Friday, January 21, 2011

London 30.12.2010: Winston ChurchEEL and Tourist Tat

Back to the Tate: I really liked the neighborhood around the museum.  It’s the most appealing I’ve seen in London, with its red-brick apartment buildings and quiet tree-lined streets.  Is this Chelsea?  Whatever the area’s called, I imagine it’s horrendously expensive to live in.

Turner and light: interesting, his fascination with both its powerful refulgence and its occlusion, right as the industrial age gets underway in force—an age whose effect would be in so many ways precisely to occlude natural light that had long been taken for granted, so that fog became a way of life in London, and disappeared only as controls on pollution were enacted.

Did Turner sense this coming, and is his art prognostication, in its celebration of light?  Artists do foresee.  They’re the canary in the coal mine whose warnings we ignore to our peril.


After the Tate, we went to the Portobello Market, and found it thoroughly depressing, tawdry, full of déracinés young folks from anywhere and everywhere fingering bright mass-produced goods that might be found in any similar market anywhere in the world.  This despite a pompous declaration of a man selling bits and pieces of old books and lithographs at the first shop we visited in Portobello, that we’d find no tourist tat here.

The gray, damp weather didn’t make the Portobello shopping any more pleasant, so the less said about this afternoon, the better. 


Eating lunch now at Fish! in Borough Market.  A sign over the bar, the only seating available to us, says, “The dish fish! ’n chips was voted onto the list of English National icons, along with: Robin Hood, Winston ChurchEEL, the Archers, Paul McCARPny, Magna Carter, and SKATE Winslet!”

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