Sunday, July 18, 2010

the habit of london


Alex came to pick me up this morning at the ungodly hour of 9:30 and I thought I was going to punch a hole in the wall. 7 hours of sleep was clearly not enough for lady jet-lag, but I fought her bravely. Actually I went back to sleep for about 30 minutes, and then I got my act together and hit the showers. I'm wearing these new 30 day contacts; you are supposed to leave them in day and night. I like them mostly, but I don't like how goopy my eyes are when I wake up in the morning. I shuffle around trying to find door switches and light handles, squinting through a haze of eye boogers. I'll get used to it! My eyes are the windows to my soul, or whatever.


I made the mistake of thinking there was a Hyde Park church service at 11. Actually, the INTERNET made the mistake of telling me that. Turns out there is a Portugese Ward meeting then, and even though I'm going to Portugal next month I really felt that I needed to come let us anew in English. So Alex and I ate our chicken tikka sandwiches in Hyde Park until it was 1:00, and then we joined out brothers and sisters in the (english speaking) gospel.

After church we changed clothes and hustled to the National Theatre to see The Habit of Art. Don't judge me! I bought my ticket on Saturday and none of the actors are LDS so they don't mind working. I assume they aren't LDS. They swear and smoke cigarettes. So if they are LDS I'm just going to quietly be judging them. We've gone full circle! I loved The Habit of Art. It's a new play by Alan Bennett who wrote History Boys, The Madness of King George, and the fantastic BBC screenplay of Little Dorrit. The play is about W. H. Auden meeting with his friend Benjamin Britten, who is writing an opera of Death in Venice. But it's also about the rehearsal for The Habit of Art. So there's a stage manager watching, someone prompting lines, and actors who jump in and out of the scenes and watch from the sidelines. Anyone who has worked in theatre would love this. It feels the way rehearsal feels. The conflicts, the collaboration, and the compromise are all there under a bunch of fragile egos. The play was funny, touching, and smart. It's going on tour this Fall and I can see why.

Alex and I tried to go hang out at the Somerset Fountains, but they were turned off and some kind of reggae concert was being set up, so we didn't stick around long. We wandered around The Strand a bit, and found some hidden Roman Baths which had been locked up. Then I told Alex that if we were just going to walk around, and I'm more than happy to do that, we should go to Mayfair - my favorite neighborhood in London. So we did. Here's where we present Grandpa's Super-8 Films of Stuff We Saw in Mayfair:

Berkeley Square: less nightingales, more pigeons:
video

These sacrelicious pastries!
video

A building covered with super cool vines!
video

The future president of the US:
video

A whole bunch of hosers in front of the Hard Rock Cafe:
video

The new Harvey Nichols window display (school supplies - everything school supplies):
video

And after that our dogs were barking like banshees. So we headed back feeling like we had seen enough for the day. Alex said that he felt like his eyes were full, and I agreed. He also said that his eyes were bigger than his feet. And I agreed with that as well. But man, London is a cool city.

videos courtesy of Alex Ungerman. And yes, they're supposed to be silent.