Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Angel from Derbyshire (it's where Mr Darcy is from y'know)

Today Bunty Marshall, 82, breezed into my life from Derbyshire (driving 2 ½ hours down the M1 by herself thank you very much) to remind me what I should be doing with my time over here. She was trying some loose powder, I offered a hand massage with the new hand cream and we talked about the weather, her Christmas, her son's travels, my travels and we finally got to my degree. And then we were off, talking faster than we could manage of the Danelaw, WRENs, the Great War and the feeling you can get of the countless years of an old building reaching out of the very stones for you.

I pulled out my chair, seated her behind my counter and we became the best of friends. We covered her impression of the Imperial War Museum's Women in War exhibition that we had both seen and her founding of the Repton Historical Society. We bonded over our mutual thoughts on Hastings Castle, the Battle of Bosworth, Gallipoli and Normandy.

We stood with slightly teary eyes discussing the profound effects of ties with the land, I talked of the Bowen Family farm in Northam, she of the village church that had seen all the important life and death ceremonies of her family, from funerals of friends and her husband, back to the births of her ancestors of the 15th Century.

Bunty finally had to go to dinner with her son and I had to go back to caring about lipglosses, but she left with a firm injunction that we were to meet again to walk Repton's streets and fields and talk more history. With my address in her diary and her address in front of me now, I doubt it will be long before I am again in a comfortable British lounge room in the history saturated English countryside, sipping countless cups of tea and once again proving myself an honorary Englishman by education.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Importance of Being Earnest

When you are not at school or university, lessons creep up on you. In the middle of a quiet December I had one day in which I learnt quite a few things about the importance of being earnest about clean socks, the obligations inherent in being older, the difference between sticks and knives, why I miss my cousins and the real look of sun damaged skin. Perhaps I should start at the top then.

The importance of clean socks, or in my case stockings without holes.

Accessorize stockings are in my top five 'Things I Love About London' along with Pret a Manger sandwiches, any food from Marks and Spencer's, New Look trousers and the Sunday Times' Style Magazine. I have a pair from last year that were worn every day for five months and have only two holes. This year's pair are showing all the signs of repeating the star performance as the sturdiest stockings in existence. But this year's pair had not been washed, and neither had my jeans, so I was wearing skirts that weekend, with last year's holey stockings.

Holey stockings are punky, edgy, cool ... except when teamed with my fur coat, conservative clothes and my onyx and silver knuckle duster of a ring. A girl cannot be perfectly groomed ALL the time, but sometimes that is no excuse. The holey stockings got their first airing at Jen and Sue's house on the Saturday night when my boots came off so I would not dirty the brand new carpet, but Jen has known me for more than ten years so I think she understands.

On the Sunday I was in the company of strangers, and more importantly, strangers who removed their shoes in the house as a matter of course. Ozy, Ely and I were very late for our date and so we were hustled into the living room still shod and it was only about five minutes later that I came to the horrified realisation that my dirty boots were resting on the carpet while everyone else was in socks. I communicated my embarrassment at my faux pas to Ozy and Ely and thankfully was told by the hostess to settle down as she forgave me.

Later, on the train home, Ely was very kind and told me I was very culturally aware, praising me for being immediately conscious that in an Asian household the shoes are removed immediately. This compliment means a lot to me. I am very aware of the fact that I am often hideously insensitive to any customs other than my own. Kim has been incredibly helpful in the regard, as each time I travelled with her, she has had cause to take me aside and set me straight on just how a thinking person should travel – humbly, respectfully, intelligently and most importantly, eternally aware of the polite habits of the land hosting you.

I should hope that the polite customs of different cultures should come somewhat naturally to me now, but I think I have a long way to go.

The difference between magic and scoring points – the Importance Of Card Tricks

My hosts that day were a cardiac surgeon and his wife, a nurse, from Trinidad, and they had one beautiful, friendly and precocious eight year old daughter. Adeeba was a tiny girl with thick black hair and huge brown eyes under her heavy fringe. She moved fast, she talked clearly and the intelligence fairly radiated from her, even in repose. I was supposed to be there to learn more about the business opportunity Ozy, Ely and I are starting, yet I did my usual trick of abandoning the adult world as soon as a logical child was there to play with.

In our first break I made a bee-line for the little one, introducing myself, complimenting her on her doll's house and being invited to see her room within a few moments. After two minutes in her room perusing her dolls and discussing the amount of presents she would get for Christmas, she pulled out a pack of cards and offered to teach me a few games. Then she delighted me to no end by shuffling the deck fast and theatrically like a pro.

In the second break we were in the middle of the floor refreshing each other's memories on how to play Fish and Old Maid and Speed whilst the adults were talking Personal Volumes, profit margins and networking. Claire checks out of the adult world again. Adeeba had taught me a new game and I roundly trounced her at it, leading her to accuse her ungrateful student of being too good.

Then her father showed her an old card trick. She showed me. And I broke the rules that govern the interaction between father and children. When Dad tells you a story – tall or true – it is not the place of the surrounding adults to challenge the child's view that Dad is always right. I watched Adeeba complete the trick, and I decided to prove my brilliance by showing her how to do it. When she went straight back to her Dad and repeated the trick to him I realised my mistake. Adeeba should think her Dad infallible for many more years, and no flighty Australian should expose his magic in the cruel light of day. Thank fully Adeeba's father had more tricks up his sleeve than the one I exposed, and he remained the final figure of authority to his daughter.

My own father was the consummate professional at the Dad Is A Super Hero game. I distinctly remember my siblings and I sitting around the dinner table, enraptured by one of his stories of Harry Lime and Lemmy Caution catching the Man Eating Tiger, defeating the Giant and stealing the Python Guarded Diamond. The four of us glued to a nature or history documentary with Dad supplementing the narrator's facts with his own knowledge. And most of all I remember assuring my father that he knew 'everything in the whole world and was the cleverest man of all.' He still is, it's just that I have forgotten to trust him implicitly, as I did when I was seven.

The Difference Between a Stick and a Knife

At one stage during the afternoon, Adeeba was standing with Ely and Ozy and I, and she asked Ely if she was Muslim. Ely replied that she was, and when Adeeba looked at me, I asked her what I was. 'You are Christian because you are white' she replied, qualifying it a little by saying 'I have only met a few Christians with black skin.' And then Adeeba said something that made me sad. She told me that her father's car window had been smashed by white boys, but that her Dad was not hurt. And then she told me that 'a group of white boys had poked at Dad with a stick, but at least it was not a knife or he would be dead.'

The shock of this kind of talk on the lips of one so young was a disturbing moment. I seemed to see Adeeba at the end of a long tunnel, stretching between us the alienating barriers of religion and race. I saw myself as the 'other' in a room of 'us'. I saw the groups of white people as the menace that they seem to the Asians in this country when the national newspapers are demonising groups of Asians. And when Adeeba left the apartment for a moment to open a door for another visitor, I longed to hold her back, not to let her go out into a world that presented such casual dangers to her father and regularly saw the disappearances and deaths of young girls. If such an obviously happy, safe and intelligent child of intelligent and hard working parents could reference racial hatred so readily, I tremble for the less robust children on their side of the divide.

Why I Miss My Cousins So Much

When we finally had to leave, I was very sad to leave the bright and precocious Adeeba. I asked her to sign my notebook so I would remember her, and she wrote her name and phone number in perfect script on the page. And then she wrote 'you are a realy (sic) nice girl' underneath, with a big heart and many stars. I was enchanted by the openness of her personality, her ability to articulate her regard, and I was reminded of the brilliant homemade Christmas card I had received from my cousin Hannah last Christmas.

I miss my cousins terribly at the moment. Another Christmas without them has passed and I often get nervous when I consider how much kids grow, how fast teenagers change, and how long it has been since I talked to them. I have two fond memories of how much I love my cousins. The first one took place on our first farm – three sets of cousins were up for the day and I was happily spending hours walking each child up and down the driveway on the pony, probably a 800m round trip, in the middle of the afternoon, for each little cousin. I loved it, I got to talk with each one, only the low buzz of the incredible heat in our ears to distract us.

As I reached the sixth trip, my grandmother approached me and paid me a compliment that, in my delicate state as a rebellious teen, made me fairly boil with indignation. Nan told me how proud she was that I was spending so much time entertaining my cousins. As with almost anything that an adult says to you at aged thirteen, I was incensed that something I was doing out of the goodness of my heart could be pleasing to the adults tyrannising my ever hour, and the enjoyment was leeched out of my afternoon. Yet I still remember it as one of the best reasons to have cousins.

My second memory is of a Christmas at our house when I was about 20. I had passed out of the difficult teenaged stage of not wanting to please anyone and into the early adult stage of not being an instant success and therefore trying not to advertise my confusion to adults that may wish to help. So each time my incredibly approachable and very cool uncles and aunts stepped in the door, interested in my life and wishing to talk to me, I grabbed their kids, dragged them into my room and closed the door, safe in the undemanding atmosphere of the younger set.

The Curse of Sun Ravaged Skin

The last part of that afternoon was a skincare trial, in which I had my skin examined under UV light for my trouble spots and imperfections – a process that costs a princely sum in a salon. As I stuck my head into the box and the lights went on the lovely Indian girl examining me gasped and stuttered 'the sun damage! so much sun damage!' I just laughed and said 'I assume you have not examined many white Australians then?' Under the light, my face, usually home to only five moles, was entirely covered in very large freckles – the areas under the skin that were very damaged from my many years with a tan that would have made me as dark as my examiner.

My face, transformed into that of a traditional red head, was a sobering sight, the sun damage making me both homesick for a real tan, and slightly scared of my old age, when they would appear as age spots. As I reappeared in the world of normal pigmentation, I surveyed the face before me, frankly disbelieving that I was ever tan, and I thought to myself you are not on the beach anymore girlie.

The lessons from that Sunday are still with me. I am watching my actions carefully for ignorance, casual intolerance and racism, for pride and for the nasty habit I manifest now of wallowing in my homesickness. I think I owe it to my hosts for the day, for the welcome into their family, for their dazzling daughter and the thoughts their kindness triggered for me.

Oh, but there is still the best story from that Sunday. Our Trinidadian host for the day, in his youth, had batted with Brian Lara in try outs for the national team. Now THAT is cool!

For Louise

Dude, the tongue stud is not going back into the tongue tonight.


Monday, January 03, 2005

For those of you who have just joined us

All the 2004 stories from my superceeded forum have been posted up today, illustrated with photos etc. For those readers who have not seen my earlier forum, this is your golden opportunity to read some of my other writing.

Further 2004 writing and the 2003 stories should be up soon - they will be back dated and will therefore will be found in the archives.

Are you being served?

I have an impressive list of workplaces from the last 16 months in London, the Evangelical Alliance, Transport for London, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Drake International, Avanti Architects and now Elizabeth Arden.

This week I started out on my three month contract as an Elizabeth Arden counter dolly and it has been an eye opener. The entire arrangement fell into place because of a throw away remark made by the London Area Manager. Alison and I were exchanging banter and she asked me why I couldn’t come and work for her. When I told her my contract with Head Office was up in five days, she rushed the whole thing through in a week and I was a consultant – all rouged up and ready to go.

The two interviews, one with her and one with the store turned out to be mere formalities. The interview with Alison was an amusing one, as she told me she loved the hair, loved the eye makeup and loved me. I just had to lose the tongue stud and start wearing lipstick. The lipstick rule is actually the hardest part as I am a lip balm girl by choice. The ritual of lip liner, first coat, blot, second coat, blot, lip gloss, check teeth, reapply after tea breaks and lunch is slowly being ingrained as habit.

The store interview with the supposedly Nazi style supervisor was a shoo-in and I even made two sales as I sat on the counter doing my application.

A week into it and it is still like a game for me. I get to give out gifts and samples, unpack huge orders of expensive creams and perfumes and stand in a smart suit and full makeup amongst the beautiful smells and pretty faces of the Perfumery. It is certainly not a place I would ever have considered I would end up, but it is vastly entertaining and far more interesting than the office.

Quite apart from my pure joy at being back selling things, I have discovered that I have quite an advantage over the other consultants. I have a work ethic, I have a real sense that the customer is there to be served, and not ignored, and I have the happy knack of flirting outrageously and with tangible monetary rewards.

I have had customers so pleased with my service they hugged me, offer me free run of their own shops and I have even been invited to a party by a glamorous but shrewd Iranian who tried to drive a hard bargain and was so charmed by my smiling stonewalling that we ended up giggling together like girls.

It is long hours, sore feet and no weekends, but the business of selling dreams and making people laugh was never going to be a walk in the park.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

January Museum Calendar

Shakespeare's Globe


The 2005 summer theatre season at Shakespeare’s Globe has been announced as The Season of The World and Underworld. Three plays by Shakespeare - The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale and Pericles – will be joined by an adaptation of The Storm by Plautus. This Graeco-Roman comedy has been adapted by Peter Oswald whose previous work for the Globe, The Golden Ass, was a huge hit in 2002. In addition to these productions, two company projects will explore voice and the use of masks on the Globe stage.

The Season of The World and Underworld, which begins on 6 May, will examine the influence of classical Greece on Shakespeare’s works. The season will finish on 2 October with The Tempest. It will be Mark Rylance’s final performance as artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe.

The Natural History Museum


Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Tickets £5, £3 concessions, £12 family
The power, beauty and extremes of nature are all captured on film in this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. Celebrating its twenty-first year, this annual competition, organised by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, is the largest and most prestigious wildlife photography competition in the world. The resulting exhibition reveals the drama and variety of life on Earth, showcasing an unforgettable selection of images ranging from serene landscapes and amazing insights into animal behaviour to thought-provoking scenes illustrating our impact on the natural world.

Darwin Centre Live is a varied programme of free events where Museum curators and researchers talk about their work, recent scientific discoveries and the Museum's vast collections.


Diane Maclean, Sculpture and Works on Paper
In partnership with The Royal British Society of Sculptors
April-October 2005. Admission: FREE

Sculptor and environmental artist Diane Maclean has created a site-specific Sculpture installation for the Museum in response to our science collection and Building

Face to Face
28 May - 18 September 2005. Admission: FREE
James Mollison's beautiful and emotive ape portraits highlight the vitality and Intelligence of these magnificent and threatened animals, and their similarity to humans.

9 July 2005 - 26 February 2006. Admission: CHARGED
Celebrating the natural and cultural power of these extraordinary gemstones, this blockbuster exhibition will showcase some of the world's most impressive diamonds and will reveal the fascinating story of their evolution from deep in the Earth to the red carpet.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2005
October 2005 - April 2006. Admission: £5, £3 concessions, £12 family
Organised by the Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition is the most prestigious and successful event of its kind in the world.

A series of free Whale Week events
Monday 17 - Friday 21 January
Bigger than any dinosaur, the blue whale is the largest animal ever to live on Earth, but it faces extinction along with many other whales and dolphins. So what is being done to protect them? Join scientists and conservationists for Whale Week, a series of free Darwin Centre Live events looking at the threats whales and dolphins face, why strandings happen and what you can do to help.
Saving the Whale, Monday 17 January, 14.30
Stranded! Tuesday 18 January, 14.30
Ancient Whales, Wednesday 19 January, 14.30
Silent Witness of the Sea, Thursday 20 January, 14.30
Whalebone Buildings, Friday 21 January, 14.30

Science Museum

Future Face
Future Face asks questions about the human face and identity and considers what faces might look like in the future. As digital faces become as 'real' as live ones, and as even face transplants become a reality, how will our notions of identity be affected? Drawing from the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, New York, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, the Hollywood Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Wellcome Trust and the Science Museum, the exhibition will feature over 200 historical and contemporary photographs, paintings, multimedia installation and objects.

Crime Season at the Dana Centre
At the Dana Centre in January explore the science of crime with a look at memory-testing technologies used on US criminals, cyber crime, the psyche of the criminal mind and the storing of DNA profiles on police databases.

Imperial War Museum

Great Escapes
This special exhibition features some of the extraordinary escape attempts made by Allied servicemen from German prisoner of war camps in the Second World War and will look at the fact and fiction surrounding The Wooden Horse, The Great Escape and Colditz. Interactive and hands-on displays will allow children and adults alike to try on disguises, forge an identity pass, crawl through an escape tunnel, find out fascinating facts about escape attempts, and use their ingenuity to make their own escape from Colditz.

The British Museum

Status Symbols: identity and belief on modern badges
Room 69a
Admission free

An exploration of the symbolic power of badges and other similar objects to express identity and belonging, belief and dissent. Status Symbols includes objects from around the world and from all periods, ranging from the mass-produced to the individually-crafted; the official to the subversive; the familiar to the strange. All are powerful statements of the diverse ways people define themselves and others. As well as examining attitudes to individual and group identity, the exhibition explores the origin, use and subversion of symbols, and shows how badges can create dialogues between conflicting views.

The National Portrait Gallery

Madame Yevonde : Goddesses and Others
Bookshop Gallery
To mark the seventieth anniversary of Madame Yevonde's historic exhibition Goddesses and Others, this display of stunning colour photographs from the 1930s features society figures of the day dressed and styled by Yevonde as subjects from Greek and Roman mythology.

Lee Miller : Portraits
Wolfson Gallery, Admission £7/£4.75
Lee Miller (1907-77) was one of the most extraordinary photographers of the twentieth century. A legendary beauty and fashion model, Miller became an acclaimed surrealist photographer in her own right. This exhibition presents 120 of her black-and-white portrait studies and includes intimate portraits of Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst and Marlene Dietrich.

Thursday 13th 7pm
Penny Plain, Two-pence Coloured
Actor Peter Baldwin surveys the embellished theatrical portraits of the early nineteenth century.

Friday 14th 6.30pm
Tom Arthurs Jazz Trio
Tom Arthurs (trumpet, nominated as 'Rising Star' in the 2004 Jazz Awards), Jonny Phillips (guitar) and Ben Davis (cello) present a concert of original music drawing on influences in jazz, African and South American music. Characterised by beautiful melodies, stunning improvisations and sumptuous grooves, the group have a sound that is very much their own.

Thursday 20th 7pm
Gallery Talk: Schweppes Photographic Portrait Prize 2004
Free, but tickets required.

Susan Bright, independent writer, curator and lecturer. Please note, this talk will take place in the Porter Gallery.

Friday 21st 6.30pm
Metropolitan Ensemble
A performance of popular classics from this outstanding flute and string quartet ensemble.

Thursday 27th 7pm
Gary Schneider
Free, but tickets required.

Based in the United States, the South African-born artist is fast emerging as the one of the most innovative figures to be working in photographic portraiture. As a prelude to the conference, Facing Death, he will be in conversation with Roger Hargreaves of the National Portrait Gallery.

Friday 28th 6.30pm
Women of Love, Women of War
The sopranos of EXAUDI bring three ancient narratives to modern life. Julia Doyle performs Carissimi's Lament of Mary Stuart, Juliet Fraser sings James Weeks' lyrical transcriptions of troubadour Jaufre.

National Maritime Museum

SeaBritain 2005 is a major year long celebration of the sea, culminating in the Trafalgar Festival with events marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and Nelson's death. Events of all sizes will be taking place all over the country throughout the year, including the NMM's own Nelson & Napoleon exhibition.

Victoria and Albert Museum

Beauty is a journey through the V&A's extraordinary permanent collection. Design guru Stephen Bayley takes you on a tour of 26 V&A objects that he finds beautiful, from Canova's chillingly erotic 'Sleeping Nymph' to the austere industrial geometry of a Bauhaus desklight. The trail has been designed to excite speculation and stimulate debate rather than define this ever present, but fugitive, subject.
Admission free

Black British Style
From celebrity to Rasta, street wear to Sunday dressing, Black British Style looks at fashion and styling across all aspects of black life and culture over the past 50 years. The exhibition explores clothes and the people that wear them, looking at not only what is worn but how.

Black fashion has dramatically reshaped the visual landscape of Britain. Black people are not the only ones to turn heads on the street but it is the attention to detail in the art of dressing that makes black style so significant.

This exhibition is the first of its kind in the UK and highlights the variety of lifestyles that co-exist in black culture, focusing on dress but also incorporating music, photography and film.

There are free gallery talks every day at 13.00.

The National Gallery

Raphael: From Urbino to Rome
This is the first major exhibition of paintings and drawings by the great Renaissance painter, Raphael (1483 - 1520), to be held in Britain. In little more than a decade (1500-1513), Raphael transformed himself from a competent master of provincial church decoration into one of the greatest painters who ever lived. His remarkably lucid compositions influenced Western art up to the 20th century.

Drawing on the rich holdings of the National Gallery's collection and major international loans, the exhibition will explore the meaning and historical context of Raphael's works, his techniques and how these developed. Highlights include the 'Alba Madonna' from National Gallery of Art, Washington, the 'Conestabile Madonna' from the Hermitage, the 'Saint George' and 'Saint Michael' from the Louvre and the 'Self Portrait' from the Uffizi.

The exhibition will follow Raphael's dramatic stylistic evolution from his origins in Urbino to his works produced under the enlightened patronage of Pope Julius II in Rome.

Art in the Making : Degas
Edgar Degas (1834 - 1917) was one of the most experimental artists of the 19th century. Throughout his long career he constantly found new ways to use oil paint, chalk, pastel, essence and printmaking processes (in particular monotypes), often combining two or more media in the same work.

This exhibition is part of Art in the Making, the National Gallery's ongoing series of exhibitions on artists' techniques, and comprises in-depth examination of some twelve works by Degas. These will be complemented by x-radiographs, infra-red reflectograms and pigment analyses, with loans of works from Britain and abroad. It will reveal to a general audience, which has long loved this artist, just how complex Degas's working methods could be.

Tate Modern

The Unilever Series
Bruce Nauman
The latest extraordinary commission in The Unilever Series for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall has been undertaken by the American artist Bruce Nauman.

Nauman’s unique response to this vast space is the creation of a fascinating and provocative audio environment which will engage visitors as they progress through along the Turbine Hall.

Robert Frank
Robert Frank is one of the world’s most influential living photographers. For more than fifty years Frank has broken the rules of photography and filmmaking, challenging the boundaries between the still and the moving image.

This intriguing exhibition is the first major retrospective of Frank’s work to take place in the UK. It includes over 250 captivating photographs taken in Peru, London, Wales, Paris and the US, as well as three of Frank’s films and previously unseen recent photographs.

Tate Britain

Anthony Caro
Sir Anthony Caro is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest living sculptors. Surveying fifty years of Caro's career, this major retrospective at Tate Britain features the seminal steel sculptures from the early 1960s, through to his most recent works.

Don't miss the chance to explore his large scale 'sculpitecture', Caro's architecture-inspired sculptures which include a major new commission, created especially for Tate Britain.

This exhibition presents a wider and more comprehensive assessment of the work of this pre-eminent artist than has ever been seen before.


7 - 31 Jan, daily
Turtles Can Fly
Shot on location in an Iraqi refugee camp on the Turkish border, director Bahman Ghobadi's powerfully moving third feature is the first film to come out of Iraq since the collapse of Saddam's regime.

10 - 30 December, daily
Los Angeles Plays Itself
Addictive and absorbing, Thom Andersen's love letter to Los Angeles explores the city's representation in the cinema through a montage of film clips and archive footage.

13 - 18 Jan
Halloween Short Film Festival 2
Punk rock in it's outlook, and uncompromising in its vision to bring the best in short film alongside multi-media music & film events over 4 days, Halloween's short film festival returns to the ICA for it's second year.

The Opening Night kicks off with a live multi-media extravaganza hosted by music promoters Eat Your Own Ears & Glasgow's The Chateau art club. After their previous collaboration with Franz Ferdinand for the Frieze Art Fair, they return together to present the cream of Glasgow's new music & art scene: ex-Ganger post-rock outfit F*ck Off Machete, My Latest Novel playing their debut London gig, art rockers Uncle John & Whitelock, and Scotland's representative at the Venice Biennale Torsten Lauschmann. With special guests including a DJ set from Belle & Sebastian's Chris Geddes, plus visual interludes, digital jamming and short films.

More details

17 Jan – 3 Mar, 12 - 7.30pm daily
Tino Sehgal
Coming from a background in choreography and political economy, which both play a fundamental role in his work, Sehgal does not produce tangible objects and is not interested in leaving any form of material trace. His radical ephemeral interventions will provoke and inspire. The Berlin-based, British artist has been invited to participate in the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2005.

16 - 30 Jan
London Mime Festival

16 - 19 Jan, 8pm
Akhe Present : Mister Carmen
Winner of the Critic's Prize at the 2004 Mimos Festival in Perigueux, France. UK Premiere.
Following its success with White Cabin at LIMF 2004, St. Petersburg's cult absurdist theatre group, Akhe, returns with more bizarre props and hand-made scenography and another kaleidoscope of curious happenings and fantastic images, this time inspired by Prosper Merimee's Carmen, with its themes of love and jealousy.

More details

Thur 20 Jan, 7pm
Open Science
Hackers and those in the 'open source' community have done much to change how we use computers and computer software. But can a hacker ethic usefully be extended to science and the dissemination of scientific knowledge?
Speakers: McKenzie Ward, Professor of Cultural and media Studies
at Lang College, New School University and author of The Hacker
Manifesto; Ian Gibson, MP and Chair of the House of Commons Select
Committee on Science and Technology; Dr Tim Hubbard, Head of Human
Genome Analysis, The Sanger Institute; David Bodanis, author of
Electric Universe. Chair: Fiona Fox, Science Media Centre.

Exhibition closing dates – free unless otherwise indicated.

16/01/05 Status Symbols: identity and belief on modern badges / British Museum
16/01/05 Norman Parkinson: Portraits in Fashion / National Portrait Gallery Bookshop Gallery
16/01/05 Black British Style / Victoria and Albert / ticketed
16/01/05 Raphael : From Urbino to Rome / National Gallery / ticketed
16/01/05 Reaching Out, Drawing In / Studio Gallery National Portrait
23/01/05 Cartoons from the 1960's and 1970's / Balcony Gallery National Portrait
30/01/05 Art in the Making : Degas / National Gallery

13/02/05 Silhouettes / Room 16 National Portrait
13/02/05 Future Face / 1st Floor Science Museum
20/02/05 Schweppes Prize 2004 / Porter Gallery National Portrait
27/02/05 Beauty / Victoria and Albert

23/03/05 A Blueprint for Life / National Portrait

17/04/05 Wildlife Photographer of the Year / Natural History / ticketed

30/05/05 Lee Miller : Portraits / National Portrait / ticketed

31/07/05 Great Escapes / Imperial War / ticketed

18/09/05 Face to Face / Natural History

01/10/05 Diane Maclean, Sculpture and Works on Paper / Natural History

26/02/06 Diamonds / Natural History / ticketed