My 2nd weekend in London (this year) seems rather a surprise after being here working week wise, since February. Did not expect to be here so little but plan from now till September is to spend every 2nd weekend exploring and learning.
On Friday last, where I took the day away from work and went looking at Jewellery from Mesopotamia at British Museum. So little has changed in many styles and designs in 4500 years or so. Could imagine the necklines that may have worn the same. I have decided after little thought that the BM can only be explored piecemeal as it overwhelms me in terms of breadth and depth. Some evening sessions booked as I seek to learn more behind the scenes. Took the opportunity to pop into the Sicily exhibition with its bright touristy inviting pictures (it might have been sponsored by Visit Sicily) and also its fascinating multi-cultural multi religions which for the most part got on with each other. Carthaginians Greeks Romans and Arabs all contributed and benefited from this gem of an island. Coinage for example would contain symbols from both Islam and Christian faiths which is in stark contrast to so much hostility in recent days between these faithless faiths. (84 varieties of dead bodies in not so nice incident in Nice).
Saturday morning took me into Tate modern for an early show, one of the benefits of my new membership where I got the opportunity to wander around for an hour before the hordes (like of me too) descended to see the Georgia O Keefe show. Born in Wisconsin of Irish-Dutch-Hungarian parents (still just 2 parents but you can work it out), she lived and worked between 1887 and 1986. I liked the quote from her “I don’t know what art is. No one has been able to give me a satisfactory definition”. She travelled within the States living in deserts and cities and painting with curiosity and love what she saw. A return visit to the Mona Hatoum exhibition was also enjoyed as it allows a different view of this talented and very creative artist.
Saturday afternoon saw me exploring the street art of Shoreditch with Dave and his Shoreditch Tours. Opened my eyes to the diversity of artists from around the globe as they too pushed the boundaries on the definition of Art, the materials used, the methods of application (not talking a spray can of graffiti), the inspiration for the message and medium used and the thoughts they inspire in us the audience. Poles (the vertical metal ones in street) adorned with various messages of an artistic nature. Curiosity engaged to learn more and simply to observe better what surrounds us when we walk, travel.
A musical about a baby kidnapped by a gypsy, allegedly murdered (ring any modern bells a sleeping nanny by the way), revenge initiated, a woman murdered and in error but her daughter seeking revenge, two brothers competing for the love of the same woman and on opposite sides in a war but not knowing they were brothers. This was the first half. Tacky? No way. Verdi’s Il Trovatore at Royal Opera House on Friday night was to paraphrase George Bernard Shaw void of intellect and strong on passion.
Three very different movies last week at Goldsmiths Cinema venture with Curzon
Maggie’s Plan had the cast and the talent, a script that in places was electrifying but the editing was careless too often with opportunities lost, emotions artificial and perhaps too rushed to complete.
Absolutely Fabulous was a longer version of its former weekly format, with over the top acting particularly from Patsy, a script that was sharp, a plot that sometimes drifted as if to fill the time and cameo appearances galore. It was in the editing department that I felt that it was sharper and more professional uplifting this movie from where it would otherwise be. Commented on as my vies digress from professional reviewers and I saw these movies 24 hours apart.
When we were kings, was a re-release of a 1996 documentary on Mohammed Ali. A true revolutionary more genuine than Che Guevara who (Che) strangely remains an icon beyond his shadows whilst a true revolutionary was Ali. It was nice to see Kinshasa again as the setting for most of the documentary and that great battle between 2 boxers are different stages of their career in 1974. (my residency was 1995-97). Ali’s opposition to conscription in a racially divided country as a young man (did time for it too) was a reminder of how little has changed when we look at Black lives matter and yes despite a President of mixed race although we keep being told he is Black which is rather insulting to Obama’s mother. I believe that Ali would have been a far stronger leader and respected commentator was it not for Parkinsons. It’s a pity we lost decades of his poetic and musical voice fronting a good and kind human.
Sunday will see a walking tour late morning, some quiet reading of art books acquired and a trip to the Globe theatre for Macbeth this evening (cost£7.50 which is perversely the going rate for a glass of wine)