Monday, 18 February 2013

life lately... places I have been in London this week

Church of St Bartholomew the Great (2)

St Bartholomew the Great Cloister Cafe, Farringdon I haven't been back to St Bartholomew the Great for years. It was in 2006 that I was a member of the London Lawyer's Chorus and sang in Songs of Praise which was filmed at St Barts. Last week, I took the baby down to Farringdon for a wander round and to check out a pub that a friend was thinking of applying for a job at. After a lunch of 'sliders' in a rather non-baby friendly pub with good music (I think I've been away from the pub scene too long - these appear to be a 'thing') I ended up pushing open the heavy doors of St Barts and heading into the peaceful serenity of the cloisters. The coffee wasn't bad (not brilliant, but I've had worse) the staff friendly and the location, stunning. Again, not the most baby friendly place I've ever been, but they were very welcoming to her, and I could imagine without a baby whiling away a few hours reading and thinking.

Well & Bucket pub

Well and Bucket pub, 143 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch - An old Shoreditch pub which is being re-opened by Barworks (no website yet for the pub). I went along to the opening night with a friend (and without the baby, obviously) and enjoyed a couple of margaritas in the basement cocktail bar. I say a couple, but it could have been three. And don't mention the glass of prosecco I drank in the outside smoking area whilst discussing all manner of things with some people we met when it started raining and we all huddled together under the sheltered parts. Obviously it was hard to tell from the opening night whether it will be a success but the place had been nicely done up and the drinks were good. I am told that they will have sliders on their menu come opening. See, sliders really do seem to be a thing.

Juergen Teller

Juergen Teller at the ICA. Juergen Teller is a contemporary photographer and the exhibition 'Woo!' at the ICA is a look through his fashion and commercial work from the 1990s onwards. I love the ICA and how it makes me feel like a little part of the art world, just by drinking coffee in the cafe, as if these sorts of things can be absorbed like osmosis. I especially enjoy people watching and the ICA is an excellent place, full of arty types having important meetings and people admiring the exhibitions. It doesn't feel touristy like some of the larger galleries. I took the baby and met up with one of my favourite ladies (who has finally moved to London) and we enjoyed a mixture of discussing the photographs and watching Pip crawl around the galleries. The image above is one of my favourites from the exhibition, not least because I find it really hard to imagine that those legs really do belong to Victoria Beckham. Teller's work spans the beautiful to the really hard to look at - an uncomfortable use of nudity for nudity sake, rather than for beauty. His own naked form features heavily in the images, often in an interloping sort of way - and the sign on the wall of the gallery could better have read "some images DO NOT feature adult nudity" (and in some cases, I wish they hadn't. I could have done without seeing a 10 foot high full frontal of Vivienne Westwood - not that I can't see his point between the dichotomy of age, beauty and sexuality- it was just one of those photos where I didn't need to see so much of it to get the point). It was a fascinating exhibition and one which I would recommend. I especially liked the way that it challenges the perception of beauty and fashion. And who knew that the Marc Jacobs campaigns pushed that perception so far - these were not images I had seen in Vogue. I must be reading the wrong magazines. (ICA, until 17 March)

Photo credits:
Cloisters cafe from here | Well and Bucket from here | Juergen Teller via here

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