Thanks to World Ballet Day, there was positively nothing or no one that was going to dissuade me from hitting London town. Armistice Day and La Bayadère, you say… ha!
Naturally, I returned to London, in my ongoing research/quest for more connections to the past as it pertains to the six-volume dream memoirs. Though I had hoped to publish volume three this year, 2018, ongoing research has meant its delay until Spring 2019.
After dropping luggage at the hotel in Russell Square, it was a quick dash on the Piccadilly Line to Leicester Square Station where the 10-day London Pass with Oyster card was collected. On this gloriously mild Saturday morning, I took a quick snap of St. Martin-in-the-Fields across Charing Cross, before slipping into the National Portrait Gallery.
Before having found what I went looking for, I first took a detour through the Tudor Gallery where, alas, there were no portraits of Margaret Beaufort. That done, I moved down to the open space where the exhibition: Black is the new Black was housed.
Stunning portraits, I love the blue-blackened soulfulness of the portraits; these are all eyes that are thoroughly ensouled and lived-in. Next, it was off to the salon where what I went looking for was handsomely displayed.
Enraptured, I passed long forevers fully engrossed by National Portrait Gallery’s recent acquisition of Wim Heldens’ oil masterpiece – portrait of the art collector and benefactor couple, Harry and Carol Ann Djanogly. The oil on canvas is handsomely hung in salon 38 and was painted in 2017 by Wim. Wim, I met in NYC at Manhattan cabaret singer, Frans Bloem’s West Village townhouse when we went out back in the early 1990s. I had been in town visiting with Frans from Vancouver; we met when I then lived in Toronto and finally, the relationship ran its course on my relocation to the west coast and not to be overlooked but sex with Frans was as meh as warm, runny vanilla ice cream. Of course, by the time that I was visiting Frans and he was out of town, I met Wim; the latter was sick in bed and I looked in on him between going to the theatre and galleries in the city. Apart from godawful sex, Frans was a little too obsessed with Diana Ross for my liking – it all seemed too sissy-queer-boy, clichéd and banal.
Besides, by the visit where I met Wim, who was the warmest of souls – Wim is an old-souled scholar and it shows in spades in his works – I had long discovered the raunchy funk of hot sex deep into the woods of Vancouver’s Stanley Park where the world’s largest city park (1000 acres) is ever ten degrees warmer than elsewhere in the city during the sodden wintry months as the half millennium-aged sitkas keep the place comfortably warm. There was no need for the ennui of sex with Frans after tying raunchy fuckers to a sitka and whipping them; besides, positively nothing beats fucking in nature – truly, it is the most empowering, grounding experience.
On leaving the National Portrait Gallery, I ambled down Charing Cross, took the time to admire the bronze springbok that lords over the entrance to the Republic of South Africa’s embassy with the maple leaf-festooned Canadian Embassy to the west across Trafalgar Square.
Down into the bowels of Charing Cross station, I then skipped and hopped the Bakerloo Line to Lambeth North Station. There on a gloriously temperate and sunny Saturday afternoon, I made my way to the Imperial War Museum and was rather moved by the beauty of the metallic poppies that tearfully bled from a bathysphere-styled window at the museum’s domed rotunda. This glorious display was part of the centenary celebrations of Armistice Day 100 years earlier which marked the close of World War I.
Standing in the atrium of the museum, I was reminded how geography does determine the scale of architecture. Relative to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D. C., there is no way that the relative limitless wide-open spaces of America would find military gear in such close cramped quarters as at the Imperial War Museum’s atrium.
I was there to take in the exhibition, Mimesis, which honoured, on the 100th anniversary of the close of WWI, the contributions of blacks from across the Commonwealth. Turns out, it was not a photographic exhibition; rather, it was a most evocative of films.
From South Bank, it was back to Embankment Station and onto the Circle Line to Tower Hill Station. There, emerging into the sparkling and relatively warm daylight, one was readily reminded of Vancouver temperatures at this time of year. Into the perpetual queues one headed for a chance to gaze on the Crown Jewels at Tower of London.
Going in, the ravens were keeping a watchful eye… as is their wont and the tourists here were predominantly East Asian.
Seeing these metallic simians, I was reminded how good London’s fortune is not to be inundated by predatory monkeys… as is the case in both St. Kitts and Nevis.
After having viewed the Crown Jewels, this photo of Tower Bridge, suggested that the fast-moving clouds, though stormy-looking, would not break just yet.
About half an hour later, the vista to the west looked dramatically foreboding. I tried to negotiate and decided that these clouds did not look all that fast-moving, besides they were considerably to the west.
Into one of the city’s ubiquitous and thoroughly indispensable Pret A Manger joints I slipped. There, I dined on a hearty sandwich and had one of way too many raspberry smoothies.
Each day, wherever I travelled, there was always one in each pocket.
This little rocket was the must-have. Always, there was one handily tucked away deep inside my black Dorothy Grant messenger bag as I darted about my favourite town, on my favourite West Indian isle – it really does vibrationally feel as though in the West Indies, besotting my insatiable soul with culture, art and more high-end inspiring fare.
After having interminably waited out the rains, along came 1700 and time for the second to last day of the torch light ceremony at the Tower of London in honour of the centenary of WWI’s conclusion. And so, of deference one waited out the rains, which rolled through in waves – waves they were which seemed increasingly more monsoon. Finally, the show was begun and after having been soaked sans parapluie and too many souls – I do not like crowds, I opted to make this short clip as I could not see a damn torch on the ground and headed for the warmth of a hotel suite in Bloomsbury.
After being soaked to the gills to get into Tower Hill Station, no sooner than being on the platform and headed towards King’s Cross St. Pancras, along came the announcement that the station was now closed as there were too many souls on the platform to assure everyone’s safety. Back out into the torrential downpour, we all grumbled, huddled and shivered; this downpour was seriously fierce.
After much aimlessly darting about the crowded and flooded streets of the city, two-plus hours later, finally a cab was dispatched and into a very cool hotel suite I arrived. Somehow, in spite being soaked to the bones and frigidly cold, I managed not to have come down with the sniffles, a cough or runny nose.
Soon, wakefulness gave way to sleep and I was readily awakened into a plethora of dreams, which are always thrillingly, lucidly awakened in this favourite city of my well-travelled soul. A day filled with adventure lay ahead; it was Armistice Day 2018 and I would manage to be captured on ITV film of the ceremony at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
As ever, thanks for your ongoing support and sweet dreams.
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