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.
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