SAT 28th JULY
We got the train to St Pancras for around 11am. Once again, we came across one of the worlds busiest transport hubs not being actually that busy. This pleased me. I had it in my head that it was going to be a rough ride; surrounded by American and Chinese tourist families unfamiliar with the rules of the underground and those grumpy Londonders that are all too familiar with them. Keep to the left! Keep to the left!
We got the Piccadilly Line (new air con? Really?) straight to South Kensington. On arrival we bumped into Camilla and her security entourage as she officially opened the Exhibition Road Festival. This was something I was looking forward to seeing; a festival celebrating the history of the Festival of London, featuring live music and a number of art installations by greats such as Richard Long. But first we headed to the V&A. The roads were shut to traffic for the whole area; apparently for the whole Olympic opening weekend. It was another case of London being unusually quiet. Me and Christa stood in the middle of Brompton Road, taking photos; imagining 28 Day Later. This whole area was always a place that I dreaded coming to. As much as I love the V&A; the entrance, the queues, the shop – all way too busy; especially on a Sunday.
I spent a good hour and half in the exhibition, British Design 1948-2012. It could have also been Danny Boyle’s ceremony is exhibition form. Featuring many of the same names; we had posters, stage and costume design, architecture plans and models and the finest British innovations and inventions from all areas of music, tv, science and computing, town planning and home life. It was plentiful, coherent and an absolute visual treat; a perfect exhibition for this time of year. I really hope a version of this makes its way to The Civic one day, like many V&A exhibitions have done in the past. I followed this by introducing Christa to a room she had never seen before, despite being a regular visitor to the V&A. The Court Casts Room is one of my most favourite places to be in; much like the Tate Modern Room that used to house the Cy Twombly paintings. Here in this church like room, you are dwarfed by casts of cathedral interiors and alter pieces. It is breathtaking and beautiful and the perfect place to rest and gather your thoughts, as it is one of those few places in the building that doesn’t attract that masses, but if I’m honest, actually deserves to have the audience. We followed this by taking a walk up Exhibition Road. I was severely let down; this eledged celebration of all things British seemed to only consist of performers on stilts and many stalls selling overpriced food; Burger £7.50, Pizza £7.50, Piaella £8.
One strange thing… as soon as I got to South Kensington, my mobile phone stopped working. In fact, to be more accurate, it decided to keep turning itself on and off again. Two hours later, when we left the area, it became fully functional again.
We finished off by a having a walk around Leicester Square and Covent Garden and checking out comic book shops before we went out own seperate ways. Christa headed off west to a house-warming party and I met up with Sev and another ex-colleagues Rachel, for many beers.