Second night in London and there was still lots of snow — at least, by London standards; after Montréal where three feet of snow is no horror, 1.5 inches seemed to have arrested London in its tracks — I was all excited to see David Hallberg whose recent memoir I read on the flight over and carried in my custom Ruben Mack messenger bag, to have it signed after the performance. Enjoyed my glass of champagne and being in the balcony at Royal Opera house was magical. My seat was smack in the middle of three Japanese young ladies who were being chaperoned by their lovely teacher. I negotiated and they excitedly expressed their appreciation at being able to switch with me being on the end so that that they could all sit together. The closest two sat on their coats and I even offered the tinier future Giselle my coat to sit on.
Naturally, I was returned to London as last June, I had pleasantly discovered Natalia Osipova dancing in Marguerite and Armand and was instantly a fan. There was no way that I was going to miss her Giselle. Midway through Act I of Giselle, David whom I had never previously seen perform, failed to have impressed. He seemed not to be dancing full out and the partnership seemed strained; it was as though they had not had enough rehearsals. Then after intermission and really good champagne, the company’s artistic director came to the stage to announce that Mr. Hallberg had been injured during Act I and would not be proceeding; he then announced that the youngster, Matthew Ball would dance the role of Prince Albrecht in Act II — the house went wild as he had days earlier made his debut in the ballet.
What then unfolded was the most glorious of evenings in the theatre. Ms. Osipova, who has the most phenomenal ballon ever witnessed on any ballerina — to say nothing of her turns — danced as if truly overjoyed. Mr. Ball was also fantastic and I howled for joy at their curtain calls. Heck, I, who never go backstage, went in hopes of having Mr. Hallberg sign my copy of his book; however, he was a no-show. Ms. Osipova, inordinately gracious and an ecstatic Mr. Ball, who had had to dash back to the theatre that evening, was only too happy to sign my copy of the program as a steady drizzle fell beyond the double, glass stage doors.
Of course, the night prior, I had trekked in even more snow out to Barbican Centre to catch yet another performance of the Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra led by the unparallelled genius, Wynton Marsalis. The programme was exclusively Leonard Bernstein in a celebration of his centenary… and what a phenomenal show it was. London’s Jews were out in force to be sure. I sat next to a princely 93-year-old Jew whose energies were rather like those of Yehudi Menuhin and boy was this man gracious of spirit. To say the least, I had a ball.
Naturally, one goes to a Wynton Marsalis performance for the encores! And boy, he did not disappoint. As always, I unashamedly howled like mad at the end of all that. This musical genius’s fabulousness is out of this world. This truly was a marvellous way to celebrate a homecoming of sorts; London truly does feel like another West Indian isle. As Merlin and I shared a rather accomplished life as court musicians in late 18th century London, it is always great to be in London.
Though I had downloaded the app and had planned on biking whilst in London, the snow everywhere precluded any such adventure. So there was I next morning — the night of which I attended Giselle, leaving my hotel in Bloomsbury and making it from Russell Square to Piccadilly Circus to, of course, look at art.
Naturally, I had arrived at the Royal Academy at Burlington House to see what for me was the most eagerly anticipated art exhibition in years: Charles I, King and Collector. I was the first to have arrived for the show, slipped inside from the snow before being asked to wait outside by security. Whilst waiting at the head of the queue, there were three gentlemen who arrived, all on the other side of 70 years of age and they were the most urbane aristocrats whom I had ever encountered. The way they spoke; there was no denying that they were posh. Moreover, it was more than their accents; their use of language made it sound as though they were speaking a form of English which was mannered, musical and as though another language entirely.
Finally, once inside the exhibition, I was truly enthralled, moving from salon to salon as though in the most lucidly captivating dream. Here were all my favourite Sir Anthony van Dyck paintings in one place — plus, there were some which previously I had not seen… at least, in this lifetime. Naturally, there were also some rather intimate Sir Peter Paul Rubens in the exhibition, which featured the art from the impressive collection of HM King Charles I… that ode to swaggerliciousness and a young sage to boot.
I had managed to snap four paintings whilst moving through the first of ten salons when a kindly security agent asked that I obey the rules and refrain from taking photographs. This truly was as though caught in a flying dream as I moved intoxicated of spirit from salon to salon, I managed whilst looking at murals in one of the larger salons, to make my way to the inner sanctum where the most glorious Sir Anthony van Dycks were hung — the two equestrian portraits one from the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square the other, which previously was hung at Buckingham Palace; there was also that most striking portrait Charles at the hunt which normally is hung at Musée du Louvre. A lovely henna-braided African security agent informed me that I had progressed improperly and ought to retrace my steps and view the art in the salons on the periphery of the three large internal salons where murals, tapestries and the prized, aforementioned van Dycks of the Royal Collection collected by HM King Charles I were hung.
At the point at which I was about to leave one salon for the next, I suddenly and distinctly thought of Kritika Bhatt the Michael channeller who had been trained by Sarah J. Chambers one of the original channellers in the Michael group. I thought it odd at the time as I only ever would think of her when a request for overleaves are outstanding and my impatience is having her surface to mind as I wonder if I would be receiving the requested overleaves that day. Since this was not the case, I thought per chance, that I was thinking of her as she is known to have King Charles spaniels. Yes, that must be the out-of-nowhere association, I concluded.
On entering the next salon, I immediately moved towards the largest masterpiece and was struck by its depth and impressive use of strong bold colours. What’s more, I had never seen the painting before. Fascinating, I whispered before heading to the title to see the title and artist. I was struck dead in my tracks when reading, Esther before Ahaseuras by Jacopo Tintoretto. Wow! I exclaimed. Years earlier, in an email regarding the overleaves for other artists, Kritika had made mention that her current son had previously been the 16th century Italian artist, Jacopo Tintoretto! I was floored and for me that out-of-nowhere associative thought of Kritika was validation of the overleaves and information shared years earlier.
Earlier, whilst moving through the first salon, I had never come so close to Sir Anthony van Dyck’s Self-Portrait with Sunflower before. Taking the time to really study the painting, I was struck by my response; suddenly, at my solar plexus, I began experiencing a — not though rare — thumping which was independent of my cardio rhythm. Never before had I been able to so closely inspect the eyes in the self-portrait. What was really interesting was the look of the artist’s left eye in the painting; it really was a darker version of my Dutch born and oldest friend, Joop who previously had been Sir Anthony van Dyck. Though Joop’s eyes are a strong, soulful blue in this lifetime, they truly are the same eyes as Sir Anthony van Dyck’s in the self portrait. Different colour, same vibration… same intensity. I had not been expecting that and just as later whilst moving from one salon to the next, I was not expecting to have the Michael Teachings and overleaves validated. Nonetheless, there is was, two instances of overleaves validated and that was the kind of bonus that one could not have anticipated whilst planning this trip.
After purchasing my lovely catalogue of the exhibition, I moved across the street and did some shopping at the grand old dame, Fortnum & Mason. Let’s face it, I was there to slip into the eatery and score myself the best free lunch in London… and as ever, the bites on offer did not disappoint. I bought marvellous teas as only can be found at Fortnum & Mason then hopped onto a double decker, driving westerly along Piccadilly. Making my way up the stairs, I soon had to double back on myself when realising that the upper deck was packed with a sprinkling of London’s homeless, who obviously had been afforded refuge out of the cold and what for London was unheard of snows. God it smelt atrocious. As the bus made a right onto Buckingham Palace Road, I hopped off and made my way past the Royal Mews which were closed owing to snow and made it for the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace.
I was there to be wowed, though, sadly was not by the Restoration exhibition. Naturally, how could it have been a show to rival that at the Royal Academy when most of that art had been sold off by the time of HM King Charles II’s coronation. I would have been rather underwhelmed, had I gone to London just to take in this show. As it was, it served as ample reason to have appreciated the Royal Academy show even more.
Really got off on the vibration exuded by HM King James II as he held court in all his glory in the portrait in the same show at the Queen’s Gallery Buckingham Palace (following painting).
Well having had my fill of the Restoration art or the paucity thereof, I enjoyed trekking in the snows along Buckingham Palace Road to Victoria Station and descended into the depths of London’s Underground for yet another adventure.
Emerging from the bowels of London, I made it to the soul of the nation to pay homage, yet again, at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
I wanted to go and light a candle, I lit two actually, in homage to the ennobled lives that both Merlin and I enjoyed in this glorious city three centuries earlier — the memories of which readily surface in the dreamtime.
Before one gets too old to be able to make the trek, I managed my way to the whispering gallery, sat down and caught my wind back whilst reflecting on my life.
This place so rich in history, is also the sacred shrine where entity mates have left their mark. Henry Moore is an old artisan in my entity.
Of course, no visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral would be complete without paying a visit to the soul of the nation at its crypt and paying homage to ennobled souls who’ve made an indelible mark on London… on history. There is great and fittingly so, grandeur in the tomb of Arthur, Duke of Wellington’s resting place.
Of course, the other tomb which dominates the crypt at St. Paul’s Cathedral is that of Admiral Nelson, whom both Merlin and I knew during that incarnation. Doubtless, it was his passion and tales for and about Nevis, which planted that seed that sparked three lifetimes later with my soul’s choice to reincarnate into Nevis; indeed, it has proven an isle no less magical than his captivating anecdotes then must have been. Days later, of course, I would see the bullet which felled this great man whilst visiting Windsor Castle; that is for another post. For now, I rushed home, took a dream-filled nap before heading to Covent Garden and being wowed by two not one Albrechts and the most exciting prima ballerina on the planet… at least, as far as I am concerned.
As ever, thanks for your ongoing support and look forward in coming months to book three of my dream-filled memoirs, mandated by Merlin and which prove human civilisation’s first dream memoirs.
©2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha. All Rights Reserved.