Beautifully Breathtaking…

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Self-Portrait

Oil on Canvas

50 x 40 in

1962 Faith Ringgold

http://www.faithringgold.com

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

Buster En Repose Pyramid Green Room.

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

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

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

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

The Fawn… It Definitely Was A Miracle.

Merlin Christmas 88

On this the eve of what would have proven Merlin’s 72nd birthday, I share these rather totemic dreams.  This November 18, 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of Merlin’s passing of full-blown AIDS, on a cold November Saturday morning when icy snowflakes aimlessly drifted across the city streets.  Whilst at dinner recently, a dear friend asked if I am never saddened at the loss of Merlin and if I ever do miss him. Of course, as I write this blog, I am warmed by the fact that on December 2, 2006 – almost 13 years ago, Merlin was reincarnated in a canalled northern European city.  Merlin is now female and the third of three children – two older brothers. 

What’s more, Merlin reborn has eyes that would now be even more phenomenal than when last I gazed besotted and rhapsodic into those large, soulful hazel eyes.  Whereas Merlin was on his sixth life as a seventh level mature scholar soul, now reincarnated and female that soul is now living its first incarnation as a first level old scholar. These next dreams were dreamt in May, 1989 when Merlin was then still incarnate and at that point, he daily listened to the audiocassette recording of my dreams.  This he did because they fascinated him; more than that, he did so because ever the director, he was keen to give insight and direction. 

“Come on, Arvin, you have to be more descriptive.  I have no idea if the car was blue, green, for that matter a convertible and was it a tan or white leather interior?” 

Certainly, it can never be underestimated the pivotal role that Merlin played in the depth and thoroughness of the audiocassette recorded dreams.  He was ever a loving but tough taskmaster and happy am I to have had his loving input and direction. After having listened to the recorded dream being now shared herein, Merlin came to dinner at our 20 Amelia Street home and declared, “Well, let’s not get too caught up in trying to interpret and figure out the symbolism of those dreams.”  After, he winked, we softly kissed; his lips as ever warm and full as internally an unrelenting disease determinedly consumed his body… but never alas his spirit. 

These were potent, lucid astral plane dreams.  To say that they were totemic would be understating fact.  The dreams were a glimpse beyond the veil as Merlin shamanically wound down another incarnation and got ready to put to rest another life. Ever focussed on my spiritual maturation, I am immensely proud to have survived so long after Merlin’s passing.  Had anyone wagered that I would be still in the game 30 years later, I would have said, “You are reading the wrong tea leaves.”  

Well, here I am still shaking arse and the Rathore to the core.  These totemic dreams were dreamt on Monday, May 22, 1989, audiocassette recorded on tape IX of the 250 audiocassette recording of my dreams and yet to be found in Volume one the 25 Volume dream opus. Too, at the time, the Moon then transited both Sagittarius and my seventh house – wherein my natal Moon is posited.  Truly few are they who are brave enough to drink from the chalice that is life. 

Your support and choice to be focussed herein are both humbling and a source of inordinate pride.  I am immensely grateful. Sweet dreams and as ever do remember, death is just a shift in focus; one is merely focussed at a different frequency.  Besides, as one rather beguiling astral plane habituée put it, “Trust me, death is not wasted on the living.”  

Dreams serve as the most expedient conduit for sustaining the bonds and communion of souls between persons who are no longer focussed in the physical plane but refocussed on the astral plane between lives as astral plane habitués whilst resting, reviewing and weaving the tapestry of future incarnations.  So, drink and live in the moment.  Take a deep breath, open your eyes within – don’t be afraid – and there within the silken folds of self is the massive beauty which is spirit.. go on explore and discover the true you.  I love you more. 

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Montpelier Plantation Nevis

The first dream found me posited on a hilltop looking down into a valley which then rose up into a lower hill.  From the vantage of the mountains in Sandy Point, St. Kitts or Nevis, the view was of being down towards the ocean.  Topographically, it seemed more like St. Kitts – however, this was definitely set in Nevis.  I looked out and what did I see but a house on this hill; it was a very huge and lovely house.

Down from the sky, before the house on the rolling plains, fell a column of white light that shimmered.  The manifesting light had the power of a tornado and it was a force that moved… it undulated.  Truth be told, this was a liquefied white light – not unlike a waterspout.  As compared to the left and right sides of the shaft, it was as though the centre of the light was faded.  The centre of the column of light seemed invisible but it wasn’t.  As a matter of fact, it was sort of greyish-coloured.  

*A very fleeting dream this was but it was one that was potent.  The sky overhead was ominously dark as though the cloud cover was simply to mask something else.  There was no getting around the fact that the light was used as some sort of transport or conveyance.  The light was being used for the relay of energies between the house’s occupants, if there were any, and whatever was beyond the clouds.

The dream seemed to have abruptly collapsed because I had happened on the scene.  There was no one else about.  Too, it was the only house on the landscape.  I felt as though I had been ejected, from the dream, for having been there and witnessed what I wasn’t supposed to have been privy to.  The dream collapsed around me; I was deprived any further knowledge of what was going on.  In light of the dream that would follow, it became fairly obvious that the light column was channelling.

Eventually, the astra-human soul quality of Merlin’s would quite potently manifest.  Of course, just as in the dream of Thursday, July 7, 1988VI, again, there was a lone house on the landscape.  As will become evident, in later moments of the dreams, Merlin’s soul quality would manifest.  END.

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Satiro de Aaron Sims

The next dream immediately found me in bed with Merlin.  He got up and he looked very old.  Looking very tired and old, he turned around to me then went out into the hallway.  He turned around and asked me, “When are you going to start moving on because I’d like to die by the end of this year?  When are you going to go back to school?  I’m really tired of this; I’m tired of this illness… I just want to move on.”

He was terribly impatient.  Indeed, Merlin here was very forceful.  That was when he began shapeshifting; Merlin underwent a metamorphosis before my eyes.  He became, as he spoke, more impatient.  I watched spellbound as his physiology morphed into the very astral-looking faun – though elfin-looking, he was taller than his known humanoid self; Merlin became the archetypal Chiron.  I started crying sounding real childlike and said, “No… no!  Please, please don’t!”

His face then became part of the pink walls, thus his transformed face was flesh-toned.  Here his face looked faunlike; his eyes were on the sides.  He had the face of a faun and I only ever saw the right eye.  The eye was black-within-black.  The eye looked down at me because the head – which was the only thing visible when mounted – was up on the wall.  Shapeshifted, Merlin’s was a very hard-looking eye.

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Merlin’s eye rapaciously looked right into the soul.  An ancient eye it was.  I caressed the softness of the fur-like skin and pleaded with him and said, “Please, I can’t live without you.  I couldn’t go on.  Please don’t lose your strength and get ill,” I pleaded with the shapeshifted Merlin and cried.  I was aware of being here in bed asleep whilst dreaming and that my body was going through the motions of crying and being pained.  Merlin did not hear me, although, I thought that as I slept that I was talking aloud in my sleep.

*This was an intensely upsetting dream because it dramatised how Merlin wished to be allowed to move on.  He no longer cared to be focussed in the life.  Though it was obvious that he could have soldiered on for months more, he simply lost the desire to go on being focussed.  Clearly, this was owing to the bilious discord created by Tytanikka and Oleg’s betrayal.

Though he never physiologically resembled the classic centaur, Merlin’s face not only further morphed becoming like a fawn’s, more accurately, his head and face did have the eventual shape of a young bison’s – very Taurean, strong and potent.

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On preparing for the video to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Merlin’s birth back in 2017, I decided then to head off to the costumer, Malabar on McCaul Street where artist and lover George Hawken lived in the late 80s to early 90s.  Inspired by the first dream of Merlin had 41 years ago in July 1978, I decided to get a cowl as a tribute to the cowl Merlin wore in the inaugural dream encounter with him, four years before having met on Friday, October 1, 1982 in New York City.  So, there was I at Mount Pleasant Cemetery on Saturday, July 15, 2017 in my cowl and the panama hat purchased at Versailles to escape the heat.  I thought it fitting as Merlin always loved wearing panama hats.

My trusty friend, J.J. who happens to be an artisan entity mate whom I have known in 20 past lives –- which is a high incidence of contact -– was the director.  Initially, I had hoped to throw a white party on the lawn to the southwest of the chapel at Mount Pleasant Cemetery and have a drone film the event where a gathering of friends would raise a glass to Merlin on the anniversary of his ennobled birth.  Merlin always threw a white party each year for his birthday at his parents’ stunning backyard in north Toronto’s Servington Crescent.

The plan was not approved by the cemetery and thus, one had to improvise.  I got my panama hat and my cowl and together, we proceeded with a dozen long-stem white roses to visit Merlin’s resting place.  I had a pretty good idea what I was after.  With the matching white cowl, I wanted to evoke the magic of meeting Merlin in that initial dream which is shared in volume one of the dream memoirs, which is already published: Merlin and Arvin: A Shamanic Dream Odyssey.  

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Get your copy!  Thanks as ever for your support!

In the hardcover edition of human civilisation’s first dream memoirs, the initial dream encounter with Merlin is shared.  The dream begins on page 110 in the hardcover edition.  I wanted the same sense of wonderment and magic that I felt for having met Merlin in that first dream four years prior to having met reflected in the video.  In that dream, Merlin’s appearance was preceded by a white totemic creature which seemed, in its astral plane outréness, to be part Russian wolfhound, part alpaca, part dog.  

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So, moving to the lawn, having descended the steps of the chapel, I began walking across the open lawn towards the statuesque lion-festooned mausoleum with the five remaining white long-stem white roses.  Seven roses, of course, were left at Merlin’s grave -– one rose for each of our seven glorious years together.  As I stepped onto the lawn, it seemed magical… timeless even.  Slowly, confidently as I approached the filmmaker at the other end of the lawn, I thought of Merlin and that initial dream.  

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Just then, I very distinctly thought of Merlin greeting me by purring, “Hello Lambs.”  As if right on cue, from off stage left, an adult deer came from behind the bushes and tombstones that line the far edges of the open lawn.  Never before had I seen a deer at Mount Pleasant Cemetery.  Indeed, the good burghers of Forest Hill who clearly regularly jogged in the park-like setting stopped and were overheard remarking that they had never seen a deer in the cemetery before.  All that I could do was tear up and continue walking as the deer then bolted and ran from stage left to right as I continued my stride uninterrupted –- unfazed by the appearance of an adult deer on the grounds of the cemetery.  What is more astounding, is that J.J. at the time was filming my walk; at the last minute, I decided against a run-through as I was concerned about the natural light possibly changing if we were to rehearse the shot.  

Unbeknownst to me, the deer after having made it to stage right, then returned to the centre of the lawn and stood there perfectly still whilst observing my progression across the lawn.  J.J. who was astounded by the occurrence remarked that he had just witnessed a miracle.   There is no doubt in my mind as I tried to recapture the magic of that initial dream encounter that there was a subtle validation of that dream from the magical shaman himself on the other side by having had Merlin’s spirit step in as director emeritus and had the deer enter the shot as validation and a token of his appreciation of the love that we shared and my steadfast loyalty to him.  After crossing the lawn and turning to watch the deer stand there, looking down the lawn at me, I felt such utter peacefulness and abandonment of spirit — just as when alone and intimate in the dark with Merlin.  

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Yes, I believe in magic as did Merlin and as though an appreciation of having stridently done everything to fulfil his mandate to me, Merlin’s astral body conjure up the same magic here and now as he had in July 1978 –- four years before slipping inside a Hell’s Kitchen walk-up and readily winning me over with his sexy elfin charm, magic and sex that proved the most grounding shamanic passion… every time.  Standing there, I was reminded, too, of that dream in 1989 before Merlin passed wherein he shape-shifted and became a fawn-like creature who morphed and became one with the wall in our Cabbagetown home.  

All the music chosen for this 13-minute video is music that Merlin loved whilst incarnate and to which he returned time and again -– whether at Joe Morton’s tiny Upper West Side apartment in autumn of 1983, Toronto’s 20 Amelia Street in tony Cabbagetown.  From Glenn Gould’s mastery of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations, to Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Dionne Warwick singing That’s What Friends Are For –- in that segment of the video, I included friends whom Merlin valued: Kareem Benezra, myself, Wayne Robson and his oldest and most loyal friend, the ever-gracious, Maxime Gascoigne-de Montigny.

Of course, for Stevie Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovely, I exclusively included photos of Merlin and his very handsome and gracious father, David Ben-Daniel.  Whereas I favoured Sir Paul McCartney’s Hey Jude, Merlin ever loved George Harrison and especially My Sweet Lord.  Of course, one Saturday, whilst staying at actor, Joe Morton’s Manhattan apartment, when Merlin and I secretly committed to being together, we slow-danced to Supertramp and Roger Hodgson’s unmatched magical vocals on Supertramp’s Breakfast In America.

Additionally, Jeffrey Osborne’s On the Wings of Love which was one of Merlin’s favourite ballads is also included.  Merlin loved Black male soul singers: Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Jeffrey Osborne –- most especially –- George Benson, Al Green, Teddy Pendergrass, Donny Hathaway, Barry White.  Most of all, I am especially proud of the video that J.J. and I have created; I think that it masterfully captures the depth of my love and fealty to the most fabulously magical shaman encountered on this incarnation’s spiritual odyssey.

Naturally, before having left for Mount Pleasant Cemetery, I had flooded my apartment with the music that appears in the video.  Perhaps, unwittingly by so doing, I was invoking Merlin’s spirit, which later joined us when he played ultimate director and pulled off the most magical bit of stage direction –- an adult deer in the middle of a cemetery in the heart of mid-town Toronto.  Lastly, I played the sublimely soulful Shirley Horn’s interpretation of, Here’s to Life!  Whilst raising a glass of coconut water, I had forgotten to pick up some champagne the evening prior and it was too early in the morning to find champagne anywhere –- the lighting was way too good.  Besides who knows if that magical deer would have been anywhere about.

Here’s to life… most of all, here’s to Merlin… here’s to dream shamans everywhere!

Merlin & Arvin 1987

Merlin’s mandate to me ever remains:

“Please my darling, I want you to write about our lives together.  I promise you, however possible, I am going to send you dreams to include in the story of our love… our lives together.”

Of course, there is my Instagram account:  Instagram Arvin da Brgha

The YouTube channel is:  Arvin da Brgha YouTube

For now, here’s to life, here’s to you and thanks so much for your ongoing support all these years!

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

Otello: Race and the Arts.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Highlights from a rather underwhelming show.   

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

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

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

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

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

#BestDespinaEver!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Awakened Dream Like No Other!

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

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

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

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“Is this the way to Spencer House?” 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lady Spencer’s room.  lovely.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Presentation at the Temple – Giovanni Bellini c 1460

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

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

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

Ah nothing beats a good old nostalgic adventure.

Interior of Royal Albert Hall.  

Intermission from the stalls at Royal Albert Hall.  

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

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

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

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

The Day After the Night that Was.

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By now the effects of the stewed fruit at breakfast has seen my waist shrink; I am grateful.  The morning after the night that was, I am still elated and humming away that catchy melody from Ludwig Minkus’ greatly composed ballet.  

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After breakfast I decamped at Leicester Square where it was time to enjoy the bright, cool sunlight and catch a movie.  The Vue cinemas are rather interesting; I was keen to know if I would have a repeat of what had transpired last winter. 

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Back then, I was upstairs at the same cinemas watching, Darkest Hour, which proved a real tour de force performance from Gary Oldman.  Sat in the back row, soon I became bloated and expansive.  Though not the least bit drowsy, I felt wide-open and lucidly self-aware.  Next, as the film progressed, I watched as several pure white humanoid forms simply stood up and walked to the sides and quite seamlessly walked through the very real walls of the cinema.  

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One of the things that Merlin and I always loved doing, was seeing a film during its opening weekend.  Naturally, so close to the anniversary of his passing, I was keen on seeing a film.  J. K. Rowling is among my favourite contemporary writers and having seen the first film in this series, it only made sense to go.  

 

 

Whilst waiting for the cinema to open, I caught a series of items; all are favourite actors of mine, especially Sir Kenneth Branagh.  

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The first screening of the day was a special affair with about one third of the theatre occupied.  A lovely Chinese couple sat to my right with their precocious son of about ten years stuck between them.  We chatted briefly and I thought it so strange that conversation with strangers is almost unheard of when attending a Canadian movie.  

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I emerged into the crisp Saturday morning in Leicester Square a bit teary eyed as thoughts of Merlin at one point during the film overwhelmed me.  It was after all the eve of his passing some 29 years earlier.  

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Slipping inside this tiny joint – I always favour hole-in-the-world, ma-n-pa joints, I got a couple of really good slices of pizza whilst pouring through the Times of London.  There was conversation close by, which struck me as interesting; it went from Theresa May and Brexit to Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex.  I soon realised that both persons were openly criticised chiefly for being women; in the case of the Ms. May, she is dismissed and not taken seriously chiefly for being female.  As for Meghan, like every woman who marries into the BRF, she is readily reviled, though, some of this has bordered on racial hysteria and seriously threatening.  

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In a bid to cleanse my very soul, after all that, I slipped from Leicester Square for the uplifting sophistication of the National Gallery where I deftly moved through my favourite salons with usual mercurial speed, taking the time to pause and admire the key works of art that bring me the greatest pleasure.  

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Well, after all that art, it was time for more prowling the decidedly unCanadian wintry streets of London.  Along Shaftesbury, I strode my Crockett & Jones booted and blistered feet into Neal Street where my favourite hippy-dippy (as Merlin would remark) New Age store, The Astrology Shop in Covent Garden.  Though, it most definitely does not have the best choices, I still love the feel of the place and their sagebrush collection is second to none.   

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Along with marvellous pieces of crystals and a wonderful Citrine, I really connected with this gorgeous agate ring.  The moment that I saw it, I really resonated with me and it felt so right. 

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After a rather warm conversation with a green-eyed, redhead, she was fascinated by my custom Reuben Mack messenger bag.  

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I then headed back to The British Museum for more shopping.  As it was the weekend, there was now a sizeable lineup to gain entry.  As though my impatience with crowds were not enough but soon, I had two Torontonian women doing what Canadians do best; they spent much of their time gawking at me, talking about me and cultural appropriation for wearing the custom Reuben Mack messenger.  Standing there in line, I was reminded of what petty, small-minded bigoted jackasses the average Canadian can be and god do they love being openly racially predatory towards blacks. 

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Never once had I experienced a scintilla of racial animus from a Briton or for being in London to that point; there you have it, the land where racism is enshrined in law: employment equity law of Canada: All employers must employ, Caucasians, First Nations persons, Disabled persons and visible minorities and therein is the framework of Canada’s own form of Apartheid – state sanctioned racism.  All employers, in particular crown corporations (government agencies – federal and provincial) employ visible minorities to the exclusion of blacks and if and when they do employ blacks, they then hire blacks only as casual workers which means they are not entitled to benefits, pension and guaranteed hours.  

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So smugly established is this state of affairs that the current prime minister refused to attend the 50th anniversary of Caribana – the nations West Indian community’s gift to Canada on its 100th birthday in 1967; however, he attends ever Gay pride parade in the same city as Caribana, Toronto, and has repeatedly been to India, to dress up and act a right clown because who gives a damn about blacks in Canada.  As one friend said, blacks over the past three decades have become as marginalised as First Nations persons.  But enough about aggressive young souls and their racialised worldview.  Meanwhile, as they were openly rude towards me whilst queueing to enter the British Museum, I grabbed my phone and pretended to film them to which one of them suddenly became enraged, demanding that I not film her…  You have to laugh or truly you would go mad.  In any event, I got the feisty Buster a nice but scary Egyptian stuffed cat – he is actually afraid of it.  

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On my return to the hotel, a couple of blocks from The British Museum, I slumped into bed and decided that my aching feet needed a break from the rest of the day’s planned events.  To that end, I stayed in that night rather than return to Barbican Hall to catch a celebration of the Windrush Migration.  At that concert were to have been Calypso Rose and The Mighty Sparrow; though it had been years since last seeing either performer, I just was not into it.  Moreover, I wanted to take the time to be with myself and reflect on the eve of Merlin’s passing some 29 years earlier.  

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As ever, thanks for your ongoing support and ever remember to push off and start flying.  

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

At Last, The Day Has Finally Arrived.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photography can never do this masterpiece justice.  

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

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Can you hear my soul purring…

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Phenomenal. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pilgrimage to Windsor… that dress!

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Aerial view: Windsor Castle, Berkshire.  

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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.  

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Next, through the hurdle of being scoured by the most thorough security detail; and with good reason too.  

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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.  

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I am reminded of Vancouver Island by the hearty vegetation down below.  

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Nothing is more refreshing than the smell of moss in cooler weather.  The air is so fresh here in Berkshire.  

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The view from the Middle Ward down to St. George’s Chapel; but that’ll come after touring the castle’s state apartments.  

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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.  

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The view along the terrace towards the entrance to the castle. 

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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.  

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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. 

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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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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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. 

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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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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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. 

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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.  

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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.  

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Statue of HM King Charles II without whose drive, there would have been no Restoration.  

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View of the round tower on exiting the State Apartments and at the edge of the Quadrangle.  

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Details of St. George’s Chapel.  

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Details… and more details.  

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Even more interesting details…

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Sadly, photography is not allowed inside the chapel.  

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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.  

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And like that, another day of adventure was completed.  

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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.  

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

 

Shopping @ British Museum.

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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.  

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HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales by Ralph Heimans,  Charles @ 70.

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Charles en famille… beautiful.  

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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.  

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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.  

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Lovely, what was even more glorious was the sound of leaves sounding like crisp, ruffled bedding as I confidently strode through the park.  

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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.  

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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. 

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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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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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. 

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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. 

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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.  

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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.  

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