Saturday, 19 May 2012

Size isn't everything...

It’s Saturday morning and after having had to set my alarm once more I am sat on my sofa, munching away at my porridge and typing as fast as my fingers, still hungover with sleep, can manage.  You see, today I am off on my jollies.  My flight to Alicante is not until this evening, but I have defuzzing to do, a suitcase to pack – and an exhibition to check out.
No, I don’t really have time to pop into London to enjoy a bit of art and yes, I am my own worst enemy, but when I heard that Ron Mueck of the Sensation exhibition of the late nineties fame was showing in town, I knew I had to take a look.  I popped along to the private gallery Hauser and Wirth on Monday but it was closed.  Being a stubborn type, I will not be beaten by that restrictive beast known as time.
Luckily my pilgrimage into town on Monday was not a complete washout, despite the wet weather.  I also went to Somerset House to catch an exhibition of paintings by Japanese tattoo artist Horiyoshi III and another small private gallery, Hayhill, to see Jamie McCartney’s Skin Deep or, more specifically, The Great Wall of Vagina.  Both exhibitions were real inspirations and I recommend that you try and catch them before they close.  But I’m no art critic, so I’m not going to go into the content of the work and the social commentary it offers. 
And here comes my confession.  This Monday was the first time in nearly eleven years of living in London that I have been to Somerset House.  Shocking, I know, especially when you take into account the art, gigs, films and world famous ice skating rink that it hosts.  It isn’t the only heavyweight venue that I have visited for the first time this year.  A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to go to the Royal Albert Hall for the first time.  Again I wasn’t disappointed and I can’t wait to go back with my folks later this year.
The flip-side to my confession is another one – I tend to avoid private galleries and usually gravitate towards lager public spaces to get my art fix.  Why?  Well, I think it is down to a preconception I have that when they clock my appearance (i.e. high street rather than Bond Street) they will decide that I am wasting their time and look down their noses at me as I enjoy their wares with absolutely no intention of buying.  Well, the receptionist at Hayhill blew that idea well and truly out of the water.  Despite my rain sodden jeans from Next and ancient scruffy black jacket, she took the time to ask me what I thought of the work and to explain how the artist had photographed the incredibly striking images.
Again, when it comes to gigs and theatre, I tend it forget about the smaller venues across town, but again, compared to the likes of the Albert Hall and Nottingham arena where I saw my girl-crush Florence Welsh on stage for the first time, they offer a more intimate experience – and, quite honestly, a better view.  I returned to Soho Theatre this year for the first time in ten years to see the Crick Crack Club and, despite being towards the back of the audience, I had a premier view.  Same goes for the comedy night I went to recently in a pub in Piccadilly and Seasick Steve’s gig at The Electric Ballroom last year – okay, so a bit bigger, but still small enough that I didn’t end up watching the entire thing on a big screen.
So, there you go.  When it comes to venues in London and elsewhere, size really isn’t everything.  Sadly the same doesn’t go for the suitcase I now have to pack. 

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