Monday, April 17, 2006

the long good friday to monday

april 17th

Level of conviction in own genius: 8
Amount of creative activity achieved today: 1 hour
Hair day: adequate though am contemplating flash of shocking flamepink to make primary school collectively gasp in horror

This long Easter weekend has shaped up marvellously, stretching gracefully over four days and packed to the gills with vibrant activity...

Friday was indeed Good, with a quick visit to Victoria Park's lush secret garden, complete with balletic squirrels and birds in four-part harmony. In the evening my visual wiz partner-in-artcrime Harry took me to the Lyric, Hammersmith to see an adaptation of the Neil Gaiman/Dave McKean graphic novel 'The Wolves are in the Walls', which proved to be a zippy musical with audacious set design and puppetry. Brill.

On Saturday, I reminded myself why I used to love Soho, drinking mid-morning Earl Grey, eating brioche and reading the New Statesman (ok, pretending to the read the New Statesman whilst admiring my glamorously intellectual reflection) in Patisserie Valerie on Old Compton Street alongside the old Italians and cutely-coiffed gay men. Andy and I then fought our way into the V&A's 'Modernism' exhibition, where I learnt that the bad things to come out of it were Nazism's and Facism's twisted adaptation of the aesthetic and the good things were the later rejection of straight lines in favour of responding to organic forms found in nature and some kick-ass tea sets.

We topped off Saturday with a mosey down to the coolest joint in town (so says Time Out and they are the gospel in all things London): the Bethnal Green Working Men's Club. Oh yes. Just off the beaten track enough to lose the city types and Shoho ponces, we were there for Viva Cake, a hilariously off-the-wall night of 50s music, Lindy hop class and free tea and cake served by roller-skating waitresses, and mingled with the old-school locals from the still-very-working-men's-club bit downstairs. A fun, unprentious night, complete with bizarre (and not terribly good, admittedly) dance troupe of ladies dressed as stewardesses.

Having demanded one trip to the beach before my hol was up (my recent afernoon in Scarborough with ma not really counting seeing as we cowered in the car whilst a snowstorm tried to force the windows open), we hopped on the train to Whitstable for a quick fix of salt air. We ticked all the boxes, eating fish and chips on our laps whilst the grease soaked through our jeans, traipsing over the breakers and pebbles to the weathered huts down at the far end, having tea and organic cake, proving artistic worth by spotting founder of Stuckism and previous squeeze of Tracy Emin, Billy Childish, inventing games involving the re-creation of film scnees using beach debris (I got very wet during my Jaws effort), jotting some poetry and writing some on stones for people to pick up later. And all this while the sky, a cloud canvas, practically screamed 'WATERCOLOUR ME! WATERCOLOUR ME!' and the sea was silvering milk.

Switching from quaint coastal towns to knife-edgy East London in one fell swoop, we danced away Sunday at the slightly-perturbing Favela Chic (done up, apparently, like a shanty town - yeah, we're like, poor and Brazilian! and blowing our last thousand centavos on beer!) at Batamacumba's night, decent if ending with some tropical funk with, strangely, the bassline from Grease's 'Summer Nights'. Hhm.

Phew. Feeling like we were somewhere into Thursday afternoon, having lost track of the days completely, we took it easier today, lunching at the utterly wondrous Grapes pub in Limehouse, an ancient, dark-wooded pub that reminds me of my fabulous York local the Blue Bell with its perfect mix of old crazies and relaxed Indie-reading new Londoner types. Plus a fab view of the iron-glittering river. Then went to the Docklands museum, chiefly to see the lovely 'Unquiet Thames' photographic exhibition but also to soak up the history of the area. Whilst I acknowledge that this city thrives on change, it seemed sad when walking back through Westferry to see the streets named so evocatively after the trades that buzzed there (Ropemaker's Walk, Butcher's Row) now labelling blocks after blocks of city-boy flats, and the river so unpopulated by boats. Things move on, but you wonder what happened to the older 'islanders' who got quietly pushed aside in favour of the towers of Mordor now gleaming blindingly into the sky.

Now, duck, lentils, wine, The Beat That My Heart Skipped, and hopefully a six-week sleep which thus allows me to bypass school summer term part one and arise refreshed for half-term high jinks. Well, a girl can dream....

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