So far, I am particularly noticing that London feels cute. Something about the compact dimensions and rounded corners of the cabs, buses, the older, more-planned-than-Sydney structures. I was expecting it to be harsher, scary. But I am feeling in me the toughness of Australia, the harsh white light, harsh impact of culture, harsh attitudes of, say, Sydney. Even the multicultural moments in London feel more woven into the days. Just a first-travel-day’s reflections that are a gloss needle threaded across the top of an ocean of complexity, but, still.
The European wind on the cheeks in the eyes makes instant sense of the speedy junglish music in hot basements, huddling in pubs, and the weather-appropriate London style. I know I know and many know this: it’s just that profound and middling knowing achieved by being here with feet on cobbly, cute-narrow footpaths that does it.
The Tate Modern had the usual gallery effect of stimulating overwhelm, inspired and hard on the feet. I spotted a couple of hidden gems within the Poetry and Dream exhibition covering futurists, Dadaists, surrealists. It is great and strangely ordinary, full of disbelief to stand in front of an image looked at in books and internet from afar and see it as a painting breathing the same air as me, but also limited in the confines of a frame and the history and machinery of Art Industry. Say a Max Ernst.
Many snippets ring. The sandwich and coffee man empathising with his Pakistani regulars: “that’s true, Baba”. The serious stylish angles rocked in a configuration of afro and capped beanies. The grey light with receeding orange slices of sun on roof contrasting with my lived knowledge of Australia’s nothing-spared-knives of solar blast. Kids camera-wrangling and loving at Globe Theatre gates where each wrought iron animal is in a Shakespeare play. And –