faustus: (Default)
( Jul. 2nd, 2013 04:05 pm)
Saturday I got up at daft o'clock to celebrate the 25th anniversary of my driving test - I caught the 6.00am train to Victoria, breakfasted in the Regency Cafe and was the first person through the doors of the Lowry exhibition. Imagine! Having the whole exhibition to yourself! After doing something similar for Lichtenstein and Hirst, I'd imagine crowds, but I had the place largely to myself - there were no more than four people in the same room as me at any time. A fantastic show, although light on biographical context.

And I am still pondering whether his liking of Pirandello might explain him somehow.

You could buy flat caps in the shop. But not, as far as I could see, whippets.

I also did Caulfield and Hume - shows rather light on explanation, and I rather bounced off.

I'd planned to do the Psycho show at Pace, but ambled first to the Pace at the rear of the RAA where I saw a Robert Irwin show (presumably not the same Robert Irwin...).

At this point I ran into and - against a certain degree of cynicism - watched half an hour or so of Pride. I confess and would like to risk expressing mixed feelings. It's the first one I've seen.

The theme this year seemed to be marriage and I can see the if-it-quacks-like-a-duck argument for extending civil partnerships, enshrining equal rights, clarity of medical decisions and access, inheritance of property etc. On the other hand, I have reservations about marriage as an institution for anyone. I'm also torn between the seashift of corporate attitudes that means people can now march as workers with Tesco and on the other hand the question of whether, say, BP and Barclays are in a position to gain positive PR from this. (I realise Apartheid is over now. I still have a distrust of Barclay's). I was all for the scattered placards complaining about the commercialisation of Pride, but on the other hand these were branded Socialist Worker.

On the other hand, it is good to see public displays of commitment, across the QUILTBAG spectrum.

On the other hand, whistles still annoy me...

Were there people marching for themselves or with partners who weren't under a brand? Or do you have to be part of a gang? (I suppose I should have been marching with my colleagues, had I chosen to, although I didn't recognise anyone there.) Was there a group of miscellaneous marchers at the back? If so I moved on before I saw them. The old visibility problem, perhaps. Where are the banners for people with no banners save their own visibility on the march?

Several of the crowd didn't remember - pace the placards - Lucy Meadows. I'm ashamed it took a couple of minutes to place the context.

It was hot in the sun. I was beginning to dehydrate. It was all rather moving.

It took a bit of wandering to locate Pace, proper, and it required an entryphone to be negotiated. I passed, for now.

Then a long wander up to a pub I like in Finsbury. On the other hand, I've twice been when Whitstable IPA was one of the choices and I can get that locally. Not all the beers taste great. And there was only one choice this time. I rapidly moved onto Clerkenwell and the Craft Beer Co, where there was only one beer at 4%. The rest was 7% plus. I settled for a 7% Thornbridge/Dark Star collaboration and a Sirens at 11.4%, but only a half. £10.50. Ouch. On several levels.

That left a stagger down to Temple, and the train home from Victoria.
Foot pain retreated enough this morning to allow me to walk to West station and the 8.07 to London Bridge - truly London will be fab when they've finished building it - and a walk to Tate Modern. I'd done the Alighiero Boetti and Yayoi Kusama last Sunday, finding them both very rich and fecund artists, the Kusama beng the more interesting of the two, and I was a little arted out after Picasso and photographs to do Damien Hirst. Plus there was a queue. It looked heaving.

I got to the gallery just before it opened, and as a member I got to go straight in. I believe I have a potential for a private view, but I think I've had my money's worth. He's actually a rather old fashioned artist - his themes are mutability and preservation, most obviously in the cow, sharks and sheep in preserving fluid, sliced in half or whole. These have a melancholy beauty, as much due to the refraction caused by the tanks as anything else. Then there are the flies - buzzing around a decaying cow's head in a piece I've seen at least once before, in the RAA British Sculpture show, or stuck to the wall in a circle. - and the butterflies - flying around one round like Kew has been transplanted - or stuck to the wall. Then the endless cigarette butts and pills (not a show to inhale at). Perhaps the best piece is a autopsied angel, but I fear it all feel a little obvious in its juxtapositions.

In the Turbine Hall there is the diamond encrusted skull in a small blacked out room - you wait a few minutes to be admitted, walked through a dark tunnel, then into the room with the skull. It has a certain beauty, but it's flashy and vulgar.

I didn't feel the need to buy the catalogue.

Then north to St Paul's and a busy Central Line, via a coffee shop to a meeting in the Crown and Sceptre, a pub whose staff have gone from adequate to hopeless - this one didn't know what stout was, didn't recognise the name of one of their beers and was confused by notions of coffee or tea. Half the menu was off, too.

Then a walk with someone from the meeting in search of a coffee shop off Oxford Street - via a colour coded stationery shop which clearly either sells nothing which is yellow or has sold everything it had which was yellow - and to Selfridges. I didn't quite stand on the spot of the cover to Solar Flares, so next time.

Back to Charing Cross via CeX and Fopp and a sinking feeling that I'd dropped the fiver in my back pocket. A productive day.
faustus: (Default)
( Apr. 16th, 2012 08:16 pm)
It's been a busy couple of weeks - a couple of trips to St Albans, one of them for a conference, a day trip to Birmingham over Easter to see the Hamish Fulton exhibition, a number of days in St Ives and a day in London, to both Tates and the V&A, with much walking. Hope to write some of this up, but time thus far forbids.
... that was a Marks and Spencer elaborate bomb scare hoax.

As I wanted the British Library, I took the HS1 rather than the train to Victoria - although I could have done the route in reverse and started with the NPG.

I went back to the British Library to have a proper look at Out of this World, and I must organise my thoughts to make a review. Yes, it's fantastic, but... There's something that just doesn't gel for me. I only spotted about three mistakes, and I got frustrated by the failure to credit cover artists. Some of this appears to be in the catalogue, which I'll buy in due course. I'm not sure what story is being told - or rather, I suspect it's a story that I don't need to read. But there's also the urge to read those books...

I also took a look at the Peake - although I think the Chichester show was better. It would help to be clearer which end it started. I didn't have the energy to read all the text on the manuscripts, and I need to do some digging to see what's published. I clearly need the new Titus book, though I haven't read the last one yet. I managed to hear the whole serialisation, though I'm not sure it worked. Probably more than the tv version.

Then via Oxfam on Museum Street Bloomsbury Street to the Cartoon Museum and the Doctor Who comics exhibition. I suspect most of what was on display was the original artwork, but there were also some colourised panels as well. Again, I'm not sure what audience it was aimed at, as it explained what a TARDIS was towards the end. It struck me - and it disappointed me - that so much of it was postDoctor Who Weekly, although in retrospect that was a quarter or so of the time scale. Who stole all the time? No catalogue, as far as I could see. Free with Art Fund Card.

Finally through increasingly heavy rain to the National Portrait Gallery and the Camden Group - which was only about ten paintings, and was hidden. Or rather the map in the lobby needs a YOU ARE HERE arrow on it. Will go back and do the Hollywood Glamour stuff.

Add to the shit list: people with umbrellas who think they can just bimble along, and the killer suitcases on wheels.

Tube back to St P, and the traditional arrival thirty seconds before a train departs. I got one half an hour later, which came with a disturbing warning to look under our cars when we got to Canterbury. I'd already had a text warning me something was going on - something on Old Dover Road and Tescos and Marks and Sparks had been evacuated. After much net digging, I discovered there'd been a suspect package on the line near the bridge and a fire (and a second package) at Marks. There was the cricket match on, and something may have been happening there, too. Much of the high street and Old Dover Road were cordoned off, but fortunately I found a way round, and saw that there were bus replacement services running. I'm so glad I took the more expensive route.

It turns out the whole thing was a hoax - someone has left two rucksacks with wires made to look like bombs. Things the city could have done without.

faustus: (Culture)
( Jun. 13th, 2011 03:24 pm)
There was a photography exhibition at Whitechapel I wanted to catch, and a possibility that the NPG would be selling a catalogue cheap for the last week of their exhibition, so I thought I'd head into London on Sunday. 8am train, but it's going to Charing Cross rather than Victoria, but that's perfect for the NPG... Only the East End is always cut off from central London on Sundays (Whitechapel is right next to Aldgate East - but that's no use if AE is shut). The train stops at London Bridge, not quite walkable, but there's a route via Moorgate.

But I need a coffee and I've got a spare hour, so Bux wifi leaching and download that late essay I need to mark. London Bridge Bux is not a sit down place, and I realise I don't have my loyalty card, so I tube it to Liverpool Street Station where there is a Bux and it's close to the one near Spitalfields if that's busy. Liverpool Street don't take the card anyway. The wifi is flaky, my iTouch won't register, but I get a slow signal on the Mac Book so I get the essay, set up a new FlickR account and discover my direct debit via my credit card didn't get transferred to the new card. Grr.

At this point I consider going home.

I start walking - it is raining, my trainers are leaking - and I find an Eat to use their wifi to sync the iTouch. I then take a short cut through Spitalfields faintly in search of food - but I've picked the non food route and it's full of people who don't know how to walk. I am also heading away from Whitechapel, but it takes a couple of minutes to realise. Having failed with the interesting I go for the supposedly cheering KFC next to the galery, having unexpectedly found exactly the right shortcut.

Paul Graham photos great, government art collection good, This is Whitechapel photos interesting, Frank Sandford sculptures barking. Worth the trip, but the bookshop is a bottle neck.

I don't have the energy for the NPG, but I need M&S socks so I foolishly elect to go to Oxford Street - alhtough maybe Marble Arch might have been quieter. It is also take a while to find since I have a street number, and the buildings don't. I just about headed off right. Socks bought, after a failure to do so in Westwood Chaos on Saturday.

Need more coffee and a recharge of the Mac by then, and find a Bux where I sync, then decide I might as well do a couple of hours work there as head back to Victoria and work there, or just head back. A productive time, and I cut it fine for the train - hitting the Wizard of Oz matinee crowd with their killer umbrellas and inability to walk.

Today, I have had a l-o-n-g meeting, and now can't decide to go home via the library to pick up a reserved volume or go to a coffee shop and Oxfam - the opposite direction. To avoid being a donkey, I've written this whine instead.
faustus: (seventies)
( Apr. 27th, 2011 12:46 am)
On Thursday I went forth to teach at the BFI. That's the British Film Institute - and the constituency was a group of home schooled 12-16 year olds, although I swear most looked younger. It was difficult to know how to pitch it - instinctively I didn't talk down, but three hours is a long time or not long enough. For reasons which need not detain us, I didn't get the script assembled until the night before and was choosing clips at 2.30am. Not smart.

Getting there was fun - I'd managed to offload the urgent purchasing of tickets that needed to be done at 10am, and I'd decided that, of the four potential routes, the train to Victoria was simplest and speediest. Only there was a bomb scare at Rainham, so I ended up on the fast train, have just missed the slow train to Waterloo East, which would be the most sensible. I say fast - the train was delayed at Ashford as the driver was stuck at Rainham (uh?), so no time was saved in the catching of this train. Thence, via tube, to Waterloo and a Bux for wifi, and trying to find the BFI and a woman who they hadn't heard of who was delayed getting there.

Feel my stress.

I went straight out to Bethnal Green to walk to my hotel in London Fields - bit of a trek in retrospect, and it really wasn't as dreadful a place as the online reviews suggested. I didn't find the public wifi. I could have done without the 24 hours garage next door. I fell asleep at 10pm, a little early for me. The beans were stone cold at breakfast - which fortunately I like, but, still.

Good Friday I had a day to kill before a party - the reason I had stayed over - and went to the British Museum, although a slower journey than anticipated meant that I was still drinking coffee when they opened and hit the crowds. I wasn't in the mood as I hit Anglo-Saxon remains, and thought to myself that I enjoyed Maidstone Museum rather more. Having failed to find an open Oxfam (neither Museum Street nor Drury Lane), I edited in Caffe Nerd for a couple of hours before hitting three surviving secondhand bookshops on Charing Cross Road (who clearly don't really want to sell books) and heading south to Balham. From there I took a Southern train north to Sydenham and then the Overground to Highbury and Islington - I needed a Bux for wifi and more editing and the one in Whitechapel was too far from my eventual destination. Then I wandered south, jay walking the A1, to the party at a pub just off the Regent's Canal.

I went in only really knowing the host, and slightly his girlfriend, plus his brother, who at times has stalked me via the World Service, and I am not a party bunny, so it was a little scary. Would I find people to talk to? Would I hide in the corner? Would I get distracted by all those seventies sf paperbacks including 334 and The Sundered Lands? Would I get spectacularly drunk? I got to spend little time with the host, as expected, but still found people to talk to and had a great time. This was somewhat despite the pub which, although stocking Seafarers and Spring Summat and an Adnams, seemed to have run out of glasses (I'm guessing they don't expect having twelve customers at any one time) and didn't seem able to serve, let alone in sequence.

Then I walked back.

I'd researched transport links, of course, but most involved walking half a mile north or south and catching a bus east before walking half a mile south or north. Or I could walk a mile east. Ish. Along the canal was ruled out, too muggable I felt and too much chance of a plunge, and besides it was more or less a straight line, aside from going north and south at two points, and obviously not cutting through London Fields. Actually, I did cut through London Fields. I hardly saw anyone - mostly women on their own - and three guys who offered to knock me out for a tenner, which seemed reasonable, although they'd have to gave me change from a twenty pound note.

I really could have done without the drum n bass at 5am from the garage.

After more cold baked beans, and a slow checkout, I went to meet Prof Rog at Spitalfields - which has clearly changed since my last visit. A couple of Americanos later I headed back to Victoria, via Oxfam on Strutton Green, where I bagged the Patrick Ness trilogy. And then the train home, mercifully straightforward although for once I needed to be in the front four carriages.

Then, I crashed. I have no idea why my stress levels hit the roof...
I noticed the Muybridge exhibition had a warning about nudity - in photos the size of a matchbook. Some things are clearly sensitive.

Today I'd planned to see the Watercolours exhibition at t'Tate and may be the Bridget Riley, plus a visit to Oxfam and Hurlingham Books in search of copies of The Thirty-Nine Steps. I figure, what with watercolours being all chocolate box and all, an early arrival would get me ahead of the crowds, and an 8.00am train would see me arriving as they opened. A 7.30 train would see me have time for a coffee. But that would require me getting up at 6.30, unlikely on a weekend and double so since I got to bed at 2am.

Hollow laugh. After four hours' sleep I was awake in plenty of time and caught that train.

Even at 10.10 the exhibition was too crowded, or perhaps it attracted the wrong kind of punter. The punter who not only gets in your way, but pushes in front of you and looks at you as if you've been in theirs. Who come damn close to putting their damn dirty ape fingers on the work. About half of the art was what I'd feared - biscuit tins and clotted cream - with the early stuff and late stuff being the best. As with the Moore, the war stuff stood out - and that was what got the great reviews which made me want to see the show. There was an interesting room on developing technique and technology, which came a little late, and Turner kept recurring to give it a boost. The impressive stuff was the Dadd (every blade of grass!) and the familiar Ravilious and Nash, and of course the Tudor miniatures are amazing. Howard Hodgkin, I need to follow up.

But much more striking was the Susan Hiller exhibition - which I had no idea I'd see and which was packageable with the Watercolours. If I'm being honest, I'd say see this first, because you might need the Watercolours to calm you down, because this is a show that came with no warning. (But Watercolours will get busy. It's nice art. Mostly.) I confess I'd never heard of her, but I've seen her From the Freud Museum at Tate Modern (and note she is American, though long resident in Britain). She specialises in ready made and deconstructive art - hundreds of postcards of storms at seaside resorts, the evidence in the boxes, looped films of teen telekinesis, pictures of ships at sea, paintings burnt, sliced and diced, unravelled or deliberately faded in the light. There's a slide show about recording spirit voices, a surreal living room with a documentary about Nebuchadnezzar and faces in the tv signals after close down, dangling speakers recounting close encounters and - most terrifying of all - a film about Punch and Judy worthy of Grotowski and mind blowing. I've been moved, uplifted and transformed by exhibitions before, but never so terrified.

I had to do a bit more of the Tate's art to calm myself - a new hanging of twentieth century art, waving at artists whose styles I recognise now, the latest version of Blake on physiognomy and phrenology. Then a walk to Oxfam, where I score a Love's Labour's Lost (I hope a missing Arden) and thence to a rather good bakery, then the District Line to ...

Parson's Green, rather than Putney Bridge. Planned engineering buggering around - which I'd not thought to check on. And stupidly I turned left out of the station - which should follow the line of the railway south, rather than right, which would have been quicker. But I found a Starbucks, and had a second coffee, which had been the plan on the other route, and eventually I was back on track. And then, as I counted up to 91, I had this awful feeling that the place had closed down.

Fortunately, I looked around the corner, and found the shop. I also realise I've been there before, or at least past it, when visiting someone in Putney. I'm not sure I found it open. Another Thirty-Nine Steps, one novelisation of Flash Gordon.

I decided to walk along the Thames rather than tracing the route I should have taken from Parson's Green - I decided, but failed, as the Thames Path is somewhat inland. I soon gave up and found my way back to New King's Road, and a very slow district line.
faustus: (Culture)
( Nov. 21st, 2010 11:45 pm)
I wanted to go and see the Eadweard Muybridge exhibition, and the Turner Prize shortlist, if only to see the Otolith Group entry. Tate Britain offered a number of different exhibition combinations, but not Muybridge and Turner Prize, so I was forced to see the Rachel Whiteread drawings.

Let's dispense with her - here's her drawing of a floor, and of wall paper ... okay, more interesting are designs for sculptures, such as House and the Fourth Plinth, and various found objects, but whilst it's sort of fascinating to see someone drawing a keyhole rather than a lock, I find the other people in the exhibition more interesting than the exhibition itself.

Muybridge, though... First, let me warn you there is NUDITY, yes, NUDITY. Not rope stuck up the jacksie nudity of Mapplethorpe, but among the action photographs Muybridge took are athletes in the altogether. And this includes self portraits at 56. Given each of these pictures is about 2cm by 3cm I cannot help think that this is over reaction. One hopes all the nudes in Tate Britain are similarly warned about.

Muybridge is most famous for the invention of bullet time a century or more before The Matrix - images of horses, dogs, elephants, athletes and such like in action, with some of these then animated zoopraxiscope style. I see there is more of these in the Kingston museum, which demands a visit early next year. He also did action photographs of throwing buckets of water - capturing movement in stillness.

But that's the second half of his career. He also travelled extensively in the Western US, taking landscapes and stereoscopic photographs of Yosemite, Alaska, San Francisco and so forth, including native Americans (of the Tlingit variety, among others). His waterfalls an lighthouses are very striking, as is his anthropological stuff. The discovery that he had a business on Montgomery Street triggers a vague memory of PKD's address at some point, and his association with Leland Stanford triggers something about androids. There's also stupendous panoramas of San Francisco c. 1878. Astonishing.

The four artists on the the shortlist for the Turner Prize are Susan Philipsz, Angela de la Cruz, Dexter Dalwood and the Otolith Group. Philipsz offers soundscapes - folk songs sung through three speakers in an otherwise empty room. I could take or leave; I'm guessing you need to spend an hour listening. I couldn't be bothered. de la Cruz offers single colour canvases, which are then crunched up. Clever clever but not clever. Cute. Although they look vaguely kinky. Dalwood offers traditional canvases, and is my favourite, although probably he won't win. He's inspired by various novels and novelists, and there's a nice political edge. The Otolith Group are Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun (he of the book More Brilliant than the Sun on Sun Ra etc) and offers sf - they've dressed up as aliens before. Here we have a dozen screens showing episodes of a Chris Marker documentary on Greek culture and philosophy (each is 26 mins - you can't see them all) and a film which public service announcement starts on the hour and is about 50 mins. The film is based upon the conceit of filming an unrealised Sanjit Ray script The Alien, and is a mixture of found footage, clips from Ray and new stuff, mostly trying to cast the various parts, which include Arthur C. Clarke. When you hear the words "Its a not an easy thing to meet one's maker" an "I want more life, father", you wonder if Ridley Scott is reaching for his lawyer. I suspect it's half an hour too long - but then I tend to find that I get the point of video art long before it finishes.

In the meantime, I found a copy of a book secondhand which is the first step in a little artistic project of my own. Only another dozen copies to find.
faustus: (seventies)
( Apr. 29th, 2010 12:56 am)
Much of today was taken up with London, and a cunning plan to go to a bookshop in Blackheath en route. It would also yield four hours of travelling (and thus potentially reading), plus time in coffee shop. What I hadn't reckoned on was they close Wednesdays - I'd not thought to look for opening times on their website, which are helpfully hidden on their Contact Page. The journey was not entirely wasted as the Oxfam yielded The Shield series two - not that I've watched the first yet, and possibly minus disc two - and NYPD Blue series three and four (which no doubt the rest to collect as and when). Blackheath has the world's crappest Bux, with more staff than seats for coffee drinking, hence I suspect being given a cardboard cup which very soon I was to spill. Train to London Bridge, tubes to Holborn where I walked to a certain architecture museum to see an exhibition of a certain bluestocking. Word of advice - travel light for this as they really don't like bags.

Back to Kingsway and Cafe Nerd, where I indulged myself in my free coffee from a fortnight back, finished a book and was amused by the tale of the amateur sailor who got stuck going round the Isle of Sheppey having decided to keep the land on his right. Smirk. Started second book, then walked via Oxfam Drury Lane and Lovejoys (four more Wordsworth horrors, one a duplicate alas) to Piccadilly 'Stones to wait for Roger in the cafe (which I note is now ruined by Too Much Service). Clarke Award and dash to station - I should have gone to Victoria and waited half an hour, instead Charing Cross train caught with a minute to spare and a taxi home to a bath.

XLVII: Richard Cowper, Domino (1971)
XLVIII: Richard Cowper, Clone (1972)

Both very much of their time - the one apparently a psychic thriller, the other a satire on overpopulation, The EU, and (metaphorically) immigration and race (especially post Planet of the Apes). Clone has aged less well than Domino - as if I recall correctly as had Profundis, but I'm a couple of days away from that. Back to Cherryh at the weekend, but I'll read all the seventies Cowper, even though I think it's going in three chapters by the end. Well, certainly two, maybe three. Stretching geography a little - the secret scientific research unit is where Pfizer is based now (that is if Sandwich were six or seven miles from Folkestone, so very stretched then...). Of course, for strict chronology I should have read Kuldesak, but I jumped the wrong way.
faustus: (Culture)
( Jan. 3rd, 2010 10:45 pm)
So I catch a tube, walk 500 metres and end up in the Cafe Nerd about 200 metres from Victoria. Smart. I'd decided I'd need a coffee (and to finish reading the book) before going to the Tate, and I've not found a coffee place convenient for Pimlico yet, so I thought I'd reverse the usual route, go to St James's, do Oxfam and then Tate Britain. Except it looks quicker to do it straight from Victoria. Useful.

Oxfam yielded a haul of three more Shakespeares, and I'm wondering if I do have Henry V. I suspect so.

The downside is that Turner and the Masters was packed. The point of the exhibition is to relate Turner's output to both earlier painters - Rembrandt, Titian and so forth - and his contemporaries and competitors. Presumably the catalogue would suggest whether he was doing this to show off or to make money - you wanna Rembrandt, I can paint you one... There are peculiar things like stealing other painter's ideas for the RA Summer Exhibition, or adding a red buoy to a painting to make Constable look over the top. On the other hand, to my taste, the originals all looked better. Impressive quasi-classical landscapes, but still not doing it for me. Some of the later ones, where he begins to blur the painting and becomes more abstract work better for me.

Then I went to the Turner 2009 Exhibition - installations by Lucy Skaer (a chair, a picture of a whale, a half hidden whale skeleton), Richard Wright (a gold leaf paisley pattern, to be painted over after the exhibition), Enrico David (distorted humans with balloon-shaped heads or long arms, Lamentables would hate it) and Richard Hjorns (a powdered aeroplane, shaped plastic and squished brain). Wright won, but I preferred David.

There were a couple of Artist Rooms - a boat by Ian Hamilton Finlay and a Gilbert and George set. The latter came with a warning that the pictures had sexual content - I wonder what the policy is on this? They clearly don't warn about every nude - perhaps just gay ones?

There's a rehang of room 9, which is now devoted to the Sublime. There's some really good stuff in there, but badly lit. Some canvases are almost black, so aren't visible under a sheen of daylight at the wrong angle. I could have done without the Pre-Raphs, but good to see at least one Joseph Wright of Derby.

The Victoria line was curiously quite, but that softened me up for tubes into and out of the West End, where I picked up a few Wordsworth Tales of Mystery and Imagination volumes - May Sinclair, Richard Marsh, Amelia B. Edwards and H.D. Everett. It's agood list, and I hope to pick up volumes which Oxford WC don't cover. The tube south was hellish - and I considered going down to Kennington to come back up, but the District (the Circle wasn't even a spiral) Line was thankfully deserted. Good timing - a coffee and back to base.
faustus: (Default)
( Jan. 11th, 2009 12:46 am)
So, having looked at the rail timetable for Sunday I went to London on Saturday instead, and took in the Wallace Collection (well, frankly little of it), the Royal Academy of Arts GSK Contemporary exhibition (more than planned, frankly) and Tate Modern's Rothko exhibition (and another look at the Unilever exhibition in the Turbine Hall). Write ups later but - given that I spent large swathes of today in areas where photography is verboten, how come I did 94 photos?

Okay, it turns out I was playing with night shots, and in part attempts to photo the no-longer-full moon at perihelion. Trying out a new tripod, which clearly, er, has a knack.

This is without making use of a tripod:


And this is making use of the railing that was frosted an hour or so later:

St Paul's

The quality of light is fascinating - both are eight second exposures.
Thames and HudsonBack to the CrackOkay a long but productive weekend: two documentaries (1/2 of gay icons, two exhibitions, a musical, a long walk though St James and the South Bank to the Tate, a rediscovery of a lost bookshop (which was where [livejournal.com profile] oursin indicated to me), much editing, and a pleasant meal at the NFT. And patient explanation to the Aged Ps about how it never snows in London.

In between, much dodging of Olympic flames, a close but no cigar visit to the BM, a lousy hotel and spotting books in the right place in Foyles.

More in due course.
Canterbury CathedralOn Friday I went up to the cinema on the hill for an early evening showing of The Prestige. Giving the timing, I wasn't sure which bus to catch; it's a twenty minute journey (though see later) but you need to allow for the inner ring road at that time of night. I left the bus station about five, and got there about 5.25, not bad, and strolled from the new, less convenient, bus stop to the screening. I bought a ticket for the the film, and got one for Pan's Labyrinth at the same time.

When I got to the bus stop, I realised that I would have half an hour wait until the next service. So half hour wait, fifteen minute journey, ten minute walk. Or walk for about half an hour or so. I set off to walk, going foolishly but right down a fdootpath I've never used before, through a housing estate and up to the Westgate. Along the way I get a txt from N, telling me he's in the pub, and I request a cup of coffee. The walk turns out to be just shy of forty minutes, but is mostly downhill.

N and I were both going up to London on Saturday so we make the arrangements; I offer to ring him to make sure he's up. My suggestion is 8, but he wants longer, so I ring him when I get up at 7.15. He sounds pretty awake, and so I decide one phone call would be enough, as I'm not his nan. I get to the station in time to buy my ticket by 9 and wait for him to be late. Sure enough, he rings me at 9.15 - he fell asleep again. I can either catch the train without him, or go up to his place and catch the next one. Hey, it's only half an hour. Naturally we miss that next one as well, by 30 seconds. I'm now an hour behind schedule.

Of course, as we're changing trains at F so he can get his local service, all of this has added ninety minutes to the journey in return for making the time pass more quickly by having company for the journey. Hum ho.

TateMeanwhile three quarters of the Prefab Four are being crap or the trains are and it's not certain when they will be in town. They want to do the Tate Britain slides, so having done the Patrick Hughes exhibition at Flowers I head down south of the river. The queues for the slides at t'Tate are ridiculously long and I can see us getting very discontent. I text them warning them this, and so they decide to go to the British Museum instead. OK, back to the tube and back north to Russell Square.

British MuseumThe signage is lousy from the tube, and I very nearly head off in the wrong direction before I recall a journey from the BM to there with [livejournal.com profile] lamentables and [livejournal.com profile] abrinsky, reverse that in my head, and find the back entrance in Montague Street. I take charge for the first time that day, and award myself a cup of coffee before I txt the others of my arrival. At least I found a Yo Sushi in the Brunswick Centre, the latter having been transformed beyond recognition since June.

Brunswick CentreWe eat sushi, and go to the Clarke do, and I make my way home on the last train from Charing Cross to West. I get in at 00.15, which gives me time for a couple at the Bell& before retiring, about 2am. I'd read most of The Observer on the train; it always feels like a bit of time travel to read a Sunday paper on a Saturday.

Tonight I should be out of the cinema at about 10.50 - I'm not sure when the next bus will be but I suspect another half hour wait. Or another walk.

Edit: Yes, film finishes 10.50, last bus was 10.45, previous film finished half an hour before so they could have started earlier. This time I ended up walking down Tyler Hill, having still not located the lit pathway which would take me more directly to town. I got to the Bell& for 11.15, and could have made the Doves for closing time.

I see Pan's Labyrinth has a having it both ways ending - although of in the real world the fascist win and Franco rules Spain for another threee decades. Does the fate of one girl make any difference?
faustus: (Default)
( Oct. 31st, 2006 11:19 pm)
It has been a while since I did the Maze at Crystal Palace Park. The summer is ending, and besides, N is about to move back here at the end of October. And yet, with a certain amount of negotiation, and a following wind, we decided that this last weekend would be the day of the next trip - to Hampton Court Palace. And yet as always it feels as if the trip to the mazes is as full of twists and dead ends as the maze itself. Follow the left wall. )
faustus: (Future)
( Oct. 25th, 2006 10:00 am)
I fancy going to an exhibition at Battersea Power Station - not so much for contemporary Chinese art as for the building. I'm not sure of how you get there though. From the map it looks like Sloane Square tube, Chelsea Bridge and Queentowns road, or Vauxhaul Station and 9 Elms Road.

The website will be written in the future tense (http://www.thepowerstation.co.uk/) once the redevelopment has happened:

"Convenient travel links will provide fast and efficient access to the site by rail, river and road including international connections to London Gatwick Airport and Waterloo Eurostar terminal.

"An ultramodern railway will offer a frequent 4-minute connection to Victoria terminus; a high speed/high frequency riverbus service will operate East and West along the Thames; there will be underground parking for some 3500 vehicles plus dedicated shuttle bus services and taxi ranks."

Can anyone speak from experience? Can you buy tickets on the door or do you have to deal with the Serpentine Gallery first?

Edit: I have eventually found an in-focus map on their website. You have to start an application. Chiz. Battersea Park seems closest.

http://www.timeout.com/london/china_power_station/ for booking details - seems you have to prebook. H'mmm. Tickets online or from Time Out, 251 Tottenham Court Road, W1, if that's open on a weekend.

Edit 2: Doesn't sound good - see the comments http://www.timeout.com/london/art/events/269216/china_power_station-part_1.html
faustus: (dreamland)
( Aug. 19th, 2006 03:35 pm)

N and I had been talking about wanting to do a proper maze, the one in the Dane John being impossible to get lost in even if a) it's dark, b) there is rain all over your glasses and c) you are drunk. I know because I tried. I even tried drunker. It needed something bigger for that maze experience, so he searched his memory and I searched the net and we both came up with Crystal Palace Park. After a certain amount of negotiation we found a window that suited both of us, and we headed for his place which would be the start of the expotition.

Hey and away we go )



faustus: (Default)


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