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Catching up - National Museum of Wales and a nice Italian

Posted Jul 06 2009 8:02pm
I'm still a post behind, so here's what happened yesterday. If you looking for something particularly diverting you might want to look elsewhere, because little of note happened: no addiction thoughts, progress or crises yesterday.

A gentle sunny day with light rain squalls in Cardiff, and tout de South Wales out in the streets promenading and the like. Mrs CD and I bobbed to the National Museum of Wales to take a squint at their Diane Arbus exhibition. I think they've had a bit of a revamp lately, opening up some new galleries and putting more of their collections on display. Certainly, on a couple of previous visits I felt the building rather overshadowed the exhibits - it's monumental, classically inspired civic architecture. Nothing wrong with that, it's a very nice building, but there seemed a lot in the way of empty space, especially in the massive entrance hall.

I enjoyed the photography. I see, some critics think of Arbus's work as a little exploitative; a freak show. You're certainly stared at a lot by her black and white subjects, who might be generally classed as outsiders and indeed freaks, from the sideshow world of sword swallowers, tattooed men; but also the non-white, the mentally ill, strangely intense looking little children, transvestites and dominatrices. I liked the sharpness of the images and the everyday boredom of their cheap rooms and the parks and squares of New York.

"You can't help thinking about what future they had," Mrs CD said. And, if you did, you wouldn't be imagining an enormously happy world of joy unbounded and success everlasting. But, you did care, and you can't say more than that for a photographer, can you?

We popped into an Italian restaurant afterwards for their cheap lunch special and very nice it was too. Pizza for me, Spaghetti Marinara for Mrs CD. The waiting staff were like dancers, run off their feet but very professional and smiling all the way through an efficiently marshaled lunchtime rush. The rain got up and drove the foolhardy souls who had taken advantage of the outside seating back indoors, all brilliantly handled by the staff, who grabbed their plates and shuffled tables to squeeze them in.

Then home, too late to catch the battle of the incredible Williams sisters. Liver for tea (it's, like, way cheap), a bit of telly and early to bed. My nerves got their usual rattling with a something that went bump in the night: "Someone's throwing things at the door," I panicked, an idea that Mrs CD had no time for, and, who was the voice of reason come the morning? Not Mr Paranoid, but Mrs Calm Reason, who had a fallen ornament to point to rather than my imagined horde of knife wielding night crawlers.

Lessons to be learned. My nerves are still awful and my usual nerve tonic is out of bounds - I drank for armour and I drank for courage - so, I'm just going to have to get used to a life where children scream and shout happily in the street and I don't extrapolate away to some victimisation or attack.

It will come, we must hope for that.

One good thing that's come out of my jangled hyper-sensitive nerves is that I've barely touched a spliff since leaving hospital. What's the point? Where's the joy when you just end up a bag of jelly praying for sleep. No bad thing at all.

If you spent it, thank you for your time.

CD.
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