Monday, 14 July 2008

The big smoke

At first glance...?
I took a trip down to London on Saturday, primarily to see King Lear at The Globe. And that was very good, powerful, gripping and, above all, a genuine theatrical experience. But that was not the highlight of the day. Arriving mid-afternoon and crossing the bridge from Embankment Tube, first port of call was Volume, an audio-visual installation at the Southbank Centre, followed quickly by the always-fun Appearing Rooms fountain. Then it was into the Royal Festival Hall to take in a recital by acclaimed classical saxophonist Amy Dickson (who might also warrant an entry in last month's discussions of TMC...), before finding a spot outside the Hayward Gallery to listen to Lemn Sissay read poems from the rooftop (including the beautiful "Invisible Kisses"). Then it was on to Tate Modern to take in some street art, notably JR's paste-up (pictured, left) on the front of the building. The walking tour that followed, to take in other works, was a little disappointing from an artistic point of view, but as a means of exploring the streets of Southwark it was fascinating. Particularly interesting was the Cross Bones Graveyard, an unconsecrated cemetary, once the last resting place of prostitutes, or "Winchester geese" as they were known. A walk back along the river got us to The Globe in time for Lear - in such good time, in fact, that we had just enough slack in our packed programme for pre-show hot-dog ciabattas (brilliant) and some traditional cloudy lemonade. Three and a half hours of engrossing Shakespearean tragedy later and we were walking back to Embankment again, with just time to stop en route and take in Swing Night with the Charleston Chasers outside the National Theatre.

All in all, a wonderful day. In case you're wondering, the highlight, in a day of highs, was "Invisible Kisses"... What's that quote, "when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life"? Well, when you're tired of the Southbank, you're tired of London... I think I'll book a return trip for next month...

1 comment:

  1. To find out more about JR and his art, I'd recommend his Artsy page, at