Westminster Abbey

From a fun day playing tourist in my own city. If I’m honest, I don’t think that the Abbey gives the best experience – you’re squeezed round a pre-set, tightly-cordened route like being shoved through a toothpaste tube and photos are strictly forbidden.

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Worst of all, the atmosphere was one of prissy disapproval, which I found rather disappointing when each tourist is being charged at least £20 to get in. Yes, there’s an important balance to be struck between a place of worship and a tourist attraction but – with the exception of some kindly volunteers – the clergy here seemed to have a strong “hands off our abbey, aren’t you lucky we let you in” approach written all over them. Very disappointing.

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You would at least hope that there was an acceptance that any visitors were prepared to be interested and respectful, otherwise they’d hardly have queued up for an hour to get in. I’d be interested to know what out of town visitors think.

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However, being as stubborn as they come, I did get some photos thank you…

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The most interesting parts I thought were the side chapels of various noble families (which still had a pre-Reformation feel of jostling for position near the altar) and the main chapel behind the altar.

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All photos May 2018.

 

The Garden Museum

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I last visited the garden museum with @saintofsoho just before it closed for a two year renovation, and hadn’t been back since, despite its mention in one of my favourite books.

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However, the Cedric Morris exhibition did lure me there on a sunny weekend recently. As well as the permanent collection, excellent cafe and courtyard garden designed by Dan Pearson, I thoroughly enjoyed this show of 1930s-1950s art by painter and iris-breeder Cedric Morris. (By the way, didnyou know that the Norwegian painter Astrup was best known in his day as a rhubarb breeder? There must be some kind of natural link between the talents…)

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There’s also a pair exhibitin at Philip Mould gallery until 22 July of Morris’ paintings of Portugal and Ireland that I’m keen to see and which is free.

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Back in the park

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Regent’s Park is definitely one of my favourite things in London, whether it’s the rose garden in late spring, the alleys as summer gets underway or even the open fields near the zoo for a winter stomp round.

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On the first May bank holiday London emptied, as it always does, and the best bits were left for the tourists: stripes deckchairs in the sun, reflections in the lake, fighting geese and herons on a pond.

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Its hard to believe there isn’t a filter on these photos, but the golden hour really was that good.

All photos May 2018.

Bow Common

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Every time I travel out east, usually en route to my godfather in the Isle of Dogs, this church intrigues me. I’ve never seen it open or got to go inside, but hopefully these photos (top one by @miloliren, second by @clau500) shows why.

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St Paul’s Bow Common, built 1958-1960

Andreas Gursky

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This show really lived up to the hype – the Hayward Gallery is back with a bang! Fascinating to see how Gursky’s work has changed through his career and his much more deliberate / obvious manipulations of the images too. Closes April 22, so get there soon.

Enchanted lives

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The name of a new FREE exhibition that the British Museum has on about Patrick Leigh Fermor, two of his artist friends and their love for Greece. I’m afraid that PLF was an “epic shit”, to borrow Tina Brown’s description of Boris Johnson, but he did write so well…

You can tell how excited I am about this, I think. The BM consistently puts out great quality exhibitions, many of which – like this one – are free, and yet these side shows get equally regularly overlooked by the trendy press, who want to enjoy their opening view with an Instagram-worthy cocktail or two. In fashion isn’t what the BM does, but excellent showcasing of their top rate collection and genuinely different, inspiring shows are, so I’m leading the band on this one.

 

 

Overheard in London

Part of an ongoing series. There have been some crackers recently and the new season’s crop is in:

So my friend Jack has his friend Farid’s name on his foot, and for a while there was thing where if you had Farid’s name on you, he’d take your name too. So whilst Jack’s friends each have Farid’s on them, Farid has a LOT of names

“I’ve seen a lot of deaths, you know.”
“I believe you, scary man.”
“You don’t believe me, let me show you photos.”
“I believe you.”
“Let me show you photos.”

“Lets be clear, was it *a* vagina monologue you heard?”

(Woman) “Men like boobs, but I just think they’re gross.”

“I’ve written to the club apologising for my louche footwear and saying I wasn’t quite feeling myself last night.”

“And wherever I’ve been, I’ve never had scales. This is the first time I’ve had scales.” (Mental image of an urban dragon…)

“I just messaged her and said ‘watch yourself, I have far worse on you.’”