Most of this morning was spent at the Courtauld Institute, looking at the galleries of Impressionist art (and more). It was funny to think that the first room we went into, with its 3 Manets, 2 Monets, and 4 Degas, would have constituted an entire 6 month exhibit with attendant advertising were it at the Seattle Art Museum. In addition they had a big creepy Botticelli (making four so far this trip) and a huge selection of Rubens. I was also reminded of how much I like the work of Titian: I just never feel it unless I'm right there looking at his stuff, how the light just pops off of his subjects and the guestures they have.
While standing in front of this almost creepy Seurat (it was flirtatious and a little girly ... but creepy nonetheless), I noticed a man taking these photographs where he was holding his little bitty camera right up to the details of the painting and getting images sharp enough that they captured the very brushstrokes on the camera. Yep, it was the fancy pants camera my friend (and coworker) Chris had recommended to me before we left ... tasty! Jason is sold and has officially requested that this be his birthday present now.
Of course we spent too long here, and I had to dash off with just a bite or two of a falafel sandwich before I went to the UK headquarters of Tripadelic. I don't envy them the not-even-cubicle work environment, but generally speaking the Soho Square lifestyle looks very good to me. Meanwhile, Jason was back at the TKTS office getting us half-priced tickets to "Jerry Springer: The Opera." That'll be tonight, after we ... I don't know, go shop for tea or something.
Yeseterday was about the most non-touristy day I've spent in the nistory of all my travelling. We started off at Brick Lane, where we expected a Souk-like atmosphere of vendors selling spices, saris, and bootleg Bollywood videos. Instead, we got booth after booth of crap clothes and household implements ... soap and scrubbies and the like, all immensely cheered up by a sign warning that "Muggings take place in this neighborhood." The shops themselves were pretty good, but something about all of the old guys in their white hats and beards and me wearing the black corset-y top and red and black skirt made me feel a little uncomfortable.
We were, unexpectedly, late getting to Shillibeer's for the London Fetish Faire, the location I had picked as the best location to meet up with my London LJ friends. Yet despite my tardy arrival, I got nothing but the warmest of welcomes from ciphergoth, spikeylady,ergotia, and lilithmagna. I also got to meet the simply fabulous countess_sophia, who was an indispensible mischief maker for the rest of the afternoon and evening. trishpiglet came by with babysimon ... and I could not spend enough time with her because of the overwhelming sea of humanity at the little picnic table under some trees outside of the bar! It was really just extremely pleasant and conversational, with topics ranging all over the place from the basics ("Yeah, Bush sucks,") to some really esoteric stuff ("Have you heard of the Theban holy warriors?"), and I never once felt like I was trying too hard to be cool or make people laugh - unusual for me with people that I don't know well and yet want to like me.
There was at least four other LJ folks there ... only bootpunk's name is coming to me today, drat that evil white wine lilithmagna kept bringing to the table, and drat me for, um, drinking out of other people's glasses and forgetting I'd only had half a samosa since my sad little hotel breakfast. I was pretty plowed by the time the staff came by and told us we "weren't welcome anymore, get out!" An attentive person could doubtlessly have deduced my degree of inebriation by my ridiculous purchase of a very nicely made black corset without being able to do the math properly (at least not well enough to even try to bargain the sellers down a bit) ... but even the dullest dullard could have told I was holding onto countess_sophia's offered elbow for my life as our group rolled away from Shillibeer's and off for some much needed grub.
It would be embarassing to write too much in here about how my afternoon just completely exceeded my expectations for how things would go with the St. Reathem's group. Yes, I expected smart, yes, I expected sexy, but I never expected, not just anyone, but EVERYONE to be so damn nice and friendly and kind. Sure, ergotia "outed" me as leading a pretty boring life (although she didn't say my life was boring, that's me interpreting), but I never felt like I was being humored or (worse yet) tolerated. And really, I feel sure that this day will probably go down as the best one of the entire trip, despite the fact we saw not one show nor one masterpiece of art the entire day.
At any rate, we went out for Indian food afterwards, and we've got an invitation for dinner at the flat tomorrow ... I am so pleased! We're also supposed to be going out to a club on Saturday ... at least, shadowdaddy and I will definitely be there, we'll see who else makes it.
Our show on Saturday, the Bolshoi's "Spartacus," was a total hoot. I've never seen a ballet featuring whips, chains, slaves, debauchery, defloration, and a bacchanal before. Wow! The stage positively crackled with masculine energy from all of the dancing Roman warriors and slave-men. And we were close enough to smell the crackling, in our £8.50 standing spots. However, we were so far off to the side that we couldn't see anything on the left third of the stage ... a big drag (but I just couldn't handle the idea of £45 seats). I'm sincerely hoping our tickets for this Friday's "Pharaoh's Daughter" won't suffer from the same problems.