August 14, 2014

The morning began with a flurry activity of the non-hectic kind, in preparation for a two-day trip to London and a cultural binge with my wife. Low, smoky grey clouds of vapour and a curtain of rain erased the mountain tops between Borth and Machynlleth:

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We took a somewhat circuitous journey on a long and rather unstable train, via Wolverhampton and Stafford on this occasion. It got us to the capitol half an hour earlier than usual. En route, I pushed on with the Art/Sound lecture, stopping only for my mandatory, over priced, but otherwise acceptable, cardboard cup of tea from the trolley:

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After arriving at Old Street tube station, we walked the first section of City Road, lost the route, and shuffled around several blocks in the pouring rain before discovering the Premier Inn. It’s reassuringly like every other hotel under that banner, with cheery and helpful staff (no irony intended), and a room that always looks like the last one you occupied, and as though no one has ever before slept in it:

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There was, too, the same vacuous print hung over the desk, in an entirely arbitrary diptych formation, which, once seen, you never notice again for the remainder of your stay. It’s a fascinating phenomenon: peripheral art:

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After a brief respite, we travelled to Oxford Circus before making a pilgrimage to Denmark Street (England’s Tin-Pan Alley in the halcyon 1960s) to eye, forlornly, shop after shop of contemporary and vintage electric guitars. One day … :

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It poured with rain again as we emerged onto Charing Cross Road; so my wife and I headed for the family’s habitual Chinese eatery on Gerrard Street. Afterwards, we took in a film, Lilting, at the Curzon, Shaftesbury Avenue:

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It’s a necessarily slow-burning narrative that deals with a variety of interrelated portraits about acceptance and reconciliation, loss and grief, and estrangement and isolation:

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