London dispatches

The run up to Christmas is always a great time for some overhears on the street/Tube/canal paths of London. Every word is true and unadulterated…

“So when he turned up he was just palpitating”

“…Because we need time to prepare. Some of them need to go and put on clothes.”

“So I’m going to Montenegro.”

“You know there’s a wardrobe falling down the stairs?” “Yeah”

(Two coppers to each other) “I got her a sword to go with her two daggers. She’s so not girly.”

“But I did pay him for the drugs.”

“You can’t really drink one bottle at a time, because that would be a twenty year project”

“It’s like a cheese-filled condom”

“And then he said he’d been in a car crash but he’d bought me tickets for the gig too anyway and did I want to go. But it’s bollocks because he was never in a car crash anyway.”

“No I can’t unzip them, it’s my bunions.”

“It’s alright when she lies down, so it must be her neck, don’t you think?” “But it’s also ok when she talks.”

“Do you know anyone who know someone anything about the stock exchange?” “Well they seem to.”

Burnished

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It’s been a good winter for art in London this year – I can’t recommend highly enough the Cezanne portraits at the NPG, the two Opera and Balenciaga shows at the V&A or the Scythians at the BM – but the Rachel Whiteread at Tate Britain was actually rather a disappointment for such a talented artist who previously did a well-displayed installation at Tate Modern just along the river.

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Instead, I say keep your visit to the ever excellent permanent collection (free), especially the wonderful Henry Moore rooms (free!), and if you want some Whiteread, this gummy bear piece in the main upstairs hall that is currently turned over to sculpture (all free).

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You’re getting the point…save your £15 and just enjoy the permanent show!

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All photos from last month.

Census taking

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Lucinda Rogers’ gentrification exhibition at the House of illustration is a must see. Each piece documents the changing nature of life in Hackney and the changing communities. Striking, energetic, thought-provoking and top quality as ever.

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Collection

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If you go to the RA (and aren’t distracted by the chicken trucks), then go to the top floor by the Sackler Wing and see if Richard Deacon’s selection of RA diploma pieces is still there. Bracketed together by Deacon’s choices there’s a subtle and varied set of sculptures which I actually enjoyed more than the exhibition I’d been to see. From the classical to the avant garde, through marble to terracotta, metals, paint and rough to smooth there as something for every eye.

All photos October 2017.

Remembrance

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Still finding London’s war memorials whenever I go. This one’s in Baker Street. If you want a literary record of the Second World War, then VS Pritchett’s London Perceived, written in 1962 but republished with a new foreword in 1985, reflected how the post war building boom saw London lose its “almost Venetian” low skyline. Funny to read as a Londoner who’s grown up with a much more diverse city and rather likes the skyline from Waterloo Bridge.