That London

I don't usually blog trips up to That London, but seeing as I do it so infrequently these days I suppose it counts as a day out. It was the annual pilgrimage to the Lexington to see my favourite band David Devant and his Spirit Wife, but I thought I'd go up early to catch an exhibition or two.

Leighton House

On my way to Leighton House to see the Perez Simon Collection, I had to change buses from a 52 from Victoria to a 9 or 10. I did so at the Royal Albert Hall, so popped into the RCA to see the 50 years of graphic design exhibition. It wasn't very thrilling, mainly posters hanging from bulldog clips. At Leighton House, it was 6 quid to get in, senior concession, and I took advantage of the free audio guide. Photography was not allowed. Not all the pictures had audio descriptions, so a bit of lingering was needed between numbers. First was a pastel of Rossetti's Venus Verticordia, the only one by him. There was one Millais, no Holman Hunts, and lots of the second and third division Pre-Raphs: Burne- Jones, Alma-Tadema, Waterhouse, Albert Moore, Arthur Hughes, John Strudwick and of course, Lord Leighton himself. There weren't as many nudes as I'd expected, the main one was Andromeda by Edward John Poynter, said to be the first Victorian painting to depict pubic hair! The climax of the show was the large Alma-Tadema The Roses of Heliogabalus, along with a study for it and lots of drawings of the props used (Alma-Tadema's couch was also in the show, underneath a painting where it was used).

Wellcome Collection

There was no cafe, so I headed back to Kensington Hight Street for a coffee at Cafe Tarte, by the bus stop, then hopped on to a Heatherwick number 10 bus, where I spotted a Cafe de Fred, just round the corner! At Euston, I remembered that there was a sex exhibition on at the Wellcome Foundation, opposite Euston station, so I hopped off the bus to investigate. This show was free but there was no photography here either. It was most amusing, with the original pencil drawings to The joy of sex, an orgone box and a Tijuana bible, alongside artefacts from ancient civilisations, India and Japan. The visitors seemed to be mostly young couples holding hands. It was my first visit to the Wellcome Collection - it has a nice cafe and bookshop so it's well worth another visit.

Aunty Mabel

The 73 bus to Kings Cross took ages, it was gridlock outside Euston station. We'd arranged to meet at the Queens Head, but when I got there it was rammed with Friday night, after-the-office drinkers. I managed to get a pint of porter and drank it outside. Richard Grimsdale-Yates hailed a cab to the Lexington and we met up with Brian, Alison and Rob H. Then with a pint of Flying Scotsman it was upstairs for Dream Themes, and eventually The Dave Devant Band. After the encore it was a dash across the road to the bus stop and a 73 to Victoria with Bongo Pete, taking in the lights of Oxford Street and Regents Street. We caught the 1am train and I finally got home around a quarter to three!

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