Posts tagged ‘edit’

12 June, 2010

You need your old stuff better than your new stuff

I visited Budapest in December 2003. It was bitterly cold, but lovely in the way that only an old European capital could be. I remember a city filled with quiet restaurants, lively bistros and cosy cafés exuding plenty of Old World charm, little independent galleries/shops selling beautiful Art Nouveau-style furnishings. And most of all, I remember a city full of stunning, eclectic, early twentieth century architecture. One did not need to see the guidebook-listed grand buildings for wonderfully flamboyant examples of the Bauhaus, Secessionist, Art Nouveau and Deco movements. Wandering around its broad boulevards and streets, you would be hard-pressed not to stumble upon any number of hidden architectural gems, usually in various states of (dis)repair – too many for the guidebook to mention.

It occurred to me much later, once I had returned to the West, why I had also found Budapest so peaceful, and beautiful. It was the complete lack of advertising. It was 2003 and Hungary would not enter the European Union for another 6 months.  There were no posters exhorting you to buy this, or that, in order to be a better person and live a perfect life. Where a billboard would have been, there was only brick, or carved stone, or an unblemished roof line – a wonderful, healing respite for the eyes and the soul.

I don’t imagine Budapest is much the same today.

These images below (from here) communicate a similar spirit of non-consumerism and anti-advertising.

And I’m taking the ‘if it plays, it stays’ line to heart. My cheap, distinctly lo-fi mobile (it doesn’t even have a camera!) will do me for a long time yet.

6 September, 2009

Mr Morris

Have nothing in your houses which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
~William Morris (1834-1896)

Clean.  Clear.  Declutter.  Edit.  Re-edit.  Recycle.  Amalgamate.  Store.

Spring cleans always provide a nostalgic, sometimes horrifying (I wore that?!) ride.  Even more so when the clutter dates back decades to childhood.  Mr Morris’ quote sets out useful criteria for a sentimental hoarder such as myself.  Additionally, I’m holding onto the creed that your things should reflect who you are.  Things not doing so and claiming space in your home (and your life!) should be let go.

It was a stocktake that began in the months before I left London; a stressful, sometimes haphazard, frantic process to reduce seven years’ of clutter to things encapsulating my time in London for shipment to Melbourne.  Interestingly, a London friend, La Finch, declutters whenever she could.  She’s a minimalist gal, and given the space constraints in her London flat, it was a necessarily constant activity.  I don’t think I could ever do it on a frequent basis.  I like letting things lie, and seeing how and where my feelings for them develop.

There are a number of things I got rid off in London which I regret.  But still, precious space is a fair exchange.  Most of my current Melbourne detritus is hitting charity shops and ebay.  But a few items – long-forgotten but happily rediscovered – have made the cut.

My mother's intricately beaded cardigan.

An intricately beaded cardigan which belonged to my mother.

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A Hello Kitty table mirror.

A Hello Kitty table mirror.

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Small chinese crochet dolls.

A set of small chinese crocheted dolls.