We had a schedule for last weekend, a full to bursting at the seams schedule that would guarantee a very fulfilling Culture Crawl for whoever dared to undertake it. Londonist attempted to Do It All – and these pictures are evidence that it is possible to take in some architecture, some performance art, some live music, a photography exhibition, hte cafe of a major national museum and a Korean opera all in one day and without once opening a wallet. Exhausting and exhilarating and definitely worth getting caught in the rain, this is how the day went…
12.15pm An accidental diversion to the Channel 4 building where we were captivated by the Disco Sauron decoration.
12.55pm On arriving at Tate Modern, we walked straight into the middle of the Merma Neverdies parade, a fitting way to start Surrealist Saturday. We liked the attractive bellhops and the elderly, well-groomed chauffeur calmly driving around these grotesque Joan Miro puppets. The live music was excellent too and kids were invited to boogie with the performers. Parents, the elderly and the usually disdainful Tate Modern crowd joined in too.
1.05pm The performance then went inside and a bizarre, surreal story started to unfold where grotesque figures waited for Merma the Mayor to arrive and then when he got there, we were encouraged to mock all his efforts at democracy by doing the exact opposite of what he said. The kids loved it, the grown-ups sheepishly but happily sat down, stood down, turned around etc as the performance went on.
1.37pm Pouring with rain but it was time to go to the National Theatre for some soothing country jazz fusion from JC and Angelina Grimshaw, an Isle of Wight based brother and sister duo. After the eccentricities and booming tunes at Tate Modern, this was a very pleasant part of the afternoon.
2.10pm Went upstairs for the Press Photographer’s Year exhibition and was extremely moved by all the images from 2005 – a very memorable and eventful year. Stood for a long time looking at pictures of the London bombings and of the tsunami in South East Asia.
2.45pm Make it to the Victoria & Albert Museum in time for the Korean opera Oh!Youran! being performed in the Lecture Room at 3.00pm. Get lost among the antiques. Panic. Find the Lecture Room. Realise we don’t have tickets, which are necessary despite free entry.
2.55pm Told by curators that the performance will start at 3.30pm due to technical problems. We’re given tickets that have been returned by disgruntled audience members and a chance to catch our breaths.
3.10pm Bored. Wander across road to Natural History Museum for National Be Nice to Nettles Day but it takes 8 minutes to have our bag searched and to find a decent map of the museum. All we see is the café and a blurred image of a sandwich disappearing at lightning speed down our throats before it’s time to go back to the Victoria & Albert.
3.45pm The Korean opera Oh!Youran! starts. It’s very loud. And we’re not allowed to take pictures. It’s very good but completely baffling, especially as the projector beaming subtitles and explanations of what is happening keeps turning itself off. If only we had done some research into the story beforehand…
5. 25pm It ends. Everyone who behaved badly has been forgiven, everyone who was humiliated and treated cruelly has triumphed, the estranged couple re-unite and leave for their honeymoon. Everyone does a little dance and the audience, wildly enthused by now, all stand up in their seats and do a little dance too. Turns out not to be a tragic opera after all, though during the projector’s last blue screen, it was hard to tell which way the story would go (there were lots of women playing ghosts, singing mournful funeral songs and we got a little choked up before the slapstick started again)
5.30pm Despite the museum staff shovelling people out of the door “because the museum is closing in 5 minutes, in 5 minutes!” the band play some encores and there’s a lot of clapping and cheering from the crowd.
6.00pm Home. Enough. More next weekend.