Saturday, 15 January 2011
They say the Lord moves in mysterious ways and today I discovered a new Topshop opposite St Pauls Cathedral. Praise be, Hallelujah. I am sure I am too old and am definitely too rotund to be shopping in Topshop but I do love it. They seem to have such a regular turnover over stock that one can always find something different in there no matter how often you pop in, and now there's one not far from where I live, I am literally over the moon with excitement. The clothes they had in there today seemed to be inspired by 40's fashion which I love. The colours and styles of clothes were beautiful, I just wish I was taller, thinner and had more wardrobe space. But since I am not taller, thinner and don't have more wardrobe space I didn't buy anything. Which was also a good thing for my dwindling January budget since the god damn tooth decided to suck up £450.
Anyway, the reason I was sniffing around St Pauls was not to look for crimplene blouses however, I was in the area since I was meeting a friend to go to the Gauguin Exhibition at the Tate Modern. As well as Film, I also studied Art History at University so like to think I can appreciate art. I discovered yesterday though, that I can not appreciate Paul Gauguin.
I must admit, I wasn't familiar with his work but since my friend had a Tate membership with free entry to the exhibition, I thought it seemed like a super idea to go along. My friend also resigned from her job just before Christmas, and I should have guessed that maybe things weren't going to go too well when, as soon as we met up, I discovered she had been at the gym all morning. And has been to the gym every morning since she has not been at work. Whereas I had spent the morning sitting around in my owl pyjamas, sucking Weetabix and writing about the mysteries of Intergluteal Cleft's. Anyway, we queued up, went in and almost immediately I think we realised we weren't really going to enjoy it. The way the exhibition was laid out (in 11 rooms) was quite unusual. Rather than the work being displayed chronologically so you could see how his style developed, they were displayed by themes in each room. The first room for example was mostly self portraits. Now I aint no oil painting , no pun intended, but this guy was hardly a looker (massive chin by the looks of it) and I would have thought that if you were going to paint a picture of yourself, wouldn't you do yourself a favour and make yourself better looking? I know I would. Anyway, Gauguin didn't so subsequently, the first room of portraits were rather disappointing and not particularly pleasant. Apparently Gauguin said once "I shut my eyes in order to see". It looked like he shut his eyes in order to paint too. The frames on most of the paintings though were beautiful. Golden and ornate and I actually preferred these to any of the pictures in the entire exhibition. Also, there seemed to be rather a lot of sketches and I wondered if, had he been alive today, would he actually have wanted them on display? They looked like the sort of thing that maybe he had thrown away and someone had dug out of the bin or something. I took a picture of one, as I actually couldn't believe it was on the wall. (I discovered afterwards though that was an illegal manoeuvre so I hope the Feds don't track me down). But honestly, is this really art? God knows.
Apart from the fact that I didn't like the art work or the presentation of it, the other thing I didn't like was the amount of people that were let in to see it. If I had paid the ticket price of £12.50, I definitely would have asked for a refund. There were so many people there that it was hard to see most of the exhibits.
For some reason most people viewing the exhibition were over 80 and had brought fold up chairs with them and were sitting down in front of the pictures. Now I love old people, but they do do some quite strange things sometimes. I wonder if I'll do that when I'm 80? I wonder if I'll live that long. Anyway, I digress. So, apart from Gaugin's work, they also had some limited information about him which just confirmed the fact that I was not keen.
He was a Stockbroker who lived in Denmark with his wife and 5 kids.
He left them all and went to Tahiti where he painted loads of women without any clothes on.
He had loads of (young) Tahitian girlfriends.
He caused a rumpus in Tahiti by not paying taxes and persuading the locals to do the same.
He got Syphlis.
I don't really think he sounds very nice. Give me Rolf Harris any day. I would rate this exhibition 2 Tahitian nipples out of a possible 10 (for the frames only).
After the exhibition we attempted a wine in the members bar which was also packed so we didn't stay, however, it was good to see the stunning views across the Thames to St Pauls. It was definitely worth wheezing all the way up the stairs to the 6th floor to see the view even if we weren't rewarded with booze at the end of it.
We then headed East and went to the Royal oak on Columbia Road. This is a very nice cosy pub which serves food and has a small beer garden should you be requiring to smoke a growler or two. I have not eaten there, however, the food does have some good reviews. It does get very busy but is definitely worth a look in should you be in the area. The only downside is that the only serve one size of wine. Small...............?
After a few (small) wines, a breakaway group of us ended the evening at the recently refurbished Viet Hoa on the Kingsland Road. There are several vietnamese restaurants along the Kingsland Road, but in my opinion, this one is by far the best. It's also very reasonably priced and has a superb reputation. I had what I always have (duck pancakes and sweet and sour chicken, very adventurous) and I would give last night's meal a high 8 pineapple chunks out of a possible 10.