Me and Anders went down to London at the weekend for a couple of reasons:
- Some of our ACE friends live there and we don't get to see them enough
- I arranged it as a birthday present for Anders and got him tickets to see Daniel Johnston at the Union Chapel
We drove down late on Friday and arrived in Dalston just late enough to chat a small amount with Jamie & Chloe (some of the afore-mentioned ace friends who we were staying with) before sleepytime.
Saturday we had big plans. Anders had a list of about 20 record shops he wanted to go to and I wanted to buy nice things that you can't buy in Nottingham. However, we also wanted to stay in our PJs and hang out with j and Chloe while eating bacon sandwiches, so we didn't actually make it out to start the big plan til about 1pm. We headed straight to Brick Lane and Rough Trade which is pretty exciting. It's a big warehouse-y type shop, all painted white and a bit scruffy with tons of records & cd's and lots of things on listening posts. This is pretty much the most exciting thing in the world to Anders, so he was off and lost to me for the next 3 hours. Whilst in there I saw something pretty cool:
In case it just looks like a record shop this is the Fists single in Rough Trade! As Tez said... "British European..F.....". Indeed.
Anyway, after Anders' mammoth record binge we trundled off to Wahaca. It's the Mexican restaurant set up by the funny posh lady who won MasterChef - Thomasina.
It was GREAT. I don't think I've ever eaten Mexican food before... not like that anyway. I had a mole (as well as about 12 other things, we rather over-ordered), which was rich and chocolatey and really well-spiced and just amazing. I also had Pork Scratchings, which were like huge quavers and not at all like the things you get in the pub. Mmmm delicious.
Saturday night was Halloween party night, which in London doesn't mean hopping in a cab for five mins to get into town. It means traipsing for an hour and a half on bus, train and foot to get to your friend's house. We had much fun dressing up and knew our costumes had succeeded when a small child on the street said "you guys are scary". The most fun part though was the train journey. Lemoncello zombies are the coolest:
At the party there was a Queen of Darkness, a mad doctor, 2 spiders/octopi, various generic halloween-y creations, Cruella De Ville and, of course, Boris Johnson.
Looking good Boris.
Sunday was a lovely day of relaxing, croissants for breakfast and catching up with the X-Factor. A trip to the 3 Crowns in Stoke Newington and dinner with all our lovely friends. I really miss everyone who lives down there and it was so lovely to get time to sit and catch up properly with Mark & Emma and Lewis and everyone. After we hung out with John for a bit laughing at clips on YouTube of Flight of the Conchords and Demetri Martin then after he left we went proper Sunday, snuggled down with cups of tea and watched Strictly Come Dancing and the X Factor results. Brilliant.
Monday we visited Tate Modern. London on Mondays is lovely, I'd recommend it. We saw the Pop Life exhibition which features Warhol and artists since and kind of focuses on art & money as it's theme. It was an exhibition which all four of us had mixed feelings about. There was some interesting stuff there, but a lot of it I didn't like or just couldn't really respond to as art. I touched this:
and set off an alarm. Oops. There was more Jeff Koons stuff there too, but a lot of it was just horrible graphic sexual images of him and his porn star wife. I can't really repsond to that. I really found the recreation of Keith Haring's pop-up shop intersting, particularly as I normally hate Haring's work and find it a bit trite and dull. Somehow seeing a room covered in it blasting out 80's hiphop made it suddenly feel relevant and fresh again. I also enjoyed seeing the Warhol stuff in the flesh and seeing two twins sat in front of Damien Hirst's Dot paintings - despite the fact that the exhibition made me dislike Damien Hirst overall. There were interesting ideas, but a lot of it left me a bit cold.
The best thing we saw was actually in the Turbine Hall.
"Miroslaw Balka's black hole at Tate Modern is terrifying, awe-inspiring and throught-provoking. It embraces you with a velvet chill." The Guardian
This is a really great summary of the black hole currently in the Turbine hall. You walk into a big construction, a bit like walking into the back of a lorry and inside it is blacker than night, blacker than anything I've ever seen. It's so dark it's almost a feeling rather than a sight. It's physically affecting and a bit scary. Read more here.
Anyway, this is turning into the longest post in the world ever. Basically, London was lovely, we saw some art, Anders heard some music, we caught up with friends and ate lovely food and were very well looked after by our wonderful hosts Jamie & Chloe. Five stars!