Sunday, April 19, 2009

Day tripper

It has been a weekend of day-trips to far-flung places, when I should have been writing a script. After work on Friday we ventured north to the Victoria Stakes in Muswell Hill, requiring a combination of tube and bus.

A man on the W7 provided a running commentary on the weather, and volunteered solo versions of When The Saints Go Marching In, Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head and, er, Electric Ladyland, for as long as he could remember the lyrics. I drank lots of Black Sheep and forgot quite how long it would take to get home. Apparently I stank of warm beer all night.

NeroOn Saturday we made our way to Cambridge where some chums led us round some pubs. In the St Radegund - apparently the smallest pub in Cambridge - the Dr was much excited by the signs for Milton Brewery's Nero, but it wasn't on. So I had a rather nice pint of Icarus instead. I've always had an affinity for the mythic Icarus.

By the time we'd had tea and caught the stopping train home, it was getting a bit late. So I didn't quite get, as I'd hoped, to see Primeval on ITVplayer.

Today we were due to meet J. and R. and E., over from America and seeing the Science Museum. Being a bit early meant we could pop into see rooms 88a and 90 of the V&A where there's a small exhibition (until 22 November) of stuff relating to and by Owen Jones, author of the Grammar of Ornament (1856 and still in print). There are splendid abstract designs for wallpaper and furnishings, photos of the real Alhambra alongside Jones' ideas for the Alhambra court in the Crystal Palace, and his designs for an even bigger and bolder exhibition greenhouse never built in St Cloud, Muswell Hill.

Jones didn't like to base his designs on nature, feeling that disrupted the flatness of his surfaces. Instead he's much influenced by Islamic geometric shapes and tessellating trickery. Of one 1860 design (D. 817-1897), the sign says "The geometry and rigid layout may remind some viewers of school chemistry textbooks", and neatly places this next to Odell's 1951 wallpaper design for the Festival of Britain, based on the molecular structure of boric acid.

We sandwiched in the sunshine behind the Albert Memorial with J. and E. and R. (who'd never see the thing before), then got a cab across to the South Bank where we left them to the Eye. Instead, the Dr and I tried the Hayward Gallery and Mark Wallinger's Russian linesman exhibition (on until 4 May, then moving to Leeds and Swansea).

It's basically a museum of cool stuff: Wallinger's own TARDIS in all its reflective glory (I wanted to give it a hug); eerie photos of death masks of the Romantic poets; a corridor that climbs up a wall; stereoscopic photographs; footage of Berlin as it was and is now, the locations playing out side-by-side. The idea, if I understood it, is to showcase stuff on the boundaries of our perception, or at least that makes you thing, "Woah, cool!"

Also got a look round Annette Messager's The Messengers (until 25 May) for free, full of nightmarish conjoinments of stuffed toys and taxidermy, and body-like things inflating and shambling. The shop was full of much cool stuff too; though it only had three postcards from the Wallinger exhibition, and charged a fair old whack for everything else.

Blogging from the floor, manWas £5 for a glass of wine outside, but it seemed wrong to ignore the nice sunshine. And so home and to the script - and perhaps Primeval. New desk arrives on Wednesday, so I'm knocking this out on the floor. The photo, right, is me tocking away the first paragraph of this post. Which is like on the boundaries of our perceptions or something. Or, perhaps, it's not.

1 comment:

Le Mc said...

I'm a bit concerned as by visiting Cambridge and Ludlow you are reproducing at least two of my research sites. That's a bit weird!

That exhibit's coming to Swansea?! What did we do to deserve that?!

So jealous--last time I was in London V&A was between exhibits.

Is Milton's Brewery Nero supposed to join the flavors of Milton and Nero??