Saturday, April 19, 2008

I thought you deserved a weekend update

Since it's been amazing so far!

For a refundable deposit and about 20 pounds I got a crummy beginners cello to keep all week. After a few days of scales I was as good as I could get after being out of practice for four months, so I trekked over to West Ealing for a band practice with the Blisters. We jammed on Thursday night, and I took the day off on Friday to do a bit of recording. Playing again was an amazing feeling--I didn't realize how much I missed it, and after yesterday I'm inspired to practice loads this summer. I'll make sure to post the music file when it's mixed!

And then the festivities began for Jack's birthday. 'Twas Soul of the 60s night at the Phoenix Bar, which meant only one thing: I had no choice but to don my hoop earrings and twist and shout my little heart out to the sweet sound of Motown tunes underneath the synthetic light of a glowing discoball. And the birthday boy got his groove on.

Then it was an adventure to down Portobello road with Kristin. It was freezing too, and the smell of mulled wine reminded me of my first time to the markets. Bought some excellent finds, one that made even a few other shoppers jealous. Later on we dropped the cello off near Piccadilly Circus--the shop's next door to one of my favorites, the Nordic Bakery, and I met Tom, Stewart and Olly to shop around in Covent Garden. Even after a rain that area is teeming with quirks. There's even a street called Cucumber Alley. There are loads of skate and vintage shops, and I was hoping to continue my consumer-driven luck from earlier, but nothing really spoke to me.

Sunday was excellent as well. Kristin and I woke up at a decent hour and headed off to the Wellcome Collection. It's a museum of medicine and health, and it's definitely one of the best places I've visited. We saw an exhibit on death. It was beautiful and moving. A photographer and a journalist interviewed dozens of terminally ill patients living in hospices in Germany. Each person was interviewed and photographed, and shortly after their death they were photographed again. The black and white photos were huge, and the contrast between the pictures was extraordinary.

In many of the interviews, patients told of their struggles and how difficult living can be. Many were not afraid of death, they were afraid of the process. Strangely enough, the photos taken after they had died had such a peaceful quality to them. They looked more alive and without pain than they had when they were just getting by.

Other parts of the Wellcome Collection contain ancient prosthetics, paintings, Dolly the Sheep's doo doo, and ancient sex toys! What really struck was how accessible the museum is to everyone, because we all have bodies, and medicine and health is a part of all of our lives. Art, literature and science are intrinsically connected here; artists' works are displayed as a part of an exhibit on obesity. There was a map of the world made out of mosquitoes, as a statement on malaria. There was a poem based on one John Donne had written. It was refreshing to see health through eyes of science so many creative people.

Later on I met up with my pal Rich to go see Bjork play at the Hammersmith Apollo. Our friend Jerry was nice enough to give us his extra free tickets, as long as I could claim them at the box office pretending to be his sister. Somehow, inexplicably, we got in, and Bjork, well, tore the house down. She was amazing and had fantastic guests. The staging had a regal sense about it, and Bjork was her usual unpredictable self. She wore some crazy gold, flat, boxy, wavy dress thing, and played with an all-female brass ensemble from Iceland called the Wonderful Wonder-brass, which we thought was pretty funny. The show was intense and long and totally worth it, and at one point I looked over at Rich. He had his closed, his arms up, and he was singing all of the lyrics to Army of Me while green laser lights flashed through the audience and confetti from the ceiling *.

It was a wild ride, and two hours later Bjork had left us exhausted, exhilarated and ready for some Ben & Jerry's.

*I'd never been to a concert with confetti, and strangely enough I was told by both Rich and Tom that all concerts in England end with confetti. What have I been missing out on!?

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