A June Miscellany
No single subject today, just a quick round-up of the week. A lot of exhibitions, concerts and plays now roam the world in touring productions, so if you missed the Pink Floyd exhibition in London you can catch it in Madrid. The Kubrick exhibition, Tate Modern’s Franz West show (the Austrian artist destroyed artworks that anyone accused of being beautiful), ‘The Light in the Piazza’, Adam Guettel’s melancholy romance with Renée Fleming, are all touring, sometimes in a limited circuit, other times to unlikely places. I saw the terra-cotta warriors in a derelict cinema in Gdansk (they tour the world split into different groupings) and the David Bowie art show in Barcelona without any crowds and at a third of the cost. Sometimes it pays to wait until the initial excitement has died down.
Then there are things that feel peculiar to this city: The gorgeous new Bridge Theatre feels like the most English spot in London, as it has opened up views across the Thames to the Tower of London. It’s the perfect place for a glass of wine on a summer’s night, and not too crowded either.
I was there seeing a very woke, immersive ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, with stunt casting (Brienne of Tarth as Titania!), acrobats, gender switched sex, nudity, selfies, flowers, jokes, Beyoncé and – after a start that recalled ‘A Handmaid’s Tale’ – the general atmosphere of an Ibiza beach party. It’s not often you hear the Queen of the Amazons tell Puck to ‘jog on’, or to have him complain about Londoners.
On a less cultural note, Trump’s visit to London did not play well, despite what he might have tried to tell the world. Although she cannot express partisan views the Queen subtly called him out on Nato. In official photographs she looked decidedly uncomfortable (contrast with the extraordinarily warm reception she gave the Obamas). The Palace denied this story, which apparently appeared on US websites. HRH did not say it of course – the whole thing was made up. They couldn’t even get her tone right, and should have known that she does not give interviews.
In revenge, the British did their own doctoring back…much amusement was to be had by Trump’s horrendous tailoring, in which he seemed not to know how to wear a waistcoat.
A series of huge protests were staged across the country. Predictably, the POTUS made random, contradictory statements about trade deals and insulted the Mayor of London, who is Muslim. All in all Trump’s copter cavalcade flew past my apartment six times as he wouldn’t take to the streets and risk British sarcasm. Here’s what you may have missed;
For its brief summer London blooms, but I’m heading for Barcelona to work on the new Bryant & May novel ‘Oranges & Lemons’, and I now have a sumptuous cover in for the book preceding it, ‘England’s Finest’. Then I’ll be in Cadiz, from where it’s just a short ferry ride to Africa. I’ve also starting using Instagram again (although only a little) under BryantandMay.