Billed as a festival of “more than 50 dazzling artworks”, Lumiere London failed to thrill. Perhaps London is already amply provided with fascinating light on its many interesting cityscapes. Maybe simply the low luminosity of most of the exhibits, although it seemed that some street lights had been switched off to help. I spoke with several people who were also underwhelmed and asking around for what to see or where to go to be impressed. I couldn’t suggest much, even having followed the event map from Fitzrovia to the West End, the South Bank and then Westminster. I found myself in the company of a lot of people diligently photographing the sights which are simply part of London’s vibrant life after dark.
Leicester Square, reeking of the diesel generator powering the very static and rather staid display but which makes a striking photo.
Trafalgar Square. Tethered illuminated balloons programmed to brighten and dim seemingly randomly.
Store Street, Bloomsbury (not Fitzrovia as the handout suggests). A kinetic display on the building and a kinetic globe sculpture but disappointingly dim compared to the street lights.
And a couple of the well-known night vistas as comparison: the Emperor’s usual old clothes are pretty good but thank you London Lumiere for a good try.
Update: I’ve been told (thanks Ian, thanks Luciano) of some other worthwhile displays around, I’ve heard favourably of displays at Regents Canal near Kings Cross and also Westminster Abbey but the display in Lower Regents Street seems to have been spoilt by the new, super-bright advertising screens in Piccadilly Circus.
Brighton is home to some spectacular street art... from the train to the beach, mostly it is enjoyed or disdained and ignored though I'm not sure the owners of Thameslink motor unit 700108 are too pleased.
GSXR riders have a reputation for disregard of authority but even so, as the rider of this GSXR600 parks his bike with such “don’t care” attitude to parking prohibitions, I wonder just how radical his riding style is. Perhaps the way his bike’s provocatively near the red and white barriers, which look like race track edge paint, are a further hint of his yearnings,
But... this is a picture where you have to look the other way to understand the whole story. The GSXR is parked opposite a kitchen, the rider is one of the chefs and he’s parked so that he can keep an eye on his bike full time. Entirely understandable here in Central London, not far from Leicester Square.
Views and Textures from today’s Sussex stroll in the sunshine: Cuckmere Haven is a pebble and flint beach where the River Cuckmere flows into the English Channel. Views of the chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters freshly white from the erosion and ravages of this week’s storms.
This was a great bottle. Classic Margaux. Old enough to be rounded and slightly tawny but not so old as to taste thin or musty. A fine nose, a forward taste in the mouth with a delicious after-taste that complemented roast goose for our Christmas Day lunch and followed on from Champagne Bollinger Spécial Cuvée that was a birthday present (thank you Jon).
This is a bottle I bought and selected myself - we’re moving on from drinking our way through my Father’s cellar. One more bottle of Château Rauzan-Ségla 1994 remaining in my cellar, it won’t be long before it too is uncorked.
The Nutcracker at Covent Garden. They don’t do pantomime of course, this is as near as they get in the Royal Opera House. Peter Wright’s choreography of Tchaikovsky’s ballet score is very family-friendly, there’s a live television relay worldwide of tonight’s performance and showings on television over the festive season. So what’s the point of being here in the theatre?
However much the technology improves, it doesn’t replicate the thrill of seeing these major performers just over there, direct line of sight, nothing in between. There’s no mediation: you see, sense and feel the performance as it is, in its entirety. For ballet it’s about the physicality too, these moves are athletic in the extreme, the concentration and the physical effort communicates directly to us, human to human, both the soloists and in the group pieces - tonight we had principals plus up to two dozen dancers all performing detailed, complicated dances in character with huge grace and in pretty near perfect synchrony.
The interest in a survey of photography in India since 1857 is that it is initially a distillation of British photography which then takes on its own life after national independence.
The Science Museum in South Kensington isn’t where I would expect to find a photography exhibition but this is part of their season “Illuminating India”. We get a chronological survey starting with documentary images of destruction of the Lucknow uprising (1857); these albumen prints, used as source for engravings for journals and magazines, led to a fashion for “Mutiny tourism”.