For want of a more captivating way of opening my first substantial update since mid-Semester break, hola from Barcelona where I’ve just landed for a 36 hour stint before heading to Innsbruck in Austria for some work, then Paris for more work alongside early birthday celebrations for my kid brother who is somehow no longer a kid, two seconds in Berlin, then home for another two.
The extent of my general knowledge of Spain culture is fairly limited to my tumultuously emotional obsessions with the stormy works of Enrique Granados (playing Andaluza essentially taught me the meaning of heartstrings) and Isaac Albéniz, free tapas in Granada this time two years ago – a visit which was itself motivated purely by Debussy’s Le Soirée dans Grenade) – and Alberto Alonso’s Carmen ballet suite (particularly Svetlana Zakharova’s
exceptional rendition – I promise it’ll make you hot hot hot under the collar). And, while I do have as much appreciation for Dalí and Picasso as the next person (Alex and I spent ten minutes, transfixed, with our noses an inch away from La Belle Hollandaise at the Queensland Art Gallery this weekend just past), I can’t say I know many people of Spanish descent. As such, all I could think about on the Dubai-to-Barcelona leg of my flight this afternoon were 19th Century Andalusian gypsies and cigarerras in Seville, Delpozo’s sculptural genius season after season, ZARA, Maria Doyle Kennedy as Catherine of Aragon in The Tudors, and Mango (whose new collection show is tomorrow evening) – none of which really bear much weight in what Spain is really about in the modern day.
Hopefully, the next few days will shed a little light.
More on that later – first, to the visual point at hand. In a bout of pre-European aesthetic conditioning (and, perhaps more truthfully, in search of something to alleviate weeks of desk-bound exam cram strain and mundanity), Alex and I spent our first dawn in Brisbane floating up and down the river in a gondola. In reality, taking a sunrise gondola ride over an exceptional fruit platter and average pastries was most likely one of those bizarre tourist traps that local Brisbanites wouldn’t even have heard of, even less have any desire to embark on. Even so, there was something beautifully cheesy and Zen about the whole ordeal, with its bizarre cultural intersections, and the vessel’s Baroque contrasts with the zillion-dollar waterfront mansions and catamarans beyond its Venetian curves.
That, and the perfect close quarters to test out my
new 35mm lens – I’m quite happy with the subtle perspective on a portrait orientation. Thoughts?
The remainder of the weekend was spent out at our dear friends Alison and Michael‘s farm, featuring a stupid amount of delicious food in beautiful spaces, bestowing animal onesies upon ecstatic kids, gallery hopping, feeding chickens in inappropriate (but entirely necessary) footwear, and seeing the opening night of the Queensland Ballet’s Peter Pan. By the time we landed back in Sydney, we were probably more exhausted than when we had left, but certainly more relaxed, with at least a little progress made on that infamous STUVAC sleep deficit.
All impending European Summer adventures aside, I have to say that I’m quite taken with Brisbane’s culinary charm and tight-knit creative community. If you have any more recommendations for when we inevitably head back up there, do let me know! It might be our domestic escape from here on out…
Now, as usual, I’m blearily bashing keys at half past 1 in the morning, with very little rhetorical fluency remaining to round up any profound conclusion to this scrambled essay. So good night. And follow me on Instagram.