Walking with Londoners

Life I went for a walk around London yesterday, mostly on the South Bank. So whilst Liverpool was apparently enjoying the loveliest day of the month, I was fighting my way across the Millenium Bridge, trying to hold my umbrella in such a way that the wind would pull it and my off the side into the Thames. It absolutely the worst weather, but that meant I wasn't getting the idealized version which appears in film and television.

Disappointingly I still haven't seen The Globe Theatre. I've seen the outside, but tragically I arrived too late for the tours inside and if I'd stayed for the performance I would have needed to leave after half an hour of Troilus and Cressida to get the train home, which would have been depressing. Other places I've seen from the outside include, the Royal National Theatre, National Film Theatre, Dali Universe, London Aquarium, Theatre Museum, London Transport Museum and the Houses of Parliament. I looked up at the London Eye too, although I saved that experience on purpose for another time.

The main point of the visit became Tate Modern. I'd seen the Channel Four series about the construction of the gallery in the shell of the power station and seen the numerous photographs of the inside of the Gas Hall. But overall I was a bit disappointed. I prefer Tate Liverpool, and I'm not saying that because some city pride but because it's a more coherent gallery. The 'hanging' throws out the traditional chronological approach in favour of thematic connections, which is interesting but overall diminishes the art on display. In some cases, by throwing Hirst and Beuys in together all kinds of issues are being confused. The displays which work best are those which cover a particular subject or artist - so-called Degenerate Art for example, or Michael Craig-Martin. The latter was the highlight particularly his work, The Oak Tree. Yes, it's an oak tree - it just happens to be in the shape of the glass of water at the present moment alright? Perfect.

When I described the path I took to my parents last night they think I must have walked about ten or twelve miles. It certainly felt that way. I'm assuming it's not usual that someone would walk from Tate Modern to Trafalgar Square via Big Ben. Now and then I'd go the wrong way and end up literally off the tourist map I was using. I managed to see the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst that way. I did blunder up Whitehall and caught a glimpse of Downing Street although I wasn't surprised to see main doors to the PM's kingdom are not flush with the main road - it's odd to see a street gated off that way, creates a sense of artificiality.

Drifted around Covent Garden for a while. The market was just closing; a busker filled the air with opera. It's unnerving to find shops still open after six o'clock and you just feel like you should go into HMV at that time because you can. I visited the Paul Boulangerie & Pattiserie on Bedford Street and bought a Rhubarb Tart, which came in a box, and sat eating it in the doorway of an HSBC - one of the truly most delicious sweets I've ever tasted - I'll be remembering that for years to come. The slice of pizza I had later from cart in the west end wasn't quite the same.

I'd planned to catch the last train home but by seven my feet were finally throbbing. I simply don't stop enough times on trips like this because I want to take everything inbut there is a pain barrier which leads you to stop wanting or needed to go anywhere else other than back to the station. . So I didn't go into the Titanic exhibition at the Trocadero, even though, according to poster outside Time Out Dubai loved it (Time Out London not offering an endorsement apparently) Maybe next time.

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