Saturday, January 24, 2009

Big Smoke

Last weekend me and my bird went to London for a nice long weekend to catch up with a few mates.
We took the Friday and Monday off work and caught the train at 11.30 am from Edinburgh Waverley. In an unusual and controversial move, we decided not to get steaming. We remained true to ourselves and didn't go to the pub at the station, didn't get a cargo for the train, and certainly didn't pay over the odds for a miniature can of warm Heineken from the trolley. I was tempted by about the time we got to York though; when the novelty of the train has worn off, you can't be bothered playing cards, and it's a bit annoying sharing the headphones of the iPod.
So we got there about 4ish and made our way to London Bridge where we then had a supposedly short walk past Tower Bridge to the pub we were meeting our mates Hilary and Tim who we were staying with. Hil and Tim came along once they finished work, we had a couple of pints with them then went back to theirs in Bermondsey, had a spot of dinner, stayed in and got a bit wellied drinking red wine and cocktails amongst other things.

Woke up in the morning feeling a tad rough but a cooked breakfast sorted us out and we all went off to the Tate Modern on the south bank. We had passes which entitled us to get into the paid exhibitions as well as the members café area. They currently have a Rothko exhibition so we went to check that out. Now I like art, I like abstract art, I like expressionism and I like surrealism; but I must say that I don't really dig his stuff. The clincher was when I went into one of the exhibition rooms and there was all these folk scratching their chins and staring intently at a large canvas painted completely black. To their right was another large canvas also painted completely black, and another to their left, and another behind. In some other rooms there were about 20 versions of a floating red frame on a red background. In his own words - I'll paraphrase slightly - 'If a thing is worth doing once, it is worth repeating again and again, exploring the possibilities'. That is fair enough, but how many versions of that do we really need? Move on to something else.
So after all that we were ready for a drink and a scran and had arranged to meet more pals so looked for a boozer to get a pint. Being a Saturday afternoon, everywhere was packed out, but we eventually got a seat and ordered some food. Our pal Louise came along and met us and a few more people were on their way. My pal from my Fopp days, Christophe, and his bird came and met us. It was great to catch up with them cos I've hardly seen Christophe for the last couple of years, and he's been living in London for 9 months or so and I haven't seen him at all since then. Unfortunately he was made redundant for the second time in 18 months recently, but aside from that he was in good form and seems to be enjoying himself in London.
Another pal, Dan, came and met us, as did Ian and Justin and Debs. Christophe and Gemma left and shortly after that my old mucker, Neil, came along with his lemon, Kate. We had a good few drinks before we decided it would be best to head back to Hil and Tim's where we could relax a bit. The usual kind of nonsense ensued, along with lots of booze. The night ended with me and Tim jumping from couch to couch like a kind of living room assault course. Mel tried it as well but fell off and landed on her arse. She's still complaining about a sore arse now, and it's not even been my birthday.
Didn't feel too bad the next day but plans for a walk up Hampstead Heath were shelved for a pub lunch and trip to the cinema. After lunch and a couple of pints we shelved the plans for the cinema in favour of a DVD and an Indian takeaway.
Next day we were traveling home on the 1.30 pm train but first I wanted to go to the Design Museum which was only a ten minute walk away. Tim has a membership so we got in for free again. They had some ceramics exhibition which was ok, but they also had an exhibition by illustrator Alan Aldridge, the Man with the Kaleidoscope Eyes. He came to prominence in the 60s and his stuff is really cool. He illustrated lyric books for the Beatles, album covers for The Who and Elton John, illustrated children's books such as The Butterfly Ball and designed adverts and identities for iconic brands such as the Hard Rock Café.
After that it was a quick lunch then off to catch the train home. Got a bottle of wine for the journey this time, having learned our lesson on the way down. Eventually got home after a delay at Newcastle and got dinner, wine, bath and bed in that order.
A cracking weekend in all, though not cheap. Even though we got into the exhibitions free I still spent about £170 over the weekend, not including travel, and my bird would have spent about the same.
This weekend I am all about Headspin's 11th birthday party which is on tonight. I'll let you know soon how it went and tell you about some of my thoughts on the future of Headspin.
Stay cool now, ye hear?