Saturday afternoon we met Paul and Rachael at Patisserie Valerie in Soho. They decided they really wanted to go to Belgos, so we went to Centraal and ordered the £6 lunch special. Mine was the Galette de Tomate with goats cheese and it ended up being poorly cooked. Plus the service was bad which further solidified my opinion that Centraal usually sucks and the only Belgos worth going to is Noord. After I finished my Leffe (the waitress brought my beer 15 minutes after she brought everyone else's) we moved on to The Porterhouse where I continue drinking Belgian (I get it when I can..) by ordering Kriek (it was Boons this time, can't a girl get a Lindeman's in this town?) After several drinks Rache wanted some ice cream so we stopped by the tourist-ridden Haagen-Dazs in Leicester Square then wandered up to the Trocadero, an immense four story arcade, to play a few video games. On the way there we stopped in the Tin Tin shop where I bought a postcard. Paul wanted to continue on with us, but Rache - being 8 months pregnant - was exhausted so we parted ways.
We thought we'd only be with Paul & Rache for a few hours, but by the time we separated it was already early evening. I had wanted to catch the Cindy Sherman exhibit at the Serpentine Gallery since it ended Monday, so we walked from Soho down Picadilly and through Hyde Park along The Serpentine to the gallery, but we didn't make it before closing time. There is a large Arab population in the Hyde Park area so nearly everywhere there were women in burqas sitting on benches, strolling, and in paddle-boats.
A very dapper lobster.
I was disappointed about missing the show, but on our walk to the South Kensington tube station we came across the Earth From the Air outdoor exhibit in the gardens of the Natural History Museum. We both forgot it was there, even though we've wanted to see it for months. We saw an interview with the French photographer, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, on tv awhile ago and I really liked his philosophy. The exhibit was fascinating and moving, with informative facts about humanity interspersed throughout the photographs.
We caught the South Kensington tube which passed through Gloucester Road tube station. There was a show of several billboard-sized Cindy Sherman photographs as part of the Platform Art project. I felt taunted.
photo from bbc
We caught the train from Wimbledon where a group of extremely drunk loud men got on and acted like idiots. I was immensely grateful I wasn't on the train alone since they were harassing every single woman on the carriage. To make matters worse we were on one of the old decrepit trains from the 70s that always feel like they're about to explode in a flurry of bolts and wood (the brakes of some older trains on the Northern Line have caught on fire in the past). The lights were flicking on and off constantly like a slow strobe light. I was extremely happy to get off that train, unfortunately the drunk men got off at our stop too.
We took it easy on Sunday, only walking to the grocery store and back. We watched one of my favorite films, Gandhi, on tv and Max cooked us a delicious curry with the recipe our Indian friend from the Punjab gave us. He also made the perfect accompaniment - fresh naan bread.
Monday was a bank holiday so we headed out in the afternoon to see the Cindy Sherman exhibit. She's one of my photography idols so it was a treat to see some of her works in person. I was a little disappointed at the size of the show, I didn't realize how small the Serpentine Gallery was. For the amount of effort it takes to get there I won't go back to the gallery again unless they're showing something I absolutely have to see. I was happy they had several works from her History series, which is one of my favorite series of hers.
It took us only 30 minutes peruse all the photographs and look through the gallery's bookstore so we walked to the Science Museum and wandered around it aimlessly for an hour. Admittance is free for most of London's museums and galleries.
Back at home we watched The Italian Job (the original, thank you) and The South Park Movie which disturbingly has made me have the song "Uncle Fucker" in my head for the last few days.
nothings worse than being taunted by Cindy Sherman :)
glad you got to see it before it closed.
To make matters worse we were on one of the old decrepit trains from the 70s that always feel like they're about to explode in a flurry of bolts and wood (the brakes of some older trains on the Northern Line have caught on fire in the past).
i was just joking about this kind of thing w/ a friend; didn't know it was a reality. better not to joke. unless you were being sarcastic.
last night was the end of the Summer Stockhausen Series (i don't want summer to end!). i will now collect everything i played and make you an mp3 disc or two :)
my show was really out there last night. wish i had copied part of it to disc. when i played the Swimming Behavior of The Human Infant back to back with Throbbing Gristle live was particuarly mind melting. someone was im'ing me about it and hadn't even noticed the transition.
i got my hands on the new Broadcast album last night (the cd didn't copy properly but i got a good listen to it anyhow) and it's brilliant. also copied some Auteur cds and they are fab (Luke Haines group before Black Box Recorder) - a little more rocking than BBR, and with male vocals, but with similar themese and feel. worth checking out if you haven't already.
Fortunately there aren't many of the old trains left on the lines anymore, they've been phasing them out gradually. Although strangely they've been using the older trains as express trains and since they're slam-doors it means that if they're in a crash they severely crumple up (although they don't break down as often and the doors don't fail to open like on the newer trains). I'm still mystified at the logic of the people who run the rail and tube system in Britain.
grr I forgot to listen in last night, sad I missed the last Stockhausen broadcast and the rest. At least I have the discs to look forward to. :) I can't believe summer is nearly over..
Thanks for the recommendations.. I'm especially interested in hearing the new Broadcast.
Happy to fuel your desire to travel, this is an amazing city to explore. I've lived here for a total of 3 years now and I've barely scratched the surface..
I wish every city had free museums. They used to cost about £5 to get into, but they were suffering from low traffic. The free-admittance policy has drawn up to 94% more visitors, including a lot more Britons.
The thing I loved about seeing the History series in person was that they were big enough to see how she applied all the thick makeup and costuming. They are more convincing small or from a distance, but it's interesting to see how the artist works (which of course also could be said for seeing the application of paint on any painting).
True, the mini coopers are a plus. I still can't imagine it would have the humor or class of the first though. :)
I was disappointed they didn't have more of her `Untitled Film Stills' and some of her other earlier works which I tend to prefer over her later ones. However, they did have the full `Murder Mystery People' series. She is amazing, although I never found her more grotesque pieces to be that disturbing.
Thank you. :)
I wasn't aware that it was a travelling exhibit, I'm glad we caught it before it moved on. Awhile ago I saw his book for sale at a discount bookstore for very cheap, I wish I had picked it up now. I didn't get a chance to read all of the captions accompanying the photos so I'll have to either go back or hunt down the book to finish reading. :)
Hey, me too, same as ambient1, only R & I saw it in Reykjavik during the honeymoon. Under 30 quid from amazon.co.uk, and they sent us a second when the first got bashed up in super-saver shipping.
Anyway, Boon is better than Lindeman's. ;p
Sounds like London was one of the last to get it! It's been here all spring/summer now, I wonder when they're taking it down..
Boon and Morte Subite always seemed slightly watery to me. I don't know, I think I should buy a bottle of all three and taste test them side-by-side (what a terrible task. ;)
i'll bet the fall weather is refreshing after the terrible summer euroland has had! it's getting chilly in new england as well. so strange it's after labor day already.
i adore your photos from the science museum. the flying cat one is especially grand. i also like the butterflies.
gloucester road is my old station! *sniff* it was nice to see it again, if only just the wall. ;)
your uncle fucker comment had me LMAO. such a gauche song to have in your head, yet so catchy at the same time!
you're leaving for the states soon, no? have a great trip and enjoy your time with your fam! there's nothing like a va-ca to get you looking at things in a new light.
Yay, you're back! Looking forward to your update about the trip. :)
Thank you, that cat was kind of amusing and gruesome. In fact, the whole display was. It reminded me of a Jan Peter-Witkin photograph or Damien Hirst installment.
aw, I wish I had been able to stop at the station. I'd go back to check it out in person, but it's kind of a pain to get to from where I am. I think it's great that they've transformed it into an art gallery of sorts instead of letting it become dilapidated.
There are some fantastic catchy tunes in the South Park movie, it's like the musical of our generation.
We leave in less than 2 weeks. I'm excited to see my family and hoping to do some beach combing and hiking.. I need a good dose of nature. :)
wow. didn't realize at first that the cat had seven toes--even more interesting!
it is curious that gloucester station has a kind of gallery now. if it is in danger of becoming dilapidated, tho, then london has changed immensely since i last visited. the neighborhood just to the north is really posh. but i guess it's not unheard of for a posh area to be serviced by a run-down station.
have you ever seen rent? ugh, i consider that the musical of our generation if only because i know every word and *used to* (not anymore! :) get caught up singing it with friends nearly all the way through. funny stuff and not just slightly annoying to others, i'm sure. ;) south park is a close runner-up, tho, and def with more comedic value.
not sure about the pac nw, but it's been lovely (tho rainy) in new england lately. i hope the sun shines for you on your travels! :)
I used to work with a guy who had "Uncle Fucker" play as his Windows startup sound every morning for about three months. And you think you've got it stuck in your head??? Gaar, this was about three years ago, and I've only just managed to clear it out... or at least, I had until you mentioned it again ;-)
Wonderful photos (as ever). I used to love going to the Science Museum with Rowan when we lived in London (of course, back then I had to pay about £8 a time for the privilege). At the time (she was 2 or 3) she loved the part in the basement, is it called "The Garden" or something, with all the interactive bits for really young children including a huge water feature with toy boats, dams, whirlpools, taps, pumps and other fun stuff. Rowan used to call it "Dipsy's Sink" after Dipsy from the Teletubbies.
I also used to work in South Kensington when I was at Leo Burnett's - one day the team that does the advertising for Kellogg's took about 30 of us down to the science museum for the afternoon (this was just after they'd opened the huge new section at the back) so that we could immerse ourselves in the wonderful interactive displays and hopefully dream up some exciting ideas to help Kellogg's sell their cereal. I dunno whether we ever did come up with any good ideas, but it was certainly a fun afternoon!
I can't imagine having "Uncle Fucker" as my windows startup. It would drive me crazy very quickly. Apologies for bringing it all flooding back to you. ;)
We didn't explore the full Science Museum, mostly just meandered aimlessly to kill some time. I'd like to go back and go through it properly next time.
Yes, Matt (for it was he) was a particularly crazy person (very clean living, from a Mormon family, hence I guess he had to have some Uncle Fucker in his life, his little way of rebelling)
I don't think we ever quite explored the Science Museum fully - it took me 4 or 5 visits to really get a handle on the layout of the place, although that's partly because on most of those trips we headed straight for the basement and spent our whole day down there. If they'd had the back section open, I'm sure we'd have spent a lot of time there as well, as it's awesome (although I was disappointed to see when I visited again about a year after it opened that about half of the exhibits seemed to be broken).
I can actually remember my first visit there as well, I must have been 3 or 4 years old. My mum & dad gave me a choice "do you want to go somewhere with lots of dinosaur bones or somewhere where you can press lots of buttons and make things happen". After what seemed like hours agonizing (I never could make decisions, still can't) I chose the buttons. In those days most of the button pressing also went on in the basement - I can remember parts of it quite clearly, there were several little model displays, reminded me of the model railway-worlds I was so fascinated by, one of them was set in egypt, you pressed the button and the donkeys (or was it camels?) walked round and round in a circle and drew the water up from the well. There was a also a ball that floated in the middle of a big round area, which was impossible to touch - you reached out your hand towards it and it would duck down away from you. People would spend hours and hours trying to touch it.
"do you want to go somewhere with lots of dinosaur bones or somewhere where you can press lots of buttons and make things happen". After what seemed like hours agonizing (I never could make decisions, still can't) I chose the buttons.
haha that sounds like how Max asked me which museum I wanted to go to! I'm terrible at decisions too, but I ended up choosing the science museum because it was closer.
I missed the part of the museum with the trains and camels, that sounds like fun! I must go back.