May Memo

The blessed May is here.  There’s barely a full working week in the cards for the next couple of weeks, and this sparks terribly much joy. It’s again the time of a year I feel I’m permanently knackered, be it hay fever or my body somehow not realising the days are getting longer and it really should play ball rather than feel old. It is also possible I’m simply old.

The Met Gala

The perennial springtime staple, Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala hits us every first Monday of May. It’s like Oscars but with fancier outfits and without the annoying side-show of handing out statues taking up all the time from the dresses. This year’s theme is camp, said to be inspired by Susan Sontag’s novel Camp. Tickets cost 30.000 dollars apiece. Even if you had that kind of money, ​Anna Wintour might still not let you in, because she’s the host and decides who gets to come and oversees where everyone sits and she’s put together a seating plan already in previous November.

Understandably, some American comedians have not been much impressed by the gala. Amy Schumer has said people there are “dressed like fucking assholes”. Tina Fey considers the gala a “jerk parade”. 

I would not know, but shall be ogling the picture bonanza next week on every outlet possible, although, as you already guessed, ​Vogue has the exclusive rights to publish photos from the inside of the party. Anyway.

Cashmere maintenance

The long weekends of May shall be used for combing one’s cashmere sweaters before putting them away for winter (except for the summer cashmere, which also can be combed). All cashmere pills. It does not matter how expensive it is, it will pill at some point. And I don’t want any of that. 

I once got those battery-run tiny devices which were supposed to be run against pilled wool and cashmere and then make the insanely annoying little pinheads of wool go away. This satan’s innovation based its idea on cutting off the small bits, which inevitable resulted in cutting small holes in the knit. Also the device got jammed half-way a regular sweater and overall it was not good.

I had been looking for a cashmere comb since then, and finally found one in Helsinki. It is possibly cashmere combs are banned in Belgium given that I’ve looked bloody everywhere and have not found such a thing yet, but wherever you are: if you have knits, you need a cashmere comb in your life.

It’s instant gratification, people. Instant.

La Bouche Rouge Lipstick

I am a weak human being. While on my latest pilgrimage in my spiritual home, ​Le Bon Marché in Paris, I finally gave in to a La Bouche Rouge lipstick. It’s basically all those adjectives that most adults can resist: artisanal, all-natural, limited edition, expensive. Their idea is similar to Kjaer Weis: you buy one very expensive and very stylish case for your cosmetics and then keep refilling it, hence cutting down on waste and saving the world. I am the sucker who buys into that.

It’s a very nice lipstick. There’s a bespoke service to create a particular shade for anyone, but (exceptionally) I found one off the shelf. Their salespeople were extremely knowledgeable, not pushy, and let me take my sweet time, because on big issues like choosing the colour of my lipstick case, I become an impossibly annoying asshole who ponders such trivia for hours and hogs the counter and causes a queue and is often advised to “take a little walk and then come back”.

My choice is bright red (Innocent Red), and the quality and wearability is excellent. So it’s not just faff on the back of the packaging (affirm your revolutionary spirit/aspire to the artistic and intellect/live colour as an emotional state of mind) but the small brand have really done their homework on this one. Mine comes in a red leather case that has my initials on it. Also I’m told the leather comes from the same farm or whatever that Hermès also use. So basically I can cross Birkin Bag off my list, as I kind of have it now. 

New books

Juliet Lapidos’ Talent has much resonated lately. It’s a light but literary story about human potential and what are the lengths we are willing to go to meet it and then use it. It also exposes many interesting valuations we have: those of work and art. Talent is a campus-novel about a fallen-behind, brilliant PhD-student Anna who cannot get her arse on gear to finish her thesis, which ironically is about inspiration. 

Quirky people then enter her life, and there’s some seriously funny, and deep, rumination about our obsession with productivity and the quintessential American mantra to maximising one’s potential. 

I’m not particularly big on poetry, and was a bit wary of Maggie Nelson’s Bluets. It’s not poetry, but the novel is constructed of numbered short segments that make it kind of look like poetry. I loved her earlier books, so decided to go for Bluets, and am so glad I did, because it is beautiful. It’s kind of a pillow book of the narrator’s blue thoughts (she’s obsessed with the colour blue) and the segments take the reader through her painful experiences using certain (blue) aesthetics as a coping method. A very nice, different read. Also red Nelson’s The Red Parts: A Memoir, which is also very dark, but in a less dream-like way. 

Iceland poppies

Get them while they are still in season. I like my flowers half-anarchic and weary-looking, and these huge, papery, powdery deals are exactly that. 

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