Saturday, January 19, 2008

The squirrels here should wear tophats

Friday was one of those days when, after it ends, you are happy you woke up early.

St. Martin in the Fields hold free lunchtime concerts every Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Yesterday a 20-year-old Turkish pianist performed. Everything started out pretty rough, and by the Beethoven sonata, there was a homeless man in the corner snoring so loudly that one side of the hall was collectively more stressed out. Luckily, the pianist pulled through, and by the end of the second piece, we applauded loudly enough to stir the derelict. By the time the pianist performed his last piece, he was on fire. It was as if he had grown twenty years since the beginning of the concert. He had the passion of a young person, but the control of someone very experienced.

Afterwards it was time to check out the pop art portrait exhibit at the National Gallery, but admission was a little to pricey. Instead, we went to Bond St., walked a few blocks and found the Timothy Taylor Gallery, where Andy Warhol's personal photographs are exhibited. They were all black and white photos of the banal and often slightly perverse. Half-eaten birthday cakes, lobster dinners, pointe shoes and corpses. It was fascinating to see things how Warhol might have viewed them. His pictures are taken with an "anyone could have snapped that photo" sort of quality, but the artistry and attention to the ordinary let us know that these pictures are only possible because of Andy.

Hyde Park was a fantastic detour back to the flat. There was a woman bundled on a bench, feeding the birds from her collection of about ten loaves of bread. The squirrels are overly friendly. And there are swans! At dusk the park had a mysterious grey tinge that washed over the greenery, muting the vibrancy of everything.

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