Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bus-ting a move

After another slow start yesterday (which doesn't even involve sleeping in like you'd think on a holiday, just mucking around heaps), I took the bus from around the corner to London Bridge. I love London busses! I sat up the top and had a great time seeing all sorts of things go by, including some good looking op shops not too far away that I will have to investigate.

I was just thinking, 'I could ride the bus for hours around here' when I realised I had actually been on the bus for about half an hour and we still seemed ages away. It got a bit old after that. Especially when some woman stormed downstairs to the driver and went off her nut, 'Are you purposely trying to make me late for work, mate? You could have made those lights but you slowed down. What the hell are you playing at? You might be on time for your shift or early or whatever but you're driving a London bus here, not Sunday driving.' She went on and on at the top of her voice. I was waiting for the bus to suddenly stop and for the driver to kick her out. I would have.

When we made it to London Bridge (I wonder how many people get hit by busses in London every year, like Wellington people just run out in front of them like it's impossible they'd ever actually get run over), I wandered along the South bank of the Thames towards the Globe and the Tate Modern. I love that area, maybe just because I remember bits of it, but also because it's not quite as crushingly busy as the centre of the city. There are random little gardens and parks, like this herb garden out the back of the Southwark Cathedral.

Going back to the Globe after six years was strange. The buildings seemed smaller and more complicated than I remember. I went in to see if I could get a ticket to anything this week but the shows I wanted to see have all sold out. I am a fool. I should have booked before I came over. I asked if I could turn up an hour or so before the show to see if any tickets had been returned and the box office said I could but seemed very unenthusiastic about my chances.

Then I wandered to the Tate Modern for some afternoon art. I love the Tate Modern's building, a giant old brick power station.

I saw the Frida Kahlo exhibition here in 2005 (which is still the best exhibition I've ever seen, purely because I am a Frida fan), but didn't get to look around the rest of the gallery.

After the Centre Pompidou and the Poetry and Dream section of the Tate Modern, I think I've had enough Surrealist art now to last me a while. There were lots of other cool things though.

An exact replica of the artist's stairwell, made from a gauze fabric and suspended from the ceiling.

I really liked a whole lot of drawings by David Shrigley.

'Venus of the Rags'

This made me laugh, after all my 'Me in a Mirror', this piece of art was actually just a mirror. I'm pretty sure the people around me when I was taking the photo thought I was a loser because it was obvious what I was doing. Well, too bad. It clearly had to be done.

My favourites were a whole lot of posters by feminist art activist group, the Guerilla Girls, who started in the 80s (if you click on the last one it will take you to a bigger version and you'll be able to read it all - because I know everyone would love to be reminded about all the barriers faced by women, not just in art).

While at the Tate I got a text from Chrissy saying to avoid Waterloo, so I got the bus home again from London Bridge, which, while on the bus, I began to think may not have been such a great idea. One of the areas we went through, Angel, had police everywhere and people sitting around me were saying helpful things like, 'Yeah they reckon it'll happen here tonight, maybe even in the next half hour or so.' Then when I got off the bus at the stop near Chrissy and Piet's, the shops including the supermarket had been closed. Apparently Chrissy and Piet had been sent home early from work. Piet had had to cancel some drinks with friends and notes, 'This is just annoying, it's ruining my social life!' We sat around watching the news but it seems the thousands of extra police in the city did the trick for London, and it's Manchester and other places around the UK that are flaring up now.

This made me smile on the way home though, people have drawn all different faces on a line of bollards that seem to have built-in jewels just asking to be made into eyes.

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