Victoria, Albert, and David (Bowie)

I woke up early today to head into the city. Marcos had just gotten back from working on a documentary in Wales. He’d found out about a David Bowie exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum, so we had decided to go to that together.

We met at London Bridge, which actually stressed me out a little because I’d forgotten what a big station it is. It has lots of exits and entrances, so I was worried we wouldn’t find each other. I walked around a few times before we found each other, but we did find each other. I also ran into one of my Brighton classmates, which was funny. I don’t think I’ve run into anyone I know randomly in London before.

Marcos and I were both hungry, but apparently 11:30 is an awkward time to be hungry in London. Everyone has stopped serving breakfast but most places aren’t open for lunch. Eventually we settled on sushi, then headed to the museum.

I’d never been to the V&A museum before. With that and my trip to the British Museum yesterday, I think I’ve now hit all the major ones. Our tickets for the David Bowie museum weren’t for a couple hours, so we explored the museum a bit. It was really impressive. They have the Raphael “cartoons,” which aren’t cartoons at all. That was really exciting to see in person, but the lighting was awful. It was really dark, which I understand for the protection of the work, but positioned so that you couldn’t look at the drawings without half of it obscured by glare.

They have a good collection of Asian art, but the Nelson’s collection is so good it was hard to appreciate as much. They had fashion through hundreds of years. It was very interesting. 

The David Bowie exhibit was great, when we finally got to see it. It was accompanied by headphones that were activated to play different music or commentaries as you moved through it. It had a bunch of his costumes and props. There were videos he’d made and videos of his performances. Most interestingly to me, it went pretty in depth on his creative process. There were his writings, scribblings, drawings, and paintings. There were interviews with designers, dancers, and artists who worked with him. 

Bowie even used something called “oblique strategies,” which I’d learned about in art school. It’s a deck of cards created by an artist and a psychologist to help artists of all kinds through creative blocks. You make a contract with yourself to follow whatever instructions are on the card that you select, then select one randomly. They cards may say anything from “go for a walk” to “deconstruct exactly what you did last” to “bridges: build, burn.” It might be specific, it might be open to interpretation. But they’re very famous and always interesting, so it was excited to see them in use.

Marcos and I worked up quite the appetite, but it was too near dinner time to have a full meal. We stopped in a nearby Chinese restaurant for a snack, then discovered an awesome bookstore. We loitered there for a while, looking at picture books and comparing the British classics section to American classics. 

It was a nice end to our day in the city. I love a good bookstore. I headed back to Jolie’s house, and we had fish n chips for dinner. Probably my last fish n chips in England… and they were good ones. 


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