I’ve got to love Tate Modern. Of all the galleries, museums, markets, and other miscellaneous cultural sites/tourist traps I’ve visited over my now almost 4 years in London, Tate Modern is hands down the spot I’ve been to the most. Whenever I have non-London friends or family over, I take them to the Tate Modern; and whenever the London weather is remotely nice enough to last the stroll down to the river, I go the Tate Modern.
I happened to get pranked by a hidden camera show by ITV the other day. Whilst casually strolling along Bankside, a man in an electric wheelchair suddenly appeared in front of us, half-conscious and losing his wallet, mumbling something about needing to go to the post office as he abruptly woke up. He then fell back into half-consciousness again, before his wheelchair automatically sent him down the road away from us. We had his wallet, so we frantically caught up with him to hand it back. Leaving the spot, a young man chased after us, revealing to us the whole ‘there’s a camera there, we’re seeing whether young passers-by are good samaritans to old people, please sign here to show off your good-samaritan-ness on telly.’ Yep. I didn’t even know they still did hidden camera pranks, the one’s I’ve seen look positively medieval.
The day after, I went back for a Damien Hirst exhibition. Say what you want about Damien Hirst, he does get a lot of flak. It seems that you either love him for his artistic genius, or you hate him for portraying dead animals as art. I belong to one of those rare folks in between. About a decade ago, I went to the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo and got the experience of being inside a real cow. Without being inside a real cow. Otherwise known as his piece Mother and Child Divided. I got a chance to relive that experience again, and it was every bit as absurd and compelling as the first time. The full dimensionality of it, the visibility of every single detail of the animal’s insides, the formaldehyde – it’s as if you’re fully immersed in this dead animal. I’m not as huge a fan of his shark. Nor his butterfly rooms. But his medicine cabinets are quite remarkable, creating quite the emotional reaction in me personally, having stubborn issues with our hypochondriac pill-popping culture (I will not pop a single pill unless I’m on my death bed, I kid you not). And while I’m not sure what deeper, existential meanings and reflections his spot paintings invoke in me, they would look nifty in my future flat.
PS: this is what you get if you ask for cheese for dessert at sketch, by far my favourite restaurant in London. Do go for those special occasions or just if you feel the need for excellent dining rooms, brilliant restrooms (and I mean literally brilliant) (either that, or futuristically egg-shaped, depending on which of the two dining rooms you’re in), attentive and knowledgeable service, and orgasmic dishes. Even you non-foodies would swoon all over the place.