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While not being entirely qualified, in so many ways, to broach the subject at all, the re-worked works of art — classic paintings that have been “reimagined what they would look like if their bodies conformed to what the 21st-century thinks of as an ideal of beauty” — really don’t say anything particularly new or surprising.

Perhaps due to the limitations of what was possible with image manipulation software, the reimagined versions don’t look all that bad: the hips are still rather curvaceous, the bosoms are fairly full. I would have thought the point was to shock us all into how unrealistic the modern version of beauty really is.

In: Art

2012 / 03 / 12 – 11:54 Top


One

Two.

Cough cough.

Oh. Um.

Hello. Again.

Hmm.

In: Site News

2012 / 03 / 07 – 21:38 Top


This weekend my mum forwarded me the news about the senior HSBC worker Bindi Dhanji, caught stealing almost £120,000 from pensioners’ accounts and due to be sentenced a few weeks ago, who committed suicide together with her husband Kishore. Both were found hanging from a bridge near Staples Corner on the North Circular Road, in London.

Kishore Dhanji was my childhood friend. We went to the same primary school and for a couple of years of secondary school before we gradually lost touch. He lived two streets away from me, and with his cousin who lived on my road and a few other friends — all within two minutes walk of each other — we played in and around each others’ houses for several years. We explored the trees around the reservoir at the Welsh Harp Park; we discovered Mario Brothers on the Nintendo and WWF Wrestling on the telly.

We rode our BMX bikes everywhere, and were once chased by a group of older boys intent on stealing our wheels. We ducked into Hendon Police Station and a friendly policeman gave us an escort back to our houses, us on our bikes and he on a big grey-and-white policehorse.

I haven’t seen or heard from Kishore for about twenty years, and I have no idea what happened in those intervening years. But I spent a few hours last night thinking about those childhood days, and it’s upsetting to think that someone I spent so many fun hours with could have been driven, for whatever reason, to hang himself from a bridge with his wife, just a few hundred metres from where we played as children.

In: World News

2010 / 04 / 11 – 18:23  | Comment [1]Top


Something I’d not seen before, but is apparently very common here: parents post their child’s personal details (age, height, job, salary — all the important stuff) on a washing line at the park, for other parents to check out and, if they like what they see, set their own child up on a blind date.

Impersonal ads

In: China / Cultural Experiences

2010 / 03 / 15 – 09:49 Top


70-plus metres high.

Hands span
Giant Stone Buddha at Leshan (乐山大佛)

In: China / Travelling in China / Daytrips

2010 / 02 / 15 – 21:10 Top


Featuring travertine islands.
Sparkling Lake (火花海)

In: China / Travelling in China / Jiuzhaigou

2010 / 02 / 13 – 15:00 Top


Tiger Lake (老虎海)
Tiger Lake (老虎海)
Sunbeams at Jiuzhaigou National Park

In: China / Travelling in China / Jiuzhaigou

2010 / 02 / 12 – 17:20 Top


The naturally-occurring presence of travertine gives the lakes of Jiǔzhàigōu (九寨沟) their amazing topaz colour (but I don’t actually understand why).
Five Flower Lake (五花海)
Five Flower Lake (五花海)
Peacock Riverbed (孔雀河道)
Five-Coloured Pool (五彩海)
Rhinoceros Lake (犀牛海)
Tiger Lake (老虎海)

In: China / Travelling in China / Jiuzhaigou

2010 / 02 / 12 – 08:45 Top


Can you see the panda face in the frozen lake?

Panda Lake (熊猫海)
Frozen waterfall at Panda Lake (熊猫海)

In: China / Travelling in China / Jiuzhaigou

2010 / 02 / 11 – 23:43 Top


Arrow Bamboo Lake (箭竹海)
Arrow Bamboo Lake (箭竹海)

At Jiǔzhàigōu (九寨沟) National Park, northern Sìchuān (四川).

In: China / Travelling in China / Jiuzhaigou

2010 / 02 / 11 – 19:01 Top