Saturday, December 03, 2005

What I Did Done On My Holidays

Crimeny Crikey Oh-Riley, back to work on Monday. Where did all the time go?

So, Thursday, met up with Rogan Josh to go to The Royal Institution, the first time either of us had gone there and the first time we'd actually met one another for around a decade, having lost all kinds of contact except sporadic email since our days at school. Aaah school, one of our teachers committed suicide, our head had a heart attack on stage in front of us, we were an all boys school but, because we weren't a public school, didn't have younger boys fagging for the older ones. Or if there were I was never given the option to apply to have a younger boy attend to my merest whim.

Anyway. We were going to the RI for Science and learning in Islam –a shared legacy, not something we had a burning interest in, but we were both at a loose end. The lecture theatre is pretty much in the classical image, a small stage with steep rows of chairs on each side. The chairs were uncomfortable and the leg space limited, and while both guests knew their subjects neither seemed particularly expert in it, the questions from the audience at the end seemed either abstruse or pointless, and there was the traiditonal guy who didn't have a question but tried to ramble on at length with no real point to his wittering.

But despite that, I did enjoy it. I walked away feeling I'd learnt something, though I doubt I'll ever have an opportunity to make use of that information.

Today I succeeded in dragging my parents to Tate Britain and we went round the Degas, Sickert and Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition. Having my Mum in a wheelchair was great as people would move out of the way to let us get at the pictures, and it also made me go slower and take more of a look at the portraits than I might have done on my own or with a more able-bodied friend. I don't think either of my parents were that impressed, finding most of the pictures too gloomy. Nothing really made them linger, though we did spend a while in the room with Degas' L’Absinthe. I think they enjoyed the more traditional portraiture upstairs. I also took a quick look at the controversial Chris Ofili The Upper Room exhibit. I did like it though I'm not sure exactly what the lumps of elephant shit in each portrait really add to it.

I'm going to have to go back if I want to look at the Turner Prize nominees, but I also want another look at the John Latham in Focus room which was great, especially his huge Full Stop, a giant black period (I'd link to a picture but for some reason the Tate have taken down that image).


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