Saturday, July 20, 2013

the lion and the lamb and the kaiju

The British Museum is a highlight for every London tourist, except I hardly ever go because there’s always too many people in there. And old stuff, after a while, starts just looking like old stuff. Do you know what I mean? It loses its significance in a sea of old stuff. So it’s been three or four years since I went to the British Museum. It felt like the right time to return.

I once learned a great tip from my friend Loraine Edwards: always get the children’s guide to the museum. It turns the entire museum into a scavenger hunt! Or a treasure map! Or, in the case of the British Museum, an audio tour given by a space alien.

Designed for children ages 4 to 12, the audio guide tells the story of two English kids who shout all their lines like Dora the Explorer. They are abducted by a questionably racist alien named Vid, who is the most irritating character of all time (barring Jar Jar Binks.) He basically walks you around the museum and makes sexist comments about the naked statues. The point of the plot is that the English kids have to give Vid all the information in the museum before he will send them back to earth, but its really about a bunch of actors in a sound studio using a bunch of different Eastern sounding accents. Anyway, Josh, Jason and I visited the Asian and African wings with Vid, and had a pretty entertaining time. He showed us:
An Assyrian lion getting attacked by spears!

An African mask. Vid could not believe how lifelike it was!

An Eastern monk who has cleared his mind of everything. He stares at you no matter where you are, not unlike the Brigham Young portrait at the Beehive House.
We had a quick lunch at Nando’s Chicken factory nearby, which was delicious and pleasant except for when Aubrey opened her ketchup bottle and there was an epic explosion.

We saw a matinee of Once, a musical that was adapted from that fantastic Irish film a few years back. I loved it. It’s really so sweet and gentle and the music is so beautiful. It’s staged in a giant Irish pub on stage, and all of the actors double as musicians. They all sing, play, and clog dance, and the story is really engaging. It’s been playing in NYC for a few years, but recently transferred to the West End. I’m so glad we got to see it here. I was very touched.

It was a “free night” tonight, so everyone was allowed to do their thing. I’m not totally sure of what everyone did, but I saw people dressing up and talking about tickets and everyone seemed to have something mysterious and awesome to do. Jason and I had some Thai food down in South Kensington and then we saw a movie that is sure to change the world as we know it: Pacific Rim. If you like movies about enormous, mutated dinosaurs rising up out of the ocean and battling epic robots manned by attractive and steely soldiers of every race and creed, this one is for you! We laughed a lot. It’s really pretty great, and really pretty dumb. We saw it in 3D, and the visuals were stunning.

We rode bikes home. The sky was clouded over. Is this the end of our swelter spell?