Mail  (don’t judge me) but the headline summarised my suspicion

“The make-up of Britain: Northern women like to slap it on while Southern girls prefer the 鈥榥atural look鈥 (with the exception of Essex)”

 

Being a guy in Manchester must be tough. Despite being flattered by the sudden interest in my appearance on the street, I still wonder, was it because I didn’t look threatening for a guy to approach me and there wouldn’t be any particular sense  of regret in the event of rejection? And, on the other hand, if I were wearing 5inch heels, 3 layers of make up, shimmering in the sunlight like Edward Cullen and having donned my Sunday best, would he still walk up to speak to me? And it’s not the first time, contrary to my  adopted belief, I get chatted up more often on the street when I look washed out. If I actually ever listened to my intuition, I’d say i discovered a secret to meeting guys – avoid meeting them.

I’d say i discovered a secret to meeting guys – avoid meeting them.

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In How to be a Parisian book, written by four sulky Parisian femme fatales, according to film producer, journalist, a model, and an actress – true Parisian girl always needs to be ready (meaning clean waxed, wear makeup and have spare pair of heels in her bag) because you never know where the night may take you. That’s all very empowering… You know, like a superwoman,  one moment you are insignificant human being wearing glasses, and the next, you are you seductive ass kicking Glamazon. I’m already feeling 5inches taller just by picturing it. Fortunately for me, I usually know my night will take me home, to my own bed where I can be as ugly as I want without running the risk of being labeled as “hairy marry”. I wouldn’t completely disregard the Parisian advice, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, or however the saying goes.

The moral of the story, the more you sweat it, the less likely you are going to succeed. Eastern european style or no style, heels or no heels, doesn’t matter, as long as you are enjoying yourself. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder anyway, you can’t win! have a great Sunday!

 

Keeping it real in Manchester

Home is Where The Inspiration Lives or How George Orwell Wrote 1984

george orwell home london

This month I had to face my ultimate fear – finding 聽a new home. So far聽it’s been the pain in the arse, but I’m optimistic. Living in a shared flat in London is fun when you live with your friends. What happens when all your friends move in with their other halves and you are still single? You move in with strangers. How do you find these homes? You venture out online. Apparently, in this day an age, the only way to find home or love is going online.

The advantages of living in London can be numerous, but finding a cheap good size room in a hip location is almost as impossible as finding a relationship which lasts longer than five dates.聽Even when you thought you came across a perfect flat, you are 聽merely one in 500. It’s only down to your lucky stars if you get invited for a viewing, but even then, it’s every man is for himself. It’s like going on a date – if chemistry isn’t there, chances of moving in are zero. London is tough, almost each area of your life is subjected to rejection whether it’s a job, love or property. You must be thick skinned if you want to succeed in either of these things. But it’s just as important to get them right as getting your shoe size – shoes that don’t fit will only slow you down.

Returning from another disappointing viewing, I decided to take a stroll around Hampstead Heath and stare at expensive fancy houses which I cannot afford. I like doing that time to time because I love the neighbourhood and it’s only a short climb from The Parliament Hill, one of the highest points and one of the most spectacular views in London. So before I knew it, I was standing in front of the plaque on the wall saying “George Orwell Lived Here”.

George Orwell was one of the most iconic authors of the 20th century, second of all he wrote 1984, a book on mass surveillance which is echoing in today’s world more than ever. Fascinatingly, he聽lived just a short walk from one of the highest points in London. A spot which reveals聽London’s panorama in exquisite detail. Is this a coincidence, or did it serve as an inspiration for one of the greatest books of our time? What if the concept of Big Brother came from the desire to know everything about what’s been happening on the ground below, to see closer than coin operated binoculars allow you to?

Yes, inspiration works in mysterious ways, but also, sometimes it works in rather obvious ones. What if sometimes you just need to get closer to the sky so you don’t get distracted by the gravity? Imagine climbing to the top of Everest and writing a book from there? Yes, I watched the film yesterday. 聽Being so far away from the distractions of the real life, must do something to your imagination. It must be the air, something ethereal, only picked up by the most curious souls. Or may be it’s just being closer to the God, away from city noise you can hear his words clearer. Wait, isn’t this how 10 commandments were created?

My advice, look for places which touch your soul and stir your imagination. It’s fairly possible that as you’ll be sitting on a bench starring at the city, a genius would appear and you’ll know you got it. One thing I can only hope for is that towards the end of this month a will find a home which will do what it did to George Orwell – inspire the beens out of me. Nothing less and nothing more.

Home is Where The Inspiration Lives or How George Orwell Wrote 1984

The Time When Election Fever Hijacked My Brain

As the election fever has subsided and the majority of raging lunatics went back to their luxurious dens to perfect their master plans, the rest of the country is left with the aftertaste accentuated with drizzle of panic and pre-apocalyptic anticipation. I would like to proudly declare – I have nothing to do with it. Mainly for being a EU citizen – I couldn’t . So imagine after getting all worked up after my last episode of political street shaming, I was informed by my fellow non uk resident of London, that despite all my hard earned and donated tax money, I still have no word in deciding whether I am getting kicked out or not. Caught up with the agenda, thank you very much. Without much hesitation I happily proceeded with my life and marched to a patisserie for a cup of cappuccino and the best darn 拢3 slice of apple tart I had in my life.

Acknowledging that right now I am having a much better time than Ed Milliband, I faced an ultimate question – am I a hypocrite? Just few weeks ago I sworn not to ever speak of politics in public, today I am literally restraining myself from posting a political meme on social media and adding some sort of clever pun to display my political erudition – ultimately failing miserably at both as only a month ago I couldn’t give two fingers about who’s promising what. Promising is the operative word here. Probably I am, or perhaps I enjoy a small politics chat – it’s harmless and I’m taking part in something worthwhile – group whining. Despair bring people together, we love finding a common ground to bitch about things we hate, it inspires our creativity and makes us feel like for once, we really mean it.

While I am safe here for another five years, I can proceed with my normal life of being politically ignorant, and this time no cute guy will make me question my integrity as a law abiding resident on London town. Having said that, why did I assume having any knowledge or interest in politics is ever sexy?

Women in power are honestly having a bad rep, especially if you live in United States. While Michelle Obama is perfectly fine performing yoga moves on national television, Hillary Clinton is being dissed for her choices in fashion. I’m not even touching on Sara Palin although it’s asking for it. Back to the continent, remember that infamous scandal which broke out when notorious David Cameron has suggested his “dear” female MP to “calm down”? Except for that little hiccup, UK could be seen as rather utilitarian in their views, having in mind that the country has been under a watchful eye of the Queen for centuries. Iron Lady name alone tells a lot about the woman in power. And of course, Angela Merkel could be seen as a dark horse of the European union, however it didn’t stop her being photoshopped out of the picture for JE SUIS Charlie march. Clearly, having a political opinion doesn’t always guarantee you respect, however it could sort of land you a compliment – depends which way you look at it.

Allegedly, this is what has been said about this young lady:

‘You’re too pretty to be interested in politics and should be in Girls Aloud’: What Labour councillor Karen Danczuk says Harriet Harman told her. It’s not shocking men can say that, it’s shocking these men sit in the parliament.

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Evidently, here’s what Aussie lonely boys find attractive in their fist ladies.

WOMEN鈥橲 INTERESTS THAT ARE MOST ATTRACTIVE TO MEN

  1. Personal growth
  2. Health/exercise
  3. Food
  4. Family
  5. Dancing
  6. Art
  7. Photography
  8. Friends
  9. Outdoor interests
  10. Work/career

You won’t find any politics there. Although it’s debatable. We could imply that Personal Growth stands for spending all morning reading political section in the newspaper, although, on the second thought, it would be pretty darn difficult to mindfully shift the conversation from Conservatives to conserving fruit. Let’s just get over the fact that being a political erudite will not get you laid in Australia.

Wait a second! This can’t be right.

As I was digging deeper for evidence to support my, fist of all, politically incorrect assumption, verging on gigantic false and probably insulting generalization, I opened either the pandora box or found the holy grail, can’t quite decide.  Apparently, women being less interested in politics than men, is a thing on the Internet and men are generally bothered by this. According to writer for Huffington post, quote:

This will not do, ladies. Politics is important, no matter your gender. You need to do better.

Well thanks there mate for pointing that out, perhaps now I know why I am still single. I should feel profoundly ashamed for not paying enough attention to politics. This tsk-tsk moment was a deja vu, all over again. Thankfully, this time I did not have to stand through the 5 seconds of theatrical eye rolling. Cheers to that. All of a sudden I had a burning desire to hear what Russell Brand has to say about this, probably lots, a lot more than that one time when he was married to Katy Perry, and even the time when he felt the need to tell press she was bad in bed. But who cares now anyway. Elections are over. I can now go back to my simple life of simple pleasures. Let the men now do what men do best….

Drama and cynicism aside, let’s just agree that all of us have different goals and ambitions in life. Historically and evolutionary it happened that men are more drawn to power and politics, while women are more drawn to beauty and family. You can disagree with me. I do not support political apathy, especially when your future and the future of your children depends on who is getting elected, but in the recent history, track record hasn’t been especially satisfying. Over the course of the past month I learned that casting a vote is important, however in my position, my vote is irrelevant. Plus, who needs a debate when public have pretty much made up their minds about either of the parties?

11238972_2189073994473112_2344641224166704452_n Have a great weekend x

The Time When Election Fever Hijacked My Brain

Art of Warfare

Saturdays in summer as a rule (at least here in UK) are recognised聽for two things. One of them is flocking to beer gardens and starting drinking way too early, and the second them is not going to places where tourists go. Today I skipped the first one and instead I made a visit to V&A (Victoria & Albert museum) to catch up on some culture, meaning making my way into a swarm of tourists racing to see as much as possible in as little time as possible on their way to Harrods.

We’ve all been there. Speed art viewing (as well as everything else with speed in front of it) 聽is a waste because art never really gets to be seen the way it deserves to be seen – Londoners hardly do it because of the it’s not going anywhere聽attitude and tourists do it only because we are going somewhere else. So today instead of rubbing a hole with my ass in the wooden bench in a pub, I went to explore the rest of the world. History.

I was never a huge fan of history. Mainly because at school it was all about聽memorising dates of famous battles and names of royalties who all had the same name except for ascending roman numbers next to them. Now when the pressure of failing the class is off, I discovered a new found appreciation for history. Or to be precise – trying to spot and understand patterns in human history in hope of finding an answer to why are we so fucked up? riddle.

Since V&A is a beautiful but incredibly confusing and huge building, I 聽decided to place my focus (between butterfly emporium and Trade charity sale) on the middle east and south east Asia section on art and culture.

Although I’ve seen it at least once before, I feel like I never looked at it properly. My previous visits were the equivalent of listening to reply聽rather than聽listening to hear. Today I truly聽listened聽and what I heard was a minuscule yet significant insight into values of our civilisation.

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If we could sum up the past 2000 years of our existence, without exaggeration, humans cared the most about two things – war and art. Yet what is so special about ancient warfare was the amount of craft invested in creating armours and weapons.

Hey, if you are going to fight at least carry a sophisticated sword!

It mesmerised me that despite of how seemingly primitive peoples needs were at that particular time in history, yet the approach to war was unusually sophisticated.

Even though practicality wasn’t the priority, it didn’t stand in the way of efficiency. Beautiful robes embodied with gold and gems, the netsuke (a form of toggle that was used to聽secure聽personal items like pouches and tobacco carriers) which were crafted to a perfection, made me wonder if our imagination evolved much further past 16th century.

Looking at the Japanese fight armour I am not sure what boggles me more – whether it was made to infuriate the enemy or to astonish it. Yet it is something that you can possibly look at for hours and still not believe that this magnificent piece of art was created by a our聽primitive聽ancestors. The description (and the picture) below at very least should聽discourage Galliano from returning to fashion world.

Samurai Armour

Samurai armour evolved as styles of warfare changed. ‘Great armour’ was first made in the eleventh and twelfth centuries for mounted archers. It was brightly coloured with gold or silver gilt, and combined the skill of the armourer with that of weavers, leather workers and lacquerers. Many parts were made of iron or leather plates laced together with silk chord and lacquered. Flexible panels covered the torso, arms and thighs. (V&A )

Obviously warfare was the prime focus of state authorities for centuries. Extraordinary amounts of money and sophistication were invested to gain and maintain power over territories and population. It has been then, it’s still here now. Although our weapon of choice has evolved, our instincts haven’t. Only today we don’t cary mother-of-pearl decorated swords, we cary kalashnikovs and atomic bombs. Despite of all this beauty that I had pleasure to observe聽this afternoon in the museum, I was left saddened by the fact that we still don’t put as much money, talent and imagination into peace as we put into war.

 

 

 

Art of Warfare