Some things I’ve been in to this week:
A statue: I tweeted a picture of the John Betjeman statue at London St. Pancras Station last Sunday saying it was one of my favourite statues, and was surprised it was retweeted 20 times by people I don’t know (I think it may have something to do with this man retweeting it). But it’s a great statue of a poet whose poetry I love anyway, and it captures really well not only him as a person but his belief in the glories of St. Pancras Station.
A pub: As you’ll have guessed, I was in London last weekend, and I made sure I called in to my favourite pub in the capital – the Founders Arms at Bankside. And the reason it’s my favourite pub is its view and nothing at all to do with its drink, food or decor (although that’s not too bad). Looking out over the Thames watching the boats going up and down and the amazing architecture of the City of London on the opposite bank, makes it a perfect place to sit and drink. As a result it gets very busy of course, but you can usually find a spot. The best time to be there though is just before sunset as the ‘golden hour’ takes affect and creates the wonderful glow on the surrounding buildings.
An article: There was an excellent article in The Independent Magazine last Saturday about Labour’s MP for Walthamstow Stella Creasy. It’s a really good insight in to someone who’s gained a reputation for her campaigning on national issues, and who people talk about as a star of the future. She’s also managed that unusual feat of using social media a lot and appearing both human and political. I asked a Lib Dem friend who lives in that part of London whether she really is as good as the reports suggest, and his answer was that she really is that good.
A line from a TV programme: This comes from one of the best ever comedies – Yes, Prime Minister – and in this episode Prime Minister Jim Hacker believes that the Employment Secretary Dudley is plotting to overthrow him (Series 2, Episode 1 “Man Overboard”). It’s only a short exchange but it’s one of my favourites:
Jim: It’s envy you know. Dudley is consumed with envy.
Bernard: It’s one of the seven Dudley sins.
An exhibition: There’s not long left of the Vikings exhibition at the British Museum (two days in fact) and so it’s time to visit if you haven’t. I only just managed it last weekend. It really gives a strong sense of what life was like in those times, the amazing art from that time (which we probably don’t generally realise) and the distances they travelled. It isn’t just about raping and pillaging in the North of England.
A song: Sometimes a song just comes in to your head for no apparent reason even though it’s not a song you listen to very often. Last Sunday evening on the train back home it was Glorious by Captain. A catchy sang that’s upbeat but also I detect a bit of angst. What amazes me is how recent this song is and how unsuccessful it was commercially. Sadly I’m not able to embed the video to this site, but you can watch it here.
Two more exhibitions: Another trip last weekend was to The Photographers’ Gallery to see John Deakin and the Lure of Soho and also the nominees for the Deutsche Börse Prize. John Deakin’s photos of Soho in the 50s and 60s really conjure up that time and a slightly curious mixture of glamour and mystery. The Deutsche Börse Prize is one of the most prestigious annual photography competitions. The nominees are always massively different and always fascinating, with my favourites this year being the eventual winner Richard Mosse with large format images of Congo using infrared film, and Alberto García-Alix with his four decades of personal and at times intimate scenes. The Photographers’ Gallery is an amazing place and really handy near Oxford Circus and it’s free entry. I just wish I could spend more time there.
A TV series: There’s only three days left of the BBC’s A Very British Airline, but I recommend watching it before it disappears. A glimpse in to the day to day life of British Airways. It is a brilliant sales job for the company as you realise how particular and how meticulous (and I mean really meticulous) they are at making everything right, but it’s also quite inspiring to see the effort that goes in to create a genuinely quality brand. A brand that I’d always seen as old-fashioned and fuddy duddy, but in this you realise is actually trying to become more modern whilst keeping many of their old values.