Thursday, August 06, 2009

Visit to London: Saturday 1 August 2009

Saturday was forecast to be the worst of our days for our London trip weatherwise. Still, this was of limited concern as we were scheduled to be ensconced in a pub for a goodly part of the day. The weather on waking up was certainly still balmy, so again it was summery clothes -- even those thin long sleeve tops didn't get an airing during this vacation!

Breakfast at Bar Bruno again - with added Bubble and Squeak (how did I not have that before!?) - and then as I had had some shoulder and calf pain/cramps, we headed towards Oxford Street. Of course, we got diverted by the discovery that Sister Ray records were still going, so we dashed in there and purchased:

  • The Duckworth Lewis Method
  • Madness: The Liberty of Norton Folgate (a location we passed the following day!)
  • Einsturzende Neubauten: Ende Neu
  • God Help the Girl
We then mooched on to Oxford Street and into faithful old John Lewis, since tacky 'sportwear' shops wouldn't know about actual sports and exercise equipment if it bit them on the bum. Furnished with a remarkable Omniball and more, I felt better already.

After that - and the sight of a gravity defying (natural) cleavage making both us pop our eyes as the woman passed us - we wandered into the Photographer's Gallery in its new temporary home at Ramillies Street. We delighted in the exhibition 'On Reading' by Andre Kertesz, especially because the Guardian review had reminded me that it included an image of Peggy Guggenheim. We had a sit down and a drink, with Neil picking up the latest edition of Smoke. We then headed back to the hotel, dropped off our purchases and then headed back towards Trafalgar Square.

Ahead of meeting a friend for beers, we finally managed to visit the Political Cartoon Gallery on Store Street. Despite passing this many many times, this little venue has always been shut or on vacation when we have passed it so we took our chance and paid our pound to see the excellent work of Dave Brown. Rogues Gallery shows Brown's 'misused masterpieces' first published in The Independent, adapting old master paintings for political cartooning end. Not only are images visually stunning but they are also very funny.

We then nipped in for the BP Portrait awards at the NPG. We've got into a habit of seeing this show and there are always at least a couple of images that are really striking. This year we were especially captivated by a painting of a girl in a stripey jumper (how could we not like that!) -- 'Imagine' by José Luis Corella. We were also taken with 'Hats and Scarves' by Tim Okamura whose layered paintwork isn't done justice by a small reproduction and whose lively painterly style was striking in such a large work. I also like the prize winning work by Peter Monkman, a rather ethereal image of his daughter ('Changeling 2').

Full of culture, we headed to the always delightful Chandos but finding our friend delayed we temporarily exited for a stroll around the area including an exhibition/sales space selling fashion and art/design magazines. We also had a nosey at the Cecil Court print stalls. However, as the rain restarted we headed back to the pub and sat ourselves down for the afternoon.

With toastie and chips to keep the hunger monsters at bay we passed the remaining waiting time musing on trying to name the Ivy League Universities of the USA and the 'Seven Sisters'. Confusingly I now realise there are eight Ivy League universities so who was missing a sister?! Anyway, drinks and film discussion chatter ensued once our friend arrived and we then made a quick dash through torrential rain up to The Salisbury on St Martin's Lane (the wettest we got all weekend!), working our way through the posher theatre-goers to finally get a seat. We then made our way to Cambridge Circus - to, funnily, The Cambridge - where debates and identification of long forgotten films continued (I finally remembered - without recourse to IMDB - that the colloquially known 'Lust in the Dust' starred Jennifer Jones and was actually called Duel in the Sun).

Requiring some serious beer soakage material we headed for food at the lovely Ristorante Cappucchetto just off Cambridge Circus. We had delicious pasta - with gnocchi alongside - and we were wonderfully filled with food and wine. Excellent.

Against better judgement a final round was decided upon and we headed to the Whitehall Weatherspoons pub with a moon in its name. Yes, we were a bit drunk by this time. Still, with a copy of the latest Observer in hand -- oh sob, can they really be thinking of getting rid of this wonderful paper?! -- we enjoyed a sobering walk back through Trafalgar Square, past yet more random people on the plinth and back to the hotel.

End of day three!

1 comment:

Darren said...

The new Madness album is rather fine, if I do say so myself.