©2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha. All Rights Reserved.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This marvellous bronze fully captivated me; it would prove my favourite piece in the shoddily curated exhibition.
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.
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!
© 2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha. All Rights Reserved.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Definitely, this room – the great room – was familiar; however, somehow, it did not seem as large as it ought to have been.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lady Spencer’s room. lovely.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
©2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha. All Rights Reserved.
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.
I was returned to the Royal Academy to hunt for coffee table books.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
There at a cosy table in the rear, I leisurely pleasured myself whilst finally reading the HRH Princess Margaret biography; it is delicious.
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!
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.
Before I could get there, moving around one corner from one gallery to the next, will you look at what I happened on.
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.
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.
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.
This proved an interlude of slow-dancing with my very soul… the vibrations here were utterly harmonious with spirit.
Photography can never do this masterpiece justice.
I am reminded with this gem of the fabulous kimono of Merlin’s hung in our Cabbagetown home.
Can you hear my soul purring…
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.
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.
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.
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.
Oh my, look at this; there have been changes afoot since last winter.
My pilgrimage to the shrine of high art is finally here! What’s this, new coat check, new toilets, new dining area… wow!
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,..
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.
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!
© 2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha. All Rights Reserved.
Aerial view: Windsor Castle, Berkshire.
In the mad dash to board the train from King’s Cross/St. Pancras Station to Paddington Station, I boarded the wrong train and ended up losing almost of hour of valuable time. Nonetheless to Windsor with me, indeed.
The ride to Windsor was lovely and it was still well before before 1000 when I got into town. So nice to know that a flash of the London Pass gets one into the Castle, plus to see the exhibition of TRH Duke & Duchess of Sussex’s wedding finery plus the outfits worn by pageboy, HRH Prince George of Cambridge and the always ‘on’ HRH Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.
Next, through the hurdle of being scoured by the most thorough security detail; and with good reason too.
The mélange of Chinese, Japanese and Korean dialects made for an interesting symphony of sounds as I made my way past security and onto castle grounds.
I am reminded of Vancouver Island by the hearty vegetation down below.
Nothing is more refreshing than the smell of moss in cooler weather. The air is so fresh here in Berkshire.
The view from the Middle Ward down to St. George’s Chapel; but that’ll come after touring the castle’s state apartments.
The glorious view north across the River Thames to Eton College Chapel… Nothing beats being out on the terrace and looking out to the landscape below.
The view along the terrace towards the entrance to the castle.
Once inside, of course, photography is not allowed. This, understandably, is for security reasons; it is after all the Sovereign’s main residence. Formidable, an entrance indeed. Touring the state apartments, the progression’s starting point was different to previous visits.
Without doubt, I knew that the wedding outfits worn by TRH Duke & Duchess of Sussex would not be on display in the castle’s Green Drawing Room; there is only one door into said room for the public and the other at the opposite end, leads directly into the Sovereign’s private apartments.
Furthermore, that single door is too narrow to accommodate persons going and coming into the Green Drawing Room, if they were to enter and exit by said door.
Similarly, I knew that the exhibition, A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex could not have been held in St. George’s Hall above. There is simply too much natural light which floods the space; this could actually prove more harm than good – even though it would be best to see the dress in natural light. Moreover, I did not expect that it would be held there as the space is too large and, frankly, with the amount of racially charged animus towards this marriage, it would likely not draw as large a crowd to warrant being staged there. Truth be told, there were no Caucasians viewing the exhibit when I moved through it, than there were East Asian and blacks combined.
I will never forget my confusion on first experiencing The Waterloo Chamber in this lifetime. I just felt as though, perhaps, my sense that I had been to Windsor Castle in prior lives or a lifetime was off. Of course, I would learn that this marvellous salon was installed during HM King George IV’s reign, at which time, I had reincarnated into Barbados, after having been a countertenor at the court of HM King George III and during the early years of his son’s Regency.
Then again, those high-placed windows in the Waterloo Chamber would preclude its assignation as the setting for the exhibition, A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Though noted for its stunning portraits of both HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother and HM King George VI, this room much like St. George’s Hall has too much light exposure.
On entering the long narrow hallway with large windows that look out onto the terrace, the River Thames and the north shore beyond, one happens on a wall of linen panels which cover the floor to ceiling cabinets with priceless china from the Royal Collection.
Imagine all these iconic moments from the wedding of TRH Duke & Duchess of Sussex on hanging linen panels of more than 8 or more feet tall. The effect is warm, enveloping and their size deftly impress on one, the uneclipsed love between these two star-crossed lovers.
Next, into the grandeur of the Grand Reception Room one slips and with the heavy red curtains drawn, the effect is even more stunning. The large chandeliers are softly dimmed and handsomely display the bridal garments of the wedding party.
The embroidery on HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Sussex’s uniform, to the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau tiara when seen in intimate detail proved more breathtaking than I had anticipated. Goodness, even the shoes worn by Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex were exquisite.
What I found most interesting about the dress was its sheer simplicity. The dress serves as a foil for the intricacy of the five metre veil entwined with the fifty-three flowers of the Commonwealth nations, along with the state flower for Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex’s home state of California. Not until in the presence of the dress did its simplicity make sense; the dress is masterfully constructed such that its simplicity reminds one that only the expert craftsmanship of a couturier could have designed and manufactured the dress.
Yet, there was more to the simplicity of this Clare Waight Keller dress for Givenchy and it was not until moving around it a second time that it struck me; the simplicity of the dress speaks to the recent past of Ms. Markle’s African heritage. Its simplicity speaks of the history of a people which was erased, wiped out by the terror of having been robbed and enslaved.
Yet like the simplicity which belies the masterful craftsmanship of the couturiers who created this stunning dress, there is also greatness to a people though reviled, socio-economically oppressed, criminalised, marginalised and made to feel inferior… the same people whose greatness shrines through in Jazz, for one. Remarkably, the simplicity of the dress, is like the sheer eloquence with which HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales sincerely both acknowledged and apologised for the past, which his society and family had contributed to in the immense suffering of Africans; this he did this past autumn when touring West Africa on behalf of HM The Queen.
This was not only not a heavily attended exhibition but, at the time that I moved through it, there was not a single Caucasian viewing the wedding garments. Though many would like to have you believe that there is no basis in race why they dislike Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex, that is just a damn lie. Naturally, neither medicine nor academia acknowledges the existence of the racial predator as ‘No’ is the most powerful word when dealing with blacks. Indeed, not until going to St. George’s Chapel after the tour of the castle was concluded, did one see Caucasians in numbers that reflect their proportions in the society. Indeed, unlike previously, one was being fixed with looks that were charged with racial animus.
Though she is now the most reviled black woman on the planet, truth is that the soul who is now Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex was Margaret Beaufort, Tudor Matriarch: key figure in the War of the Roses, cousin of HM King Henry VI, mother of HM King Henry VII, mentor, counsel and favourite of her grandson, HM King Henry VIII who was much impressed by her focussed untrammelled ambition, great-grandmother of HM Queen Elizabeth I.
Without her drive and singleness of purpose, England may still be a Catholic nation and its language may well be French. Nonetheless, such is the rabid, irrational tribalism that is racism; her true nature cannot be perceived by the blind who can never see either the links to the past or the bigger picture.
In the end, I was much inspired for having made this pilgrimage to see this dress, which in its simplicity symbolised hope, atonement and the love of two entity mates who have known each other in twenty prior lifetimes. The simplicity of this dress proved an epiphany.
Statue of HM King Charles II without whose drive, there would have been no Restoration.
View of the round tower on exiting the State Apartments and at the edge of the Quadrangle.
Details of St. George’s Chapel.
Details… and more details.
Even more interesting details…
Sadly, photography is not allowed inside the chapel.
Despite the general seething that being black elicited from most persons here – thanks to HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Sussex having married the black woman, I rather enjoyed revisiting the spiritual home of the Knights of the Garter. There is a certain warmth and intimacy to the quire’s dark woods that I favour.
And like that, another day of adventure was completed.
As the train sped back to London, I spotted this queer, though, appealing architectural gem.
As ever, thanks so much for your ongoing support and always remember to become awake when asleep into the magical realm of dreams.
©2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha. All Rights Reserved.
On the occasion of HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales’ 70th birthday, the sunrise was the most glorious display of apricot orange, manseport orange and blood orange tonalities. So ravishing was it that I had to get up from the breakfast table in the hotel and take a few shots, threw them up onto Instagram feed, where other Londoners whom I follow also featured the glorious sunrise.
HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales by Ralph Heimans, Charles @ 70.
Charles en famille… beautiful.
HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales @ 70.
Though the plan this day was to go out to Richmond and visit Hampton Court Palace, as I had develop not one but two blisters – one per foot – I decided to postpone it until the weekend.
I always love the look of this stately edifice that looks as though it would be right at home in India, I turned and took a few shots as I entered Russell Square park.
Lovely, what was even more glorious was the sound of leaves sounding like crisp, ruffled bedding as I confidently strode through the park.
Though in the upper teens, I enjoyed the sight of four guys in their late 20s rushing through this fountain in Russell Square; the water must have been freezing. They certainly appeared to be having great fun.
Yes, I was come to pass yet another glorious visit at The British Museum. With each visit, there is always some new discovery. Walking along, en route to the gift shop, I was stopped by a man named Felix; he complimented me on my Dorothy Grant messenger bag and as we began speaking, I soon recalled a dream had more than two decades earlier when then living in Vancouver.
Felix was the subject of the dream and twenty-three years earlier, I had been the one to walk up from behind and stop him, engaging him in conversation. As you never want to come off sounding like you are on really bad drugs or a cheap player, I resisted to urge to share having previously dreamt of him.
What coffee table books to buy this trip. I had been en route to the bookstore, after abruptly taking leave of the stately Grenville Room. I had discovered a piece of jewellery, which I had previously dreamt of. I knew straight away that I wanted to have it; however, the Dravidian sales clerk incredulously replied that they were for display purposes. I had asked him to open the case so that I could inspect the exquisite amber necklace. Naturally, he by his response implied that I could not afford it and was likely a damn thief.
From there, I went to take in the Elgin Marbles and enjoyed seeing them yet again. The crowds, though, were a bit distracting. Feeling unresolved about the matter and because I really wanted to look at that amber necklace, I returned to the Grenville Room Gift shop.
As I approached, a pleasantly smiling clerk whom previously I had not noticed, came from the entrance to the gift shop and said hello. He diplomatically asked if I had found everything that I was looking for; as it was not worth wasting time on a petit clerk who did not matter, I told him that there were a couple of items that I wanted to take a look at. A more gracious host there could not have been.
In the end, I got the necklace which came pretty close to the one in the dream, which to make that dream come true, I was intent on gifting it to the ever elegant wearer in the dream. This man spent nearly forty-five minutes, finding five sets of earrings to go with the lovely necklace and finally we narrowed the choice down to two pairs; he even got a small light so that the amber earrings chosen would be the closest match to the necklace.
A font of information and anecdotal gems, he then insisted that I go and tour the King’s Library, which I had previously never toured. Yes, indeed, knowing what a rascal his son was, HM King George III had his entire library donated to the British Museum so that HM King George IV on his passing, would not go selling off his father’s priceless heirlooms to buy furniture or whatever else.
As the sales clerk, with a more than passing resemblance to milliner Stephen Jones escorted me to the Grenville Room’s rear entrance into the King’s Library, the Dravidian who had thrown so much shade my way and not served me, I paused to look at, then dismissively down at the floor with the British Museum bag with more than 500£ of sales and its commission, which he had allowed his stupid ignorance to steal from himself. Yes, indeed, I promised the bald pleasant clerk that I would return to Fortnum & Mason and hunt down some rose petal jelly.
After an initial tour of the King’s Library and a lunch of too much pasta with two glasses of prosecco whilst charging my phone, I then returned and took this video. Clearly, from all that huffing, I had too much to eat. Finally after more than six hours at the British Museum, I ambled out into the late afternoon and enjoyed walking about Bloomsbury.
As ever, thanks for your ongoing support and happy holidays… here’s to your every dream coming true.
©2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha. All Rights Reserved,
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.
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.
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,
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This exhibition is handsomely curated and the show was staged with the greatest sensitivity and respect for the cultures represented. Rather refreshing an approach.
Marvellous. Powerful and so like the totemic masks of West African cultures.
I especially loved this sculpture and found it vibrationally rather powerful.
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.
Beautiful textiles featured in the exhibition,
Positively love this Papuan mask.
Star map for navigating the seas of Oceania’s cultures.
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.
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.
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.
What a wonderfully uplifting exhibition! Bravo!
The view on exiting the Royal Academy’s Burlington House.
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.
A gourmand’s wet dream.
Art whilst shopping… truly civilised.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Earl Jellicoe. Admiral of the Fleet. Love that there are actual poppies on his tomb.
Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington.
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.
©2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha. All Rights Reserved.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ah yes, and who doesn’t love the sublime soulfulness of a Gauguin tableau.
Trees, trees and even more trees. What’s not to love!
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.
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.
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.
Well, of course, he ruled something.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To reflect, celebrate and give thanks, how could I not indulge in an evening of music and song with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Nice, plush comfortable seats with a troika of gay Jewish dancer/actors seated ahead of me. The evening was beautiful, the singing stellar.
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.
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.
©2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha. All Rights Reserved.
Cenotaph, Whitehall, Sunday, November 11, 2018.
Whilst tucking into the best stewed fruits ever, which I have now- two visits to said Bloomsbury hotel – discovered actually causes my paunch to disappear, a light drizzle dreamily danced outside the dining room windows, readily reminding me of those interminable days of rain in Vancouver. Vancouver has at least a dozen different types of rains; always the most anticipated are those days in November when it lazily, interminably rains for five to seven days non-stop; best reading times ever.
Handsomely festooned, it was off with me and parapluie as the drizzle departed on emerging into the pleasant morning air, around 0845, from Embankment Station and readily got into queue, which eventually poured into Whitehall Place where the security checks were thorough.
As can be imagined, the security at this event was second to none.
After having cleared security, it is now on to Whitehall proper. This, however, is not quite my desired spot.
Palace of Westminster is now visible… getting closer still.
Wow, look at that, getting closer still. The three balconies where the senior royals will review the ceremony is within sight. I will eventually edge my way westward along the wide, heavily peopled sidewalk to just to the east of the Cenotaph.
In the far left balcony was placed, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, spouse of HRH Princess Anne, Princess Royal, next to Sophie, HRH Countess of Wessex.
On the central balcony, Camilla, HRH Duchess of Cornwall, HM Queen Elizabeth II, Catherine, HRH Duchess of Cambridge.
On the right balcony, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s wife, Elke Büdenbender and Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex.
Captured from the ITV YouTube coverage of the Armistice Day celebrations, the red line passes just below the right ear as my silver-haired head is tilted to left and sunglasses handle can be vaguely discerned. Standing sixth deep with the Household Guards in their bearskins standing three deep, I never actually saw the senior royal males as they stood directly in front of where I stood, as they faced west towards the Cenotaph.
Before the royals were placed, the honour guards filed into position with the Royal Navy taking their positions beneath the royal balconies. At this point, it was a balmy 17°C in mid-November and rather reminiscent of Vancouver climes.
With the arrival of the Household Guards after the Household Cavalry had marched past, a Welsh man in his late fifties, who came to honour his great uncle called out, Oh bloody ‘ell when the Household Guards replete with bearskins took their positions three deep in front of us.
Moments after HM The Queen and the senior royals appeared on the balcony, the senior royals who would be laying wreath, took their places on Whitehall. Though I never once sighted them, they included: HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Sussex, HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York, HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, HRH Princess Anne, Princess Royal, HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, HRH Prince Michael of Kent.
After the bells of Westminster Abbey tolled, the guns boomed and the stark stillness of two minutes of silence was broken by the Bugle salute.
As the senior royals solemnly laid wreaths, the frenzied sniping of the paparazzi lenses were almost deafening to my rear.
As wreath-laying royals were followed by dignitaries, starting with PM Theresa May and ending with the Commonwealth heads of states, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Funeral March No. 1 B Flat Minor majestically set the tone as there were many tears lost at this time as we who were gathered reflected… remembered.
More of the honourable service persons depart long after the royals have taken their leave. This endured for several hours after.
This was a truly majestic ceremony and befitting those who had given their lives,
At this point, more souls have departed and I am able to inch even further to the kerb and eventually chatted with Constable Snell; she was lovely.
Indeed, patience pays off and alas, the Household Guards departed and there was even more to see… or what was left of things.
There go more of the brave warriors. This has been an immensely moving ceremony. I had no idea that I would be so deeply stirred by it.
As both my legs and bladder were doing a number of me, I decided to duck into a pub with one, James, who was pretty up front about what he was after; I figured it was time I began meeting people in the city. So we stopped and took in this marvellous band before ducking into a pub along Whitehall after we had been to Banqueting House – more on that in next blog.
Meanwhile, as I convinced him to go lighten his load before we went back to his place and carried on like Rottweilers, having had more than enough of his open animus towards “Nutmeg” Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex, as he went to dump, I slipped out of the pub and into the thick throngs then headed towards Trafalgar Square – who has time to waste on dreck like that!
As ever, sweet dreams and thanks for your ongoing support.
© 2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha. All Rights Reserved.
The recent wedding of the Duke of Huescar to his handsome bride was a stunning bit of theatre. He is, of course, the future Duke of Alba, grandson of one of the grandest nobles of the last century, the inimitable Duchess of Alba.
The cut and design of the bridge’s dress is truly elegant; apparently, it was designed by her creatively gifted mother herself. They make a truly handsome couple.
At this juncture, I have not yet found any video of their nuptials on the Internet; perhaps, it will surface at a later date. The sublime elegance of her dress deftly reflects the undeniable harmony between this couple. So good it is to see a couple of souls who after having suffered lost through death in recent times, return to find each other anew, to further explore their loving bond.
Whilst awaiting the second royal wedding, I passed much time reviewing the coverage of the royal wedding of TRH Duke & Duchess of Sussex last May. I was ever intrigued at the notion of an even larger guest list for the marriage of Jack Brooksbank and HRH Princess Eugenie of York.
A simple wedding, I was moved by how vastly different it was to that of TRH Duke & Duchess of Sussex’s months earlier. The most obvious difference in both ceremonies being the latter’s carriage ride; a rather simple affair. This, of course, was an affair filled with aristocrats – some of whom had attended the earlier wedding last May.
Along with Tom & Lara Inskip and Guy Pelly with a wife more noticeably pregnant, there was the ever stylish Sofia Wellesley, this time equally stunning in a Dolce & Gabbana dress.
Tom & Lara Inskip processing towards the Lower Ward and St. George’s Chapel.
Guy Pelly attending the second royal wedding of the year.
Guy’s expectant wife, Elizabeth Pelly accompanied by Astrid Harbord.
Also, attending their second royal wedding for the year, Zoe & Jake Warren.
Back for more, Pippa Matthews with her younger brother James Middleton with that Tsar Nicholas thing going on with his look. For me, a woman is most beautiful when expectant – fecund, voluptuous, primal she is then most powerful; she is then truly the creator of life. How beautiful is that Kelly green?
Perennial favourite Chelsy Davy with Melissa Percy, who wasted little time in saying, this mum don’t babysit and there went Tom van Straubenzee. Gorgeous periwinkle dress.
Cressida Bonas radiating the light magical essence of artisan souls everywhere.
Franz Albrecht & Cleopatra zu Oettingen-Spielberg, young Bavarian royals attending their second royal wedding at Windsor Chapel this year.
Holly Candy – hands down, the best dressed lady at this royal wedding. Those matching pink bow gloves took her outfit stratospherically to the next level of |über soignée. I really did not think that Amal Clooney deserved that honour at the royal wedding of TRH Duke & Duchess; for one thing, her hat was worn on the wrong side of the head – always on the right side!
Coming on strong in second place, like Secretariat was phenomenon, Naomi Campbell. Readily, so many people were carping on about what is she doing at the royal wedding; hello, how many times has Sarah, Duchess of York not been a guest of Ms. Campbell’s whilst holidaying on some yacht or other in the Mediterranean. I love the way that Ms. Campbell feigned disbelief when asked by an attendant to leave the seat in the front row of the royals’ side of the quire where she sat speaking with Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece and his family.
Made in Chelsea star, Oliver Proudlock and his fiancée Emma proved among a couple of the best-dressed men.
Admittedly, though, not the best photograph, the urbane Alexander Gilkes, Paddle8 CEO, arrived in the company of artist Tracey Emin.
Cara Delevigne – another dead-ringer for magical artisan soul with the planet’s most ubiquitous plus-one, Derek Blasberg.
Kate & Lila Moss bringing the glamour.
Poppy Delevigne sporting one of the best fascinators at the royal wedding of Jack Brooksbank and HRH Princess Eugenie of York.
Other notable royals in attendance, Princess Marie-Chantal, Crown Prince Pavlos and their daughter, Princess Maria-Olympia of Greece. Also, the Crown Prince’s younger brother, Prince Philippos of Greece attended.
Lady Gabriella Windsor and her fiancé Timothy Kingston; yet another royal wedding is on the horizon. By far, the most statuesque of the Windsor ladies.
Lady Helen & Timothy Taylor; the minor royals whom we never see enough of. Love her dress.
Ricky Martin and his artist husband.
The always witty thespian, Stephen Fry and his husband, Elliott Smith.
Holly Branson coming through.
And her brother Sam Branson
The irrepressible mother of the bride, Sarah, Duchess of York and her firstborn who seems resigned to the fact that there is always an opening for spinster lady-in-waiting. Back in the 80s when Merlin was then incarnate, I shared with him a dream had that night of ‘Fergie’. Set somewhere in east Africa, she was riding atop the roof of a Land-Rover with several others… it was a dusty, tree-lined road and they were loud, happy persons all – her husband, Lord Porchester’s offspring was not present in the dream. As the vehicle hit a bump in the road, Fergie went flying from atop the vehicle’s roof and landed on her head; it was the most startling affair – we all screamed.
There was deathly silence as her khaki-clad body remained motionless for what seemed an eternity. Suddenly, as though jolted by lightning, much as a ginger cat with a few lives yet, Fergie shot to her feet, ramrod straight then began rushing about from one side to the other of the parked Land-Rover, mugging and waving to the perfectly immobile and non-human trees. I awoke from the dream laughing, the image was so bizarre. Seated across the Cabbagetown breakfast table from me, Merlin casually declared whilst remaining focussed on the Globe and Mail in hand, “So that’s how she became unhinged…” Yet again, I was reminded of that dream as Sarah, Duchess of York bounded from the Rolls Royce and made a mad dash, mouth ajar, mugging and waving to god-only-knows whom at the foot of St. George’s Chapel’s west door the day her daughter took possession of her man. This eccentric behaviour, much as in that dream, was on display as she entered the quire at St. George Chapel at the wedding of TRH Duke & Duchess of Sussex on seeing Misha Nonoo and her date, oil heir Michael Hess. These days, she always seems only too happy that she has not ended up like Diana, Princess of Wales.
Another soul who seemed spooked to be at the ball was the groom’s gin-blossomed father whose daft expression throughout was more than a tad distracting. One was reminded of how odd Thomas Markle would have looked, had he been allowed to attend the Sussexes’ nuptials.
Here’s to the lovely young couple; here’s to life indeed. Happy for them that they have found each other anew in this life experience. To paraphrase Prince Seeiso of Lesotho when speaking of the Sussexes, I wish them buckets and buckets of healthy, happy children.
Even more glorious than their beautiful wedding was the recent announcement of the pregnancy of Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex. You cannot begin to fully fathom how excited this makes me for HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Sussex. He has always seemed so alone, so vulnerable and emotionally fragile for having suffered the tragic, violent and sudden loss of his fantastic mum at age 12. So happy to know that they will be parents, and so quickly, and am fully confident that they will make the most fantastic parents. What more than two parents truly in love does a child need on coming into this world… again.
In all of this, what has not been cool, has been watching her racially predatory white relatives act as though she is nothing but a runaway slave. There is no doubt in my mind that were the Markles a wealthy family with a net worth of more than 200$m, would any of this acrimonious dreck be taking place. How dare she, the otiose, racially impure step-sibling, Meghan, end up doing better than them in life? Not only had this runaway slave managed to have escaped capture but she had gone and married the scion at an even more wealthy plantation.
Alas, nothing was more abhorrent than having to watch the most venal racial predator interject herself into the Sussexes/Markles’ “drama” as she opined on the ABC TV documentary, The Story of the Royals. So what if a twelve-year-old Meghan Markle wrote to you about a dish detergent ad; she also did same to then First Lady, Hillary Clinton. Straight away, the puppet-master orchestrating the Markle step-family’s media campaign of slander, grudge and none-too-succinct racial predation became fully focussed. Who else but this vile racial predator, who uses the U. S. justice system to wage personal racially predatory campaigns, against blacks with heretofore impeccably clean public personae, seated there in its invisible grand wizard Klansman’s hooded costume, could be directing this media putsch to sabotage the Sussexes’ marriage? Well near the end of the 9th decade of racially obsessing over blacks, you would think that having finished off Michael Jackson, made a joke of Tiger Woods and a jailbird of Bill Cosby would be enough; no thank you, there is bigger game to prey on. Clearly, the clown knows nothing of the BRF.
Enough about those who truly do not matter.
Hier soir, as I live an almost exclusively nocturnal existence, I got into a compensatorily parfumé Uber, driven by a recent Dravidian arrival with rather pleasant overleaves. I was stunned by how much traffic gridlock there was at pushing six in an already dark, autumnal and cool, too, evening. The driver could not figure out why traffic was so bad in Toronto and as I have always been a most vocal backseat driver, I soon began educating him on why Hogtown is the only major North American city without exclusive one-way streets in the downtown core. Back in the 60s through 70s when streetcars were being removed from streets like Avenue Road, Bloor Street, Sherbourne, Parliament, the city’s old WASP guard decided that for nostalgia’s sake some streetcar lines ought to be maintained a little while longer.
Well in excess of 40 years, the city still only has the two subway lines, two million more citizens and what seems like the fungal viral growth of condos. Naturally, the city’s constabulary and the TTC (Toronto Transit Commmission) made an unwritten alliance to keep themselves gainfully profitable by maintaining the streetcar lines that were left. Hence, each summer, kilometres of tracks are ripped up and replaced with the necessity for TTC outdoor workers and police staff on hand to maintain traffic. Well into the 21st century, a woefully inadequate 19th century technology clanks away, holding up traffic and as recently was the case this past monsoon season – climate change is truly upon us – the new streetcars were caught in feet of flooded water with faecal matter afloat their flooded interiors. All this so we never end up with new subway lines, one way streets with the discontinuation of streetcars. At least, Montréal can be commended for having owned up to the crippling corruption at the municipal level of government.
Finally, after directing him along streets that he didn’t even know existed, I got to the southwest corner of University and Queen Street West, hopped out, crossed the city’s widest boulevard and made it into the lobby of the Four Season’s Centre for the Performing Arts at 1831. Lucian Mann-Chomedy who happens to be a scholar in my entity and a professor emeritus at University of Toronto, who also happens to be an unrivalled Voltaire scholar glowed as I dashed inside. We hugged and kissed and it was good to see his eyes light up; he does have more than a passing resemblance to Merlin… vibrationally. Gave him his ticket to the first opera of the season that we’ll be seeing, Hadrian. Whilst he took to the amphitheatre for the pre-opera lecture, I swiftly made it west along Queen Street West and got myself some very deliciously spiced beef teriyaki washed down with a dash of prosecco.
Returned to the theatre, Lucian shared that he found the lecture rather stimulating; heaven only knows what that meant, I was though too busy creating a post of the evening for my Instagram. What then unfolded was the most god-awful unmitigated bullshit conceivable. Look this was nothing more than effete poseurs of Toronto’s gay mafia, throwing government money around to keep their friends afloat. Watching this bit of bold-faced arts larceny was at times cruelly embarrassing. Of course, it was staged by consummate professionals, thus there were truly sublime moments when the production was marvellously realised. However, I was reminded of all those downright dogfests at Toronto Dance Theatre in the 80s – do they even exist anymore – where god-awful retro-Neanderthal movement was set to, of all things, J. S. Bach.
Act I opened with vaguely lissom dancers upstage posing overlong as Roman statuary. Naturally, they were lit such that when they finally began moving downstage on the diagonal, in movement that had been first realised by Vaslav Nijinsky (he is a mature sage, in my entity and currently reincarnated and an actor on the Portuguese stage) a century earlier, you really had to squint and try to make out if they were truly nude. Naturally, there was no such luck. That was just as lame as the opening of Act III after an intermission where there was much cruel laughter at what a dog’s breakfast we were having to slug our way through. There was the none-too-fey/verile or lissom-looking Antinous cavorting on a bed that was reminiscent of a couch I frequented in the late 70s where the city’s only queer psychiatrist and I had an ongoing affair. This bit of uninspired staging in the post-AIDS paradigm was as lame as having to watch two bored manatees going at it. Goddamn, where is the frottage! They seemed to be sleepy hobos, trying to make out which side of the bed they wanted to sleep on rather than obsessed lovers engaging in the gay world’s paedophiliacal obsession – let’s not go there just now.
Well, if you can’t hack a pop career in these parts, the next best thing is, go compose an opera. Lord Jesus… why? I am only too grateful that he didn’t set his sights on appropriating black high art and opting for a Jazz career. Last evening, Tuesday, October 23, 2018 proved without doubt that the kinder of minor Canadian celebrity should never be indulged when they elect to pursue whatever line of work mama or papa pursued. I am reminded of “Bathhouse Pierrette” as he is charitably dismissed, playing party leader in these parts and forever looking gripped by stage fright. I was much humoured this past summer as he followed the future Duke of Sussex about Buckingham Palace at the Commonwealth banquet desperately trying to score an invite to the royal wedding and being clearly snubbed by HRH Prince Henry of Wales who was gruffly dismissive of his attempts to score a pair of tickets – in the 11th hour – for him and his insufferable fag hag wife.
There were points where persons in back of Lucian and me were laughing at how embarrassingly bad the opera was. Small-time, one guy to my rear readily dismissed. Goodness, if there was one more unpleasant reference to “the Jews” in this horrid farce, I was ready to get up and walk out. The opera was frankly a reflection of the archly conservative and frankly sphinctered worldview of Toronto’s incestuous gay elites – many of whom I went through in the 70s through early 80s and who then were just as smegmaed as a can of freshly opened corned beef – those, indeed, were the pre-plague years.
Getting on the elevator to make it to the basement where I collected my pea coat, I remarked, to one woman who asked my verdict, “You know, it would truly have been great theatre if that strobe light in Act IV had suddenly flashed brighter and erased this entire madness from memory. Trust me, dreams are never this bad!” You can fool those of your tightly incestuous social crowd all of the time but never those too shrewd to give a damn about you and your BS.
As ever my darlings, dream like you’ve never dreamt before and by all means, push off and start flying for at least there, you can readily escape the madness that’s got this paradigm saturated to the gills with BS. Thanks so much for your ongoing support, I love you more!
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