Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The Escapades of a Lit Nerd

This is going to be a long and rambling post so get prepared. You'll need supplies: tea, cake, biscuits  fruit (if you're that way inclined) and perhaps even a barrier to shield yourself from my general over-excitement (there may be spittle flying and my voice will probably get squeaky). You have been warned.

Last week I had a bit of an adventure. A very cultural (and fattening) London adventure. It was awesome. Ignoring the few pounds heavier bit, I feel like ten times smarter than I did a week ago from soaking up ALL THE KNOWLEDGE.

View on my morning run. I love London.

My younger sister is a chef working and living in London (yes, she is so hardcore). She had an entire week off (mostly unheard of) because she was moving to a new restaurant. Basically, everyone in my family changes jobs by choice or unlucky circumstance with an unsettling frequency. But no, Liv is such an unbelievable amazing chef that she was headhunted to help an up and coming restaurant get a Michelin. Seriously proud sister moment. I'm most excited about the fact that the restaurant is right next to the open air book stand on the South Bank. Goodbye pennies, hello books. Anyway, back to the point, Liv and I decided to spend the week doing exciting things and making the most of her living in London. And we sure did that.

On Tuesday night we went to World Book Night at the Southbank Centre. My sister and her flatmate practically had to pin me to the seat for the entire night I was literally THAT over-excited. So many authors! Reading amazing books! Oh. My. Days! And....breathe.I'm going to do a separate post for this event because otherwise my gushing will bore you and this post will be a snooze-inducing length. So, yeh, get ready for that.

On Wednesday we hit the museums. First we went to the Becoming Picasso exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery. It was an impressive and interesting exhibition and it was lovely to see a couple of his early 'blue period' paintings. My sister was a bit grumbley about the fact that we had paid to go into an exhibition that was only two small rooms...understandably so but for me, art is art and I'd always pay to see it. Although in this case I didn't because I'm a member of the Art Fund. So, technically, Liv paid and had every right to be grumbley. Anyway, I loved the exhibition and the entire gallery. We did have a lovely experience in the gift shop (it's got to be done) though which cheered Liv up. We both bought postcards (it's a tradition) and Liv bought one of a sketch of some pigs by Picasso. When she paid for it we were told that they were actually Gertrude Stein's pigs. I, obviously, got really excited as was like 'seriously?! That's awesome! Gertrude Stein is so cool!' and my sister just turned her blank face to me in semi-disapproval at my outburst. Then obviously I had to tell my sister who Gertrude Stein was then we got onto Hemingway, Paris and same-sex couples in the 20's. What a ball. The other thing the lady in the shop said was that Picasso attempted to write but good old Gerty told him not to give up the day job. Who know, right?

In the afternoon we went to the Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum at the British Museum. Now, I am a MASSIVE Pompeii geek so this was an exhibition I'd be waiting to see since it first was advertised. It was so worth the wait. I mean, apart from the all the people getting in the way and looking at the guide app thingys instead of at the actual objects but still standing in front of the object you are clearly very excited by and just generally being very irritating...Yes, fellow museum-goers irritate me enormously. I loved the way it was set out like a house, the objects were fascinating and the labels gave you just enough information. They even had the resin encased body as well as several other bodies, including a family which was really quite moving. It wasn't quite as exciting as actually being in Pompeii and Herculaneum but it came close and I was in much less danger of boiling alive (as I very nearly did in Italy) in the temperature controlled museum. Win win situation basically.

For Wednesday night I had booked us seats (posh) at The Globe to see The Tempest. I've never sat down there having been rather partial to the cheaper standing position but I thought, it being an evening performance, I'd indulge in seats. We sat on the top tier facing centre stage. It was high. Like, really high. Once I'd had a cider and some liquorice allsorts I calmed down and was able to settle into the play. Prospero was brilliantly magical, Caliban wonderfully gruesome and Ferdinand surprisingly amusing. Liv didn't really get it but was tickled by the drunkards and I adored it from start to finish. Shakespeare is such a babe. And The Tempest really lends itself to The Globe stage and the general outdoors.

Thursday we went to see the new Iron Man which was positively geektastic and nerdgasmic. And on Friday we went to The Starting Line's 10 year anniversary tour of their album 'say it like you mean it'. I pretty much felt like I was thirteen all over again listening to the music and being at a gig with my brother and his friend Pete who took me to my first ever gig. Ah the memories. 

Obviously there were bookshops galore including the wonderful Persephone bookshop and here are the books I bought myself (you will note my restraint):



  1. This post, is, like, MADE OF WIN from start to finish. I'd have been like a kid on too many e-numbers, I TOTALLY GET THAT. Sounds like you've had the most culturally rockin' week ever, AND you didn't have to boil alive. I barely remember half of Pompeii because it was SO FRICKIN' HOT that I think I spent most of the time wandering around imagining I could see bottled water stands appearing like a mirage in the desert. And looking up at the volcano repeatedly thinking, "It's overdue... they say it's overdue... OH MY GOD WAS THAT A RUMBLE?" Oh, and museum exhibit hogs totally piss me off too. It's like road rage only quieter, I'm all like "Will you move the hell out the way and stop fiddling with your audio phone thingy and if you're going to stare at the wall like that YOU DON'T NEED TO BE IN FRONT OF THE COOL STUFF." Grrrr. I'm very jealous of your week. Write about the World Book Night thing now. :)

    1. My sister totally kept having to just smile and nod at me as I went off on one with excitement. I think it's a good thing to be easily pleased. It means I'm pretty much never disappointed because I just run around like a loon anyway. I occasionally have flash backs of the heat, the sweat, my poor parched throat and the incident in the bathroom when I took all my clothes off...ah, Pompeii, you fill me with such joy. I think I had one eye on the volcano and one eye on Pompeii the whole time. Goodness knows what I would have done if it had thundered. I'll get on it right away :)

  2. Oh. My. God. I know exactly what you both mean about the boiling alive at actual Pompeii. I had to throw my shoes away when I went there a few years ago - completely ruined. And I had ash in places no-one should get ash ... ever!

    1. That place should come with a warning. I stripped off in the toilets and just stood there for like twenty minutes trying to make myself cool down. Yes, that was a low moment but a necessary one nonetheless. But it is so worth it because it is such a beautiful place to be.


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