A Travellerspoint blog

London - The Tate Museum.

Thoughts on Art and Museums.

sunny 19 °C

24309A01A54EEAAA0FA3B59A859C684C.jpgThere was a time, years ago when I saw museums as places you only really needed to visit once. It was to me, simply art under glass, frozen in time. Once you had seen Museum Picasso or Dali Theatre-Museum or The Met or for that matter individual pieces of art like ‘David’ or the ‘Mono Lisa’ it was a done deal. This “notch in the belt” approach has brought me to a lot of places but I realize now that it’s sheer folly. To me the ultimate greatness and true value of art is in its perception, in the way it makes me see and think about the world, my life and my place in the universe. And perception is far from stagnant; it’s more like a kaleidoscope than a telescope. The closer you get to the horizon the more you realize how truly big and beautiful and even unattainable it really is.

When I first saw Picasso at age 12, I was enamored by the comical nature of form and shape. To me his art seemed whimsical and playful. As a young man, it seemed rebellious and defiant. As a middle-aged man it seemed like a man struggling to find a new way to look at things. And as a 52-year-old man I see the sensuality and longing to hold forever, a feeling and a vision that is both spectacular and fleeting. These eyes have changed and everything behind them and in front of them has changed as well.

Now when I go museums I am often trying to connect the dots, from one artist to the next. I contemplate the movements and the influences from the pictographs found in ancient caves to the explosions of Jackson Pollack and onward. How we see our lives reflects who we are and who we will be. Artist offer a vision that can capture our mind and introduce it to our soul in a new way. They create a window for us to look through. And the view is spectacular.

Thanks Tate !!

Posted by Charloch 04:43 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged art london museum tate Comments (0)

London, a change is gonna come.

Reflections across the decades.

The first thing we noticed about our “New London” is that is has evolved from a classist, rather reserved society that swept its minorities under the cover of industry and servitude to a truly multi-ethnic nation of shared pursuits. When we lived here for several months in 1983, we worked as immigrants in a department store, a cafe and in a coffee factory. The general attitude we experienced from the native population towards “others” was to either stick their nose in the air or simply to ignore them.

Now there seems to be a celebration of differences that has made the whole city a lot more vibrant and interesting. The British “wittiness and creativity” has fresh fodder to burn and no longer wallows in the ashes of its former greatness. Like New York, we heard multiple languages on the street and the people working in virtually every establishment could only be described as extremely diverse. Even more meaningful was the positive words I saw in the newspapers I read which reflected the contributions of others. For example, one article I read attributed the decline in teen-age drug use and pregnancy to the influence of the Muslim culture. Be honest, when was the last time you read anything positive about Muslims in America?

The second thing we noticed was that it is damn expensive. The exchange rate is $1.85 to the dollar and once you factor in fees and commissions it’s really closer to 2 to 1. Yet the prices list just like the states. Everything is in effect – double what we are used to paying and triple or quadruple what we are used to spending when we travel in more financially hospitable domains. The metro was especially shocking. While there is no end to multi-day passes and various complicated discount scenarios, the bottom line is if you want to go a few miles (one zone) and back it will cost two people about Thirty Dollars. To travel further will cost at least one arm and possibly a leg.

I would advise anyone going to London to spend a little more money to be centrally located. In our case we stayed at the Apex Temple Hotel http://www.apexhotels.co.uk/en/hotels/london/apex-temple-court-hotel/ in the financial district which was only a few blocks from the super fun Soho area which is full of bars and great restaurants filled with young bohemians and old timers alike. It was also only a few blocks from the Tate, the London Bridge, Piccadilly Circus and the Theatre district. London really is like a living museum and to walk the streets is a true treat.

Enjoying the wonders of London on foot cost nothing but is truly rewarding. After an epic breakfast at the Breakfast Club http://www.thebreakfastclubcafes.com we had a blast exploring the free and wonderful Tate gallery http://www.tate.org.uk which host a plethora of art. I have also heard that theatrical productions are very affordable and would like to see a few next time I visit. General people watching is a blast and the pubs can still offer a great pint of beer for a decent price along with a far superior selection of snacks then was available when we lived there. We found the people and the service at large to be warm, fun and efficient. I am not sure where all the grouchy pasty people and their screw you attitudes went. Perhaps they moved to the southern suburbs where I have heard that dreariness is still embraced.

I remember that in 1983 when I was living in London with fellow travelers at what we called “the home of the brave”, that we used to simply sit on the sidewalk and say hello to people just to laugh and revel in their shocked reactions. Typically, they tucked their head into their dark winter coats and shuffled away as if we where trying to fleece them in a dark alleyway.

I have no doubt that now, they would smile, say hello back and perhaps even ask us where we where from.

Posted by Charloch 15:20 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

London, returning to the scene of the crime.

32 Years ago I left the continent of America for the first time. I was 20 years old and I had saved half of every paycheck, for over a year to go see all the places that existed on the world map in my childhood bedroom. Some I had already visited in my collection of encyclopedias and National Geographics. In the early 1980’s we did not have the Internet, TV shows or video documentaries to learn from, so the written page was my window to the world.

I am not sure why I always had such a strong urge to travel. I think some of it was the amazing people I grew up with. Aunts and Uncles and Parents who had a thirst for adventure and a quest to make the most of life. Ironically, some of it may have been my lack of academic strength at the point in my life. I am dyslexic and I did not know it until much later in life. This put me in a position of not really having a great shot at college. But I liked people, I liked to work, and I was insatiably curious. In a way, this was my freedom. Unlike other young men I knew, I did not have to map a plan to what I wanted through something else. I simply choose what I wanted and did it. And what I wanted was to see the world.

I landed in London and after a brief, properly rude British reception at customs; I was given a mere six weeks to explore the UK. After boarding a train to central London I found myself on a street corner, all alone with nowhere to be. It was exhilarating.

A young girl came up to me and asked me if I needed a place to stay and I said yes. She took me to a hostel in South Kensington called Astor. I only stayed a few days before I ventured off to Scotland, Ireland, France, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. I decided to return to London for Christmas and I went to the hostel where in the first five minutes I met Wendy. We have been together ever since and now we have returned for the first time. London has changed and so have we, but the journey remains.

Posted by Charloch 15:02 Comments (0)

Don't Leave

She says

Don't leave, she says.

I don't like these bags.

I realize I have been ignoring you and that perhaps I could be a little more receptive when you call my name but still, this has gone too far.

Maybe I could have been a little more appreciative of the fresh chicken (even though we both know it should have been shrimp).

Maybe I could have purred a little louder when you pet me.
Maybe I could sit on your lap and not just her lap.

Maybe I could have given you my happy face more often.
But still, there is no reason for this madness,this disruption of routine, this intolerable action.

Don't forget me - I will be waiting.

Posted by Charloch 18:53 Comments (0)


Leaving while you are still here.

It always happens before you go, the dreaming.

You are flying, you are driving, you are moving through a different space in a different time, in the unfamiliar.

Yet you recognize yourself there. You see more clearly through the haze of your enlightenment and the sharpness of your thirst.

You hear, you smell, you feel ............... foreign and belonging at the same time.

You have stepped away, to step into


And you know that like a song to a bird, a whisper to a secret and a lock to a key, that you Belong.

Posted by Charloch 11:59 Archived in USA Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 5) Page [1]