Sadly, GofaDM is not making a brave new move into solving your plumbing issues, though, I do like to think of myself as a rather good theoretical plumber: I just draw the line at getting my hands dirty and actually engaging with the mundane reality of pipes, olives and washers.
I have a tendency to either try and fit far too much into my life or to while away many an hour without any apparent achievement. Sometimes, I seem to manage to do both at once: which is simultaneously impressive, logically impossible and somewhat frustrating.
Last Saturday was definitely one of the ‘stuff-it-all-in’ kinds of day. By the end of it, I was surprised that what remains of my grey matter wasn’t oozing out of my ears given the rather excessive amount of stimulation and input I had forced into it.
I first headed into town, as Southwest Trains were once again offering a £15 return to the capital, and Saturday was one of the very few days this quarter when journeying by train to London would not be viewed as rather a palaver by a polar explorer. Network Rail seem determined to keep those of us lying south-west of Basingstoke away from the City: unless we are willing to devote many hours to the voyage, enjoy bus travel and don’t want to stay out late (or are willing to stay out until the following morning). My primary objective was to visit a circus (so no great surprise there), but as it was a rare opportunity to access the heady delights of London I managed to crowbar in a couple of gallery visits first.
My first was looking at Painting the Modern Garden at The Royal Academy. This was very good, if rather busy, but had almost too many paintings for my poor brain to take in. I did discover that there seems to have been some degree of fashion in blooms – or at least the painting thereof – and that I much prefer the Impressionists’ take on the dahlia than I do that offered by modern gardeners. Several of the gardens I would like to decamp to right now, but I think my favourite work was a painting of Gertrude Jekyll’s boots. I remain ever the contrarian!
My second gallery was at the Barbican looking at the work of Charles and Ray Eames. As you might imagine, there were a fair few chairs on offer – but their oeuvre was much wider than I’d realised. The exhibition included a splendid film – of the type one used to see through the arched window in the Play School of my youth – showing the making of a fibreglass chair. However, my favourite take-away was not the film, nor even the chair but one of the three colours in which it was first offered. How have we forgotten greige? Surely, the finest name for a colour ever created! I want my flat repainted and carpeted in greige (which I am pronouncing to rhyme with beige) when next this is needed. I am determined to restore it to the mainstream! I want all GofaDM readers to start using it: force it into conversation, email or tweet if you must.
I was ostensibly at the Barbican to see the Australian circus company, Circa (the Eames were just an amuse bouche). Their current work is called Il Ritorno and was of indescribable (by me at least) brilliance. The physical work was, in many ways, of a nature and unshowy difficulty I’d never seen before and whilst not narrative delivered a very strong emotional heft. Not only that, but they have comprehensively outdone me when it comes to juxtaposition. The amazing and moving physical feats shared the stage with a harpsichord. Not just a harpsichord, but a harp, cello and violin and their players further augmented by a tenor and a mezzo. I literally did not know where to look much of the time: almost all my cultural interests on stage at once with circus, theatre and music seamlessly melded. I fear I left rather shell-shocked and with the need to up my game on all fronts!
Even at that stage, the day was not yet empty of delights. I returned to Southampton and spent the evening with three stunning guitarists at the Art House café. I even learnt a little guitar technique from Clive Carroll: though by the time I’m ready to put it into use I fear the lesson may have been lost.
It was a great day, but frankly far more experience than my ageing brain can safely absorb in a twelve hour period. Were I a computer, I think some sort of overflow error would have been in order. Luckily, as a biological computer, at no stage did I need to dump my stack and so avoided embarrassment (well, any more than is usually occasioned by my excursions into the wider world).