Saturday, March 10, 2012

Thrill-seeker Ride to Uxbridge

After leaving the Hockney exhibition we walked back to Piccadilly Circus to catch a train to Uxbridge. I'm embarrassed to admit how old I was before I realized there's not a circus at Piccadilly Circus. On the other hand, there probably is one here, and I just haven't spotted it yet.

The trip back to Uxbridge is always fun for thrill-seekers like us. You get to go down stairs and escalators, through tubes and tunnels, see interesting people and stand very close to them. See the latest fashions. Hear free concerts. Even listen to nearly-deaf people's iPod music.

Piccadilly Circus.

Entrance to the Underground Tube fun-ride.

Love the Bobby's hat.

Oh darn. Not as crowded as I was hoping. Maybe next time.

A fellow thrill-seeker shows off her fur coat.

Hockney-inspired Hockney

David Hockney Exhibit

When the SAT board meeting adjourned, several of us went across the street to Cafe Nero for coffee before walking to the Royal Academy of Art to see the David Hockney exhibit.

The Hockney show, all landscapes, has been getting a lot of attention around here. As you can see from the program cover, many of the paintings are huge, made up of multiple tiled canvases. Pretty ambitious for a 75-year old artist. The exhibit also included many landscapes from earlier in his career. Huge gallery rooms were filled with many paintings, often variations of the same scene. His latest works, done specifically for this exhibit, were the largest and the most stylized, as in the example above. 

The volume of work on exhibit was amazing. And this show just includes some of his landscapes. There were also charcoal drawings of trees and woodsy scenes, used as studies for the paintings. I was amazed at how classically brilliant the charcoal drawings are compared to the paintings. From a distance they looked like landscapes from classical masters. Love his work or not, this guy is amazing. And inspiring.

Unfortunately no photos were allowed.

The walk to the Royal Academy:

There's always something interesting at Trafalgar Square. 

Side streets, alleys, and snickets usually provide interesting subject matter for photos.

A quintessential snicket.

When we paused so I could take a photo, a highly intoxicated Polish gent who had been drinking for three days (he told us that) handed Robin a blank postcard and, in very broken English, asked if she could write in English. Robin felt confident that she could, so she asked "What do you want to say?" He said "I... like..." then stared into space for so long that we started offering suggestions. You like London? "No. I like... Paris... better...." So Robin writes something like "Hi. Having a great time. I like London, but not as much as Paris. Missing you." Then he tried to dictate an address, spelling out letters. "J... O... um... K... no... P...." Finally he took the pen and scrawled something totally unreadable in the address area. 

We said goodbye and he followed us, trying to start a conversation. It's really easy to walk faster than someone who's been drinking for 3 days.

Always a good samaritan, Robin writes a letter for a stranger. One of the nicest intoxicated Polish men I've ever met.

A young woman from Turkey stopped to ask for a light. He loaned her his lighter and tried to make conversation. She thought we were friends and looked at us like "who is this friend of yours?" Robin said "She has to go now, bye bye." I think he would have followed her, but he wasn't through dictating. Plus, as you probably know, it's hard to follow someone when you can barely stand up. Even harder to pick up chicks.

The Royal Academy of Arts courtyard, with Hockney banners to let us know we're in the right place. The line on the right is the que to buy tickets. 

Outside in the courtyard is a statue of Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), a supremely great portrait painter. One of the most celebrated artists of his time, he founded the Royal Academy of Art. I'd say this is the quintessential artist pose. And I want a coat like that. So I can pose like that.  

SAT Board Meeting, Etc.

We had a quick Friday lunch in London, near Piccadilly Circus, across the street from The Duke of York's Theatre where Robin was to attend a Shakespeare Authorship Trust board meeting that afternoon with Mark Rylance, her Brunel PhD supervisor Bill Leahy, and other notables in the Authorship Question world. 

The Duke of York's Theatre. The current production is All New People, starring Zach Braff, formerly of the TV sitcom Scrubs.

The guy from Scrubs and Hollywood movies. He's great, I like him.

While Robin was busy I stopped by Starbucks a few doors away to sip a latte and play with the new iPhoto app on my iPhone. Very cool stuff (the app, not the coffee).

On a side street of antique book stores and various other shops, I stumble across Swami Krishna with a client. I didn't realize that London was into a Deep South thing: Swa-mi, how I love ya, how I love ya, my dear ol' swami... oops, sorry, lost focus for a second.

A close-up of the tower of The Coliseum Theatre (opened in 1904), across the street from The Duke of York's Theatre. The globe on top rotates. It's my guess that no one has noticed, other than an occasional tourist photographer, like me. Change that to " a very occasional tourist photographer." 

The Coliseum has the largest proscenium arch in London. In Latin, the stage is called the proscenium, which means "in front of the scenery." Therefore, the arch or rectangle that frames the stage is called a proscenium arch. 

Just a random building corner that looked interesting. I guess that applies to most buildings in London.