London: Day Four, Mon 4/1/19
A quick breakfast at the hotel and we were off to St. Paul’s. My friend Stephanie (Stephanie Jutt, to those of you who know her) told me about a video installation by Bill Viola at St. Paul’s and I put that on my list of things to do. Richard had never been there in all his visits to London, can you imagine? I looked online before we left the hotel and saw that they had a reduced admission price for visitors over 60, so I reminded Richard of this when we arrived. He had this conversation with the guy at the desk:
RICHARD: I don’t usually like to talk about this, but I hear that you have a discounted rate for people over 60. And I’m 62.
GUY: I’ll keep this confidential. I gave you the student discount.
We did the audio tour of St. Paul’s, what an extraordinary place. They actually had two Viola installations, one about Mary which was a bit of a snooze, and the other, the one Stephanie had told me about, called *Martyrs.* It was done in four panels, depicting four martyrs and the four elements: a man was buried in dirt (earth), a woman was hung by her wrists, anchored to the floor with another piece of rope, and blown by intense wind (air), a man sat in a chair and engulfed in flames (fire), and a man was hung upside down by his ankles and doused with rain (water). All of this in slow motion, with beautiful, crystal clear cinematography. It was fascinating, and we learned from the audio tour that it’s the only piece of video art in history to be commissioned by a cathedral for permanent exhibition.
We found a Pizza Express down the street, so we were able to cross that off our list. Richard had a pizza with prosciutto and herbs and some other crap, I had a pizza with black olives, capers, herbs, and some other crap. Both were amazing. And we split a salad. Our waiter was Fernando, and he was darling. He encouraged us to go online and say nice things about him, so of course we’ll do that.
We went to the Victoria and Albert, which we always like, but were disappointed that the two shows we most wanted to see were off limits. The Dior show was sold out for the entire run (as Richard likes to say, “Is this a museum or a Broadway show?”) and the Mary Quant show wasn’t opening for a few days. So we amused ourselves with the permanent collection, including this piece that we decided would look right at home at our friend Dennis’s place in East Hampton:
My friend Robyn (Robyn Davis, for those of you who know her) turned me onto the Bathroom Mirror Selfie. I’ve become very fond of them. Here’s one from the V & A:
We had a dinner date that night with our friends Craig and Karl. Craig is the General Manager of our hotel - - Richard has known him for years and I met the two of them when they were in New York a few years ago. We went to a Thai place down the street from the hotel and had such a fun time. My pad Thai was delicious but not spectacular. I like the sauce to be a little more present and creamy, but maybe this drier style is more authentic? They walked us back to the hotel and we promised to meet up again when the situation arose.
Heavy sigh, always a drag to have to pack at the end of a trip. We were pleased to watch a program with Mary Berry. I’m making her fish pie crumble when we get home (but rather than haddock and prawns, I’ll use tilapia and tilapia).