As our favorite London-based/native Texan photographer Lilly Husbands captures perfectly, Marfa, Texas, is equipped with one of the most enchanting comfortable/rugged hotels one might dream up. Tumble out of your car into the dust of El Cosmico, a sophisticated trailer park and campground that's the perfect place to spend the night in a yurt, under a full moon and leaden Pendelton blankets.
Lilly Husbands: London dweller. Native Texan. Landscape & Travel Photographer. Film Researcher. Experimental animation & cinema specialist.
Let’s face it: The golden days of summer are here and it’s too hot to function. Stop trying—and flee. Pack up the wicker picnic basket your mother gave you (she didn’t give you one, too?), hop on the commuter rail, and head to your secret lake, your secret meadow, perhaps alone or with your secret friend.
In the last decade Liz Lambert* has undertaken the ambitious project of building Bunkhouse, a Texas hotel empire, and bringing the poured-concrete-and-succulents austere/luxurious aesthetics of, say, Los Angeles and Donald Judd, to the western part of Texas. Or at least the Bunkhouse empire has succeeded at making it look this way to T Magazine.
I picked up Ali Smith's Hotel Worldas I was waltzing out of town, alone on a long trip for work, first to take a flight to Nice, and later to take a train across La France to the Atlantic coast side of things. (To be honest, no waltzing was involved, just sweating and banging my shins on stuff).
In any case, I cracked open the slim Hotel World as soon as I nestled down into my purple velour seat upon the TGV, which was literally rattling from the Côte d'Azur towards Paris. From then, I was captive: I couldn't put it down, even for the hour I was in Paris (I'm a dummy), nor could I stop reading as my train continued to hurtle down south, through endless sunflower fields.
There's something in common between Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel and Stefan Zweig's The Post Office Girl. They give us hotels that are entire worlds: their corridors house luxurious accommodations as well as morgues, writing rooms, grand ball rooms, and entire social orders. But each also appears as a little sort of eddy in a river of war washing across an unhappy world.
It doesn't matter if it's the Ritz, a Motel 6, or the Heartbreak Hotel itself, a hotel room is never a home. It's just a transitory space filled with ghosts, free shower caps, and your own thoughts, to be purposed as circumstance demands - be it love, crime, consoling a heartbreak, escape, a good night's sleep, or work.
This month, in the midst of our holiday, we take a turn for the contemplative - the brooding type of contemplative, to be exact; the type that comes from a hotel's particular mixture of freedom and loneliness, like unmixed hot and cold water from two taps - to collect a small bouquet of hotel songs for you.
Herewith the first of several recommendations for your summer reading: books featuring hotels, in all their glamorous, complicated, and luxurious (or down-and-out) glory.
First up is a classic you may already have on your bookshelf, but that is well worth a re-read for its silent backdrop of imposing facades, marble staircases, and brass bars, never mind the war and wasted youth: Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and the Damned.
As I write this, the temperature in Berlin is speeding along towards 100 degrees and the sky is hazy and unpleasant with the type of scorching heat I normally associate with, say, Texas parking lots, or maybe the sixth circle of Hell. While I'm being sure to stay hydrated and immobile, I'm also cooling my mind by visualizing myself in various beautifully climatized situations: darkened movie theaters, a quiet porch on the edge of some breezy body of water, and - in particular- luxury hotel lobbies.
Part of the three month-long extravaganza that is our HOLIDAYS ISSUE includes, as it happens, a blogging holiday for us, too (see above gif). Lydia will be poolside somewhere in Italy (and obviously useless), and Barbara will be slightly busier having a baby and moving house and hosting her family, both old and brand-new...
Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a philosophy of motherhood, particular to Nelson's experience and delivered with special care for the limns that define it: conception, pregnancy, labor, maternal finitude. Nelson does not generalize, and asks her reader to respect her limits. So the only way I can think to talk (let alone to write) about The Argonauts is to make it about myself, too: this is how I read it. I highly recommend rushing off to get your own copy, but not to expect the world from it.
It may be June 8th - the prime of glorious early summer, which my Susan Miller horoscope tells me will be a great day (and I trust her unfailingly) - but, let's face it, we're still in Mercury Retrograde. And it is a Monday, after all.
It’s easy to get worked up about Frida Kahlo (1907-1954). In the wake of the massive physical tragedies that befell her she was an amazing painter. She was a great Surrealist, and her work (especially self-portraits) continues to inspire contemporary artists - not to mention the selfie movement. So it's no surprise Ishiuchi Miyako’s Frida (on view in London at Michael Hoppen Gallery until 12 July) has been an internet sensation.
This first of several HOLIDAYS ISSUE mix tapes is a wild, flotsam-and-jetsam, fruits-of-the-sea assortment of sailors and sea-shanties, Belle & Sebastian and British Sea Power, Händelian hornpipes and Frank Ocean. It's like a confused but energetic surf, the point of a beach where two opposing currents collide: in other words, it's areal mix.