9.00 am. To breakfast at Pret a Manger, King’s Cross station. They do a good porridge:
Then, on to the Tate Modern to see the Performing for the Camera exhibition:
It was good to see one of my former tutors, the late Keith Arnatt, represented in an exhibition that was ambitious in its reach. A little more on leisure photography wouldn’t have gone amiss, though. I’ve always been uneasy with Yves Klein’s Anthropométries. The ‘use’ of naked woman (and only women) as human paint brushes, under his supervision, appears to instrumentalise them. And, then again, I’m uneasy because I enjoy the outcome of this process.
The Rothko Room, in the Tate Modern’s general collection, has been re-illuminated; its now conspicuously darker, but entirely in keeping with the core tone of the paintings. Now, this is spirit art:
Back, north of the river, I visited St Martin within Ludgate, which Christopher Wren restored in 1684. There’s been a church on this site since 1147:
At 12.30 pm, I attended the morning service of Eucharist at St Paul’s Cathedral. I did so … not to feel better, but because I’m wretched.
After lunch on the Cathedral steps, I returned to King’s Cross to undertake research in the British Library — my favourite library. Late afternoon, I journeyed to the centre of the known universe — my favourite street, and great passion:
Denmark Street was once Britain’s Tin Pan Alley, where David Bowie caféd, the Rolling Stones recorded, and the Sex Pistols lived. Now, it has more top-draw guitar shops in close proximity than anywhere else in the world. Notionally, I spent thousands of pounds this afternoon. Moments of grace can occur anywhere. As I was leaving one of the shops, a well-to-do gentleman approached a beggar whom he’d encountered earlier, and apologised for his off-hand attitude to him.
After a brief respite in the gardens of Leicester Square, I took an early dinner at Lido, Gerrard Street. You can smell Chinatown long before you get there. Ah! Five-spice powder:
Back at the hotel, I caught up on incoming mail and other modes of correspondence.