September 30, 2017 – London
The day began with the fire alarm going off in the hostel. Panic among the birthday celebrating, hung-over, fabulously funny French women ensued. Before we could all get through the dormitory door, the alarm stopped and all was well. The next surprise was to walk into the bar/breakfast area that is normally deserted at 7 am in the morning. It was packed with young men and women drinking beer and eating burgers. I couldn’t help but wonder if I slept through the entire day, and perhaps the French ladies slept through it too. I didn’t know the Australian finals were happening and Belushi’s was the gathering place to view it on the big screens. I was sent down the street to the other hostel for my breakfast.
Breakfast at Belushi’s Bar
Carbon ink fountain pen and Faber-Castell FITT sepia marker
I stepped out into the gray morning and crossed London Bridge. My destination was Atlantic Art, Europe’s largest supplier of art materials. Along the way I passed a movie being filmed.
Unfortunately for the filming, the sun had broken through the clouds.
London fog was being created along the sides of the street.
As usual, I was entertained by notifications and warnings along the way along the way
As I neared my destination, the stores and businesses vanished. I found myself in a neighborhood of faceless buildings that looked as if they housed high-end condos rather than paints and brushes. When I arrived at the address, there was no art store in sight. Half-way down a narrow ally I saw a small sign.
I walked over to the sign and still didn’t see the store. Opposite the sign, a small metal door was propped open and an arrow indicated I should follow. I felt like Alice. The large murals beckoned and another red arrow pointed down.
I stepped through the door.
I walked down the flight of stairs.
And then I walked down another flight of stairs.
Another small metal door opened into a vast warehouse space filled with Europe’s largest supply of art materials. Sadly, 2.5mm leads were not among all those wonderful supplies. I purchased a few items, found my way back to London Bridge, dropped off the art supplies and treated myself to a pulled lamb sandwich at Borough Market.
After lunch I decided to go to the Basquiat exhibit at Barbican Center. I’m not a fan of Basquit. He is thought of by many as an artistic genius. Perhaps, if I stand before his work, I might understand his popularity. I headed back across London Bridge.
Halfway across the bridge, a brown building caught my eye. I made a detour and hoped to find a bench within view of the building.
This is the Minster Building, a Neo-Gothic office building complex, designed by architects GMW Partnership.
I found a bench with a perfect view of the structure and set about sketching it.
Very soon, it started to rain.
I wound my way back toward my original destination and began to recognize buildings and streets I’d seen on the Tree Walk I did last year. When I saw the familiar Red and Blue air vents, cousins to those of the Pompidou Center in Paris, I knew I was near the London Wall and the Barbican Center.
88 Wood Street office building at London Wall designed by Richard Rogers
88 Wood Street Office Building
88 Wood Street Office Building
I am in awe of the buildings in London, both the old and the new.
Birds perched on ruins of the London Wall built by the Romans in 200 AD
A sculpture within the maze of multi-level walkways throughout the Barbican Center.
Eventually, I found my way to the Barbican Center Exhibit Hall. There were no tickets available for the Basquiat exhibit … maybe I’ll try again when I return to London at the end of the month. I wished I’d gone to the Tate instead. I would have loved to see the work of Fahreinissa Zeid and today was the last day.
My spirit lifted when I remembered I’d been handed a flyer earlier in the day announcing the London Concertante Chamber Ensemble performing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at Southward Cathedral, right next to Borough Market. I felt even better when I saw an open door in a churchyard.
The interior of the Southward Cathedral is stunning and the concert was excellent. In addition to Vivaldi, they performed Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings. I went to sleep quite happy.
Tomorrow I head to Swansea.