Jun. 16th, 2012

London

Jun. 16th, 2012 09:16 am
abouthalfthree: cute big cat cub (Cheeter Cub)
I am in London, taking advantage of the free wifi at Lantana Cafe.

Good weather at the moment, about 18/19 degrees and clear skies.

I got in at about 5.30 in the morning and immediately had to buy cold and flu meds. Feeling much better this morning. I wasn't feeling 100% the first leg of my flight and so didn't swap with the women whose travelling companions—mother and two kids—were the rest of my row, because she had a window seat. I was not up to feeling boxed in anywhere. She had an aisle seat Singapore-London, though, so that worked out.

A lot of London is much closer to the rest of what you want to see that you might expect! I walked here, Lantana, from the Hostel near Kings Cross Station. It took me about 45 minutes including going to the Sainsbury's in Euston station to get something to take my meds with, checking the opening times of the Wellcome Collection and wandering slowly around RADA and Tottenham Court road.

I've also caught the bus a bit, because it is much nicer to see London go past. Also, you can see the shops you're going past and so can get a phone and use the computers at the Apple store to do your banking!

The actual bus stops are weird, though. Just like there are too many, too distant entrances/exits from underground stations, buses stop at one marker in a field of markers all listed on the same stop. I was going to take a bus back from the theatre last night, but I could not find the particular corner my particular bus left from, although I found three other stops.

I saw Stomp! They were excellent. Very loud. :-)
I liked the one with the lighters best. It also sounded a little like Carol of the Bells.
I think I would have preferred a more straightfoward costuming/staging or something. They were all dressed in old painting clothes type costumes, working outfits, which worked with the junk theme thing, but was also distracting, I think. It made the thing fit into a conceptual space that I would rather it had broken out of, especially having seen Cirqa.

I got to my hostel at about 7 yesterday morning, so I just wandered towards Trafalgar Square through the streets of King's Cross for a while, trying to find a bus stop. I caught a bus most of the way to the Tate Britain. Excellent! I was tempted by the Picasso and Modern British Artists exhibition, but it was £15, and I've already seen an excellent Picasso exhibition and I don't particularly like Modern British Art. The premanent collection of the Tate Britain is fabulous.

They had this installation museum-y thing called the Robinson Institute, which is about landscape art and the political and social engagement it can influence. It took a bit to get my head around it, but it was great. They had meteroites! Also some artists I'd never heard of, who are nonetheless established names in Britain like Frank Bowling, who was influenced by Colour Field artists in New York in the 70s. And some excellent works on paper. Also a series I thought, "oh, I wonder if that is Anish Kapoor," but they looked kind of suggestive, rude, so I was not surprised to discover they were Sarah Lucas.

I also wandered throught the National Gallery, which is worth noting is open until 9pm on Fridays. And I took photos of the things they're doing to Trafalgar Square. Counting down to the Olympics and something about red telephone boxes. I got see paintings I've only studied before, which is always awesome.

Lantana is getting busy, now, so I better finish my coffee and go. I'm off the the Wellcome Collection and then I have a train to Birmingham.

The city of Sophronia is made up of two half-cities. In one there is the great roller coaster with its steep humps, the carousel with its chain spokes, the Ferris wheel of spinning cages, the death-ride with crouching motorcyclists, the big top with the clump of trapezes hanging in the middle. The other half-city is of stone and marble and cement, with the bank, the factories, the palaces, the slaughterhouse, the school, and all the rest. One of the half-cities is permanent, the other is temporary, and when the period of its sojourn is over, they uproot it, dismantle it, and take it off, transplanting it to the vacant lots of another half-city.

~ Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino