Category Archives: Places

How to Visit an Art Gallery

 

The year is still young.

 

Today (or whenever you read this) I will give you all a gift. A gift which will surely fulfill many of the New Year’s resolutions you never even made.

 

In 5 fairly easy steps I shall transform you into an elite member of society, the pinnacle of humankind, the ray of light in an ever dimming world. You shall become… A gallery-goer.

 

Cue the explosions.

 

Even those with next to no knowledge of art, such as myself, will be able to infiltrate any art gallery around the world using this 5 step method. For no reason whatsoever.

 

Use this power wisely.

 

First we need to get you ready. To lay the foundations for our elaborate ruse.

 

Step 1 – You must always carry a briefcase.  Even if the only contents are a Beano and some tissues, a briefcase will command immediate respect. You will become an overnight connoisseur of the fine arts, and any opinion you utter will be taken as undeniable fact. Fact.

 

Step 2 – Spectacles will need to be worn. They are an essential part of our disguise and the true purpose of this shall be revealed shortly.

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This coffee table really knows its art history.

Step 3 – Disdain must always be shown to the sworn enemy of the gallery-goer, the tourist. If ever the tourist does anything to ruin the ambiance either by taking photographs, eating a picnic or even just by speaking, you must immediately locate your nearest fellow gallery-goer, raise your eyebrows, and tut.

 

Step 4You must always use vague words of appreciation. It is completely necessary to inspect each work of art you come across by peering closely at it for 4-5 seconds. After the seconds are up, you must address no one in particular and mutter the word ‘splendid’ before shortly moving on. The following are a list of words/phrases you can use instead of ‘splendid’ in order to keep things fresh:

– Jolly good

– Well I’ll be……

– Fascinating

– Absolutely spiffing if I may say

– Elementary my dear Watson.

 

So far you’re doing great! But if you really want to knock ’em dead (an actual possibility) and have your name etched in the annals of Art Gallery History, you can use this next move. The Finishing Move.

 

Step 5Use the finishing move sparingly. Whenever you arrive to the section with the largest number of viewers, it is safe to assume that this is the main exhibition piece. The pièce de résistance, if you will.

 

Your entire life has lead to this moment.

 

The onlookers all hold their breath.

 

Using only the thumb and pointer finger from your right hand. You will slowly and dramatically re-position your spectacles from the bridge of your nose to the extreme tip of it. Gravity itself will be tempted to bring your glasses down if it, too, wasn’t holding its breath.

 

With your glasses at the tip of your nose, you must tantalisingly tilt your head ever so slightly upwards and make an expression full of pondering. This will be achieved by squinting your eyes whilst simultaneously pulling your bottom lip over the top.

 

Be careful of how often you use this pose though as many in our society actually suffer from the very rare disease, Resting Gallery Face . You have been warned.

 

As the crowd looks on, you can now relax your face, pretend to wipe dust off of your briefcase and make for the exit. After 2 short strides however, you must look up to the ceiling and let the shortest chuckle escape out from your lips and into the air.

 

Note of caution: Only a chuckle is needed at this point. A chortle could throw all our plans out the window.

 

To all present, It will be as if the artist himself has jumped through time and shared a private joke with you.

 

The mission is complete. Gravity will blink in the face of death, the Earth will resume its habitual orbit of the Sun and a lone tear will trickle down the cheek of every single gallery-goer present, as the tourist continues to ignore the ‘no flash photography’ sign up ahead.

squadgoals

Congratulations, this is your new crew! #SquadGoals

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A Secret Vessel in the Heart of London

What a great name for some good old-fashioned click-bait. Do not despair however, for where there is a great statement, there also lies great substance. Allow me to take you by the hand and guide you right onto the doorstep of one of London’s hidden gems. For some reason ‘I’m walking in the air’ from The Snowman just started playing in my head. Regardless, let us plough on, you red-haired pyjama wearing cartoon boy.

Using the term ‘secret vessel’ or ‘hidden gem’ may be a bit of a stretch considering how I found it after merely a few minutes on Google, but to the untrained eyes of the masses, this ‘gem’ would definitely seem wholly unremarkable at first glance, to say the least.

So if you happen to be wondering in or around Soho; loitering past the many cafe’s, restaurants, theatres and sex shops, you’ll most likely waltz straight past the very thing of which I am speaking of today. What a grave mistake that would be. Your life will continue, surely, but it will be a much emptier life; full of hardship, sorrow and longing. In order to avoid such a mishap, please heed my instructions.

Whenever you find yourself not-too-far from Leicester Square and heading down Brewer Street, you will eventually come across a lovely little shop by the name of ‘Simply pleasure.com’. Before you become overly excited by these instructions however, you must exert a certain amount of willpower, avert your gaze, look directly across the road, and feast your eyes on this mother-of-all-beauties instead.

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When you awoke this morning I bet you never, in your wildest imaginations, expected to gaze upon sight such as this. Even the bags of trash take nothing away from this unknown, shrouded utopia. A majestic shop-face possessing such radiance to rival the very halls of Valhalla themselves!

And such words, such beautiful words: ‘De-luxe Cleaning.’ Surely this is no language invented by man. But what could it possibly mean???

If you are currently feeling underwhelmed, cheated, betrayed and at a loss for words, then you are well within your rights to do so. But if you stay with me for just a short while longer, you will see that things are not always what they seem.

To those individuals, however, who think of the dry cleaners and immediately liken them to slices of heaven on Earth, I apologise. You have been utterly deceived! For this is not a dry cleaners at all. This is indeed something much more sinister, taking refuge within the busy streets of London, masquerading as your innocent, every day, laundry depot.  

As you enter this dry cleaners with your arms equipped with bags of dirty clothes, you should expect these bags to drop (along with your jaw) as you stare into the face of Japan. Inside you will find shelves and shelves (and even more shelves) stocked full of Japanese books, manga volumes and possibly even DVD’s, amongst anything else I may have missed. As there are no pictures allowed inside the building, and because I’m a straight-up law abiding citizen (shocker, right?), you’ll just have to take my word for it.

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Now do you believe me??

If the shelves and shelves of manga volumes weren’t enough for you, the place is also somewhat famous for its Karaoke round the back. Though I haven’t actually done karaoke there, the reviews on Google all seem very positive.

For a manga-loving semi-geek such as myself, this was of course the equivalent to a 3 day weekend of sun, sea and A&E in the mystical land of ‘Zante.’ I must add that there was only one downer, and that was the fact that the majority of the stock was completely Japanese, with only a few shelves dedicated to manga volumes in English. Seeing as though it is a Japanese place however, I can’t really complain too much.

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Not much of a haul I must admit...

So there you go. A hidden gem right in the heart of London. Do make sure to go there yourself and let me know what you think. Alternatively if you’ve been before or if you know of any other such ‘hidden’ places in London, or anywhere, do let me know.

Hopefully you found an ounce of enjoyment in this post, but for now, in the undying words of Anne Robinson:

Goodbye! *wink*

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