Friday, 30 October 2009

Englanding #12 : London Town

London! The man who is tired of London is tired of paying too much for a chocolate bar and being treated like scum while he's paying for it!

I kid, I kid, but in this case not because I love. Without ever having lived in London I've been there so many times that I wasn't expecting my trip there to be much of an eye opener. But while I still put London in the same bracket as Tokyo (awesome to visit, wouldn't want to live there) it impressed me a lot more than I thought it would. For some reason living in Japan made the architecture and the buildings of London seem really beautiful and interesting this time out. I felt the same in Birmingham, but then Birmingham really is very familiar to me whereas going past St. Pauls and seeing business like this:

...was really fun. I let myself be more of a tourist than I ever have before down there and wandered around with my backpack on taking photos of tube trains and stuff like that.

Still, worth mentioning that when I first came back to the UK people said, "well, everyone's gonna seem really rude aren't they?" They didn't until I went to London and Brighton! Down in London almost (not quite) everyone in the shops and cafes was magnitudes ruder than the other places I visited. In London though, you've kinda gotta be, and the customers they were serving were a damn sight nastier than those people deal with in Birmingham I'd reckon.

So on my first day in London I met up with young Ben Green, who's doing very well, in the leafy borough of Hackney. After I'd taken my leave of him I went to probably my favourite place in the capital - Tate Modern:

The first time I went to the Tate Modern, a power station converted into a massive modern art gallery, I think it took me two days to go around the whole thing. Seriously. Two days. As Eddie Argos sez: modern art makes me want to rock out. The turbine hall installation at the moment is this enormous terrifying void:

How It Is by Miroslaw Balka is a giant metal box facing a blank wall so that no direct light can get in. In fact, once you're up that ominous looking ramp and inside it feels like no light at all can get in, you're just stumbling around in a huge pitch black box bumping into people and worrying that any minute the floor is going to drop away. There's no sense that you're progressing, or even getting closer to the back, until you finally reach it. The walls are covered in felt too. Awesome.

More modern art on Monday!

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