susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Saturday, December 15, 2007


started with one of my favourite brekkies - getting up late and eating bagels with soft cheese and smoked salmon, fruit salad, tea.

Then off to the station for a quick dash up to London - late as usual, so by the time I got there, I rushed into a cab instead of rushing down into the bowels of the horrible tube, and spent an enjoyable fortune watching the streets and buildings and people of London go by. I'm still no better at joined-up London, though - years of poking my head out of random tube stations like a bewildered gopher, and I know it's actually endless parallel, multiple Londons ...

And I'm late for an appointment - south of the river. I'm going to the Tate Modern for the first time ever. Weird, building a massive power station right opposite St Paul's - but as an art gallery, it's unbelievable - yes, I know, it's old news, but it's yet another London for me. Anyway, the appointment is a date with a sculptor, who is going to introduce me to the TM. Hooray! My own tour guide! I love being a guided tourist! 'I'm here' I text, and the reply is 'Meet me at the end of the Crack'. The Crack of Doom is on the same scale as the building - a huge fracture throughout the entire length of the Turbine (ground) Hall. I walk alongside the Crack, peering into it's narrow depths. Whoever fell into it must have been a Flat Stanley... or a publicity stunt. And right at the end is the man in the bronze suit, like those street performers in Covent Garden, in their stiffened metallic-painted robes, invisible red lights glowing at their fingertips. Meet Artimus.

We go for a sandwich and a naice cuppa tea - he's a member, so we're in the Members' Cafe, with a stunning view over the Thames. Shame it's too cold to sit outside. Then off to Louise Bourgeois' exhibition. She's now in her mid-90s and still sculpting. Now, I'm not going to try to describe the exhibition - it's huge in content, materials and range, and tiny in details - and not precisely comfortable - and joy of joys, my guide lectures me throughout, explaining and describing her motives and rationale behind the pieces. It's truly enthralling - makes a change from my usual gawping - mmm, that's nice, oooo don't like that. I've been inspired to sort out an idea with my poems ...

By the time we've explored this exhibition, and mooched round another floor - really, far far too much for one visit - he has to go home, and I have another date - Christmas drinks with chums. We say goodbye outside in the dark in freezing cold, surround by an ice sculptor (can you see what it is yet?) and a Frost Fair and kids with huge paper lanterns.

I wander a bit, then cross the new wigglybutnotnowwiggly footbridge, suspended over the rough and heaving Thames, between the huge bloodred, angular, brick towered TM powerhouse, floating on the lantern lights, and the luminious white bosom of St Paul's at the other side. The very female cathedral, designed and built by men, opposite the thrusting male chimney stacks of the TM, housing a woman's rampant creativity.

Then by taxi to the bar near Holborn, rush down to the loos, change from 50s existentialist black high necked sweater, to black cleavaged glitter, on with the high heeled sandals, red lippy and off to find the promised champagne.. So much screeching and laughing against the deafening music - mwah, mwah, darlings!! Then later, starving, off to an Italian restaurant, linguine with bacon and avocado in a cream sauce, and a lift back to King's Cross, to see my train getting smaller, as it accelerated away without me.. It was freezing bloody cold, waiting for the next train - still wearing the sequins, of course - and by the time the last train for Cambridge pulled in, I wasn't going to be last in the queue - I sharpened my elbows, pushed through the drunks at the end of the carriage, got a seat, and dozed all the way home.


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