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Easter in London – Part 1

Posted: March 31st, 2005, by Marceline Smith

I was in London over the weekend for the first time in ages intending to go see all the things I never have time to go see. I stayed in an amazing hotel which has reminded me that I need to make loads of money so that I can be one of those crazy old rich people who live in hotels and wander around in my pyjamas carrying a cat.Easter Sunday was my Art Day which started with a lengthy walk past the Tower of London and across Tower Bridge to the Design Museum. I don’t know if they knew I was coming but they appeared to have organised the whole thing with me in mind. A whole floor on the history of maps, road signs, diagrams, typography and safety leaflets was exciting enough but the next floor had exhibitions on Penguin Books and Factory Records, not to mention an N64 with Mario to play on. The only disappointment was the shop which was a bit small and not as full of quirky things of wonder as I had expected. I did get some badges covered in the insides of envelopes though. I’m glad someone else notices these things.

After this I went over to the Tate Modern having heard great things about it. I loved the building but I was a bit disappointed by the art on show. There were very few things I liked that I hadn’t seen before and they seemed only to have inferior works by artists I like. I also found the new Modern Art is Important seriousness of the people there kind of tiresome. I think I liked it better when everyone scoffed at modern art, rather than thinking it’s all very serious and clever. Some of it, at least, is supposed to be fun so stop pondering it.

What did I like? The Rothkos were awesome in real life, sucking everything into themselves. All the pop art was fun to look at close close up to see all the human flaws that never show up in glossy reproductions. There was also a great room of prints by one guy, all with similar motifs of flowing body lines and flower overprints.

I was also impressed with the Bruce Nauman exhibitions – a room of colour treated projections of his studio recorded overnight, like a room of CCTV screens with nothing much happening. You’d get interested in the detail of one projection until a clank or thump made you think you were missing something on another side of the room. I could probably have sat there for hours. He also had a sound thing in the Turbine Hall with a series of speakers randomly muttering and hollering at you as you walked the length. It sounds a bit crap in print but in location with all the concrete and the high roof it was great; a child’s voice fading into sinister rasping fading into robotic repitition and so on. There’s a virtual version online.

To be continued with my trip to the THEATRE as I have not yet caught up on sleep and this is getting a bit long.

Marceline Smith

Marceline is the fierce, terrifying force behind diskant.net, laughing with disdain as she fires sharpened blades of sarcasm in all directions. Based in Scotland, her lexicon consists of words such as 'jings', 'aboot' and 'aye': our trained voice analysts are yet to decipher some of the relentless stream of genius uttered on a twenty-four hour basis. Marceline's hobbies include working too much and going out in bad weather.


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