Last of London

With two days left, my class makes a stop over at Saatchi Gallery. This worth mentioning for two reasons: first because of the nature of the gallery and second because what I did before going to the gallery. Lets start with the gallery.

Old Person's Home - Sun Yuan and Peng Yu

Old Person's Home - Sun Yuan and Peng Yu

Mr. Saatchi is and is not the person I want to be when I “grow up” I would certainly love to own a beautiful gallery space and be able to show and catalogue all of the masses of art that I own ( my personal favorite above ) but at the same time, I hear the Indiana Jones catch line – from film #3 to be exact – hovering in my head, yes you named it, “It belongs in a museum!” At the same time I think Dali and his museum, which isn’t exactly what I was intending by the use of the term. Its an interesting debate though. Saatchi is free to public and self promoting. There seems to be something not quite right about it, but not quite wrong either. Its up in the air Mr. Saatchi.

Now briefly, a fantasy interlude: It a bright and beautiful day. The sun was shining. I was in an airplane reading about a sexy redheaded vampire who had recently become self-empowered to wear the LBD. Little Black Dress for those of you who don’t know.  (Like me!) LBD is not part of my vocab. But since this reading on the airplane I had gotten it in mind that I would find the perfect little outfit as well. …and rainbow colored unicorns pranced under puffy clouds to songs that emanated from strawberries….the realism here is that on my adventures in Camdon Market I had found the perfect shoes. Aldo 10 pounds. Red. Not red in the “*#$@ me” sort of sense of the novel or according to Lola, but red in that sort of Librarian lets her hair down sort of way that embodies me to a T.

I was satisfied here with the shoe purchase. I had been spending very little, I require very little, so I was tempted to just exchange the money back. But then I remembered how I needed money for postage etc and that ended that. So empowered with my own desire for a LBD, I checked out the All Saints website since I had been hearing rave reviews. Then I actually visited the store and did something I don’t really do. Be prepared. I wasn’t. I walked in, in my rainbow winter garb (no fantasy joke there), looked at the first employee I saw and said.  “I am looking for a black dress, simple, elegant and on sale. What can you find for me?” I’ve never went into a place known for their expensive stuff and said. I have money and I am going to buy. Show me. But I did and it was strange, gratifying in a strange sort of way. I don’t plan on doing it again soon. And I didn’t fulfill the part when I pranced around in the dress through the store after trying it on. Yes, go ahead. Little deer like creature, in tight waisted but flowy skirted black taffataeque dress, skipping past the racks. I really did do it. Hadn’t shaved for months. Probably embarrassed several patrons. Enjoyed every moment. For 36 pounds, for which I had lived on bread, cheese and yogurt for the past two weeks and for which I hadn’t really gone out, I had in fact secured an experience and a LBD that I won’t forget…And there were chocolate sundaes sprouting from the ground and chocolate fudge sauce in rivers and gnomes running around in a hypercolored farmland. Fantasy interlude completed.

In any case, on my last day I meet up with Forbes – a really nice adjunct SU professor who has been teaching in London for the last 17 yrs. We meet at an artsy coffee house above an artsy cinema in Brixton – the first really gentrified neighborhood which I’ve seen since getting to London. For never having met before, we spend a good hour and a half talking about art, visual culture, theory, film, our backgrounds. Fascinating guy and the time flies! Its my last night in London, so I ask him what I should do! With a bit of persuasion, he’s given me some ideas. I take the bus over to a bridge from which you can see the houses of Parliament and the whole London sky light up at night. Its really beautiful. On my way I’ve passed the British Film Institute (playing Michael Snow!) and I pass through the free gallery exhibit. Yup, its Michael Snow’s work! I had screened him back through Thursday Screeners and it was  good to get a refresher course. Near by is some neat advertising which makes me giggle:

Quite the advertising!

Quite the advertising!

I’ve been taking pictures of poster and ads all over London – they just have such a better sense of humor! So this one is for the Southbank Centre (love the “re”) which hosts some free programs that I couldn’t quite figure out but asked about profusely. From here I can see almost everything in London. But I head over to the TATE Modern and go up to their 7th floor bar to get an even bigger view. Its all beautiful. All the lights and shadows and mystique that the camera can’t capture. I gave up on photos right then. Just beautiful.

Coming back to earth I finished up my trip with two other stops: Primark and St. John Wood’s Tube stop.

As mentioned, I am extremely conscious about finances. With 15 pound in my pocket, the remainder of all of my money for the trip. I did what I had planned on doing, spending my last few pounds at Primark. I love Primark. I love Penneys. I love the company that sponsors them. These are two sister store brands that I’ve encountered in my UK/Ireland experiences. They’re delightfully cheap and they’re always full. So many people pulling things out that they’ve hired a staff to refold things. I spent my last few pounds there buying these amazing pants with bondage like suspenders that were slightly too big but pinstriped and absolutely something I would love to wear.

As for St. John Wood’s Tube stop. It was really about walking down Abbey Road. I have a heart for the Beatles, who doesn’t? Had to ask a really nice ambulance driver to find my way, but got there. And, late at night, in the dark, I completed my journey. Alone, happy, pleased. Everything was as it should be and I was fully content. London was successful and I headed home to write the last few of the 22 letters I sent out about it. Crazy girl, but happy.


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