This post was written on March 20, 2009. When I went to include the all-important link to the visual element it had disappeared from the internet, so this post was never published. Through an odd series of events early this morning, I ended up finding that the art is back up, so several years later, here you go:
Back in October, during our fabulous UK Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare geekfest, Jen, Stacey, and I decided to make a quick day trip over to Cardiff. While we were wandering around the Queens Arcade mall in search of lunch and toilets and Doctor Who calendars we encountered a strange photo session in progress.
At first we planned to ignore it, but later we walked by again and the people working on it explained that it was some sort of community photo mosaic project. We were invited to participate. “We aren’t Welsh,” we explained. “That’s fine,” they said, “it doesn’t matter.” Clearly these people had a quota to fill. So feeling a little self conscious I followed Stacey and Jen as we each had our photos taken in front of several different colored screens, all the while being directed to look “up and to the left,” then “down and to the right,” and so on and so forth. One of the photographers flirted with Stacey. No one flirted with me. Clearly the Welsh don’t deserve me. Next time I’ll go to Manchester instead.
After they’d taken our photos they gave us each a T-shirt and sent us on our way.
So what was this mysterious project, you ask? It was the “I am Art” project, a photo mosaic containing more than 15,000 images of about 3,000 people. After the photos were taken the people (not us) voted to decide which famous Welsh person the photo mosaic would be of.
Go ahead, think of as many famous Welsh people as you can. I’ll wait here.
Done already? Yeah. That’s probably why the big winner, the “Face of Cardiff,” wound up being 2007’s “X-Factor” (think “American Idol”) runner-up Rhydian Roberts (I was hoping for actor Gareth David-Lloyd but Rhydian will do).
Several months passed and finally the completed project was revealed. The three of us spent some time zooming in on the mosaic to find each other. It was loads of fun. Each of us appears multiple times—zoom in and see if you can find us!
Here’s a pic of the three of us from earlier that week so you know who to look for.
So that’s the story of how Stacey, Jen, and I came to be featured in a strange piece of Welsh art, one with the people of Cardiff, forever immortalized in a pop star’s head. WE ARE CARDIFF. WE ARE RHYDIAN. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.
On Christmas Eve, Larry, Serif, Laura’s dog Lexi, and I went for a drive around Somerville to admire some of the more spectacular Christmas-decorating specimens on display. At our last stop we even got out of the car, and while Larry was taking photos of the most impressive house yet, Santa Claus himself came out the front door and posed for a quick photo with us. Only in Somerville, people.
|Somerville Holiday Lights|
I realized I never put up any photos from the London portion of our trip, so here are a few:
First up, here I am at Paddington Station with Paddington Bear.
Here is Noel on the Prime Meridian.
Stacey and I have no photos of ourselves on the Prime Meridian because we are cheap and refused to pay almost $20 a person to go and stand on it when we could see it just fine from the other side of the gate. Stacey and I, it could be argued, are no fun.
Here we are at the Sherlock Holmes pub. If you go, have the tomato soup!
Noel and Stacey inside the pub.
Speaking of Sherlock Holmes, at the National Portrait Gallery, tucked in amongst paintings of royals and other notable figures, we encountered this portrait of Benedict Cumberbatch (who plays Sherlock on the show Sherlock).
And finally, Noel was able to get her photo taken with David Tennant outside the theatre. She was so happy she did a little song and dance afterward. Success!
All in all, a very lovely trip!
Sunday we decided to visit Glastonbury. We started by climbing up Glastonbury Tor to see St. Michael’s Tower. T was smarter than the rest of us and didn’t go all the way up, but Noel, Stacey, and I were feeling stubborn.
The climb was very steep and almost painfully windy. Seriously. The wind was just absurd.
After we’d admired the view a bit and listened to some random men play flutes, we made our way back down the hill. Next up we went to see the Chalice Well.
The Flow Form and Vesica Pool
There were some amazing flowers in bloom, including these enormous poppies, which were each about the size of my hand.
The iron-rich water has turned the Waterfall a red-orange color.
Noel takes a drink from the Lion’s Head. The water tasted like pennies.
This tree had something to do with Jesus. The flowers didn’t—they were just pretty.
I…don’t even begin to know how to explain this encounter. It involved a self-proclaimed Time Lord/mystic/Starfleet ambassador with a magical staff named Capricorn who looked into you and helped your mind achieve balance. Or something.
Relaxing post-mystical encounter.
After Glastonbury we drove over to Wells Cathedral for Evensong. The music was lovely, but the service was so soothing that I had to fight to stay awake. It reminded me of trying desperately not to nod off during post-lunch college lectures.
After Evensong we got a snack at a nearby tea place where the food was good but the waitstaff was a touch sketchy. We finished off the day with a drink at the Ring o’ Bells pub, a lovely stir fry dinner T’s husband cooked, and a little bit of British TV. All in all a very successful day!
We got up obscenely early this morning to join our host T in Milton Keynes for an attempt to break a world record. T is a Guinness Book adjudicator and had to be on hand at Gulliver’s Land theme park to witness the record being set for the biggest human foosball game. The whole thing was a PR event for the release of Gulliver’s Travels on DVD.
When we arrived we were invited not just to watch but to participate, so we did. Stacey and I were put on the blue team, captained by British TV personality Angellica Bell.
Noel was on the red team, captained by another TV personality, Michael Underwood.
We arrived before most people, so we had time for a practice round.
I was hit–twice–with the ball. It was painful. Stacey was also hit, as were several small children. But in the end the blue team won (5-0).
GOOOOOAL!!! And a world record was set!
After the foosball was over we went over to the main theme park to explore. It’s a bit like a mini Disneyland, with an Adventureland and a Western section and tea cup rides etc.
We spent much longer there than we intended to, but we couldn’t stop laughing the whole time. All of the park staff were very indulgent of the crazy ladies wanting to ride children’s rides.