What I wore: smock top from Urban Outfitters, a jumper 'borrowed' from my friend Cai (he may want it back at some point), shorts from ASOS, 'Good Egg' badge from Parish Council and espadrilles from a charity shop.
Last weekend was my first in the new flat that stretched out ahead of me, free of the chore of having to move boxes from one side of the city to the other or scrub bus pollution from the windows. I woke up early on Saturday, the place all to myself and proceeded to play out that faithful weekend routine- eggs- but this time in my brand new place. I pottered and played music and cooked the eggs. Tabasco and coriander and salt and pepper and a cafetiere for one.
The best bit about having moved to the centre is being able to leave the house and walk 10 minutes to Manchester Art Gallery. I did this in the startlingly bright sunshine, quickly realising that I wouldn't need knitwear and went to see the newly opened Ryan Gander exhibition. The gallery was nicely cool, good for counteracting that sweaty hairline which is always a feature of the hot summer days you long for in the depths of February. I loved the exhibition, which included a wall filled with perspex paint palettes depicting abstract memories, the tantalising opening into a magical forest trapped behind glass, and a pair of mechanical, blinking cartoon eyes. I found it much more loveable than the way his work came across on his recent profile on The Culture Show. That profile featured Ryan Gander discussing his output in a typically pop way and emphasising the value of productivity as a tool for making art, and in turn, a lot of money with great speed. He showed Miranda Sawyer around his art-studio-cum-production factory where pretty young things tapped away at laptops and spoke down the phone to the craftspeople, the stonemasons being commissioned to mould his ideas with their own hands. He had a cockiness which had been absent in the interviews I'd watched in the gallery, which I had found to be clever and refreshing. Here, being filmed for television he wore a flat peak cap with the awkward mannerism of a teenage boy who has bought a new item of clothing especially for a non-uniform day at school and doesn't yet feel comfortable wearing it. Part of me wondered if it was a joke, then a greater part decided that maybe we give artists too much credit for being pranksters when really, we could accept that you can enjoy somebody's work without liking them per say.
Later I left the gallery and walked around the corner to where it backs onto Chinatown. I bought the ingredients for the week ahead and sesame sauce, glass noodles and bottled hoisin to fill the empty corners of my food cupboards. I asked the woman behind the counter where I could find honey and she pointed me towards the jujube honey. "It's very good to spoon into hot water and drink when you're on your period," she told me. It contains strange fruit, with a consistency like soaked hazelnuts and a taste like figs. I wasn't on my period but there's always something appealing about having older women in shops telling you the right way to go about things. Especially when you live far away from your Mother, Granny or Aunt. It has the same appeal as being fitted for a bra in Marks and Spencer or having somebody come to fix your broken boiler when you haven't been able to figure it out or going occasionally to the GP and telling them why something down below doesn't feel quite right and just feeling so much better when you shut the door behind you and leave even though you're almost 23 and you still don't know how to name your own genitalia in front of a male medical professional. The strangers who help you get shit done and figure things out, often we never see them again.
The rest of the afternoon was spent mooching back at the flat, making lunches for the week ahead. A sweet potato and peanut soup distributed amongst tupperware and frozen in bulk and a sugar snap pea salad which contained a far too much garlic. I listened to Canned Heat and coverage of the Tour De France from a Leeds radio station which I would never otherwise listen to and moved around my little kitchen with the buses travelling down below my windows and farting out their pollution, the hairline at the back of my neck still damp with summer and plans to meet new friends later in the evening.