Thirty Thousand Streets

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The V&A

Today, I decided to go to the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington with my friend Dunc, to kill a few hours in the afternoon. It had been a pretty quiet day. The most exciting bit up to this point being watching half of the slightly duff 70s version of King Kong which I've now seen bits of twice in the last month - the second half first, and the first second - which doesn't really matter as it is slightly wack anyway, and I only really watched it to marvel at how much of an airhead the blonde girl is (Jessica Lang), and how a lumbering, shaggy Jeff Bridges actually makes a slightly more convincing monkey than the fancy dress rental costume we're presented with as the titular ape.

So anyway, the V&A. There was no way I could resist after that, especially as the easiest way there is probably the 345, which is a favourite bus route of mine (and I'm glad to report, still crosses over Battersea bridge).

Way back in March I was seeing a girl I met at a crazy party in a rented office block in Borough complete with an 'in house' band doing funk covers. Twas all too brief alas, but there were a few things that stood out about her.

1. Her name was Lucy.

2. She was from Newcastle, but was very well spoken – not once did she utter 'Howaay Man'.

3. She was an ex lap-dancer.

4. She was a dance student, and on some crazy theatrical course where she did strange things such as research 'the history of the greeting', and bowing, and the things she couldn't tell you about Restoration era clothing e.g. bustles, you could probably have written on the back of an acid tab.

And the V&A was one of the places where she went to research this kind of thing. And I can see why. It's fucking huge and compendious and stuffed with all manner of historical stuff from all corners of the earth – so much in fact that you'd be really hard to absorb it all if you camped out there for a week.

From the entrance hall dominated by a huge colourful glass sculpture by David Chihuly, who I believe also has loads of stuff amongst the plants at Kew Gardens, we proceeded to an exhibit about architecture in Germay and thence to the Chinese exhibition, which featured a whole range of stuff from those itsy shoes women in China used to have to crush their feet to fit into to avoid being beaten and ostracised etc, to paintings and sculptures.

I recently went to an exhibition of old Chinese ink paintings at the British Museum, and have to admit to feeling slighly underwhelmed by the experience – the entire thing was presented in low lighting so as to stop the things fading and crumbling, and as they all seemed to consist of much the same motifs and brush in slightly different monochrome arrangements, I found the entire thing something of an interesting, yet slighly inscrutable squint-fest.

Tastes differ of course, and there seems to be more substantial stuff at the V&A to get your teeth into, and even some modern, more abstract paintings. There was even a token loon, sauntering round and chattering lyrics to himself.

From here we checked out the Japanese gallery whih I loved. Basically the Japanese are uber craftsmen and designers. I NEED a set of elaborate Japanese swords or 'Daisho' , modelled on a sword I saw there with an octopus and crayfish embossed on the sheath. A suit of armour with a moustachioed helmet wouldn't go amiss either. Please Santa? No, a Lynx gift set won't do.
There was also some amazing sculptures and printed fabrics to look at.

From here we went and looked at the Korean stuff, before having a gander at the two halls full of plaster casts of foreign buildings and sculptures; stuff even lightfingered England didn't have the bare faced cheek to try nicking. It has to be said, going to war and sacking Rome actually seems like probably more of a straightforward proposition than doing a cast of most of Trajan's column like someones done here – and guys, you could have fitted Michaelangelo's David on the back of a big enough cart, surely, so that's just lazy. On the other hand, the Greek government is making one hell of a fuss about Elgin's marbles, and that Henry Moore sculpture is only good for scrap now, so maybe it's all for the best.

After that it shut, so we went home, via Somerfield, where a girl at the checkout was telling her mate she liked my scarf. I don't even think this was girl code for something else, and fair enough, it is pretty hawt if I do say so myself.

I also photographed quite an amusing couple of newstands that seem to suggest that one car seems to a particular hotspot for crime in Saaarf London – gotta thank Dunc for spotting that.

I've just gorged on pasta in my usual tomato and pancetta sauce. My ex Hyo-Jin sent me a load of chocolates from Australia the other day. I've only actually eaten one while my housemate Jess fed her face on all but one of the rest which I've got stashed, so am contemplating eating it, but might give it a miss to be honest. Basically they're like Cadbury's Caramels, but minus the 'sexy' rabbit that now seems to be doing voiceovers for Marks and Spencer, its stand-in being a chirpy looking koala, (which I thought was a bit unimaginative – why not a platypuss for example or even that perennial cute favourite the box jellyfish? but then originality aint the name of the game here.. They've changed the name to 'Karamellos' for fucks sakes).

Ahem. Cheers Hyo, anyway.

Right, I'm now going to get on with my Christmas 'E-card', and doing an iTunes playlist for my friend Renee, whos leaving Blighty to return to New York next month.


gridrunner said...

Took me a while to get the “Stabbed in back” thing. Laughed eventually though.

To Stockport for me tomorrow, so not gonna be able to meet you guys on Thursday.

Hey, wowsers! This is cool, I can communicate personal messages to you via your blog. Never mind phones, I don’t even need to email you any more. Talk about technolgy as the (dis)enabler.

(I’ll give you a call)

The Eyechild said...

Yeah I'm going back tomorrow too dude, so I won't be able to meet me on Thursday either. Rings I!