November 3rd, 2005


Busy Busy...

Bloody foul warm wet weather yesterday, and I had to go to the dentist (crown on dead tooth awaiting dental hospital verdict sheared away suddenly...), then on to the West End for SELF PORTRAIT, which I couldn't afford, but felt I needed to see. It is worthwhile, too. There's a lot of familiar stuff, yes, but some very interesting gems I'd never seen before. It was annoyingly crowded (on Wednesday afternoon?) and too warm in the gallery.
Cool stuff:
P-J VanLaer, Flemish grimacer with skulls, etc... Charley Tooorop, glaring in front of black branches...A smashing Marlene Dumas;'This Evil is Banal'...Hans Troma hobnobbing with Love and Death...Giovanni Battista Salvi vividly alive against Wedgewood background...Francis Newton Souza as a brightly coloured Humpty Dumpty figure...Suzanne Valdon's BLUE ROOM was there, too. Its home is evidently in Paris, but I seem to remember seeing it many times when I first came to London. Every time I'd pass it, I'd think 'Foxy fat woman, Yes!' I still like it.

Over in St-Martin's-in-the-Fields, there's a 'farewell' exhibit from the homeless artists' group, prior to the restoration work on the premises. As usual, I got more out of this scruffy little collection than from a lot of more pretentious exhibits. There's childish stuff, copies, etc, but there are always little masterpieces of weirdness and spiritual depth as well. It's open 10:30-5:30,but only through Saturday.
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Boring Lecture...

After all the art, I went to the British Library for the first of the three lectures on Russian magic by Professor Ryan, who obviously knows his stuff all too well. There were few pictures this time, as the main subject was one WRS Ralston, a Victorian folklorist who worked with Andrew Lang, and others, and had to resign from the British Library after a series of disputes with his superiors. He was six foot six, and wore a big bushy beard to his waist. It was pretty excruciating, but I reckon I'll go again next week. You never know...The Conference Centre has a sweet little auditorium (rather full, although there were escapees as the talk went on...) with comfy seats and good sightlines. The prof overran by ten minutes or so, and I just missed a 91 bus which sped past despite my waving and wailing in the rain. When the next one came at last, the driver did the same thing to another unfortunate. It's so mean, it really is. They saw us, no doubt about it. This bus broke down, fortunately near my 77A stop, and another long wait ensued. It took a good 90 minutes to get from Euston to Wandsworth Road. I just made it home time for ROME on TV.
News Flash: Ross(Grunt Mitchell/EASTENDERS)Kemp got assaulted by his wife, who is the editor of THE SUN. Arf...