I must say I wasn't given many promising things this last Christmas, and I certainly didn't get that many books. I was, for instance, given a black leather CK bag (I gave it to my nephew JX to use for the new school year). I should think books are the most obvious things to give me, and I'm not that hard to please. I think.When I unwrapped the neat package that my designer friend EC had sent to my room at the Traders Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, I knew it was a book. Not surprisingly, it was a buddhist book, Peace: A Compilation of Short Teachings by Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche is EC's guru, and EC is truly devout. I want to just quickly note here that the Traders Hotel is a wonderfully civillized place to stay if you ever find yourself in KL - my room, very spacious and no-nonsense (I like no-nonsense rooms, don't you?) overlooks the park and the KLCC twin towers (they look like twin phallic maize, don't they?). My colleagues and friends keep telling me that the hotel is 'very central' but that's nonsense to me (central? central to what? why does everything need to be central? Are taxis quite unheard of? Am I interested in the malls at Bukit Bintang? Shudder, and repeat). The hotel's service is clockwork, housekeeping is prompt and thorough, things work, and that's all you can want from a hotel. The bedside clock, for instance, lights up when you lift it - I found that out when I brought the clock to the bathroom to time my bath. Of course my friends kept talking about this impressive Sky Bar thing to which they repaired each night, but I wouldn't know a thing about it to tell you, now would I?I was given a food book by M There's No Carrot in Carrot Cake: 101 Hawker Dishes Singaporeans Love, by food blogger Leslie Tay. Now, I don't know why M thinks I need this food guide which describes food I know and eat often, but there you go. It's prettily designed, like a Tang's paperbag, but that's about all I can say for it.F made me buy the winter 2010 issue of Acne with Leigh Bowery on the cover. I must say it's visually very convincing with stories on Lucien Freud, and other artists' studios which appear fascinating. There's a portrait of Dame Agatha Christie by Lord Snowden which is lovely (pictured here). There are Deborah Turbeville interiors. But I've been flipping it, not reading it. It's truly inpenetrable. One can't get into it however determined one is, and then one is asleep, the lights still on. And then one feels guilty. It's the same with the winter 2009 issue of Acne. I took it back from the office because it seemed so interesting on first flip (Tilda Swinton as the mad muse Marchesa Casati? Sold!) but again, unreadable. Very dull, if fetchingly designed.
So lets resolve, shall we, to only take to bed things that have quality and innate value, in the new year, instead of merely pretty things, hollow, but well designed.
Bookwise, and otherwise.(Ms Swinton by Paolo Roversi)