Tuesday, 18 October 2016

London, a year later -

This post is in English. Si solo quieren ver algunas fotos de nuestro viaje a Londres Click aqui.

We awoke to a sunny morning after a late night arrival at the home of our dear friends J and L in St. John’s Wood.
The flight from Santander had taken two hours but then we were confronted by a queue for Passport control, which stretched something like a mile snaking and zigzagging inside the arrivals hall at Stansted Airport. No wonder a majority of Brits want out from EU! A dash to the National Express A6 bus stop meant we were able to catch an earlier bus, which nevertheless arrived at our destination around 1am. There was still a fifteen-minute walk on the deserted Finchley Road before we could get home. Fortunately we already had keys (dont ask why, its a long story) to the elegant house where we were staying, and meant that we did not need to wake our hosts. After a minor panic when one of the keys appeared not to work, we silently got in and made our way to our beds in the house.
Later that day we had complimentary tickets to the Other Art fair where E, one of our Spanish artist friends who lives and works in London, was showing her work. So after catching up with J and L at breakfast we set out to reset our memories of London. Almost immediately we ran across the Zebra crossing made famous by the cover of the Beatles’ Abbey Road album, which attracts hundreds of visitors, keen to take similar pictures, run the risk of being run over everyday. Bemused motorists patiently waited to let happy and enthusiastic people walk across the hallowed crossing while friends took photos, but more often than not there was road rage.
A bit further we crossed the Finchley Road and walked into St John’s Wood underground (metro) station to refill our Oyster cards and dive into the bowels of London Transport. The Jubilee line took us to Waterloo Station where we could catch the RV1 bus to the Tate’s famous Modern art gallery housed in an old power station. Bad idea (of the bus)..because we had not thought about the new projects around London which may be causing congestion on the streets. Just around the Blackfriars Bridge there was a new hotel under construction with huge traffic jams.  After what seemed an age we finally alighted and walked around to get our first glimpse of the Tate’s new extension, a ten storey building.
 The Tate Modern extension

Claustrophobic is the word. The new building nestles among already congested office and apartment buildings, which got there just a few years before. Multimillion-pound apartment owners are justifiably angry about the intruder where the gallery visitors can look straight into their living rooms, nice as they are!  Imagine you are quaffing 100-pound champagne and looking at your bank details (or heaven forbid more sinister activity) and a hundred people are looking over your shoulder. Also there was only about a fifth of the building dedicated to art, the rest being wasted on vast spaces for useless activity, such as looking into people’s homes and some amazingly peculiar lifts (elevators) which made up their own minds about when to stop, or not, at any floor.
Louise Bourgeous Room
The art exhibitions were mixed, some great such as the Georgia O’Keefe and the room full of Louise Bourgeois works, and some not my cup of tea such as the one by the Indian artist Bhupen Khakhar appropriately titled ‘You Cant Please All’, and they were expensive (entry tickets) like everything else in London. However we were in possession of Member’s Passes (again don’t ask!), which gave us free entry to everything.
Later (much later) we made our way avoiding transport, walking across Blackfriars Bridge and catching the District and Circle (maybe just the District as the Circle was switched off) to Charing Cross. Here we were within walking distance to Piccadilly Circus and then a short walk to my favourite Indian restaurant in Marshall Street for some well-earned grub. The waitress knew us, even if she was of East European origin and one of the worried set of people (including me) in the post-Brexit atmosphere. To be fair there was no evidence of the foreigner phobia that has been much in the news lately, but then London is very cosmopolitan and perhaps there are more foreigners than locals to be seen in the streets.
Afterwards with the tummy glowing from the food, we made our way to Oxford Circus, just around the corner and caught the Central to Liverpool Street station.
Outside the station we ran into Tracy Emin, who looked worried (she did not recognise us) and seemed to be waiting for someone. We knew she was going to be selling and signing prints at the fair we were going to. A short walk brought us to Brick Lane where the street signs are in Bengali! We were a few minutes early so we hung out in the area where the waiters are out to attract people to their ‘award winning’ eateries. We had already eaten and it was early for dinner.
Later we walked into the ‘Other’ art fair, so called because the main event in London this week was the Frieze, and looked for the stand of our friend E and walked past Mr Serota soon to be ex-chief of Tate, but he did not recognise us either. I was about to tell him about his lifts but he had other things on his mind..perhaps looking for another job! Again the fair was mixed and the prices high.   We did not buy anything including the terrible stuff at the Emin stand.
Taking a photo of someone taking a photo of someone etc.
at the Other 
I thought to myself that I had to revise the prices of my own works! They are a giveaway compared to these.
A couple of hours later it was time to withdraw gracefully and retrace our steps to Bond Street on the Central line and catch the northbound Jubilee and home. But not before we had bought a couple of bottles of red wine to celebrate with our friends at their home, which was temporarily ours as well.
On the agenda still loomed the Saatchi, Damien Hurst, RA, National and the National Portrait Galleries, The Frieze fair and hundreds of smaller galleries, the Turner prize exhibits at Tate Britain, a visit to Epsom, meals with a few sets of friends, some shopping and the obligatory catchup with the Indian food. 
The good news was that we still had a few more days in London!

If you really must see some more pics from our London outing then click here
Si realmente quieren ver algunas de nuestras fotos de Londres click aqui