Iris van Herpen & Schiaparelli

At the intersections of Vision, Art & Commerce exists the most timeless Couture.  

Iris van Herpen Paris Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2019/2020. 

Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2019/2020.  

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© 2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha.  All Rights Reserved,  

An Awakened Dream Like No Other!

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On the final full day of this trip to London, it was also the 29th anniversary of Merlin’s passing.  I had planned on visiting Spencer House, the Monday evening prior; however, the event which was a ticketed lecture had been cancelled –  this was my only chance at getting to Spencer House.  

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Climbing from the Underground at Green Park, the park was relatively empty and there was a crisp bite to the early morning air as I walked along the periphery of the park’s western edge.  I opted to take that route and be close to the park’s trees than use the suggested route – St. James Street and St. James Place.  The only persons in the park were intermittent joggers, looking fit; strange in November it was to see persons running in shorts.  

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Walking along, I passed a narrow break in the shrubbery; the narrow path that ran beneath on the houses stated that it was a private road and to keep out.  A few more steps revealed the signage; yes, indeed, this was the place that I was looking for.  Turning back, I made for the private narrow pathway and awaited as a tanned, moneyed man approached with a wonderful, happy dog before him.  The fat little thing tried its best to act on his vibes and grumbled; staying my ground, I waited for him to get closer, said hello and asked if this was the way to Spencer House.  

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“Is this the way to Spencer House?” 

“It is a private path…” he replied from behind thicker, darker and more-expensive-than-mine sunglasses, to which I brushed past his American accent by elegantly rebutting, “Thanks, I’ll find my way…”  

Entrance to Spencer House: looking west to Green Park & East.  

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On entering Spencer House, I noticed that the splayed and slightly bloated feeling that began on approaching the stately home continued.  Inside were two men; both were rather pleasant.  We began speaking; for the next half an hour, we warmly visited.  Seemingly, there was a group tour booked and they thought that I had simply arrived especially early.  

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As members for the guided tour arrived, I slipped into the ante room and enjoyed the still-life.  Remarkably, there was a real ease for being in his place, which seemed more than passingly familiar.  Finally, when enough of us were arrived for the tour, a silver-haired lady with clear, focussed eyes entered the foyer, walked up to me and smiling, we warmly greeted.  A group of no more than twenty-five persons, the informal gathering was cosy and engaging.  

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As the tour began in earnest, it dawned on me that this house was remarkably familiar.  There were no doubts in my mind that I had never previously visited it; however, even the tour guide approached me and asked when I had last been to the house.  She was convinced that I had been there before and scoffed at my response that I had never before visited the stately home.  She had done so because I seemed with uncanny accuracy to know which door to next use to progress on the tour.  That aside, the energy between us flowed with the greatest ease.  

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As she spoke, the guide mentioned that Jerry Hall and Rupert Murdoch, who lived in the same street as Spencer House had actually had their wedding reception in the Georgian masterpiece.  As she spoke of the ladder, I suddenly experienced a vision and it was of seeing the room as it looked during Georgian times; however, as in dreams everything was back-to-front from the current life experience.  Indeed, I had definitely been in this room in the past; moreover, I had a rather memorable dream, which was set in this house.  Then as I intently looked to one corner of the room, the rather knowledgeable tour guide announced that in that very corner, Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson loved sitting in that spot as he was a frequent and favoured guest to the house as the 2nd Earl Spencer had been First Lord of the Admiralty.  

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In this marvellous salon is a painting of the Death of General Wolfe… it is even more grand and emotive than the painting of General Wolfe’s death on the Plains of Abraham at the Royal Ontario Museum.  

During that time, as a countertenor with Merlin (then female) my accompanist on harpsichord that I would have encountered Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson.  I have dreamt of this man many times and some were set in the very house where, though it had not been planned, on the 29th anniversary of Merlin’s passing, I was taking a tour.  

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Just before we left the library, the tour guide then announced as she drew our attention outside the window from the library, there on the grounds of Green Park were cattle and other livestock kept.  Indeed, in one such past-life dream, which was set at Spencer House, there was the intense smell of livestock.  For this reason, I had assumed on awaking that this stately home on the edge of vast acreage was situated in the English countryside rather than in London.  

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Definitely, this room – the great room – was familiar; however, somehow, it did not seem as large as it ought to have been.  

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The view from the great room out to the beauty of Green Park.  Suddenly, it dawned on me as I looked out the window that is why on Armistice Day after I left the splendid exhibition: Russia, Royalty & the Romanovs at Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace and cut through Green Park en route to Green Park Station, I felt so joyous. 

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That is why too, for moving past Spencer House earlier on November 11, 2018 and in essence, becoming harmonised with the locale of a past life that I would have such lucid flying dream activity on returning to the hotel that late afternoon and napping.  

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Without doubt one specific dream was centred in this room and there, a play was being staged in the past life dream.  In between acts, one retired to this room from the great room and visited whilst the performers took almost forever at costume changes.  

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This was the setting of great music and laughter; indeed, I may well have performed for the Georgian glitterati on this balcony/stage-like staircase.  

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Lady Spencer’s room.  lovely.  

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The Music Room where 2.5 centuries earlier, Merlin and I were in creative full bloom.  I had a really powerful response when in this room.  I was left teary eyed and on looking in the mirror, I actually saw the outline of my aura; it was silvery as it picked up the stunning sunlight streaming through the windows on either side.  Somewhere in spirit, Merlin was with me and there was further validation that this place, this day… indeed, nothing is coincidental.  

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This room was pure sensory overload.  I felt gay and as though on the cusp of flying.  This visit was more adventure than even I could have imagined.  When the tour was concluded, I warmly parted with the staff and assured them that I would be back.  Then out into all this balmy, glorious sunshine, I headed into St. James Street and made my way to Piccadilly Street. 

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Feeling way too glorious, I decided against using the Underground and instead, headed east along Piccadilly and slipped into the Burlington Arcade’s splendour, browsed then went coffee table book-shopping at the Royal Academy.  Though I hardly had room to pack the six books.  Well in excess of 300£, the handle-barred and zoot suit-wearing poseur – eccentricity is never affected, asked way too condescendingly what did I mean by VAT “dear” and why would I get money back.  You blasted, silly little twit; as I do not gladly suffer fools, I shot back, “Look do us both a favour and go restock these… and try finding a brain while you are at it…” the latter stated whilst walking away from the counter; you’ll get no commission from me.  Who are these people, forever trying so damn hard? 

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With that, it was across the street into Fortnum & Mason to buy more teas and rose petal marmalade and jelly.  From there, further easterly I bopped and grooved in the glorious sunlight and circumambulated Piccadilly Circus and bailed into Coventry Street and into the crowded intensity of Leicester Square. 

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From there, I snuck from the rear of the National Gallery and inside.  

The delightful guide at Spencer House had insisted that I return to the National Gallery before leaving London and catch the Mantegna and Bellini exhibition.  She could not have spoken more highly of it.  I did tell her that I had reservations about seeing Italian art as it was much too ecclesiastic for my liking.  However, since she had been such a gracious host, I decided to just this once to go with an open mind and just explore. 

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You cannot believe how fast, I got out of there.  As I said to the West African museum worker, who asked why I had left the show so quickly, “You cannot imagine how deeply disturbing I find a culture that goes to such great length to never address in their art their savagely ‘civilising’ influence in the world.  It is as though it never happened or they played positively no role whatsoever in the brutal murder, enslavement, extinction of peoples and cultures.  His response was, to the victor go the spoils and the shaping of history in his image; he added that he was very very proud that I am aware, unlike so many of us.  With that, we bumped fists and it was back out into the bright sunlight of this glorious day.  

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Apart from the usual suspects, Yodas seemingly levitating – now there’s a gig! – I made it past a rather engaging African artist who had the soul of a sage if ever anyone ever did.  Being drawn to its beauty, I drew closer to get a really good shot of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and it was then I made the most glorious of discoveries.  

Well, there could be no better way to restore the spirit after the disquiet that I experienced for moving through the Mantegna & Bellini show.  Great art should reflect life, not neatly reinvent and compartmentalise away all that which one would rather not address – likely, though, Bellini had no knowledge of Columbian expeditions to the New World. 

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Presentation at the Temple – Giovanni Bellini c 1460

Certainly, the prominent artists of the 16th century: Tintoretto, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian were supported by the Church of Rome, which by its patronage of these artists was intent on depicting itself in a glowing ecclesiastical light rather than the brutal realism which afforded it the prominence and wealth it then enjoyed… which endures even now. 

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So with that, richly inspired by both the guitarist and Spencer House and all that it represented, I slipped into the National Portrait Gallery, to drink once more Wim Heldens masterful Oil on Canvas of the collectors Harry and Carol Ann Djanogly – she passed earlier this year.  Satiated of spirit, it was off to grab a bite and then a nap of glorious dream-filled sleep – one of which was a flying dream.  God it felt goodly glorious to have returned in spirit to Spencer House.  

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After having overslept by a hair, it was a mad dash by Underground and taxi make it by mere minutes to Royal Albert Hall.  One of my favourite concert halls, any show would do.  

Ah nothing beats a good old nostalgic adventure.

Interior of Royal Albert Hall.  

Intermission from the stalls at Royal Albert Hall.  

You cannot beat a room full of love and wonderment.  Truly spectacular.  Of course, it goes without saying that Merlin was wild about Jim Henson, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.  This was a glorious way to have capped off a great trip and to remember the life of an extraordinarily phenomenal human being, Merlin.  

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And like that, the following day, I was returned to Toronto, my art-filled home and this most glorious photograph of the most magical fellow who made life truly a happening, for seven glorious, love-filled and magical years.  

As ever, sweet dreams and thanks for your ongoing support.  

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©2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha.  All Rights Reserved.  

Gosh that was fun!

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Thanks to World Ballet Day, there was positively nothing or no one that was going to dissuade me from hitting London town.  Armistice Day and La Bayadère, you say… ha!

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Naturally, I returned to London, in my ongoing research/quest for more connections to the past as it pertains to the six-volume dream memoirs.  Though I had hoped to publish volume three this year, 2018, ongoing research has meant its delay until Spring 2019.  

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After dropping luggage at the hotel in Russell Square, it was a quick dash on the Piccadilly Line to Leicester Square Station where the 10-day London Pass with Oyster card was collected.  On this gloriously mild Saturday morning, I took a quick snap of St. Martin-in-the-Fields across Charing Cross, before slipping into the National Portrait Gallery.  

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Before having found what I went looking for, I first took a detour through the Tudor Gallery where, alas, there were no portraits of Margaret Beaufort.  That done, I moved down to the open space where the exhibition: Black is the new Black was housed.  

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Stunning portraits, I love the blue-blackened soulfulness of the portraits; these are all eyes that are thoroughly ensouled and lived-in.  Next, it was off to the salon where what I went looking for was handsomely displayed.  

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Enraptured, I passed long forevers fully engrossed by National Portrait Gallery’s recent acquisition of Wim Heldens’ oil masterpiece – portrait of the art collector and benefactor couple, Harry and Carol Ann Djanogly.  The oil on canvas is handsomely hung in salon 38 and was painted in 2017 by Wim.  Wim, I met in NYC at Manhattan cabaret singer, Frans Bloem’s West Village townhouse when we went out back in the early 1990s.  I had been in town visiting with Frans from Vancouver; we met when I then lived in Toronto and finally, the relationship ran its course on my relocation to the west coast and not to be overlooked but sex with Frans was as meh as warm, runny vanilla ice cream.  Of course, by the time that I was visiting Frans and he was out of town, I met Wim; the latter was sick in bed and I looked in on him between going to the theatre and galleries in the city.  Apart from godawful sex, Frans was a little too obsessed with Diana Ross for my liking – it all seemed too sissy-queer-boy, clichéd and banal. 

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Besides, by the visit where I met Wim, who was the warmest of souls – Wim is an old-souled scholar and it shows in spades in his works – I had long discovered the raunchy funk of hot sex deep into the woods of Vancouver’s Stanley Park where the world’s largest city park (1000 acres) is ever ten degrees warmer than elsewhere in the city during the sodden wintry months as the half millennium-aged sitkas keep the place comfortably warm.  There was no need for the ennui of sex with Frans after tying raunchy fuckers to a sitka and whipping them; besides, positively nothing beats fucking in nature – truly, it is the most empowering, grounding experience.  

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On leaving the National Portrait Gallery, I ambled down Charing Cross, took the time to admire the bronze springbok that lords over the entrance to the Republic of South Africa’s embassy with the maple leaf-festooned Canadian Embassy to the west across Trafalgar Square.  

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Down into the bowels of Charing Cross station, I then skipped and hopped the Bakerloo Line to Lambeth North Station.  There on a gloriously temperate and sunny Saturday afternoon, I made my way to the Imperial War Museum and was rather moved by the beauty of the metallic poppies that tearfully bled from a bathysphere-styled window at the museum’s domed rotunda.  This glorious display was part of the centenary celebrations of Armistice Day 100 years earlier which marked the close of World War I.  

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Standing in the atrium of the museum, I was reminded how geography does determine the scale of architecture.  Relative to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D. C., there is no way that the relative limitless wide-open spaces of America would find military gear in such close cramped quarters as at the Imperial War Museum’s atrium. 

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I was there to take in the exhibition, Mimesis, which honoured, on the 100th anniversary of the close of WWI, the contributions of blacks from across the Commonwealth.  Turns out, it was not a photographic exhibition; rather, it was a most evocative of films.  

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From South Bank, it was back to Embankment Station and onto the Circle Line to Tower Hill Station.  There, emerging into the sparkling and relatively warm daylight, one was readily reminded of Vancouver temperatures at this time of year.  Into the perpetual queues one headed for a chance to gaze on the Crown Jewels at Tower of London.  

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Going in, the ravens were keeping a watchful eye… as is their wont and the tourists here were predominantly East Asian.  

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Seeing these metallic simians, I was reminded how good London’s fortune is not to be inundated by predatory monkeys… as is the case in both St. Kitts and Nevis.  

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After having viewed the Crown Jewels, this photo of Tower Bridge, suggested that the fast-moving clouds, though stormy-looking, would not break just yet.  

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About half an hour later, the vista to the west looked dramatically foreboding.  I tried to negotiate and decided that these clouds did not look all that fast-moving, besides they were considerably to the west.  

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Into one of the city’s ubiquitous and thoroughly indispensable Pret A Manger joints I slipped.  There, I dined on a hearty sandwich and had one of way too many raspberry smoothies.  

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Each day, wherever I travelled, there was always one in each pocket.  

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This little rocket was the must-have.  Always, there was one handily tucked away deep inside my black Dorothy Grant messenger bag as I darted about my favourite town, on my favourite West Indian isle – it really does vibrationally feel as though in the West Indies, besotting my insatiable soul with culture, art and more high-end inspiring fare.  

After having interminably waited out the rains, along came 1700 and time for the second to last day of the torch light ceremony at the Tower of London in honour of the centenary of WWI’s conclusion.  And so, of deference one waited out the rains, which rolled through in waves – waves they were which seemed increasingly more monsoon.  Finally, the show was begun and after having been soaked sans parapluie and too many souls – I do not like crowds, I opted to make this short clip as I could not see a damn torch on the ground and headed for the warmth of a hotel suite in Bloomsbury.  

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After being soaked to the gills to get into Tower Hill Station, no sooner than being on the platform and headed towards King’s Cross St. Pancras, along came the announcement that the station was now closed as there were too many souls on the platform to assure everyone’s safety.  Back out into the torrential downpour, we all grumbled, huddled and shivered; this downpour was seriously fierce.  

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After much aimlessly darting about the crowded and flooded streets of the city, two-plus hours later, finally a cab was dispatched and into a very cool hotel suite I arrived.  Somehow, in spite being soaked to the bones and frigidly cold, I managed not to have come down with the sniffles, a cough or runny nose. 

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Soon, wakefulness gave way to sleep and I was readily awakened into a plethora of dreams, which are always thrillingly, lucidly awakened in this favourite city of my well-travelled soul.  A day filled with adventure lay ahead; it was Armistice Day 2018 and I would manage to be captured on ITV film of the ceremony at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.  

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As ever, thanks for your ongoing support and sweet dreams.  

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©2013-2020  Arvin da Brgha.  All Rights Reserved.  

All Too Human… And Then Some!

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Well, after having been dazzled by Natalia Osipova, there was no doubt what next adventure my soul had to devour.  I arrived at Pimlico Station and enjoyed the cool brisk walk to the red and white gorgeousness of the neighbourhood architecture.  I arrived at 08:50, a good hour ahead of the opening.  I took the time to place my palm on as many of the august sycamore trees in the neighbourhood as I could.  There were some high-end cars waiting out front of the Tate Britain Museum to take in All Too Human as yet another jetliner roared towards London Heathrow.  Definitely bulletproof, a stately Benz sat closest to the entrance with a smoky grey Bentley, SUV no less, parked furthest of the cars.  

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Eventually, persons began turning up and the engaging West African security agent who had the same strong, proud, full-lipped mouth as Leontyne Price’s closed one of the two heavy black doors to protect me as I waited outside the main glass sliding doors as a private event was underway — thus one couldn’t be allowed inside.  Finally, persons began leaving, one of whom — in a beautifully vivid red coat — was Cherie Blair CBE, QC.  She was proud-looking and had the kind of broad body that as I child was so familiar when growing up in the West Indies.  She had that air about her that bespoke a life in the public eye; someone made a curt remark and she was quick on the rebuttal.  I was much humoured and reminded of Saddam Hussein trading insults with the men who moments later gladly terminated his life.  

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Finally, it was on to the business in hand and what a beautifully stunning exhibition; one of the best contemporary art exhibitions that I have attended in years.  The greatest discovery was the lush, richness of the Lucian Freud still-life, Two Plants.  Thoroughly layered, engrossing and lyrical in its deft vividness.  I was left teary eyed by its sublime beauty. 

Sleeping by the Lion carpet Leigh Bowrey

Of course, I was moments earlier moved to dewy-eyed focus when drinking in the rich tableau of the portrait of creative artist and true eccentric, Leigh Bowery whom many years earlier I had seen perform in New York City.   I was reminded, of course, in Leigh’s passing of the countless many whom I have lost along the way to AIDS.

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The poster for the show at Russell Square Tube Station in Bloomsbury.  A wonderful tribute to Leigh who covered a fair bit of ground during his lifetime… sweet and blissful dreams be yours…  

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Naturally, I booked my flight based on two things: one, Giselle with Osipova and secondly, a joint exhibition featuring Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon.  For that, I would gladly hop a Tesla to Iapetus.  Of course, this exhibition was a pilgrimage of sorts for me and it was a way of paying homage to the artistic accomplishments of cadre mates.  

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As per the portrait of Lucian Freud above, these two artists are cadre mates of mine and Merlin’s.  Lucian Freud is a mature priest in our entity (6).  Along with Rudolf Nureyev and Grace Jones, Francis Bacon is next-door in entity 5 of our cadre.  Francis is a mature artisan, Grace Jones a mature warrior and Rudolf Nureyev a mature sage… and how.  I was thoroughly warmed to have drunk of their spirits.  

Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne 1966 by Francis Bacon 1909-1992

This particular portrait, Isabel Rawsthrone, I especially loved.  Raw, primal and emotionally intense there is something decidedly operatic about the focussed intensity of this portrait.  After initially getting over the intensity of it, it proves rather warm and enveloping.  

Three Figures and Portrait 1975 by Francis Bacon 1909-1992

This was a thoroughly arresting and soul-stirring adage; it was a beautiful way to have begun the day’s adventures.  

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After walking past the noise of the construction/renovations taking place on the first floor — one of the workers was a real pulse-racer, looking as he did like no end of hot, rough sex and in work gear no less!  Then it was downstairs to take in the Impressionists in London exhibition.  I did not buy the catalogue.  I always am a bit put-off by the association of the word “dream” when describing the works of impressionists.  There is nothing unfocussed or diffused about dreams.  Trust you me, as someone who recalls at least half a dozen dreams on average, oftentimes, dreams prove the most lucid part of any given day.  Perhaps, it was all the wine the French impressionists consumed but the maudlin-feeling lighting just doesn’t do it for me… most times.  

Notting Hill Gate

Having had my fill, off I went from Pimlico to Nothing Hill Gate in the wet snow and made the long trek to Kensington Palace where one of the most glorious flying dreams in this lifetime was set — also, in that dream was a then incarnate, Diana, Princess of Wales with her two beautiful-spirited sons, the future HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and HRH Prince Henry of Wales and Duke of as-yet-known after he marries his beautiful bride, Ms. Meghan Markle — a mature artisan, to his mature warrior and an entity mate of his no less.  

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On the long trek along Broad Walk in Kensington Gardens from the high street, I enjoyed the look of snow everywhere.  The odd flake fell from time to time as joggers braved the fierce wind off the park.  One brave soul with a shock of close-cropped red hair, sported the greatest thighs as he jogged strictly in a pair of wrestler’s shorts.  He proved warming for my blood, indeed.  

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As I got towards the edge of Kensington Palace the handsome raven above swooped in from off my rear right and towards the palace.  He alighted, cocked the head at me and kept taking to the wind to come closer, all the while fixing me with a hard gaze.  “Yes, of course, you can see my heart.  Love is the password” I said aloud to the totemic creature as it kept on calling at me and edging ever closer, though, not being confrontational.  Satisfied with my password, seemingly, it bobbed and took to the air never to alight again.  I rather appreciated the warm welcome.  

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I loved the sparse beauty of the King’s Gallery at Kensington Palace, which — for me at least — was lauded over by the Equestrian Portrait of HM King Charles I by Sir Anthony van Dyck, who happens to be in entity 1 of my cadre; he, presently incarnate and one of my oldest friends, shortly is about to return from his winter stay at his Acapulco penthouse; I will be visiting him later this spring on the Canadian west coast.

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A truly beautifully tailored, handsome suit, this one.  I am not a big fashion person — I believe that one is best dressed when naked and preferably tumescent.  I did, though, rather enjoyed the movement through the Diana, Princess of Wales exhibition.

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A very beautiful second-level mature artisan, she was too.  

HRH Catherine Duchess of Cambridge

Having been inspired by Diana, Princess of Wales’ portrait, I made my way to Charing Cross Station in Trafalgar Square and cut across the street where there was a broken water main flooding the street.  As usual, Yoda was there doing his routine and, no doubt, earning a pretty quid.  I took in the HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge-curated exhibition, which had opened two nights earlier on my arrival.  Though, I had stood outside the National Portrait Gallery to catch a glimpse of her arrival, I soon dashed off in the increasing snowfall, if I were to make my Jazz at Lincoln Center performance across town at the Barbican Center.  So, having missed seeing her in person, the next best thing was to go gaze at the portrait of HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.  I love it as it is so layered and complex; she is a late-mature warrior soul.  

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As I move very, very quickly, I was out of there and soon grabbing a take-away fish and chips at Ben’s on Shaftesbury.  I then headed back to my hotel, ate, napped and got ready for a night at Royal Albert Hall to see OVO.  

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Never before had I taken in a Cirque du Soleil performance — I have my reasons…  Nonetheless, I just wanted to enjoy anew the ambiance and acoustics of the marvellous auditorium.  

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The show was no more engaging or exciting than bad bathhouse sex, which if it weren’t so late, one would never have bothered engaging in.  A perfectly forgettable tourist sort of thing to indulge when there was no other nighttime entertainment going that was worthwhile.  I could have taken in 42nd Street in the West End but I had already seen it at least a dozen times when then living and dancing in New York City in the early 1980s.  The idea of taking in 42nd Street was only slightly less irritating than the thought of messy bathhouse sex… options… choices, indeed!  

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After the show, on the long walk from Royal Albert Hall to South Kensington Station, a young mesomorph asked me for a fag — I don’t smoke — but it was obvious what he was after.  He sat across the narrow aisle on the eastbound Piccadilly Line ride and the rest proved a rather memorable night.  

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The morning after the night before, it was off to Windsor Castle, of which I will next blog.  

All Too Human Catalogue

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As ever, sweet dreams and thank you for your ongoing support.  

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©2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha.  All Rights Reserved,

Two Albrechts but what a Giselle!

Giselle Royal Ballet

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.  

Natalia Osipova Matthew Ball

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.  

Natalia Osipova

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.  

BernsteinJLCO

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.  

Barbican2

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.  

Arvin da Brgha 1.3.2018 Royal Academy London, England

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.  

Royal Academy2

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.  

Royal Academy

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.  

HM King Charles I Three Positions Sir Anthony van Dyck Oil on Canvas

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.  

Sir Peter Paul Rubens Self-Portrait Oil on Canvas

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.  

Esther_before_Ahasuerus_(1547-48);_Tintoretto,_Jacopo

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.  

Sir Anthony van Dyck Self-Portrait with Sunflower Oil on Canvas

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.  

Fortnum & Mason

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.  

Charles II Art & Power

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.  

HM King Charles IIb

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). 

HM King James II when HRH Prince James Duke of York

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.  

St. Paul's Cathedral

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.  

St. Paul's Cathedral4

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.  

St. Paul's Cathedral3

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.  

Henry Moore

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.  

Arthur Duke of Wellington

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.  

Admiral Nelson

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.  

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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.  

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©2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha.  All Rights Reserved.

The Teacher.

The Teacher 2004 Oil on Canvas

The Teacher.  

Oil on Canvas

©2004 Wim Heldens.

Provenance:  Private Collection New York City.

http://www.wimheldens.com/

 

This was Wim’s first painting of Ariq Robinson his lover…  truly glorious.

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©2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha.  All Rights Reserved.

Ball Game.

Ball-Game

Oil on Canvas

36 x 36 Inches

© 2013 Wim Heldens

Provenance: Private collection

http://www.wimheldens.com/

Love Wim’s masterful sensual use of light and colour.

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Twenty years ago, when flying in to Manhattan from Vancouver to be with then lover, Mahattan cabaret singer, Frans Bloem, I would meet Wim.  As all I ever do is sense energy and think of anyone encountered as a Michael Overleaves puzzle – is this a warrior or just a cynic? – I knew without a doubt that he was an old soul.  Like every other old soul encountered whose overleaves I have done, I felt a sense of home, acceptance and harmony for being in his presence.

At the time, Wim was sick in bed with the flu and so I went out shopping and got him some Campbell’s soup – what  do I know about making homemade soup? –  and spent part of an evening hanging with him.  The interlude was truly memorable; it was like being in a dream which, incidentally, is also another hallmark for me of being in the presence of an old soul.

Wim is a truly great human being.

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© 2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha.  All Rights Reserved.