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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© 2013-2022 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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©2013-20222 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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©2013-2022 Arvin da Brgha.  All Rights Reserved,  

Oxford Circus. Pimlico. Barbican.

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

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No faking this; the hustle is fucking real. 

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

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

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

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

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Vauxhall Tower (St. George Wharf Tower.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This is a colossal retrospective and his talent was unmatched.  

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The sensuality is breathtaking.  

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Every painting was a newly discovered masterpiece.  

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The breath of his work is astounding.  

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What a truly marvellous discovery.  

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

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

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Masterful!

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

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Quite simply, there are no words.  

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Besotted.  

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

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Breathtaking…

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

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This is everything.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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©2013-2022 Arvin da Brgha.  All Rights Reserved.  

The Remains of Armistice Day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Well, of course, he ruled something.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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En route back to the hotel… a little late night smoothie snack was in order. 

As ever, sweet dreams, don’t forget to push off and start flying and as always, thanks for your ongoing support.  

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©2013-2022 Arvin da Brgha.  All Rights Reserved.  

Now there was a night in the theatre.

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Whilst Lucian Mann-Chomedy took in the pre-opera lecture, I sat on a bench in the middle of University Avenue, enjoying a rather exquisite four-cheese macaroni and cheese baked to perfection as I read a very good biography of Tudor matriarch, Margaret Beaufort. Before me was the glass palace to the city’s high arts, beautifully lit. There were no doubt in my mind that I was shortly going to be enjoying a beautiful night at the theatre.

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Once inside, I got situated next to Lucian who chatted away in that way that scholar souls tend to drone on about all manner of data that others may find tedious at best but, for having a scholar task companion (Merlin), I have grown comfortably accustomed. Close by, a tall silver-haired man kept on admiring me, even none too discreetly making bodily contact as legs relaxed and splayed open wide; in years past, I would gladly have explored and indulged.

After having made the obligatory Instagram post, I turned off the phone as the house lights faded into nothingness and the magic was begun. Tchaikovsky, you say, how could one go wrong there. The curtain ascended and the most glorious lucid dream this side of the dreamtime then unfolded. The sparse set design courtesy of Michel Levin’s creative genius was both stark and beautiful. Just the right lighting and the desired mood readily effected.

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Leaves leaves leaves everywhere, the lighting of which matched the set and costumes. Last week’s production lacked melody, apart from the fact that Tchaikovsky’s music was well-known, there was nothing to that soulless, dissonant affair that drew you in or proved memorable – save it was really god-awfully bad.

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During intermission, I stepped outdoors into the cool autumn air to return a couple of calls and pre-order an Uber meal. On my return, Lucian rightly so remarked on what a changed vibe there was in the house to the week prior. Indeed, there was stillness that hung in the air after each aria before the house would break into applause.

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The prince’s aria was especially sublime a performance. The familiarity of glorious Tchaikovsky music, melodies long associated with the world of dance were welcome in the world of opera as Alexander Pushkin’s vision was handsomely realised.

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After intermission the stark scene was beautifully animated as chairs, costumes and dancing ruled during the ball scene. The ball scene was dominated by classic Tchaikovsky music that choreographers the past century have relished celebrating in dance.

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In the final act, one of things that struck me was how void of emotion the opera, Hadrian, the week prior was. Watching Onegin’s love finally profess her love for him after all these years, yet, insisting that she had to carry on with her life, her comfortable life and not leave it all for the man who pined for her was truly captivating. Ahead of me, two rows, were a couple of ladies who during that duet looked at each other, one even wiped her eyes.

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This duet totally captured the human condition; it was about love, passion, longing, loss and dashed dreams. We could all relate to it. The passion and emotion tugged at your heart centre. Last week, not only was the music the most irritatingly banal but there was emperor Hadrian seemingly love struck, yet there was never any passion and emotion in scenes between him and Antinous. If you had no clue that this was one of the greatest love stories in gay history, you could be forgiven in assuming that it was an emperor bereft at the loss of his only son and heir, leaving him without the will to carry on. There simply was no connection, between them and by extension the audience… no passion whatsoever. Regardless their homoerotic love, the opera failed to have aroused emotion, passion and thereby causing you to lose yourself and identify completely with Hadrian, Antinous… or both.

That’s what one goes to the theatre for. At curtain call, rather than jump up and flee the theatre horrified as last week, I shot to my feet, clapped and howled my face off. Everyone leaving the theatre was enrobed in warmth and had been inspired to believe anew in love… that’s what great art does. What a truly memorable night in the theatre, this beautiful, passionate opera is with great melodies to spirit you along, long after you headed out into the world in the cool autumnal night air.

As ever, dream with the greatest passion for it is a true love affair indulged with self each and every day. Love yourself with new abandon and push off and start flying because you really are a truly spectacular work of art. As ever, thanks for your ongoing support. I love you more than you know.

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©2013-2022 Arvin da Brgha. All Rights Reserved.

@ROM

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Monday past, in a bid to escape the near-insufferable heat – why does it seem to be even hotter at nighttime? – I rode up onto the sidewalk from the bike lane in a bid to park my bike, I was accosted by yet another vile, little, arse-munching, lisping ninny. Why is it that white females and white gays are so quick to be animus-charged and spew so much hate… every frigging time. As you can well imagine, I was quick on the rebuttal with even more forceful vituperative-charged impatience.

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This past Pride parade, which I have never once attended, I was being invited to come to march in solidarity with the missing and murdered victims of Toronto’s gay serial killer. Without hesitation, I was almost violent in my refusal to do any such thing.

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Two years earlier, whilst returning home from a work gig, I had to cut through the remnants of that year’s pride parade on Wellesley Street East, when just east of Church Street en route home, I had a tall skinhead-looking guy with lots of tatts and no shirt on with rainbow-coloured open leather vest, start shoving my bike, which at the time I was walking rather than riding.

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Soon, he began taunting me: “Yeah Bud! All Lives Matter! Next someone in back of me shoved me into him and soon enough, I was being kicked in the arse, shoved, punched and my bike similarly abused. At the end of it, somehow, I managed my way home with bruised pride and a bike, which eventually had to be repaired. Later, when I got home, I discovered that earlier at the start of the pride parade, the Black Lives Matter group had been invited to participate in the march.

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Somehow, it was assumed that they had crashed the parade; either way, their presence was clearly not wanted because they were being verbally assaulted and also pelted with water bottles from accounts I learnt from persons, who had witnessed the episode on Bloor Street East at the start of the parade. At the time of the assault that I endured, during which not a single soul on the crowded street and sidewalk did anything to intervene, the attack made no sense; sure, I knew from personal experience that gays are the most racially hostile persons – still, it seemed a bit extreme to be attacked out of the blue.

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Like the true Rat that I am, having taken the lisping, arse-munching bigot to task, I slipped into the cool, airy sophistication of the ROM, which lords over that end of Yorkville. I had been intent on seeing the spider exhibition in B2; however, the elevators were not going there. So in the end, I opted go up to level 4 and take in the visionary fashion exhibitions by Iris van Herpen and Philip Beesley.

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As previously, I had been so underwhelmed by the Dior exhibition @ ROM, I went into this one expecting very little.

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Boy, was I wowed! This was like the most surreal, lucid dream imaginable. Two designs into the exhibition and I had to hightail it to the photograph and bio of the artist; I was readily impressed and warmed by her soulfulness.

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This was so phenomenally uplifting an exhibition that I soon turned on John Coltrane’s, who happens to be an entity mate of mine and Merlin’s, 1958 masterpiece, Blue Train.

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Those lines! Truly sublime and elegant.

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Truly visionary.

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Seeing these gorgeous fascinators, I was readily reminded of New York City milliner and friend of Merlin’s, Frederick Jones who – like so many black American friends of both mine and Merlin’s – perished of AIDS in the 1990s.

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The fascinators also reminded me of the gorgeous recent royal wedding, which for having looked at it several times to date, I have now noticed more persons than initially on the day of.

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What I found truly fascinating was that Charlie van Straubenzee has the exact same facial quirks as does Merlin’s oldest friend; the same shudder followed by mouth and nose-twitching.

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Well, after all that, I could not wait to cross to the other salon and discover Philip Beesley’s creative genius.

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By this point, I was certain that I would be just as equally wowed!

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I was completely besotted!

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For this visionary tour de force, I switched to Miles Davis’ 1959 gem, Kind of Blue.

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Blow that horn Miles!

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Notice the raptor-like birds staking their predatory claim to the fashion victim.

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This exhibition was so breathtakingly beautiful, I was left swaying and bobbing, pretty much like Baroness Fellowes to the gospel choir singing, This Little Light of Mine, as her nephew, HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Sussex got into the Ascot Landau carriage and the elegantly ravishing Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex wowed the world – I don’t think that I have ever seen a white dress so white; I have been referring to it as supernova white, the damn colour so fiercely popped.

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One of the most touching moments at the recent royal wedding was when designer Roland Mouret repeatedly kissed Victoria Beckham on the cheek with his sexually dynamic lover, James Webster, being the centre of my libidinally focussed and undivided attended.

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Some of Philip Beesley’s whimsical designs look like something that Isabella Blow would readily have favoured. So sad to have recently lost equally stylish, unique and creative fellow English eccentrics, Annabelle Neilson and Lucy Ferry-Birley.

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I really loved this dress.

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This masterpiece is truly iconic.

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This confection of autumnal oak leaves really moved me.

To truly be appreciated, these next marvellous creations had to have been filmed.

For this series of suspended installations, I listened next to Thelonious Monk’s 1958 masterpiece, Misterioso.

By far, this was one of the most enjoyable exhibitions ever mounted @ ROM.

This truly was amazing! Wow!

ROM

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

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©2013-2022 Arvin da Brgha. All Rights Reserved.

Overleaves Validation and All That Jazz!

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In the lead up to the annual Jazz Festival here in town, I decided to seek a bit of inspiration and take in a couple of documentaries.  Both proved rather satisfying.  On a temperate Wednesday midday in June, I made it to the Bell TIFF Lightbox building, to which I had never been before to indulge.  

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Relaxed in my comfortable seat whilst waiting interminably through too many ads, I focussed on the latest book on my KOBO being enjoyed to the hilt.  Just then the lights began going down and I was about to be wowed by Grace Jones in all her fabulousness.

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Without doubt, Grace is a force of galactic dimensions and thoroughly absorbed and entertained was I.  There was no getting around the fact that she felt like family in her West Indian realness of essence.  Of course, she also happens to be a cadre mate of both mine and Merlin’s.  

Jones, Grace 19/5/1948 Spanish Town, Jamaica

Michael: This fragment is a seventh-level mature warrior – first life thereat.  Grace is in the power mode with a goal of dominance.  A sceptic, she is in the moving part of intellectual centre. 

Grace’s primary chief feature is arrogance and the secondary greed, is fixated on accomplishment. 

Grace’s body type is Mars/Saturn. 

The fragment Grace is second-cast in third cadence; she is a member of greater cadence two.  Grace’s entity is five, cadre one, greater cadre 7, pod 414 – yet another cadre mate of Merlin’s and Arvin’s. 

Grace’s essence twin is a warrior and her task companion a sage. 

Grace’s three primary needs are: power, freedom and adventure. 

There are 10 past-life associations with Arvin and 16 with Merlin. 

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The weekend prior, I decided to drop everything and go catch the André Leon-Talley documentary.  I knew that it had been playing, Juan-Felipe de Castro — a most exhaustingly funny sage… no, they are not all funny — had raved about it and insisted that I go.  In any event, there was I, playing femme au foyer with my Swiffer and came across the coffee table gem: ALT 365+ and immediately took a shower, booked a ticket, opted for some Tom Ford Black Orchid eau de parfum instead of patchouli, hopped on my bike with my Dorothy Grant messenger bag and my snazzy Wellingtons.  

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I got to King West and John Streets, opted to lock up my trusty bike on John Street and dashed across John for the 40 storey plus condo.  There are too many of these damn hideous things and more people jump from them than one would care to have to admit.  That aside, I made my way inside, for the first time — I never do TIFF — and was wowed by the place; seriously, though, what’s with having to climb stairs when your bladder is about to give out?  

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Comfy, the beautifully interiored salon’s lights went down and thus began the pleasurable and immensely enlightening adventure that is, The Gospel According to André.  Great it was to see the grand dame, Diana Vreeland.  Of course, I was reminded of the summer of 1983 when working in the garment district, running errands for milliner, Frederick Jones; these were all persons whom he knew and with whom I became briefly acquainted for tagging along with him to some mid-afternoon or mid-morning meeting after which we would be off to buy fabric.  Frederick had actually taught me how to block hats, which gladly I did as he feverishly worked away in his West 43rd Street Studio/home.  

Talley, André-Leon 16/10/1949

Michael: This fragment is a fifth-level mature atisan – third life thereat.  André is in the passion mode with a goal of acceptance.  An indealist, he is in the emotional part of intellectual centre. 

André’s primary chief feature is greed fixated on satisfaction and the secondary, arrogrance.  

André’s body type is Jupiter/Venus. 

The fragment André is fifth-cast in the first cadence; he is a member of greater cadence three.  André’s entity is six, cadre one, greater cadre 6, pod 414. 

André’s essence twin is an artisan and the task companion a sage who is known to him. 

André’s three primary needs are: expression, expansion and communion. 

There are 14 past-life associations with Arvin and 10 with Merlin. 

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Last Saturday feeling deathly exhausted and suffering from allergies — my sneeze is phenomenally loud — I debated whether or not to make the Liona Boyd concert at Church of the Redeemer, on Bloor Street West at Avenue Road.  

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Slipping inside the pyramid, I grabbed a clutch of crystals, intently focussed on ridding myself of this allergic morass and dosed off for a spell.  When I came to, sneezed louder than normally I would then found myself nose-blowing and ejecting a pond of phlegm.  At that, I felt grounded, focussed and as though I had never been in the throes of allergies.  I took a cold shower, in my perpetually freezing apartment, the AC is always on at 61° — I cannot abide heat… to say nothing of summer.  

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With unassigned seating, I went and sat at the edge of the last pew in the stage left transept.  No sooner than having taken a seat that the smell of the persons to my right precluded remaining where I was; they, frankly, smelt like burnt flesh which also had a melange that was not dissimilar to the loud smell of a long-haired dog when wet.  Who knows what Canis Major world from whence their hybridised alien stock originates but I always find the smell of such persons off-putting.  

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Thus, I opted to stand for the performance’s duration and a gloriously magical interlude it proved.  This was billed as a celebration of Yorkville in its 1960s heyday.  After the youth choir had opened, out walked Liona Boyd in a flowing white and blue gown, looking positively ethereal.  

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This performance for me was just as bucolic as when passing late afternoons in childhood high up my favourite fruit tree in St. Kitts and being swept along by air currents as the branch on which I would be perched, rocked and swayed, taking me higher as I blissed out to the magic of Beatles’ tunes from the neighbour’s radio; naturally, no such ungodly music was ever allowed in our household.  Great fun it was to hear Liona’s recollections of Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, John Denver and others.  For the first time, after her anecdote about working in a London, England studio where also John Denver was working, Jet Plane proved a most poignant moment in the concert.  

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There was a hush after we all sang along to the John Denver tune, with Liona on vocals and guitar, that moment was simply rapturous.  This performance was just as intimate as if we were merely a few persons in a backyard, hanging out by candlelight after a fine meal, good wine and having a sing-along whilst some august soul strummed on guitar.  A truly soul-stirring adage, the evening proved.  I was only too happy to grab my autographed copies of her memoirs — which I have yet to devour.  One had a true sense of communion when singing along and afterwards when briefly chatting whilst she signed both memoirs.  I really didn’t need the overleaves to have validated the connection; quite remarkably she felt solid which is how all soul connections register… at least for me they do.  

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Boyd, Liona 11/7/1949 London, England

Michael: This fragment is a mid-cycle mature sage – second life thereat.  Liona is in the perseveration mode with a goal of growth.  A pragmatist, she is in the moving part of intellectual centre. 

Liona’s primary chief feature is impatience and the secondary, self-deprecation. 

Liona’s body type is Lunar/Mercury. 

The fragment Liona is fourth-cast in fourth cadence; she is a member of greater cadence three.  Liona’s entity is six, cadre one, greater cadre 7, pod 414 – Liona is an entity mate of both Merlin’s and Arvin’s. 

Liona’s essence twin is a sage and the task companion an artisan who is known to her. 

Liona’s three primary needs are: freedom, adventure and power. 

There are 18 past-life associations with Arvn and 12 with Merlin.  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

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Naturally, no trip to the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Koerner Hall would be complete without crossover from the hall to the old majestic red-bricked building that faces onto Bloor Street West and pay a visit to the Bella Bartok statue.  Vibrationally, I don’t know why, but I am always reminded of Leonard Cohen when looking at this statue.  20180626_194633

Settled in comfortably and it was time to be wowed by Savion Glover and boy did the old shamanic griot deliver!  Never had 1.5 hours of dancing been so phenomenal.  This was sheer uneclipsed beauty of spirit.  Whilst I sat there waiting for the house lights to go down, I poured through photos to include in my Instagram account.  

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Just then, I came across the account of someone met days earlier whom I had added to Instagram but who has yet to follow in kind.  Naturally, this lost soul claimed to be impressed that I knew of crystals and had a pyramid but like too many Canadians, he was really big on letting me know that he was too busy to check  his Instagram account.  To look at it, it is the most flaky, crowd-following, lost soul bullshit imaginable.  Of course, this clown is too busy dropping whatever to even know that there is a Jazz festival afoot and likely would dismiss it as not evolved enough.  

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After having been wowed by Savion’s sheer genius, I stumbled out onto Bloor Street West lightheaded both from the performance and the fact that I was quite frankly hungry.  There had been no water in my building all day; not able to cook, I sped to the performance by bike and soon realised that I was more famished than I reckoned.  Throwing caution to the wind, I poured into the revamped McDonald’s across from the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) — wouldn’t like to be a homeowner in the swank new condo only to have the smell of French fries night and day permeating your tony Yorkville digs?  

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After having repeated my order three times to the vapid-looking but shade-throwing Southeast Asian server, I finally spoke up 15 minutes later, demanding to know what was taking so long.  As the order got to me, I was so bored of having to look at stupid, overbred fools, I took the food said my best “fuck you/thank you” and departed the store.  When finally, I opened up, glad to be able to dig into my two McChicken sandwiches, the above is the sight with which I was presented.  Inside the clear top of the container, which would normally hold eggs, pancakes or other breakfast fare, were two greasy, deep-fried patties that for all the hell I could have cared might have been dog as it certainly was not chicken.  Not in the mood to row with anyone just then, I ubered some Jerk chicken and some coconut water.  20180626_194039

Almost an hour after initially I had ordered food to address my hunger along came my order.  Sure enough another overbred fool presented with the most god-awful malodorous bouquet of smegma, dirty arse, armpits, curry and bad breath that suggested that he had at least half a dozen cavities.  Right about then, I was one none-too-thrilled and hungry motherfucker.  So repulsed was I that I simply tossed the food in the fridge and had one of the coconut waters.  How unaware must one be that you are going to have the fuck-all temerity to serve the public and smelling as unhygienic as is humanly possible?  

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Another day and another church for sinner man moi to grace.  The Jazz festival this year was missing its usual verve as the concerts would usually be hosted by on-air hosts from Toronto’s JazzFM.  Since a couple of months earlier, the absence of Garvia Bailey from the airwaves on her morning show and I began counting down the days to her return from holiday.  Of course, this being Canada, I always worried when Garvia was away from her show as being Black in this country means that job security is as rare as pussy at a bathhouse.  

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Never before had Garvia been missing from the airwaves this long; heck, I had even called the station one Friday to ask when she would return and was told that she would be back on Monday.  That Monday rolled around and Mark Wigmore, who had previously worked at the city’s Gay radio station, was still hosting and now there was no more mention of Garvia Bailey.  Now I was beginning to get more than a little bit pissed off.  Was she ill?  Had she quit?  Had she been fired?  At least, Garvia was still there on her twitter account.  Then one day, I looked at the JazzFM website on-air host page and Garvia’s name was gone.  Wow, I would really have to start rethinking my support.  

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Then the unfathomable unfolded as I opened the day’s Globe and Mail newspaper to read that five on-air persons had been fired and there had been a string of sexual harassment allegations against Ross Porter.  Brazenly, he was still on-air and the station, which relies on listener support, had the gall to keep Ross on-air.  Regardless, there is nothing more odious than having to suffer someone who has been the focus of sexual allegations, true or not; it is just immensely disquieting. 

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So there was I to see Cecile McLorin Salvant weave her indelible magic.  I sat in the back pew in the balcony which afforded a commanding view of the stage and in particular the very engaging drummer.  Cecile was in superb form.  Next to me sat a couple, who clearly did not care to be there; one had to buy tickets in blocks of three concerts — at least for that venue.  Naturally, the night before conflicted with the Savion Glover concert at Koerner Hall.  The third concert would be the day following and as life is about making the most discriminating of choices, I had positively no fuck all intentions of time-wasting seeing another fraudulent arsed Canadian ape black culture and turn Jazz singer because, let’s face it, there is no such thing as a viable pop music career in Canada especially if you don’t stand a chance in hell of crossing over to the America market.  Besides, from my years of crawling the halls of the CBC when Merlin worked there, being the product of the moneyed classes and being able to buy a career does not a Jazz singer make.  Besides, ain’t nobody gots time for chit the day after Cecile’s held court and wove her magic.  

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So as I bobbed and weaved, enjoying the soulful groove that is Jazz — black high art — the Indo-Canadian couple next to me could not have been more disinterested.  She, seated closer to me, kept her hands clasped at her cross-legged knee.  He on the other hand kept on slamming his back into the pew as protest for my enjoying myself.  I think she might have clapped once or twice.  What really struck me as the couple next to me engaged in the usual passive-aggressive BS that one fully expects to manifest partout from tout le monde , is that as JazzFM restructures and returns with new on-air hosts, it’ll doubtless be persons of their ilk who will be the chosen replacement hosts; god only knows, the landscape has been deftly rid of all semblance of blackness in the television medium of late.  A true mystery to me how Canadians can so blithely whistle Dixie whilst purporting to be enamoured and passionate about Jazz, all the while slowly but irretrievably excluding blacks — whatever did we black have to do with Jazz; surely, we must be mad if we so much as entertained the notion that we could have done something so phenomenal as having invented the art form and that there is anything remotely ‘black’ about Jazz.  Indeed, the Canadian way…  That aside, I really missed having the on-air hosts from JazzFM being part of the hosting lineups during the annual Jazz Festival which was exquisitely memorable.  

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 Until next year, as the full moon in Capricorn climbed high in the sky above Yorkville, I say, sweet dreams and as ever thanks so much for your ongoing support.  

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©2013-2022 Arvin da Brgha.  All Rights.  Reserved.

All Too Human… And Then Some!

man-s-head-self-portrait-1963

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

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

two-plants-1980

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

Sleeping by the Lion carpet Leigh Bowrey

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

All Too Human

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

Francis-Bacon-Portrait-1962

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

Study for Portrait of Lucian Freud Francis Bacon

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

Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne 1966 by Francis Bacon 1909-1992

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

Three Figures and Portrait 1975 by Francis Bacon 1909-1992

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

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

Notting Hill Gate

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

Kensington Palace

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

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

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

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

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

HRH Catherine Duchess of Cambridge

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

National Portrait Gallery

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

Royal Albert Hall

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

OVO

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

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

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

All Too Human Catalogue

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

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©2013-2022 Arvin da Brgha.  All Rights Reserved,

Two Albrechts But What A Giselle!

Giselle Royal Ballet

Second night in London and there was still lots of snow — at least, by London standards; after Montréal where three feet of snow is no horror, 1.5 inches seemed to have arrested London in its tracks — I was all excited to see David Hallberg whose recent memoir I read on the flight over and carried in my custom Ruben Mack messenger bag, to have it signed after the performance.  Enjoyed my glass of champagne and being in the balcony at Royal Opera house was magical.  My seat was smack in the middle of three Japanese young ladies who were being chaperoned by their lovely teacher.  I negotiated and they excitedly expressed their appreciation at being able to switch with me being on the end so that that they could all sit together.  The closest two sat on their coats and I even offered the tinier future Giselle my coat to sit on.  

Natalia Osipova Matthew Ball

Naturally, I was returned to London as last June, I had pleasantly discovered Natalia Osipova dancing in Marguerite and Armand and was instantly a fan.  There was no way that I was going to miss her Giselle.  Midway through Act I of Giselle, David whom I had never previously seen perform, failed to have impressed.  He seemed not to be dancing full out and the partnership seemed strained; it was as though they had not had enough rehearsals.  Then after intermission and really good champagne, the company’s artistic director came to the stage to announce that Mr. Hallberg had been injured during Act I and would not be proceeding; he then announced that the youngster, Matthew Ball would dance the role of Prince Albrecht in Act II — the house went wild as he had days earlier made his debut in the ballet.  

Natalia Osipova

What then unfolded was the most glorious of evenings in the theatre.  Ms. Osipova, who has the most phenomenal ballon ever witnessed on any ballerina — to say nothing of her turns — danced as if truly overjoyed.  Mr. Ball was also fantastic and I howled for joy at their curtain calls.  Heck, I, who never go backstage, went in hopes of having Mr. Hallberg sign my copy of his book; however, he was a no-show.  Ms. Osipova, inordinately gracious and an ecstatic Mr. Ball, who had had to dash back to the theatre that evening, was only too happy to sign my copy of the program as a steady drizzle fell beyond the double, glass stage doors.  

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Of course, the night prior, I had trekked in even more snow out to Barbican Centre to catch yet another performance of the Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra led by the unparallelled genius, Wynton Marsalis.  The programme was exclusively Leonard Bernstein in a celebration of his centenary… and what a phenomenal show it was.  London’s Jews were out in force to be sure.  I sat next to a princely 93-year-old Jew whose energies were rather like those of Yehudi Menuhin and boy was this man gracious of spirit.  To say the least, I had a ball.  

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Naturally, one goes to a Wynton Marsalis performance for the encores!  And boy, he did not disappoint.  As always, I unashamedly howled like mad at the end of all that.  This musical genius’s fabulousness is out of this world.  This truly was a marvellous way to celebrate  a homecoming of sorts; London truly does feel like another West Indian isle.  As Merlin and I shared a rather accomplished life as court musicians in late 18th century London, it is always great to be in London.  

Arvin da Brgha 1.3.2018 Royal Academy London, England

Though I had downloaded the app and had planned on biking whilst in London, the snow everywhere precluded any such adventure.  So there was I next morning — the night of which I attended Giselle, leaving my hotel in Bloomsbury and making it from Russell Square to Piccadilly Circus to, of course, look at art.  

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Naturally, I had arrived at the Royal Academy at Burlington House to see what for me was the most eagerly anticipated art exhibition in years:  Charles I, King and Collector.  I was the first to have arrived for the show, slipped inside from the snow before being asked to wait outside by security.   Whilst waiting at the head of the queue, there were three gentlemen who arrived, all on the other side of 70 years of age and they were the most urbane aristocrats whom I had ever encountered.  The way they spoke; there was no denying that they were posh.  Moreover, it was more than their accents; their use of language made it sound as though they were speaking a form of English which was mannered, musical and as though another language entirely.  

Royal Academy

Finally, once inside the exhibition, I was truly enthralled, moving from salon to salon as though in the most lucidly captivating dream.  Here were all my favourite Sir Anthony van Dyck paintings in one place — plus, there were some which previously I had not seen… at least, in this lifetime.  Naturally, there were also some rather intimate Sir Peter Paul Rubens in the exhibition, which featured the art from the impressive collection of HM King Charles I… that ode to swaggerliciousness and a young sage to boot.  

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

I had managed to snap four paintings whilst moving through the first of ten salons when a kindly security agent asked that I obey the rules and refrain from taking photographs.  This truly was as though caught in a flying dream as I moved intoxicated of spirit from salon to salon, I managed whilst looking at murals in one of the larger salons, to make my way to the inner sanctum where the most glorious Sir Anthony van Dycks were hung — the two equestrian portraits one from the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square the other, which previously was hung at Buckingham Palace; there was also that most striking portrait Charles at the hunt which normally is hung at Musée du Louvre.  A lovely henna-braided African security agent informed me that I had progressed improperly and ought to retrace my steps and view the art in the salons on the periphery of the three large internal salons where murals, tapestries and the prized, aforementioned van Dycks of the Royal Collection collected by HM King Charles I were hung.  

Sir Peter Paul Rubens Self-Portrait Oil on Canvas

At the point at which I was about to leave one salon for the next, I suddenly and distinctly thought of Kritika Bhatt the Michael channeller who had been trained by Sarah J. Chambers one of the original channellers in the Michael group.  I thought it odd at the time as I only ever would think of her when a request for overleaves are outstanding and my impatience is having her surface to mind as I wonder if I would be receiving the requested overleaves that day.  Since this was not the case, I thought per chance, that I was thinking of her as she is known to have King Charles spaniels.  Yes, that must be the out-of-nowhere association, I concluded.  

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On entering the next salon, I immediately moved towards the largest masterpiece and was struck by its depth and impressive use of strong bold colours.  What’s more, I had never seen the painting before.  Fascinating, I whispered before heading to the title to see the title and artist.  I was struck dead in my tracks when reading, Esther before Ahaseuras by Jacopo Tintoretto.  Wow!  I exclaimed.  Years earlier, in an email regarding the overleaves for other artists, Kritika had made mention that her current son had previously been the 16th century Italian artist, Jacopo Tintoretto!  I was floored and for me that out-of-nowhere associative thought of Kritika was validation of the overleaves and information shared years earlier.  

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

Earlier, whilst moving through the first salon, I had never come so close to Sir Anthony van Dyck’s Self-Portrait with Sunflower before.  Taking the time to really study the painting, I was struck by my response; suddenly, at my solar plexus, I began experiencing a — not though rare — thumping which was independent of my cardio rhythm.  Never before had I been able to so closely inspect the eyes in the self-portrait.  What was really interesting was the look of the artist’s left eye in the painting; it really was a darker version of my Dutch born and oldest friend, Joop who previously had been Sir Anthony van Dyck.  Though Joop’s eyes are a strong, soulful blue in this lifetime, they truly are the same eyes as Sir Anthony van Dyck’s in the self portrait.  Different colour, same vibration… same intensity.  I had not been expecting that and just as later whilst moving from one salon to the next, I was not expecting to have the Michael Teachings and overleaves validated.  Nonetheless, there is was, two instances of overleaves validated and that was the kind of bonus that one could not have anticipated whilst planning this trip.  

Fortnum & Mason

After purchasing my lovely catalogue of the exhibition, I moved across the street and did some shopping at the grand old dame, Fortnum & Mason.  Let’s face it, I was there to slip into the eatery and score myself the best free lunch in London… and as ever, the bites on offer did not disappoint.  I bought marvellous teas as only can be found at Fortnum & Mason then hopped onto a double decker, driving westerly along Piccadilly.  Making my way up the stairs, I soon had to double back on myself when realising that the upper deck was packed with a sprinkling of London’s homeless, who obviously had been afforded refuge out of the cold and what for London was unheard of snows.  God it smelt atrocious.  As the bus made a right onto Buckingham Palace Road, I hopped off and made my way past the Royal Mews which were closed owing to snow and made it for the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace.  

Charles II Art & Power

I was there to be wowed, though, sadly was not by the Restoration exhibition.  Naturally, how could it have been a show to rival that at the Royal Academy when most of that art had been sold off by the time of HM King Charles II’s coronation.  I would have been rather underwhelmed, had I gone to London just to take in this show.  As it was, it served as ample reason to have appreciated the Royal Academy show even more.  

HM King Charles IIb

Really got off on the vibration exuded by HM King James II as he held court in all his glory in the portrait in the same show at the Queen’s Gallery Buckingham Palace (following painting). 

HM King James II when HRH Prince James Duke of York

Well having had my fill of the Restoration art or the paucity thereof, I enjoyed trekking in the snows along Buckingham Palace Road to Victoria Station and descended into the depths of London’s Underground for yet another adventure.  

St. Paul's Cathedral

Emerging from the bowels of London, I made it to the soul of the nation to pay homage, yet again, at St. Paul’s Cathedral.  

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I wanted to go and light a candle, I lit two actually, in homage to the ennobled lives that both Merlin and I enjoyed in this glorious city three centuries earlier — the memories of which readily surface in the dreamtime.  

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Before one gets too old to be able to make the trek, I managed my way to the whispering gallery, sat down and caught my wind back whilst reflecting on my life.  

Henry Moore

This place so rich in history, is also the sacred shrine where entity mates have left their mark.  Henry Moore is an old artisan in my entity.  

Arthur Duke of Wellington

Of course, no visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral would be complete without paying a visit to the soul of the nation at its crypt and paying homage to ennobled souls who’ve made an indelible mark on London… on history.  There is great and fittingly so, grandeur in the tomb of Arthur, Duke of Wellington’s resting place.  

Admiral Nelson

Of course, the other tomb which dominates the crypt at St. Paul’s Cathedral is that of Admiral Nelson, whom both Merlin and I knew during that incarnation.  Doubtless, it was his passion and tales for and about Nevis, which planted that seed that sparked three lifetimes later with my soul’s choice to reincarnate into Nevis; indeed, it has proven an isle no less magical than his captivating anecdotes then must have been.  Days later, of course, I would see the bullet which felled this great man whilst visiting Windsor Castle; that is for another post.  For now, I rushed home, took a dream-filled nap before heading to Covent Garden and being wowed by two not one Albrechts and the most exciting prima ballerina on the planet… at least, as far as I am concerned.  

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As ever, thanks for your ongoing support and look forward in coming months to book three of my dream-filled memoirs, mandated by Merlin and which prove human civilisation’s first dream memoirs.  

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©2013-2022 Arvin da Brgha.  All Rights Reserved.