Buster En Repose Pyramid Green Room.

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(L to R,) Yonge Street Mask (George Hawken Lithograph 1971), Pink Chair (George Hawken Lithograph 1990 of yours truly; there are only three copies in existence) Woman (George Hawken Lithograph 1980) Sockeye Salmon (Bill Reid Lithograph 1991), Four Standing Figures (Henry Moore Lithograph 1978) 

Buster is a really keen familiar.  Recently, someone of dubious intentions visited my home; needless to say, I had dreamt of the encounter days prior.  As he spends long hours therein, Buster came from the pyramid and promptly hissed at the individual then returned to the pyramid where no doubt, he communed with his Egyptian ancestors.  He only ever enters the pyramid at the eastern corner and when meditating will face one of the four corners in the sphinx position and remain thus for long hours.  

Buster loves that duvet; therefore, year round I have to sleep with one.  Now that it is summer, I avoid roasting beneath the down duvet by having the AC on high 24/7.  Bad carbon footprint; then again, I don’t drive.  

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

Otello: Race and the Arts.

 

 

After having pored through an interesting OperaCanada article that featured the opera Otello‘s lead, Russell Thomas, and a predictably snide review in The Star – look there is no black lobby in Canada, so one can always be expected to be as curt and dismissive of blacks at every turn; this is after all the culture where the obsession with Jazz is almost as fever-pitched as the predatory late-night runs of Klansmen with nooses at the ready – I comfortably settled into my usual ring three seat, next to trusty Lucian Mann-Chomedy and warmly awaited the magic that is theatre to unfold.  

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After a month that was not soon revisited, my mind was at times distracted by the dreck that one must at times endure in order to get by.  I thought of the heaviness in the air that the subject matter of the opera addressed; the quartet of retired ladies who usually chat about who has taken ill, moved to hospice or died since last they gathered, did a lot of coughing, sniffing and whispering.  And as these things are as predictable as flies on shit, sure enough, I heard one of them whisper, “Meghan Markle.”  Will these people ever just leave the damn woman alone and stop hunting her at every opportunity?  

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Otello, Verdi’s take on Shakespeare’s take on race relations did also from the row of retired and widowed ladies spirit the whisper of O. J. Simpson’s name.  Some things just never change… alas.  Indeed, at some moments as I looked at Otello onstage, I began to realise how we as a people are stigmatised and stereotypically projected onto.  I soon got greater insight to why Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex is so reviled.  Objectified, she as a black woman was only ever to have been nothing more than a bit of rough, a tryst.  

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Naturally, HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Sussex with his double sixness is seen as being readily taken advantage of and needed to be protected against the lascivious bit of rough who clearly conned her way into the royal family.  Born September 15, 1984, Henry born in the year of the rat has quite beautifully empathetic, compassionate numbers and with his double sixness is given to OCD behaviour as displayed by his need to fidget with his clothing – right hand inside his jacket et al.  Six people are awesome beings and Henry, a double six, is no exception.  15.9.1984 = 6.6.1 = 4.  

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With Otello, this projection of the black male as emotionally volatile, violent, easily manipulated has certainly proven an archetype that fits blind fools like Tiger Woods and O. J. Simpson to the letter.  Either way, it was uncomfortable to watch this production in places as it so mirrored the warped perception of a people by persons who question our humanity and who never seem able to perceive us beyond their generationally custodial perception of a people. 

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Be that as it may, I so hungered to be removed from the morass through which I recently waded at the end of which, I dismissively remarked of yet another power-mad woman in the work place: “She certainly doesn’t look like a fucking horse for no good reason…  Oh please, it’s just a matter of time before she rots the fuck in hell, eating every pope’s arse!”  If you cannot take offence then don’t damn well give offence…  Honest to god, some women in the work place are nothing but dickless faggots addicted to creating drama for the sheer sport of it and simply because they are just so drunk with power… to say nothing of being bored out of their frigging minds.  Well, like a bowel movement, it did not take too long for me to sniff, flush and walk the fuck away from the BS,  

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This Desdemona was an earthy, warm, beautifully soulful portrayal of a wronged woman, a woman dominated by an insecure and deceived man.  This production was a beautiful sweeping affair; I especially loved the dark broody look of the sets that captured the essence of the human condition portrayed.  Indeed, it proved a good elixir after all the dross that I had recently endured in the work place.  

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During Otello‘s intermission, I received a forwarded Instagram post from an old dancer friend, which he labelled #everythingwasbeautifulattheballet.  Of course, it was a direct response to my last blog, which highlighted the intense isolation and racial animus that I experienced for two god fuck-all maudlin years in Winnipeg.  Yes, indeed, the world of art is saturated with lisping, bottom-feeding, small ‘b’ bigoted boors who see positively nothing remotely gauche about this sort of fare well into the 21st century.  

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On yet another too cold, rainy day, which proved all too reminiscent of Vancouver, I abandoned my art-filled lair in search of more inspiration the day after the opera.  I cannot quite recall a season in recent memory that has proven both so cold and rainy as this protracted winter.  

That’s right, the day before attending Otello, there was a break in the perpetual rains that gave way to snow and hail…  truly, the dog days of summer cannot get here fast enough.  As more of the city’s 19th century streetcar tracks were being ripped up and replaced so that the racket that is the TTC outdoor workers and the local constabulary can make a killing in overtime, it took close to 40 minutes on a bus for me and my fuck du jour to get from Yonge and Dundas to Dundas and McCaul.  

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My date, a lissom twenty-something with smoky hazel eyes, which were vaguely reminiscent of Merlin’s, was good company.  I had for the past several hours pummelled his prostate as his daddy issues were satisfied and my angst from work place tensions were nicely dispensed with.  We men when in our 20s can be so alarmingly insecure; I have often wondered how Merlin managed to stay with me during those angst-ridden and redundantly solipsistic years.  

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My date on exiting the Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room expressed chagrin at not having done magic mushrooms before leaving my place where incense and Jazz magically perfumed the air, intoxicating our spirits as we riotously fucked our way out of winter’s gnawing frigidity.  

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Without question, no trip to the AGO is completely inspiring without a visit to the galleries where the stellar art of Inuit artists are housed.  There are some real masterpieces in the AGO collection.  

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As it was the tail end of this exhibition and I still had not visited, I simply had to make it there.  Whilst walking along the long corridor to the start of the exhibition my fey-eyed beauty suggested that we take a break and go make out in a stall in the washrooms.  Fingers interlaced, I assured him that there was better intimacy to be had the sooner we got through the exhibition and hightailed it back to my place by Uber.  

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To my very discriminating eye, the moment I saw this verbose title, I fully expected to observe a show that was curated by too much extraneous fare and not enough impressionist art.  Tumescent and impatient, I had no time for reading, reading and reading more yada yada, all of which was to compensate for the lack of genuine, to say nothing of quality, impressionist art.  Just as well, I was growing achingly moist by the minute as both my energetic ectomorph and I hungered to be carnally consumed with each other… yet again.  

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This marvellous bronze fully captivated me; it would prove my favourite piece in the shoddily curated exhibition.  

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Highlights from a rather underwhelming show.   

Detail featuring two of the most beautiful creatures.  Their depiction is not the most masterfully executed but there is something rapturous about the look of the dogs as they ambled with their human companions on a journey which they had taken countless times before that made me stop and gaze overlong whilst being truly inspired.  

Detail of what for me proved sheer magnificence… the lighting is phenomenally executed.  

A masterpiece to be sure; however, where it was hung and the palette of the salon were decidedly inappropriate.  This was all I needed to see to finally wink the left eye at my horny power bottom and to speed home by Uber in the rain for noisy, exhausting, passionate play.  

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As ever, for your ongoing support I am both deeply grateful and indebted.  Sweet dreams and don’t you ever forget to push off and start flying because life is a most beautiful drink.  Cheers! 

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

#BestDespinaEver!

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Opening nights are always such fun… Tuesday night past, I was reminded of all the opening nights that I would attend with a slightly neurotic Merlin as some show or other that he had directed was being presented to the world… As ever, it was great to see my plus one, Lucian Mann-Chomedy as the ideal partner for these occasions. Always reserved, pleasant and just the right amount of chatter and wit.

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Whilst Lucian enjoyed the pre-show lecture in the Four Seasons Centre Amphitheatre, I slipped next door into the warmth of the Sheraton Centre Hotel and warmed myself on a glass of sherry whilst finishing off 2018’s Scotiabank Giller Prize winner on my KOBO.

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What an utterly stunning tour de force. It was a moment to reflect, this Black History Month on just where we blacks are in the scheme of things. God only knows, it has been bruising to watch Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex become the print media’s most reviled and hunted fugitive from justice of that most vile creature, the racial predator.

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I was still smarting at the events of a week earlier during the winter season’s first major snowstorm. I had been recalling to friends how strange it now was, compared to my first winter in Canada. December 1, 1974 and it snowed that day more than 8 inches. Back then it generally was guaranteed to snow once if not twice weekly. Now at end of January, 2019 and we were finally having our first major snow. This was not like snow from years past… Now it was a dirty, sooty-looking hard mess that lingered, largely in part because the city has contracted out its snow removal services.

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As there are no windows in my apartment – Sol’s too damn bright by far and besides, boarded up windows afford me more art-hanging space – I got down in the early afternoon that Monday with my bike, only to be met by falling snow and several accumulated inches. Back up I went, retired the trusty chrome steed and returned and hopped into a snazzy Audi A6 Uber ride with a Macedonian whose spirit was as smooth and elegant as matchingly was his car. The mood set the tone for my day. As I am known to work 16-hr days, I called another Uber at the end of gig one whilst hoping to get to gig 2 in good time. The snow was still coming down; it was also bitterly cold and windy.

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When finally, Uber #2 arrived, cold and dark with icy pellets mixed in with the snow, the driver rolled down his passenger side window and declared, “Sorry Buddy but I am going to have to cancel this ride…” Already running late, with my wheeled suitcase at the ready, he edged along as I tried to open the door and raised his voice, his eyes almost feral-looking beneath his turbanned, narrow skull. “I said I am cancelling you. One: I never take people like you in my car. Two: you have a shitty rating… Sorry, not sorry. Fuck you Buddy.” With that, he stepped on the gas and I had to swiftly haul me and suitcase out of the way as the rear of his red older model car whose interior did have that blasted malodorous melange of curry, dirty armpit, dirty arse, smegma and whatever the fuck else that passes for immigrants of choice these days. Finally, after having struggled out onto a still-not-ploughed Bay Street, I managed to hail the fourth cab whose West African driver insisted that I call Uber and report him… Days later, I was afforded assurances that the racist Dravidian was no longer part of Uber’s fleet. Similarly, when calling a Beck Taxi with a fairly generic name as Arvin, on coming downstairs the Indo-Canadian drivers on several occasions as though staying on script would feign obsequiousness and state that they were deeply sorry but owing to a family emergency, they were having to take the cab out of service. No sooner than having refused me a ride, they would then be observed heading out to Wellesley, turning on their unoccupied light and picking up a fare off the road. As if the blasted motherfuck, the likes of your overbred arse invented Jazz.

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Each and every time that one experiences racial animus, is preyed on racially, it always harks back to that first winter in Toronto. My best mate from two summers earlier, when I would come to Canada to visit with my dad during school break, had been sick. After Sunday church service at Knox Presbyterian at Harbord and Spadina before returning to our beautiful home at 122 Mortimer Avenue, I would visit – my dad and I – with Tommy who was holding up at Toronto Sick Kids Hospital on University Avenue. My father explained that Tommy was sick with the winter flu, which sometimes could last for months and well beyond winter. I was a scrawny little fourteen-year-old who looked like most ten-year-old Canadian kids as I crawled the halls at Harbord Collegiate where among my mostly Italian-Canadian chums was future lawyer, Rocco Galati. As Tommy, who was a couple of years older than me, had gladly shared books with me the two summers prior that I would take to Knox summer camp and read then have a good stroke off, lusting after my inamorato, Tommy, I readily agreed to do his newspaper route for him until he came home. My first Saturday, the cart was overflowing with the thick Toronto Star newspaper and there was a good foot of snow everywhere. It was hellish but for Tommy, I was game to go the distance – who knows what hot frottage, docking and more was in the offing for having done his route for him! When I got to the northeast corner of Floyd and Bater Avenues that first Saturday to collect the funds, the door opened to a woman whose response to me was the most hideous display of the displaced madness that is white bigotry. Screaming at the top of her lungs, the woman in her upper seventies, vituperatively cursed my black bugger arse off and laid down the law. Never again, “you dirty little nigger” was I to set foot on her verandah.., I was to put the paper between her screen and front doors, knock then return to the top of her steps and wait for her to pay the bill. That first Saturday, she ripped the paper from my hand, flung the money at me. She was terrifying, in her faded blue A-line dress, black spectacles that had those upturned pointed edges at the sides; she wore faux pearls. Most of all, she wore the most hideously terrifying eyes. I remember how much they looked like eyes of a rooster, especially so for being such puffy eyes. Like the evolved, winged and feathered reptilians that roosters are, her eyes truly did look not the least bit human. She was so consumed with racial animus that it was truly frightening. By the time I made it home, I found myself regurgitating. Thereafter, every Saturday, I would take my spot at the top of the steps and consistently she would hurl out pennies mostly at me rather than the verandah where that first winter I had to suffer the indignity of picking through inches of snow on the verandah, steps and lawn to collect my money. Naturally, without fail she called most Saturdays to the Toronto Star, complaining of either not having received her paper on time or that it was missing altogether. This would mean having to buy her a replacement at the corner store, take it and only to be fed on by the hideous-of-spirit racial predator. Like a true cockhound many an indignity I suffered in hopes of my spectacled, full-lipped and scholarly inamorato, Tommy hooking up with me for having been so loyal to him. The summer prior, I had ventured to the public pool on Broadview at Riverdale Park with him and a couple of others and thrilled beyond belief was I to spy his large pendulous balls and that hammer-headed girthsome salami that pummelled his bikinis. Indeed, for Tommy I would suffer much indignity. There was a low-rise apartment building at 1111 Broadview where on the ground floor, there was another predator, this one equally septuagenarian who lived alone, smoked incessantly and always answered the door in various stages of undress, mostly ever only wearing a soiled merino. He was always a generous tipper; a whole 2$ bill in 1974/75 was serious cash. Naturally, in the pre-Ciaslis epoch old anorexic, drunken paunched predator would sometimes tug on the old bulbous semi-flaccid/semi-tumescent, though, pendulous but perfectly useless appendage, trying to lure me in. Sitting there in all that squalor and acting as though he was sugar daddy material… indeed. He was always keen on trying to grab me when giving me the “tip” and I was ever sly and crafty enough to get away from him each time. He, too, lead me to regurgitate, which I had not done since age nine and suffering my first racial attack. Of course, to this day, neither academia nor medicine will concede that there is any such a thing as the racial predator and the effects it has on those preyed on – mostly blacks – and the psyche/mental illness of those who prey on others chiefly non-blacks in varying degrees of severity based on otherness.

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Finally, the house lights went down and I was met by the whimsical vista of the COC’s production of W. A. Mozart’s glorious opera, Cosi Fan Tutte. Previously, I had caught productions of this Mozart gem in Chicago, Montréal and New York City. I was not expecting much at this rate. The Frida Kahlo connection was a bit of a stretch but the butterflies fast won me over.

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From the moment that she stepped onto stage, my spirit soared aloft higher than Mozart’s glorious music to that point had spirited me. Never before had there been so captivating a Despina. My eyes teared up and I was ever on the cusp of explosive giggles. Then what made me truly come undone was the moment Tracy Dahl took to the stage as the notary… by now, I was losing tears and beginning to emit choked snorted chuckles. Each Saturday back in 1974/75 when doing Tommy’s newspaper route, I would end off taking the Saturday Star to Giovanna an octogenarian Italian, who was plump, charming and more adorable than any mere mortal ought to be. Soon, we were fast lovers and she loved fussing over me, baking me each Saturday nice, warm, oven-fresh biscotti washed down with a glass of ice-cold “gingah raleh”… her thick Italian accent was part of her charm. Hers was a large black and white cat, simply known as pussy gatto, who always sat nesting on the armchair. Each week, Giovanna sat transfixed as I read her the newspaper; her vision was to that point fairly deteriorated. As a way of better forging our bond and because most of my mates at Harbord were Italian, for three years, I studied Italian and that really impressed Giovanna, who was simply known as “Mama Mia.”

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As the opera progressed, Ms. Dahl as the notary, dashed and took cover beneath the table at which point, I buried my face in the program with explosive laughter. Straight away, I was reminded of each Saturday when the ever silent pussy gatto would bolt from the armchair and take cover beneath the sofa where I sat as Giovanna began an explosion of long-winded farts. Even the singer’s voice sounded much like Giovanna’s as she sang the role of notary. Remarkably, it was as though she was channelling Giovanna. In that moment, I was healed of the bile, which the recent Uber incident had caused to surface, bile that dated as far back as 1974.

In the end, Tommy’s parents sold their house and it was not until a couple years later that I discovered from the neighbour next-door that Tommy, who had never returned to their Mortimer and Logan home, had died of Leukaemia. Indeed, the winter flu was my dad’s way of protecting me from the callousness of having to lose a friend so early in life.

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Apart from the catharsis that Tracy Dahl’s performance personally effected, I don’t think that it would be biased of me to state that hers was the runaway performance in the COC’s fantastic, and fast-paced I might add, production of Cosi Fan Tutte.

As ever, mischievously push down and melt with laughter in celebration of the joy that is life and start having yourselves a most glorious of flying dreams. Thanks for your ongoing support of this happening astral joint on this side of the astral plane. I love you more.

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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.  

At Last, The Day Has Finally Arrived.

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With a spring in my step, I came up for air at Piccadilly Circus Station, whistling Ludwig Minkus’ glorious recurrent melody from La Bayadère with thoughts of the astounding Natalia Osipova uppermost in my thoughts.  

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I was returned to the Royal Academy to hunt for coffee table books.  

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More than that, I was on a mission; returned to Fortnum & Mason was I, directed there by the gracious clerk at The British Museum’s Grenville Room.  

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Armed with just over a dozen rose petal jellies, there was no less spring in my step as by now I sang aloud my merry little melody from La Bayadère.  I truly felt as though, on this trip to London, I was lucidly awakened in the most sensual dream.  Dreams so luscious are the ones which cause you to pause, smile and whisper near-mischievously, “Arvin, this is a dream and you’ve earned it.  Now push off and start flying.” 

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At such times, there is no thunder more glorious than the roar of my very soul as I laugh, enjoying my creative soul fulfilling itself.  I was reminded of those early days in our relationship in Manhattan when whilst ambling late at night for staying at Merlin’s agent Joyce Ketay’s Upper West Side apartment, whilst holding hands, I would push down as in dreams but end up doing an assemblé, in place of flying.  His rosy choirboy lips would warm in a smile whilst the ubiquitous fag or joint was elegantly perched between left index and middle fingers. 

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Bailing into to Piccadilly Circus, still feeling mighty spiffy of spirit, I opted against heading back down into the Underground – the place leaves me with sooty phlegm each time nose-blowing.  With that, I bailed out of the Circus and onto Shaftesbury Avenue and made my way to a favourite joint, Ben’s Fish n Chips.  

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There at a cosy table in the rear, I leisurely pleasured myself whilst finally reading the HRH Princess Margaret biography; it is delicious.  

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Blisters be damned, I elected to walk from Shaftesbury Square up to The British Museum and take in more art.  This being a Friday, there were school kids everywhere; my goodness, children have got powerful noise-making lungs!  Then again, what is childhood but play for the soul, which after having recently lived and died is now reborn and gets to celebrate and run up and down in a brand spankingly new and excitingly different body – to say nothing of being in the company of reincarnational travel companions some of whom now you can get a good schtup off of this time around, seeing that last time he now she looked like Quasimodo and even so, you weren’t then same-sexed focussed.  Ha!  

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In the bookstore was a clerk with whom I shared an interesting conversation last winter; he was a dead-ringer for scholar soul, right down to the glasses.  He suggested that I could take refuge in the Japanese wing and avoid the madness that was happily reincarnated souls screaming their lungs out and running hither and yon.  

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Before I could get there, moving around one corner from one gallery to the next, will you look at what I happened on.  

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On seeing it, I was readily warmed of spirit and let out a celebratory, “Yeah, yeah, yeah!”  In that moment, the sense of fellowship and belonging I only ever feel when in Canada for being around First Nations cultures, whether at a pow wow or not, proved the most refreshing drink for my questing soul around a corner in my favourite city, London.  

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Up one elevator, down one corridor then up another elevator and one was then posited into the most serene of galleries.  Now this is more my kind of groove.  

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All this exquisite splendour and not a single recently reincarnated soul running about and screaming way too powerful lungs out for such a tiny body.  

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This proved an interlude of slow-dancing with my very soul… the vibrations here were utterly harmonious with spirit.  

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Photography can never do this masterpiece justice.  

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I am reminded with this gem of the fabulous kimono of Merlin’s hung in our Cabbagetown home.  

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Can you hear my soul purring…

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Phenomenal. 

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My very favourite piece in the gallery; warm, fecund, sensual, curvaceous, feminine, grounding.  It truly is perfection; this after all is what womakind are: perfection of creation – we men just can’t handle it, hence religions which all without exception oppress womankind and tell them that creation is outside of themselves and some warring male god somewhere.  Ha… we men can never endure the pain of labour then get up a completely new aspect of creaturehood – no longer a woman but a mother to whom that child will ever be more closely bonded.  Love this piece.  

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This was the most beautiful adventure… for now, with a couple of coffee table books and toys for kids of a friend’s, I crisscrossed Russell Square Park and slept with my blistered feet raised whilst being held closer in sleep’s warm nurturing bosom and was readily tugged under into the world of lucid, inspired dreams.  

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On a gloriously balmy mid-November evening, I emerged from Covent Garden Station into a sea of humanity filled with love and laughter as the weekend was begun.  As lovers ambled past holding hands, I was reminded then of my life twenty-nine years earlier when the Berlin Wall was being toppled.  I was grateful in the moment because back then, two days before Merlin’s passing, I could not imagine myself being still focussed in this life with so much death and dying around me. 

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Yet, here was I with my happy little lambious (Merlin called me Lamb because I was more 9 parts enraged grizzly than timid lamb) self, in Covent Garden about to see a ballet because Marianela Nuñez, Natalia Osipova, Vadim Muntagirov, Matthew Ball, Francesca Hayward, Joseph Sissens, Steven McCrae, Iana Salenko were part of the most glorious group of ballet dancers.  

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Oh my, look at this; there have been changes afoot since last winter.  

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My pilgrimage to the shrine of high art is finally here!  What’s this, new coat check, new toilets, new dining area… wow! 

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No sooner than was I sat and along came a Jurassic hybrid, no chin, back so long may well have extra vertebrae and a neck that is too thick and long to be on a woman’s body but I am not judging just saying,.. 

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Well I did not cross the Atlantic just for this obstruction and her pheromone were decidedly reptilian.  As Frederick Jones would say, “I’m not havin’ it!” After a few gracious words with the accommodating ushers, my offer to stand through the entire performance seemed reasonable enough. 

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I stood on the steps up to the last row that was more centre of house than my ticket.  I did my best to ignore the chinless spinster who sat at the edge of the row, who promptly repositioned her handbag, as if it were a blasted Birkin!  Naturally, she kept eyeing me.  As I always carry Shaniqua in my back pocket, I was ready to hiss, the minute she stepped out of line.  

During the performance after the Bronze Idol danced his spectacular solo, I lost myself and yelled the loudest bravo in the house and wouldn’t the old bat have something to say, “Be quiet!” to which I leaned in and hissed, “grip harder on your butt plug and shut the fuck up!” Why do people insist on leaving their homes and act as though they are lord or lady of anyone else’s reality.  

Never mind her, the lovely Russian couple who sat in the front row looked back and approvingly yelled “Da!” at my exuberance.  Truly, what a glorious night in the theatre.  You cannot possibly begin to fathom the amount of flying dreams I have had since that night; it is as though, I perpetually am now flying-without-moving.  Of course, I haven’t yet shaken that exquisite Minkus melody from my lips but so be it.  There was something simply transcendent about having experienced the purity and perfection of the Kingdom of the Shades opening of Act III that will ever keep me richly inspired.  

Love is all and whatever it is that makes you want to fly without moving when awake grab on and tightly hold on – drugs don’t do it, they do you!  As ever, come closer let’s have a group hug and a bit of air frottage because life, alas, is the sweetest of dreams!  

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

Oxford Circus. Pimlico. Barbican.

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Bright and early Tuesday morning and it was off to Oxford Circus in search of more art.  

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No faking this; the hustle is fucking real. 

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As I poured through this joint, I recalled my advice to the London cab driver whilst crawling along Pall Mall two days earlier.  

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Well if Daddy Warbucks’ little girl ain’t toothless, what is one to do but vacuously laugh with every breath.   

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As though I had just walked in on the most malodorous dump, I was out of this dive in a New York minute.  

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As I came up out of the Underground, I felt as though I had just endured a room whose stench was dirty ashtrays, liquor and coffee.  Once at Hyde Park Corner, I made it to Apsley House, only to discover that it was not open during the week.  Took the time to breathe the crisp – though not cold like Canadian – air with Hyde Park’s trees’ transitioning foliage predominantly apricot-coloured.  

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Vauxhall Tower (St. George Wharf Tower.)

Arrived at Pimlico and the air was comfortably cool; so nice to have a brilliant sunny day for a change.  Nonetheless, you can bet your bottom dollar that I was protected by my extra thick-lensed black shades. 

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After working almost exclusively at nighttime and since before that when in the theatre, I have developed a genuine sensitivity to sunlight.  You cannot convince me that we are not much too close to Sol for comfort.  So to Tate Britain I was returned.  After the scam that was the Klimt / Schiele, I was not rolling the die on Turner Prize 2018.  

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I went into this exhibition with zero expectations.  Like the British Museum, I love the gift shop at Tate Britain as opposed to Tate Modern’s.  I was on the hunt for unique gifts to purchase; this ticketed event was a gamble.  

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You cannot begin to fathom the degree to which I was wowed by the breath of this artist’s genius.  

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Remarkably, there was no end to this genius’ vision.  

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There is, throughout his art, movement and fluidity with the greatest grace and attack.  

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This is a colossal retrospective and his talent was unmatched.  

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The sensuality is breathtaking.  

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Every painting was a newly discovered masterpiece.  

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The breath of his work is astounding.  

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What a truly marvellous discovery.  

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His work left everyone moving through the exhibit in a state of harmony.  There was such peace and serenity in each salon and every salon had some wow moment masterpiece.  

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One key element of his art was that each work was hung in the spot-on perfect frame.  

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Masterful!

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For me, Edward’s genius epitomises where dreams and genius merge and produce the most uplifting art.  

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Quite simply, there are no words.  

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Besotted.  

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The moment that I laid eyes on this tableau, I immediately thought of Francis Bacon.  

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Breathtaking…

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Now, this is Art,  Next-level tapestry.  The fluid sensuality is overwhelming.  

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This is everything.  

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I would gladly have paid thrice as much to view this exhibition.  

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This was like nothing I had seen before and it far exceeded anything that I had expected.  Truly beautiful.  After dining on a late lunch in Pimlico, it was back to Bloomsbury for a nap before heading out into the evening.  

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Though I was rather looking forward to hanging out at Ronnie Scott’s, the idea of listening to Charlie Parker and John Coltrane (an entity mate) being butchered by some Israeli appropriationist was not exactly high on my must-do list.  

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Happy was I to be in the comfy seats at Barbican Centre Cinemas to watch a LIVE relay from Covent Garden of that evening’s performance of La Bayadère, which at week’s end I would be attending.  By far, this was the most glorious of cinematic experiences.  I could not believe the sight of Natalia Makarova when she appeared on screen. 

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She was now full-bodied as we mostly get on ageing.  Last time that I had seen her was during a class we took together at NYC’s Harkness House ballet school during summer 1983.  That late spring was the last time that I had also seen the ballet live; it was May 19, 1983 and my favourite dancer, the dimpled, shy and oh so sweet, Fernando Bujones was dancing the role of Solor.  

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As ever, thanks for your ongoing support and dream as lucidly as you want to… 

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

When Things Don’t Go to Plan.

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Just another hotel that looks onto Bloomsbury’s Russell Square

Monday morning, November 12, 2018 rolled around with me being a bit on the antsy side.  Just a couple of days before leaving on the trip, I received an email notice that a talk and drinks scheduled for that evening at Spencer House had been cancelled.  That being the case, I emailed, called and prevailed on each day Ronnie Scott’s Jazz club in Soho to try and get my reserved seat for the Tuesday evening show, moved up to Monday evening instead. 

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Finally, the night before, I got a human rather than no voicemail or no email replies from Ronnie Scott’s.  Incredibly, the rep did not know the number for box office and let me know that the Monday show was booked and I could not change my itinerary.  Trying to reason with her proved a nonstarter.  If I could be missing for my reservation on Tuesday, so too could someone booked on Monday be missing which means that I could at the very least stand in the back of the club and sip on a drip.  Nothing doing.  Monday came and passed and not box office nor anyone ever once answered the phone.  

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One of my favourite journeys when in London is to get to Piccadilly Circus and head towards Burlington House.  There, one is always going to be wowed by great art – this trip certainly delivered,  

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This, without doubt, is the show that I came to London highly anticipating.  What I had not anticipated was the sheer scope of the exhibition.   Certainly, it was a welcome change after paying to move through the Klimt / Schiele exhibition.  One thing that struck me, which always occurs regardless which museum or which continent, whenever there is an exhibition of non-white art alongside another of white art, the latter is patronised by a ratio of three to one,  

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Franz Hauer 1914  Egon Schiele

To be sure, the space for the Klimt / Schiele was much smaller than the ten salons for the Oceania exhibition – the same salons in fact which were used for last winter’s, Charles I: King and Collector.  Indeed, there is a certain appeal about being able to view art this up close and intimately.  Nonetheless, the crowd here was predominantly older – the diapered set and they of course can be expected to have little relish for adventuring beyond that which is deemed art or superior.  

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Nude Self-Portrait 1916 Egon Schiele. 

Naturally, not having read up on the exhibition prior to arriving in London, I had assumed that it would be paintings of both artists in the exhibition.  As it turned out, my weak vision could not fully appreciate these drawings and the cramped quarters was no good for my usual wariness of crowds.  

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Female Bust,1916 Gustav Klimt.  

Thoroughly underwhelmed more than not, I made my way in search of the Oceania exhibition.  Imagine having made that treacherous trek all the way up those potentially slippery metallic stairs, only to have been left none-too-inspired.  Oh well, too many old fossils in too tight a space pour moi-meme.  

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Straight away, I was soothed, uplifted and engrossed by the fecund richness of the blue-interiored salons.  Where months prior were hung van Dycks, Rubens and a most memorable Tintoretto, now into these large magical ten salons, I slipped lucidly awakened with wonder.  

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Here, in this marvellous exhibition, the worlds of dreams and spirit were fully realised.  I was in awe, inspired and fully engaged for moving through, as though in a lucid dream, salon after salon of this mammoth, breathtakingly beautiful exhibition.  

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Papuan soul canoe.

Steeped in animism and ancestor-worship, these beautiful cultures of the South Pacific (Oceania) speak to me.  Naturally, much of this is due to strong resonance, owing to past-live memories.    

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What I found rather interesting about this exhibition, is how locals reacted to the art and artefacts on display.  They were actually deferential, which is worlds removed from the usual open ridicule and vile remarks made by persons when touring the Barbara and Murray Frum African Art Collection at Toronto’s AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario).  Indeed, days later, I would be reminded of how archly racist Canadians currently are and with a smugness that defies reason.  

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This exhibition is handsomely curated and the show was staged with the greatest sensitivity and respect for the cultures represented.  Rather refreshing an approach.  

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Marvellous.  Powerful and so like the totemic masks of West African cultures.  

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I especially loved this sculpture and found it vibrationally rather powerful.  

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Sublime.  

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My attempts at capturing this marvellous piece proved frustrating as a German couple who were close by were slow to move along; my impatience is of course legendary.  

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Beautiful textiles featured in the exhibition,  

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Positively love this Papuan mask.  

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Star map for navigating the seas of Oceania’s cultures.  

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August.  Regal.  There is something deeply astral about the cultures of Oceania; these are cultures which are firmly grounded in the worlds of dreams and spirit… indeed.  

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Wow!  This is what I came hunting for; I was most definitely greatly inspired.  What past-life dreams are yet to be triggered by this lucidly awakened journey through Oceania and my own reincarnational past.  

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Hands down, this was my favourite piece in the exhibition; it seemed like some interdimensional craft for travelling between distant worlds and galaxies as is only now possible in dreams.  The lines are so amazingly elegant and masterfully executed.  Phenomenal.  

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What a wonderfully uplifting exhibition!  Bravo!  

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The view on exiting the Royal Academy’s Burlington House.  

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Just look at the view across Piccadilly from the Royal Academy…  Fortnum & Mason.  Well, off we go for some retail therapy; on crossing the street, I delightfully hummed the most memorable melody from La Bayadère.  

Oh look, way below that famous Fortnum & Mason blue beckons.  For now though, I made another feverish perusal of my email.  There is nothing from Ronnie Scott’s and the hotel has emailed to say that they have not received word from them nor have they called back.  

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A gourmand’s wet dream.  

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Art whilst shopping… truly civilised.  

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A trip to the basement and my favourite Jamaican clerk was not on duty.  I did though meet a lovely, lively West African who much reminded me of the spirited gardener in the dreams of July 9, 1993, which proved one of the most beautiful yet of this incarnation wherein I travelled and had the most lucid astral plane dream encounter with Merlin in the afterlife – it will appear in the sixth and final volume of my dream memoirs of Merlin and me, Merlin and Arvin: A Shamanic Dream Odyssey, which will prove human civilisation’s first dream memoirs when fully published.  20181112_124934

Thanks to the West African clerk and how beautifully she spoke of the Canada’s Weston family, who own Fortnum & Mason, I was sold.  To hell with dropping money at Ronnie Scott’s when they could not be bothered to accommodate me.  With that, I had a couple of signed copies of Tom Parker-Bowles’ recently published cookbook, Fortnum & Mason Christmas.  For good measure, it is always good to have wonderful fragrances.  

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On getting outside, whilst prowling Piccadilly in search of the Herrick Gallery in Mayfair where a Nevisian artist was having an exhibition, the skies opened up and delivered a monsoon deluge, which readily reminded that this truly was the age of climate change.  The Herrick Gallery was a beautiful affair; however, I had arrived a day early so there was nothing to see as large canvases were being unwrapped and hung.  Getting into Green Park Station, I ducked in to use the toilet and was reminded of 28 years earlier, when you didn’t then have to pay to use the facilities.  That day, in the heat that was London in July, an old, homeless black woman sat on one of the toilets in a stall, which like all the others had no door affording privacy.  She seemed utterly otherworldly and just as removed.  Certainly, she was impervious to the bacchanalia afoot; a tall East African with the most massive cock to that point seen, was actually charging various denominations based on what the throng of near-ululating size queens were prepared to do to that unrivalled wunder schmekel of his.  

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Onward, the journey continued.  The next stop was Westminster Station where my main focus was touring the exquisite architectural gem that is the Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey.  Built by King Henry VII as Lady Chapel and deemed as the ode to the Virgin Mother, I rather suspect though that the Lady in question is his mother, Margaret Beaufort.  Hers is the only effigy that is not marble but distinctive bronze. 

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(Though photography is not permitted, I managed rather skilfully to have captured a shot of Lady Margaret Beaufort’s bronze-effigied tomb whilst in the spectacular Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey)

Of course, that soul is now incarnate and though the most reviled black woman on the planet at present, I have every conviction that Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex will just as nobly distinguish herself as when a key figure during the War of the Roses, mother of King Henry VII, grandmother of King Henry VIII after whose coronation she died days later, and great-grandmother of Queen Elizabeth I.  She who founded Christ’s College and St. John’s College at Cambridge University and for whom Oxford University’s first college to admit women, Lady Margaret Hall is named.  Indeed, Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex has been a feminist for some time.  

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A lone shot of Westminster Abbey from the quire, looking to the altar before being approached by security and asked to cease doing so.  Before departing I took the time to pause at the three wreaths in the stalls of Lady Chapel, which is the spiritual home of the Order of Bath.  In recent months, three knights of the order had passed.  

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The view from the Cloisters from Westminster Abbey, to the courtyard fountain and the grandeur of Palace of Westminster’s Victoria Tower to the rear.  It was also a chance to wait out the downpours.  

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Excitedly the dash back from Westminster Abbey to Westminster Station on the Circle Line was one filled with giggles as I tried to avoid being dowsed by puddles as traffic sped past.  Next stop, Mansion House which eventually led to a break in the rains as I emerged from the Underground.  

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Look at that, the monsoon had eased up and there was even sunlight trammelling the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral.  Always, it is good to mount the steps to this grand shrine.  

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As it is the season of Remembrance, it was time to pause and pay homage at the tomb of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson whom both Merlin and I knew in our past lives in London when musicians at court during the reign of HM King George III and the Regency of HM King George IV.  

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The Earl Jellicoe. Admiral of the Fleet.  Love that there are actual poppies on his tomb.  

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Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington.

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One of the sights whilst ambling after yet another tour of St. Paul’s Cathedral.  

With that, it was back on the Underground and a return to Bloomsbury, where dinner and dream-filled sleep awaited.  

As ever, dream as though every moment is a dream memory of a past life (this one) for you in a future incarnation.  See it, experience it fully – without bias – appreciate it and be richly inspired by it.  Again, I can never say enough how deeply appreciative I am for your ongoing support.  

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

The Remains of Armistice Day.

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Strangely, though the major part of Armistice Day celebrations were long concluded, there were still more persons moving westward towards the Cenotaph than easterly towards Trafalgar Square.  My companion, a spectacled, freckled guy in his early 30s, was keen on having me come back to his flat in South Bank – We were headed towards Charing Cross Station to take the Bakerloo Line towards his place.  

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Stalling for time, as I really was not feeling him, I firmly suggested that we go tour Banqueting House as I had never been, which was the truth.  Of course, it did not help that the only thing at Banqueting House was the great ceiling art and the throne; the rest of it was just as empty as clearly, James, my “Mate” was dense.  Long years ago, a channeller of dubious skills stated rather imperiously that I would meet someone named James, who would prove rather loyal and a long-term affair.  

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Somehow, this nebulous bit of arcana seemed to be the only sane reason why I was suffering this oaf overlong.  His constant bitching about “Nutmeg,” as he referred to the Duchess of Sussex, was not winning him any favours in my books.  I had hoped to have found much more archival fare associated with the spot where HM King Charles I was executed.  Alas, there was nothing save a throne and an impressive ceiling.  

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With the toilets at Banqueting House fully occupied and alarmingly foul-smelling, back outside we dashed in hopes of finding a toilet.  A pub, whose name I did not even catch a few door towards Trafalgar Square, proved the right spot.  He ordered a couple of lagers – I never drink beer, and off I went to the toilet to relieve myself.  I waited overlong, waiting for him to possibly come in then use the stalls so that I could make a mad dash for it.  No such luck.  However, on rejoining him, he lustily talked about what he wanted me to do to him.  Never one to miss an opportunity, I suggested he go unclog his plumbing so that I could give it to him good, long and hard when we got back his place.  

Naively quick to take the bait, out I dashed into the larger-than-usual crowds when he eagerly bolted to the toilet; once outside, I then caught the tail end of the latest regiment to go moving from the roundabout as they made their way from the Strand and onto Whitehall.  With that, I swiftly made it across Pall Mall, crossed Canada House and made my way to the new entrances to the National Gallery – this James clearly was not the one.  

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Taking the time to avail myself of the museum’s free wi-fi, I sipped on a boost of Pret A Manger’s little magic, yellow potion, Hot Shot.  I then decided against the Bellini show – Italian art is way too religious for my liking and it strangely enough has never once addressed the fact that the Church of Rome has, in its role as civiliser, proven the most disruptive terror group this planet has thus far known.  For me, there is something alarmingly dangerous about a culture, which would completely and utterly eclipse this rather crucial aspect that has decided their place in the world – but enough about that for now.  

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Having dodged James, I decided to do the Courtauld exhibition as it would beat having to attend the museum on this trip.  Whilst standing in one of two long queues, along came Ms. Thang, who simply looked at us and grandly walked up to the next sales rep as though she had exited St. George’s Chapel on Ginger’s arm on the gloriously sunny early afternoon of May 19, 2018.  

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As I was next in line, I just as imperiously declared to her and the rep, “Take you, the weave and that blasted fake channel handbag to the back of the line; there are not two lines of invisible persons waiting to buy tickets.”  Before she could turn nasty with me, the lovely Dravidian lady informed her that I was next in line and, more importantly, she intended to serve me next.  Fake boobs that looked like flotation devices and feet that were too big to fit any glass slippers and, of course, there was a bulky turtleneck to hide the Adam’s apple.  

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Though “she” was prepared to do drama, I came to do me and look at art and that I did.  I was really wowed by some of these works, which I previously had not seen.  

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Naturally, this Degas masterpiece only warmed my soul.  Straight away, I was left humming the music from the grand pas de deux in Act II of La Bayadère, which I could not wait to see at week’s end.  

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Shades of Canada’s Group of Seven, to be sure.  I like the fact that the artist did not include the entire tree in the portrait.  

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Ah yes, and who doesn’t love the sublime soulfulness of a Gauguin tableau.  

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Trees, trees and even more trees.  What’s not to love!  

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After having been greatly inspired by the Courtauld Impressionist show – well worth the price – I bailed outside; there were too many parents using the free admission to the museum as a place to come in out of the elements and babysit their way too young children.  Once outside, I hailed a cab, though, not the above – wrong day and time of day.  This cab proved one of the most memorable journeys.  As The Mall was closed, we took the roundabout from in front of Trafalgar Square and headed along Pall Mall.  I wanted just then to get to The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace but did not want to use the underground; it was way too glorious a day out. 

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Finally, I laid down the law to the driver, who was a burly soul and looked like the quintessential slave soul.  Soon enough, we got into a conversation when we began chatting about Canada, which I shared that I would give anything to flee in hopes of living in London.  Soon, the topic turned to sex and whatever one would have to do to get by.  Ha!  Said he, he would give up this gig of 22 years and counting by marrying a fat, ugly rich broad to which, without so much as missing beat, I chimed in, “Don’t stop there, if you can find rich, fat, ugly and toothless, now you’ve got it made.  To paraphrase Frank Sinatra from The Best Is Yet To Come, you ain’t been blown until you’ve had a gum job!”  Never in long ages had I heard a grown man laugh so hard and for so long – a fellow cab driver going in the opposite direction even honked at him and asked what was so funny. 

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After having sat in traffic for far too long, though the metre read 12£, he asked for a 10£ note and thank me, saying he ought to have paid me for the company and humour.  With that, I dashed past St. James Palace en route for The Mall which, of course, was closed.  Finally, I made it up to the Queen’s Gallery and took in the Russia: Royalty & the Romanovs exhibition, which did offer some truly inspired gems from the Royal Collection.  

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Well, of course, he ruled something.  

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I was reminded in this portrait of Tsar Nicholas I of the 1970s when the goods were readily on display; however, along came AIDS and all that display and ogling readily evaporated.  Instead, men were morphed into true peacocks with long blow-dry locks, which really did become tiresome after a season or two.  Now, of course, it is the great and truly civilised age of the Internet, which lest you forget, is saturated with more than 80% pornography.  

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The Vladimir Tiara which is not dissimilar to the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara, which always looked truly handsome when worn by the ravishing, Diana, Princess of Wales.  

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Set in the green drawing room at Windsor Castle, where on May 19, 2018, Alexi Lubomirski took the official photographs of the wedding of TRH Duke & Duchess of Sussex, you cannot possibly begin to imagine the overwhelming scope and grandeur of this tableau.  Truly, one is left in awe of the fact that HM Queen Victoria was a tiny acorn who matured into a mighty oak who, through her womb, extended her empire far and wide across the continent.  This was a ravishing exhibition and one of the most stunning paintings that I have ever seen from the Royal Collection.  

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After all that inspiring art, I needed to ground anew; thus, I opted to take a brisk walk, cutting through Green Park where the light fast shifted and danced below the horizon… never to be experienced again.  With that, I hopped onto the Piccadilly Line at Green Park Station and made my way back to Russell Square Station; there, I resorted to my hotel room and took a lucidly awakened, dream-sodden nap before getting on with the final celebrations of this poignant Armistice Day.  

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Before making it to Barbican Station on the Circle Line, I had had the most awakened flying dream, which had me spirited across the spiral arms of Time to a past life in London.  

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To reflect, celebrate and give thanks, how could I not indulge in an evening of music and song with the London Symphony Orchestra.  

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Nice, plush comfortable seats with a troika of gay Jewish dancer/actors seated ahead of me.  The evening was beautiful, the singing stellar.  

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As there was an empty seat on either side of me, I offered to move to the left and afforded the lovely young couple from Paris to sit together – she had been sat a row ahead and away from her spectacled, fey lover – he had more than a passing resemblance to Merlin.  Leaning in, I whispered to him, “The universe always conspires to accommodate lovers…” he blushed, they both blushed sweetly and were pleasant company that added a certain magic to the evening.  Here’s to lovers… indeed.  

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En route back to the hotel… a little late night smoothie snack was in order.  As ever, sweet dreams, don’t forget to push off and start flying and as always, 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. 

Distracted by Wim Heldens

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.  

Ah summer…

Crazy Rich Asians

After having ravenously devoured this fascinating trilogy last winter, I re-read Crazy Rich Asians in anticipation of the film adaptation. Of course, no film can ever approximate the layers of nuances and breath of ideas between the covers of any book. Moreover, reading is a purely subjective experience and with someone possessed of such a rich dream life, a book is always like the most welcome lucid dream.

I was beyond wowed by this film. Nick and Rachel were beautifully cast; however, I had always envisioned Astrid to be deliciously long-necked and more reserved… I think that they ought to have gotten an exquisite beauty who is in repression mode because no one does refined hauteur like a woman in repression mode. Love the greens of Tyersall Park. This was one of the most glorious movies that I have seen in long ages.

Il Trovatore

Also this summer, I headed off to the Cineplex in Dundas Square to catch an opera production, which initially I had not when it premiered three years earlier. Lucian Mann-Chomedy a mature scholar entity mate and I have been catching movies and attending the opera together. He is a world-renowned expert on Voltaire. Sublime and strastopherically knowledgeable, he is always welcome company. Usually, we gather at my place once per fortnight and have tea, talk ideas but of late, we have naturally been looking at the recent royal wedding of TRH Duke and Duchess of Sussex. More of that later…

In any event, there were we happily settled in in our back row seats, eating popcorn and excited at being transported by Verdi’s mastery. As ever Anna Netrebko was superb and nothing was more moving whilst simultaneously sad than seeing Dmitri Hvorostovsky in glorious song. We both held hands and silently lost tears as his passing two years later, November, 2017 was highlighted at the end of the film. A truly remarkable performer with a lot of sage and king energy going on somewhere in his casting and role in essence.

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So there were Lucian and I returned to Dundas Square to have yet another vicarious theatre experience. This time, it was the Royal Ballet’s new production of Swan Lake with choreography by Liam Scarlett and the most fuck-all fabulous sets designed by the gifted and visionary George Macfarlane – that gold-leaf-looking set in Act III is worth flying to London and seeing it in person at Covent Garden. Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nunez were the pricipal dancers. Now this is world-class dancing of the highest order. I would rather fly to London and catch a performance than time-waste and money-waste on a season of the National Ballet of Canada. If I’m honest, the only dancer in NBC I ever recognise, when onstage, is Skylar Campbell thanks to his russet afro.

Swan Lake Act III

Besides, I was deeply disappointed when in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary as captured territory – let’s be real here – rather than look forward to the future, one just had to go raiding the Canada Council Grant system. I can understand that these are all friends socially but I am so tired of this “one Anglais, one Français” approach to things. God forbid that Canadians outside of Québec should ever be nationally presented on their nightly news with what goes on in Montréal each July 1, Canada Day. After a week earlier celebrating Fete National, everyone moves house rather than celebrate the country’s holiday. Of course, for the poor anglo newcomers to Montréal, living in English enclaves, who did not secure indoor parking, they find themselves with slashed tyres and knocked off side view mirrors – all for being anglo in god forbid supposed Canada.

Instead of saluting the fact that Indo-Canadians in the GTA (greater Toronto Area) have arrived by mounting a production of La Bayadere, instead we had to settle for two non-choreographers mounting crap that you know I had no time to waste on. I heard from friends that it was utterly dismissible fare as can well be imagined. After the opening night performance of a new production of La Bayadere, one could then cross Queen Street West to the grounds of Osgoode Hall (Law Society of Upper Canada) with a few pitched marquees and have an Indian themed party with a handful of Bollywood stars thrown in for good measure. Naturally, this would see new sponsorships for the NBC – god knows arts funding is always hard to come by – and it would be a wonderful way of being both inclusive of all Canadians and looking forward to the next 150 years. The maudlin fare staged will not be in the repertoire ten years hence, you can count on that.

Alors, enough about what might have been… this after all is Canada. Lucian and I had ourselves a fantastic time vicariously enjoying a live performance from Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. The dancing, staging and orchestration were all stellar. Vadim and Marianela were fabulous. Of course, had I flown to London to see Swan Lake, I would have opted for Natalia Osipova’s interpretation of Odette/Odile or a partnership wherein Steven McRae danced Prince Siegfried.

Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsor, United Kingdom - 19 May 2018

One of the things that Lucian and I also do when getting together for tea, entity mates as we are, is we delight in looking at the recent royal wedding of TRH Duke & Duchess of Sussex. When initially her overleaves were channelled as requested by moi, she was said to have had two prior lives as a high ranking member of the British Royal Family. Naturally, as I was completely taken with the sweeping theatricality of their wedding, I had those past lives explored and was not surprised in the least.

Margaret Beaufort

Back in 1995 whilst living in Vancouver, I spent a glorious weekend with a friend who had moved from Toronto at least a decade earlier. A great cook and marvellous raconteur, he also happens to be an artisan entity mate. In among his stellar library was a book that he highly recommended; he devoured biographies with true relish. The book was a favourite of his, The King’s Mother: Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby – it proved a most fascinating portrait of someone whom I had never before heard of. There was no doubt in my mind that this was a phenomenal woman without whom there would have been no House of Tudor.

Margaret Beaufort Portrait

Cousin to King Henry VI, mother of King Henry VII, grandmother to King Henry VIII and great-grandmother to Queen Elizabeth I, here was the most sweeping portrait of a life lived in full and of a truly remarkable woman. Not surprised was I then to learn that the soul now incarnate as Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex was in that past life, Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby. Indeed, there sat Meghan, holding hands with her beautiful-of-spirit husband, HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Sussex with the black marble tomb of King Henry VI behind them in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Furthermore, like true Queen and Mother of the House of Tudor returned, Meghan on entering St. George’s Chapel was greeted by fanfare, which is reserved for the arrival of the Sovereign.

Lucian and I have spent much time, trying to spot as many persons who attended the wedding beyond the usual fare: Oprah Winfrey, Amal and George Clooney – whom I thought were both sartorially off. One does not wear a hat on the left side of the head anymore than one would a medal on the right breast as David Beckham did at the royal wedding of TRH Duke & Duchess of Cambridge in 2011. I loved every shot of Emilie van Cutsem; she looks like a real tough broad who is definitely got a goal of dominance. Of course, there she sat in the quire next to Jack Brooksbank in her ruby brooch to match her monochromatic outfit. By far the most handsome of her four sons, is Hugh van Cutsem who sat two rows in the nave behind royals, Cleopatra and Franz-Albrecht zu Oettingen-Spielberg; a baroness at birth, her husband is a Bavarian prince and friend of HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Sussex. Hugh van Cutsem also sat two rows ahead of Chelsy Davy and her brother Shaun.

So many persons seemed to have gotten it wrong, claiming that Chelsy looked glum whilst being simply focussed and meditative – I rather suspect that she is either a scholar or warrior soul, which would give her that singleness of focus. There was a beautiful moment, one of my favourites, where whilst chatting with two ladies, she and one of the other women silently break open their faces in spirited laughter – it was one of the more memorable moments. At the time, they stood next to another troika Jake Warren father of bridesmaid Zalie Warren and HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Sussex’s goddaughter as he chatted with Marcus Mumford and his wife the actor, Carey Mulligan.

Edward van Cutsem is, of course, married to another the late Gerald Grosvenor, Duke of Westminster’s daughters, Tamara, older sister of Dan Snow’s wife, Lady Edwina who sat directly ahead of Adam Bidwell – a man with a most sexually dynamic face – who entered the chapel’s south door in a cluster of males which included Jake Warren, Mark Dyer, Thomas and Charlie van Straubenzee, Arthur Landon, Hugh – the current Duke of Westminster – and Jack Brooksbank.

One of the more beautiful intimate moments between the Sussexes went unnoticed by 95 per cent of persons watching the ceremony. Yes there was that beautiful moment during the Kingdom Choir singing Stand by Me when the camera cuts to an adoring HRH Prince Henry as he taps on his beloved’s fingers and she turns and smiles into his familiar soul, being the only sunshine that lights his world – this is the 21st time that these two souls have met during the course of reincarnations. As he slipped the golden ring onto her finger in movement that was sexually charged, HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Sussex then winked his left eye at his ravishing bride – sly, intimate and subtle, most persons would not have noticed the wink as it happened.

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Veiled, I love this photograph of Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex as the veil represents the vision of Lady Margaret Beaufort having a lucid dream of herself into the future where she is being crowned, as it were, at a wedding in Windsor Castle’s St. George’s Chapel. How like a true queen, Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex appears as her train is carried by the Mulroney twins, who along with the other eight pages and bridesmaids beautifully fulfilled their tasks. The dark and umbra lighting also suggests the past and that soul, having been the mother of the House of Tudor coming through to claim her reward as a member of the House of Windsor, which would not have been Anglican, indeed might have gone the way of so many other monarchies were it not for the shrewdly calculating and indomitable Lady Margaret Beaufort from whose womb like an acorn indirectly passed two of the greatest of the United Kingdom’s sovereigns, King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I.

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Theirs was a truly remarkable and beautiful wedding. Here’s to TRH Duke & Duchess of Sussex and their tasks ahead as Commonwealth Youth Ambassadors, charter members of the Royal Foundation, the driving force behind the Invictus Games and strongly bonded entity mates who have found each other anew. Hip! Hip!

For now, I have returned from the emergency at St. Michael’s Hospital after being thrown from my chromium steed by rain-smeared steel crating. As ever, I got up and after a vituperative bouquet, I resumed singing and scatting my heart out as it is the only way to stay focussed when bike-riding in this town. Though it has done my arthritic right knee no favours, my laptop survived unscathed.

As ever, thank you for your ongoing patronage. Don’t ever forget to deeply breathe in, plié then push off because life is but a most glorious of dreams and right here is where it’s at. Sweet dreams as ever.  

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