Extracts from my past fortnight in London: A bit of education, entertainment, exercise and relaxation.
Went to a #zlistdeadlist at British Museum which was a humorous look at 4 people from history who did not quite make it to the history books, but were a close 2nd to say the least; or so was the opinion of a comedian or curator with a comedians’s touch. At the end we voted on our favourite (Roger won)
· Arthur Cravan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Cravan eccentric is a good choice if a single word to describe an intimidating pugilist whose physical presence was often more powerful than his fists. Trotsky was impressed enough too.
· Harry Price http://www.harrypricewebsite.co.uk/ a failed magician is perhaps a bit cruel but the talking mongoose story crueller still and that bit not by me
· King Roger of Sicily https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_I_of_Sicily was a canny lad to use a Geordie expression who thought that coinage bearing islamic and christian symbols a wiser way of uniting a multi cultural society.
· Lucian of Greece who was writing science fiction 1800 years ago and also of crossing the Atlantic. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True_History
Emerging at the end from the lecture theatre in the basement into the Big Hall as I call it was met by the gigantic stare of an ancient carving. I had gone the left stairs and everyone else the right stairs not that they were any righter so to speak. But there was I eyeballing alone a giant of the past alone. A moment of personal enchanted magic
is for me, a lovely venue for a coffee in sunshine in haven of touristy madness. The plaster caste moulds of famous European statues a great tribute to effort of replication. But jewellery blew my mind as to the variety scale and delightful intricacies of superb craftsmanship
Lingerie display very brief on materials history and styling. Tatty touristy.
Tate's Bhupen Khakhar exhibition (Mona's and Georgia's are/were much better) would have been improved by more guidance on imagery. I also don’t appreciate being told that displays contain adult imagery in a gallery and hey presto we get a painting with singular or multiple penises. Its an art gallery not a Victorian temple.
British Museum’s guided tour of its top exhibits is excellent value for money, for time and for guidance through this labyrinth of magic. On my particular tour with Norwegian guide, not a Brit in sight of what were nearly all from rest of world drives home to me the craziness of erecting barriers on the movement of people when art is global. On my menu:
1. England Sutton Soo https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutton_Hoo
2. Lewis chessmen walrus tusk chess from india. En route Norway to Dublin- A story in itself. https://www.britishmuseum.org/about_us/news_and_press/statements/the_lewis_chessmen.aspx
3. China money –no!! the money is not made of Chine but paper money so so old. http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/research_projects/complete_projects/ming_dynasty_paper_money.aspx
4. Portland vase which has survived several smashes and careful reconstruction https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portland_Vase
5. Silver cup 2000 year old roman times portraying gay lovers of greek design themselves a further 400 years older. (and some would say that homosexuality was a reflection of our decadent culture: as natural as time itself. and attempts to purchase blocked by arch loony archbishop Canterbury https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Cup
6. Nebamun Egyptian hunting scene http://www.britishmuseum.org/visiting/galleries/ancient_egypt/room_61_tomb-chapel_nebamun.aspx
8. Rosetta Stone but note replica available on right with the rreal thing and real crowds on the left of central hall. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_Stone
9. Korean Iron Buddhist statue https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:British_Museum_-_Iron_figure_of_the_Buddha,_Koryo_dynasty_02.jpg
10. Easter island takeaway https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoa_Hakananai%27a
11. Mayan lintels of imagination and cruelty https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaxchilan_Lintel_24
12. Winged bulls Sabbou from Iraq would look good on most driveways http://www.britishmuseum.org/visiting/galleries/middle_east/room_6_assyrian_sculpture.aspx
13. Partheneon which is rather big and no wonder they want them back. http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/galleries/ancient_greece_and_rome/room_18_greece_parthenon_scu.aspx
London walks was tailor made for my mindset. With some 20 tours per day, rocking up at tube station with no appointment, paying a tenner for a two hour guided tour of this fascinating city with like minded people. this particular sunday:
Old Jewish area at Whitechapel was educational and then I googled the factions of Judaism and so many interpretations. Like the other 2 monotheistic the first object is multiplication of options. The polytheistic religions at east offered multiple objects of veneration.
1000 years of Westminister was exactly that and in 150 minutes too. Killing and conquering on the battlefield and the bedroom: what else did you expect.
Previously enjoyed Famous square mile, mayflower to brunel of which the former was the best of the 4 and the latter the least enjoyed BUT only in comparison with the other four.
BFG aka Big Friendly Giant was a delight in escapism, imagination rampant and feel good supreme. No intellect required just love. Its a movie in case you thinking something else
Taming of the Shrew by the Bolshoi at Royal opera House was top class. The interpretation was modernised to present a sense of equality between Katharina and Petruchio with a meeting of minds replacing the older “taming”. Purists trounced by modernity in a classic art form. Humour reflected splendidly, characters so true and costumes a delight in complementing a choreography that was vibrant and visually enchanting.
Goldsmiths “artist teacher and contemporary practise”
visually disappointing as the artists seemed to assume I knew what I was
looking at. Note to artists: please help us more. Twas the same problem at Tate’s
Bhupen. We are not all reared in the mothering chamber of artistic hatchable incubation.
Coming Up next fortnight
Royal academy Summer exhibition
Le corsaire from Bolshoi
A talk on collecting middle eastern art at BM
Others to fill in gaps as not enough there