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It occurs to me that anyone reading my last couple of posts might think I've been having a shitty time this week. In the interest of balance, let me assure you that this isn't the case, though having a streaming cold and being unable to sleep was distorting my attitude grimwards.

Anyway, inbetween sulking, grouching, choking and moaning last week, I went to London once, twice, and again. I didn't mean for it to happen, it just turned out that way. Monday I went to see my beautiful sister Elle. She's taking me to Amsterdam for Easter, so she was softening me up by taking me up the London Eye and to take a look at an incredibly small fraction of what Andy Warhol got up to in his life.

The World's highest ferris wheel (or observation wheel, as BA would have it) rewards our use of the online booking service with no-queue ticket pick-up, and though the queue to actually get on (sorry, "board our flight") is terrifyingly huge, it moves too fast for us to get bored. The sky flirts with rain; clouds move; children splash in the puddles. But by the time we're up to the covered walkway, the sun is dazzling, and what remains of the rain is just another clear surface to reflect light from.

Everything is clean, surfaces white as a fridge or steel, or glass. The sun reflects up from the river and scatters through the girders and gleaming steel and glass eggs we weill be riding in. The ticket calls them capsules; for once, I can't fault their terminology. I photograph reflections while our bags are scrutinised, and children dare each other to look over the edge into the green waters of the Thames. You step on while the wheel is moving, like a paternoster, but the movement is so stable and slow, it feels completely safe. The same dizzying sense of being perfectly cradled in technology persists as the capsule moves up and London opens out like a Turner painting, a smudged mess of towers and houses, smears of green where the parks are holding back the buildings. We rise above the Houses of Parliament, and I feel a moment of brief superiority. People move around us in the capsule, taking photographs, holding children, posing each other, but you don't see them, they're just foreground blurs in front of the endless view. I give Elle one of my cameras and we roam the capsule, photographing each other, London, reflections, shadows. The river dances in the glass of the capsule; our shadow carves up the ground below; I wave, looking for my shadow in the tangle of white girders, and eventually see my fuzzy-haired shadow waving back from a broad white strut. Elle curses the sun, stopping her from getting a good shot of the Houses of Parliament. I line her up with the sun behind one of the white girders. It might work. A nice lady informs us as we begin our descent that a camera will take a souvenir photograph of us as we descend, and Elle and I spy it out, and pose with the rest, though we have no intention of spending £15 on what we've already done quite adequately all on our own. But as we leave, we pause at the booth, to satisfy our vanity. Gratifyingly, we're in prime position in the shot, well posed, centre shot and way dramatic (it must be the coats). If anyone buys this souvenir shot, they're buying a photo of us and some other people; our work here is done.

Neither Elle nor I were feeling well enough to miss lunch. Miss lunch in the sense that we didn't have any, not that we did, that is. Language can be so imprecise sometimes. Anyway. Warhol. We balked at the price, but a high price tag always pleased Andy, so what the heck. Very pleased we did; painting very nice. Good use of strange media (diamond dust, piss, gold leaf, biro) as well as bucketfulls of rotting acrylic in bright colours. One very nice room full of Blowjob and Beautiful Women though I didn't stick it out for the jaw-cracking 40 (or is it 50?) minutes. Some favourite self portraits, and also some new to me; and silver clouds for children to kick. My only complaint would be a lack of Keith Haring (just a few of the Grace Jones photos) but Sesame Street probably have all the rights. You should Warholise yourself. I have.

In the evening she took me to the tiny restaurant in Ealing where her merchant banker (literally, not rhyming slang) boyfriend had proposed to her with a diamond so startling he hadn't even bothered to get it set into a ring. At the next table in one direction, Russian emigre actresses were shaking their jewellery and swigging back champagne while recounting the sorrows of their youth to an indulgent looking, elderly man. In the other direction, two sensibly dressed parents were attempting to engage the interest of a teenage boy (presumably theirs) in food that wasn't chips. Confused, I ordered gin, and then wine which turned out to be quite good, and food, which turned out to be overcooked. She talked about her wedding, mostly. She has some rather odd ideas about what she'll be wearing, but the prospective mother-in-law is making the dress, so nothing can go too wrong (hollow laughter).

I took the bus home, finished my book, and then slept. The next day I went to work, which was a bad idea as it turned out. But I stuck it out, because the following day, Damian and I were going to London, which would make two visits to the Warhol exhibition in one week. How felicitously repiticious.

Visiting London with Damian is very different than visiting with Elle. For one thing, we visit Forbidden Planet (where we saw Jonathon Ross -- Damian initially thought I meant an action figure, but it was the man himself) and Gosh (comic shops). For another, he's more inclined to find coffee stands and inscriptions on walls irresistably fascinating. It was also sheeting down with rain when we came out from Warhol (where I'd discovered several things I'd missed the first time, seen some different chunks of film, and and reconfirmed that it was generally all very cool) which became a major problem about half way down Neal Street, where I nipped into a bag shop I like to try and solve my ongoing bag problem, but it wasn't the time, and the shop lady explaining to me that by removing the fresnelled panel you could turn the bag into something ordinary and black just infuriated me.

Other stuff happened. I suppose we must have eaten, but I forget what, pizza probably. In the evening we went to the V&A, which opens late on Wednesdays, to look at a display of skirts for men, which really should have been called the Vivian Westwood, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and some other people exhibition. It was a bit kilt obsessed, and rather thin on the historical sections, but worth it for Gaultier's black off the shoulder taffeta number alone. My favourite moment? A very uptight French family staring at the "Fetish" case with wrinkled noses. I hope their unpleasant, fat, little boy found something there to take home. With hours to go we wandered through a vast hallway of cartoon, past some bizarrely priapic heraldic beasts and into the 21st Century museum experience of the British Galleries which are full of swallowed rooms and interactive video screens and clothes to try on and things to stare at, poke prod, and puzzle. There are lots of mirrors, small films showing, and the opportunity to build your own crystal palace, among other things. We didn't really have time.

Thursday sucked, and so did most of Friday, but friday evening was another night of good booze and bad food, because Lalage wanted to go to Raoul's for Happy Hour. The new-look, fresh as a copy of
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It occurs to me that anyone reading my last couple of posts might think I've been having a shitty time this week. In the interest of balance, let me assure you that this isn't the case, though having a streaming cold and being unable to sleep was distorting my attitude grimwards.

Anyway, inbetween sulking, grouching, choking and moaning last week, I went to London once, twice, and again. I didn't mean for it to happen, it just turned out that way. Monday I went to see my beautiful sister Elle. She's taking me to Amsterdam for Easter, so she was softening me up by taking me up the London Eye and to take a look at an incredibly small fraction of what Andy Warhol got up to in his life.

The World's highest ferris wheel (or observation wheel, as BA would have it) rewards our use of the online booking service with no-queue ticket pick-up, and though the queue to actually get on (sorry, "board our flight") is terrifyingly huge, it moves too fast for us to get bored. The sky flirts with rain; clouds move; children splash in the puddles. But by the time we're up to the covered walkway, the sun is dazzling, and what remains of the rain is just another clear surface to reflect light from.

Everything is clean, surfaces white as a fridge or steel, or glass. The sun reflects up from the river and scatters through the girders and gleaming steel and glass eggs we weill be riding in. The ticket calls them capsules; for once, I can't fault their terminology. I photograph reflections while our bags are scrutinised, and children dare each other to look over the edge into the green waters of the Thames. You step on while the wheel is moving, like a paternoster, but the movement is so stable and slow, it feels completely safe. The same dizzying sense of being perfectly cradled in technology persists as the capsule moves up and London opens out like a Turner painting, a smudged mess of towers and houses, smears of green where the parks are holding back the buildings. We rise above the Houses of Parliament, and I feel a moment of brief superiority. People move around us in the capsule, taking photographs, holding children, posing each other, but you don't see them, they're just foreground blurs in front of the endless view. I give Elle one of my cameras and we roam the capsule, photographing each other, London, reflections, shadows. The river dances in the glass of the capsule; our shadow carves up the ground below; I wave, looking for my shadow in the tangle of white girders, and eventually see my fuzzy-haired shadow waving back from a broad white strut. Elle curses the sun, stopping her from getting a good shot of the Houses of Parliament. I line her up with the sun behind one of the white girders. It might work. A nice lady informs us as we begin our descent that a camera will take a souvenir photograph of us as we descend, and Elle and I spy it out, and pose with the rest, though we have no intention of spending £15 on what we've already done quite adequately all on our own. But as we leave, we pause at the booth, to satisfy our vanity. Gratifyingly, we're in prime position in the shot, well posed, centre shot and way dramatic (it must be the coats). If anyone buys this souvenir shot, they're buying a photo of us and some other people; our work here is done.

Neither Elle nor I were feeling well enough to miss lunch. Miss lunch in the sense that we didn't have any, not that we did, that is. Language can be so imprecise sometimes. Anyway. <a href="http://www.tate.org.uk/warhol/default.htm"><b>Warhol</b></a>. We balked at the <a href="http://www.tate.org.uk/warhol/tickets.htm"><b>price</b></a>, but a high price tag always pleased Andy, so what the heck. Very pleased we did; painting very nice. Good use of strange media (diamond dust, piss, gold leaf, biro) as well as bucketfulls of rotting acrylic in bright colours. One very nice room full of <i>Blowjob</i> and <i>Beautiful Women</i> though I didn't stick it out for the jaw-cracking 40 (or is it 50?) minutes. Some favourite self portraits, and also some new to me; and silver clouds for children to kick. My only complaint would be a lack of <a href="http://www.tate.org.uk/warhol/tickets.htm"><b>Keith Haring</b></a> (just a few of the Grace Jones photos) but Sesame Street probably have all the rights. You should <a href="http://www.tate.org.uk/warhol/default.htm"><b>Warholise yourself</b></a>. I have.

In the evening she took me to the tiny restaurant in Ealing where her merchant banker (literally, not rhyming slang) boyfriend had proposed to her with a diamond so startling he hadn't even bothered to get it set into a ring. At the next table in one direction, Russian emigre actresses were shaking their jewellery and swigging back champagne while recounting the sorrows of their youth to an indulgent looking, elderly man. In the other direction, two sensibly dressed parents were attempting to engage the interest of a teenage boy (presumably theirs) in food that wasn't chips. Confused, I ordered gin, and then wine which turned out to be quite good, and food, which turned out to be overcooked. She talked about her wedding, mostly. She has some rather odd ideas about what she'll be wearing, but the prospective mother-in-law is making the dress, so nothing can go too wrong (hollow laughter).

I took the bus home, finished my book, and then slept. The next day I went to work, which was a bad idea as it turned out. But I stuck it out, because the following day, Damian and I were going to London, which would make two visits to the Warhol exhibition in one week. How felicitously repiticious.

Visiting London with Damian is very different than visiting with Elle. For one thing, we visit Forbidden Planet (where we saw Jonathon Ross -- Damian initially thought I meant an action figure, but it was the man himself) and Gosh (comic shops). For another, he's more inclined to find coffee stands and inscriptions on walls irresistably fascinating. It was also sheeting down with rain when we came out from Warhol (where I'd discovered several things I'd missed the first time, seen some different chunks of film, and and reconfirmed that it was generally all very cool) which became a major problem about half way down Neal Street, where I nipped into a bag shop I like to try and solve my ongoing bag problem, but it wasn't the time, and the shop lady explaining to me that by removing the fresnelled panel you could turn the bag into something ordinary and black just infuriated me.

Other stuff happened. I suppose we must have eaten, but I forget what, pizza probably. In the evening we went to the V&A, which opens late on Wednesdays, to look at a display of skirts for men, which really should have been called the Vivian Westwood, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and some other people exhibition. It was a bit kilt obsessed, and rather thin on the historical sections, but worth it for Gaultier's black off the shoulder taffeta number alone. My favourite moment? A very uptight French family staring at the "Fetish" case with wrinkled noses. I hope their unpleasant, fat, little boy found something there to take home. With hours to go we wandered through a vast hallway of cartoon, past some bizarrely priapic heraldic beasts and into the 21st Century museum experience of the <a href="http://www.vam.ac.uk/exploring/britishgalleries/?version=1&section=britishgalleries"><b>British Galleries</b></a> which are full of swallowed rooms and interactive video screens and clothes to try on and things to stare at, poke prod, and puzzle. There are lots of mirrors, small films showing, and the opportunity to build your own crystal palace, among other things. We didn't really have time.

Thursday sucked, and so did most of Friday, but friday evening was another night of good booze and bad food, because Lalage wanted to go to Raoul's for Happy Hour. The new-look, fresh as a copy of <a href="http://www.wallpaper.com/"<b>wallpaper</b></a> (do NOT follow that link) Raoul's didn't have anything as infradig as a happy hour, so we drank their (admittedly excellent and stylish) cocktails rather slower than we might have. This was all for the best as I had to make it to <i>My Neighbour Totoro</i> that night, which I eventually did.

Anyone listening will have spotted two visits. I also went to Penny and Jason's party on Saturday, where I played jenga and looked at a photograph of an embryo. And leather trousers. We crashed and watched cartoons and went across the Millennium Bridge, which is shiny and crowded and gives slightly under your feet, like a sprung dance floor. It was wet and cold, and when the people I was with set off up the South Bank to look for food, we ran away to the British Museum. The day interleaved itself, bad and good: sore throats and good views, fire alarms and gigantic illuminated floats, tired legs and tiny pictures of glittering birds.

So, it's not so much been a bad week, as a good week, and a bad week, at the same time.

Comments

( 2 worms — Feed the birds )
mkhobson
26th Feb, 2002 10:23 (UTC)
You, my dear, have an interesting life.
Thanks for sharing.
MM
general_jinjur
26th Feb, 2002 12:36 (UTC)
that's a very intense week. sounds good...
( 2 worms — Feed the birds )