Grayza goes to London Day 1

January 26, 2010

Not a great weekend – neighbours had a party on Friday night, so didn’t get much sleep after the late night at the Celtic Connections Festival Club.  Then on Saturday night a flat across the road had a Jazz band start up in the middle of the night – drummer, trumpeter and penis (that is the correct term for someone who plays piano in a flat at 4am).  The Police finally came just before 6 and started clearing the place but that just put the noisy hyper folk out on the street.  So I wasn’t so sure about staying up all night to catch my early morning flight to London but since generally I am better at not sleeping than getting up, that’s what I went for.

So, my first flight since 2003!!! (not through fear of flying, just lack of planning) – airports sure have changed.  I remember popping up to Glasgow airport to hang out and watch the flights come and go.  Now, you can’t park near the airport and other than collecting someone or checking in for a flight there is very little to do until you get ‘air side’.  Anyway, flight was good, couldn’t read because I just kept looking out the window at the sun coming up (and fascinated by how much the wing looks like it just wont stay on)

Transfer into London was nice as well – lots of canals with houseboats between Stansted and London.  But raining when I arrived in Liverpool Street and took ages to get any bearings.  I wanted to walk a bit to try to wake up but should have just jumped onto the Underground.  Anyway, eventually negotiated the underground system, found hotel, booked in and snoozed for an hour then went out to explore.

London is a bit mad.  Went along the road a bit and found this massive building full of ‘Natural History’ but decided not to go in. Then went along a bit further and went into the Victoria and Albert Museum – it really is mad!  I was walking around for about an hour before I realised that my mouth had been gaping the whole time and I still hadn’t really figured out where I was going or what I was looking at.  I like to have a quick wonder to get my bearings and then have a proper look at what interests me most – but I never did get my bearings this place just goes on and on forever.  With massive rooms full of massive things! and little corners with tiny objects every single one fascinating and beautiful. You could (and probably should) spend months exploring this place – I had lunch and left after a couple of hours.

There was a nice little exhibition on about digital art with some nice pieces.  I took this self portrait in one piece called mirror (I think) where you were only ‘rewarded’ with seeing yourself if you stood still for long enough for your image to slowly appear.

Back to the hotel and then I had about an hour to get to the National Theater which is only 8 stops down the circle line on the tube.  I got on the wrong train I think, spent two hours hopping on and off trains and went through Paddington 5 times before I could get myself both on the right line and going in the right direction but made it to the National Theater in time for the second set by Marcia Mello playing in blues in the foyer.  The National Theater looks like a nice place and I’m sure there are good things going on there, since I was really there to listen to some nice blues it wasn’t so good to be sitting in a very busy foyer & bar area, especially when the tannoy started to announce start times for different shows.  But Marcia was great and I picked up a CD.

After that, I had a quick look around the National Theater but it seemed full of people who were full of themselves so left.  Right next-door is the BFI ( which I really should have thought about visiting earlier.  I didn’t go to any screenings but the book shop is awesome for any film buff – it was really hard to leave.

From there I had a long walk along the south bank of the Themes.

I found this big pointless wheel that everyone told me to take a ride on.  I really tried to make myself interested in it but other than taking photos of it I couldn’t bring myself to get on.  It is nice to take photos of though.   Then there was this big building with a clock on one end…

A little further along I realised (by the massive walls, cameras and secure gates) that I was passing that funny building that is the HQ of MI5 or 6 or something.  These four blokes came out of gates a little in front of me after a long day ‘admin’ presumably and were chatting loudly about what they were up to that night.  I ended up behind them across several roads and was getting worried about trying not to follow them when it became obvious we were all heading for the same tube station.  I hope they haven’t opened a file on me :-)

Early to bed to try to recover from lack of sleep.