diamond geezer

 Wednesday, January 28, 2015

0700: Don't look at me, I'm still asleep, I'm having the week off.
0800: Normally I'd be in the office by now, but I'm still in bed.
0830: Judging by the weather out there, maybe I should have gone to work.
0930: Cup of tea - tick. Bowl of Shreddies - tick. This is the life.
1000: Whizzing round the supermarket is a breeze on a Wednesday morning.
1045: It's also much easier to grab the front seat on the DLR.

1130: Winning snaps from the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2014 competition are currently on show at the Royal Greenwich Observatory (in the free bit, alongside the Planetarium). Though not a big exhibit (indeed you'd probably see more on Flickr), the quality of these illuminated amateur images is astonishing. Nebulae loom large, and there are several good eclipse shots, but my two favourites were a Venus/Lunar occultation timelapse and the ultimate winner, a stunning auroral reflection in an icy lake. Free, until 22 February.
1145: Now that the lashing rain has passed, Greenwich Park is an empty delight.

1300: Christian Marclay's new exhibition opened today at the White Cube in Bermondsey Street. In prime position along the main corridor is a video work entitled Pub Crawl, shot last year on the early morning streets of East London. Eleven looping films show the artist rolling discarded beer bottles, squishing empty (and full) lager cans, and generally tapping any glass-based alcohol detritus with his metal pen. The resulting gutter-opera tinkles most appealingly, and merits detailed contemplation. In two side galleries are a collection of Batmanesque paintings - Splash! Plop! Kersplosh! - each against an explosion of red paint. And in a darkened carpeted chamber, four walls play out twenty minutes of snaking, fizzing, exclamatory lexicography in Surround Sounds. It's like sitting inside a verbal firework display as the words and images rattle round the walls.  A surefire epileptic experience for some, and alas no The Clock this time, but Marclay's visuals never disappoint. Free, until 12 April.
1315: Some parts of SE1 appear to exist solely for the benefit of people who can't be bothered to make a packed lunch.

1415: A trip round the National Portrait Gallery is always a delight, with the added pleasure at present of Who are you? by Grayson Perry. Fourteen original works are scattered in a trail around the first floor, including tapestries, ceramics and sculptures. Each arose from the recent Channel 4 series, but you don't have to have seen that to fully engage. The works are typically detailed and inventive, often comical, but what really hits home are Perry's thoughtful (and surprising) descriptions on the meaning of personal identity pasted underneath. The woman in the hijab is white, the Benin bronze man used to be female, and the 'Idealised Heterosexual Couple' are divorced. You'll stop and think. Free, until 12 March.

1430: For the next bit, I have to surrender my phone. I can't believe it's this easy.
1630: So you simply walk up to the Palace of Westminster, unbooked, ask to go into the House of Commons Public Gallery and, one security friskdown later, get to watch a parliamentary debate on the NHS from on high. Fascinating stuff, but I wonder how long you could have stuck it.
1645: I might pause for a 2nd cup of tea and some food soon. Or I might not.

1730: This year the Landscape Photographer of the Year exhibition has moved from the National Theatre foyer to the upper concourse at Waterloo station. It's not ideal, viewing the best 100 or so photographs outside Yo Sushi while trains to Woking are announced, but it'll have brought these amazing images to a wider public. As ever, the trick to a winning capture appears to be to ascend a remote mountain before dawn on a morning when mist is forecast, but I remain in awe of the gorgeous colours, natural diversity and expert composition. Free, until 31 January.
1745: Taking the rush hour Waterloo & City against the flow is always more enjoyable.

1830: Finally back home again. Cup of tea - tick. Toast - tick. Bowl of soup - tick.
1900: I should probably write up that trip to the House of Commons for you to read about tomorrow.

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