Friday, 7 March 2014

London, Ft. Paul Smith, David Lynch and William Burroughs

Shot down to London with the family, seeing more family. One particular other purpose: to check out the work of filmmaker David Lynch, experimental author William Burroughs and modern artist Andy Warhol, in three exhibitions held at The Photographer's Gallery.

I've been a big Lynch fan since I was 16, when I got into surrealist film at college, so I was really curious to see what his photography work was like.

It's not exactly as engaging or as eerily engaging as Blue Velvet, or as absurd and unnerving as Eraserhead, but you can see that his early photography work- and interest in industry- influenced the visual choices made in his films.

I've only been familiar with Burroughs' work in the last few years, when I read Naked Lunch. I'd seen the movie (weird in another way altogether) but it was nothing like the book.

Spent a small fortune in the gift shop.

Next up: Greenwich's Design Museum, featuring an exhibition of objects paused during their creation. Making the ordinary fascinating.

The second exhibition featured the works of the master of stripes and some of the most expensive clothes in Britain, Mr Paul Smith.

Just chillin' with my homie Paul.


The curators had put together some informative behind-the-scenes video footage of a day at Smith's office, featuring his team making decisions, and weaving business acumen with artistic flair. Well worth a look. Again, spent a further fortune in the gift shop.

We then nipped over to the House of Commons to watch a parliamentary debate. The Houses of parliament are open to the public, for reasons of transparency, and spaces are usually available with short queues, depending on the day you arrive.

When the usher escorts you into the viewing gallery, the first thing you notice is how small the house- or room- is in real life. The unmistakeable green pews were mostly visible as quite a few MPs were out in their constituencies, but we did see Shirley Williams in the corridor on the way up there. Present at the debate was Jacob Rees-Mogg and Stephen Twigg, among others.

I'll be honest- try as I might I didn't understand what was being said. The sound was fed through the BBC Parliament channel, playing on a screen in the corner of the gallery, to a few seconds' time delay, so it was totally audible but largely incomprehensible.

We then passed by Charing Cross train station, where it is rumoured that Roman queen Boudicca's body has lay for nearly 2000 years.

We visited the world's smallest police station at Trafalgar Square. It wasn't manned, but there were bobbies floating about.

We then dug out last year's passes to St Paul's Cathedral, and climbed up the stone-and-iron staircase to the top of the observatory. Nerve-wracking stuff but offers some of the best views in the city.

Next door to the grandiose of the Cathedral is a tiny but classy coffee shop called Apostrophe, where I had the thickest, gloopiest but awesomest hot chocolate known to man.

I saw this...

...and thought of this.

Yeah, mate, just on me walkie-talkie.

Portcullis House.


Today home of the newspaper-producing sector, Fleet Street is renowned for its legal-field-orientated history.

187's lawyers have recently defended in high-profile cases such as that of Lost Prophets singer Ian Watkins and the Bedfordshire slavery trial.

Brilliant weekend. Plenty more planned for future trips, especially after the purchase of the Secret London guidebook, offering you alternative ideas to fill your trip- locations and events that you might not be aware of. I certainly wasn't.  

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