Thursday, June 12, 2008

Some Other Musings...

On our way to the Borough Market, we stopped by Waterloo Station to buy our tickets for the trip to Southampton tomorrow. We'll be taking the 9:35 which arrives in Southampton in a little more than 75 minutes later. The tickets cost about £67 for both (return -- that is to say, "round trip" in American). This was about 1/2 the online price. The ticket agent was very friendly (he wanted to know where we were going on the cruise and if he could go too in our luggage?) and helpful (explaining how the trains worked -- which would have been useful had we not know). I didn't have the heart to tell him that I'd been here before... often. :-)

Since we were in the neighborhood anyway, we stopped over to see the "Not The Royal Academy" art show, which is essentially a Salon des Refuses for the Summer Exhibition. The web site (linked above) doesn't really do the work justice. The "rejects" were largely of very high technical quality... leaving the impression of both the RA's caliber and a curiosity for why one work was selected over the other. Libby and I tended to think it had mostly to do with content / subject matter. In our view, the "Not the RA" show tended toward "pretty pictures" (albeit of high-quality) but lacked the theoretical content of many of the RA's selected works. Of course, this is a generalization (which is always problematic). And, I don't mean to suggest that the Summer Exhibition's works are of any more merit other than to the subjective judgement (or whims?) of the jurors on a particular day.

One final thought: the funny thing about writing about travel is that even with a fairly comprehensive blogging effort, there is so much that goes unsaid. I could (and hope to) talk more about a variety of topics that I've been pondering. For example, I've been slowly working my way through new and unusual Belgian (or like) blonde beers. They deserve a review. I could also have written a lot more about the galleries and artists works we've seen. More than anything, I haven't had a chance to express much about the endless film that is London, which plays continuously before our eyes. I think I could amuse myself for hours creating mere impressions--the verbal equivalent of an oil sketch--of life in London: power lunches at The Wolseley in Mayfair, soon-to-be-graduates explaining their painting process to potential patrons at the RA, the life of a working actor in the West End getting to finally play the role he's been understudying for months, and reflections on the musicians found in the London Underground (including a harpist and bag-piper in the same day).

Indeed, it is these small things--not the big, touristy "must sees"--that I love about London.

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