Saturday, July 04, 2009

The art of waiting

A glorious day out in London today but I still managed to squeeze in a meditation moment or two:

Meditation 164

Your life is measured
in stone.

It stands in the river
and on the mountain,

a silent white marker
for all you have done,

thought, said.
Let your hand

brush its cold surface,
remember how

you have arrived.

So. To the big city. This morning we wandered round the National Portrait Gallery which is as fabulous as ever. We admired the BP Portrait Award paintings, which are especially exciting this year as local man Peter Monkman (who teaches art at Charterhouse, the school next door) won first prize with a marvellous painting of his daughter, called Changeling 2. Very well done to Peter!

We also enjoyed the new Gay Icons exhibition, which is really interesting and I can definitely recommend that also. I only wish they'd had a paperback version of the catalogue, but they only had a hardback, dammit, at £20 which I thought was a tad too much. Appropriately enough though, there also appeared to be a Gay Pride event on in Trafalgar Square involving a concert and lots of stalls, which looked a lot of fun - though the Japanese tourists did seem rather confused by the plethora of pink on the streets.

After a quick lunch at the NPG cafe, we then wandered round the National Gallery for a while. Honestly you always see something different when you go, and this time I fell in love with the paintings of a man and a woman by Robert Campin - it's not great quality onscreen, but the luminosity and the delicacy of the work was stunning. However, all this aside, it's true to say that art does take its toll on the feet - all that standing around, my dears ...

And during the afternoon came the out-and-out highlight of our day - a wonderful performance of Waiting for Godot with the glorious Patrick Stewart and the stalwart Ian McKellen. Bliss. It was very well done indeed and totally off-the wall. As the play is of course. I particularly enjoyed Ronald Pickup's bravura handling of Lucky's long, intellectual and highly complex soliloquy. He got a hearty round of applause for that - as he deserved. It's a very difficult piece. And Patrick Stewart is so damned hot too - mmm ... Such a treat.

Anyway today's curious London fact is this: on the underground, they kept reminding us that the weather is very hot and we must therefore remember to drink lots of water. What??!? When did the underground nominate itself as being in charge of the traveller's health?? Aren't we adults here?? They should damn well stop being so condescending and simply concentrate on getting us from A to B. As Lord H said, next they'll be telling us we can't go home until we've had our five portions of fruit and veg, or telling us we shouldn't be using the underground at all as the walk will do us good. Deep deep sigh ...

Today's nice things:

1. Poetry
2. Portraits - especially winning ones from local men!
3. Gay Icons
4. Paintings in general
5. Plays, especially when they involve Patrick Stewart.

Anne Brooke - replete with art and happy to wait ...

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