Saturday, July 23, 2011

stuff we saw

It's Saturday and we had every intention of doing a breakfast in Hyde Park, but I think everyone was so knackered from our double header yesterday that we all decided to sleep in. That was fantastic. I get to the point where people are shouting on the porch outside my window - London is crazy noisy - and I sleep through it. Thanks, sleeping pills! I promise not to abuse you.

The students went on a National Theatre tour today at noon, but again I opted out, as I've been through the National Theatre now four times. Instead, Daniel, Heather, Jaron and I went next door to the Hayward Gallery. In the past the Hayward Gallery was a really fun art instillation where one might encounter exploding houses, or giant rooms filled with stretchy fabric to explore. What lay in store for us today? Tracey Emin: Love Is What You Want, an exhibit wherein Tracey Emin filled floor after floor of cat-scratch drawings of herself naked. Were we prepared for that? We were not. Were we delighted by this? We were not. We were depressed and got out of there. I did enjoy some of her neon signs, but that was about it. There was also a video of her asking a dog if he thought she was attractive, and another one where she danced around a room to some 90's music. Thanks for sharing, Tracey!

We spent lunch erasing Ms. Emin's netherworld from our mind by grabbing some Greggs sandwiches and eating at Somerset House. I learned about Somerset House from watching Last Chance Harvey with Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman. They met there at one point and I remember thinking that I had no idea where it was, but that it looked really cool. So I looked it up, and vowed I would go. It really is a nice square. It was full of jetting fountains today, and it was really fun to watch a band of little girls playing in it. I thought of Phoebe and Margaret, of course, and it was a nice little reminder that there are children in London. You sort of get used to not seeing any. Next we went to H&M, because that's what you do here. We went to the one in Knightsbridge even though there was a terrifying Anti-Fur lady demonstrating in front of it. Then I took Jaron to Harrods which, on a Saturday, is packed. But always impressive. Is there anything like it in the world? It's overwhelming and fascinating at the same time. I love the food galleries. Rows and rows of meat, cheese, and produce arranged like an art exhibit. And I like the free cologne samples in the bathroom. Harrod's does not like you to sit in their windowsills, but that doesn't stop me.

Tonight we gussied up and headed back to the National for the final show we're seeing there: Emperor and Galilean. This play is by Henrik Ibsen, who also wrote A Doll's House. But it's nothing like A Doll's House. It's about the Emperor Julian, who attempted to return Rome to it's pagan state. It was 3 1/2 hours of that, and that's the edited version. But I actually really liked it. Or I really admired it. It's a tough play - and the first time it's ever been staged in Britain. But that's what you get at the National: a lot of tough plays done really well. And it co-starred Emperor Palpatine. It's always nice when he turns up. It was also really bloody. I thought it was a fascinating look at Christianity, and the pride cycle in man. Julian started out as such a nice guy, but power corrupts. Same thing happened to me as soon as I got into the Order of the Arrow.

There was such a beautiful sunset at intermission.