Monday, 27 May 2013

Moments in London!

Just back from a few enjoyable days in London and for once the trip had nothing to do with comics - apart from catching up with those fine folks at Orbital comics and re-stocking them with our latest titles that is - no this trip was a pure 'touristy' one where me and Mrs M caught up with a few attractions.

Bowie in Station to Station 'Archer' pose as seen at V&A
(picture by John Robert Rowlands 1976)
The main one, for me anyway, was the much heralded David Bowie exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum - the V&A - which I'd really looked forward to. Already well into its extended run, the show is still selling out and we'd been unable to pre-book on t'internet, so took our chances with an early start and after a 45 minute wait had our tickets for a timed slot an hour or so later. This wasn't a problem as the V&A is simply a wonderful place to hang out in and the time flew past.

The 'Bowie Is..' exhibition itself was everything and more that a fan like me could have expected and is certainly the most innovative and enjoyable museum show I've ever been to! You're given a clever audio guide which triggers a specific music track as you walk around the gallery, providing your own personal soundtrack to the exhibits. This works really well to keep you entertained while you patiently queue to see the treats on display.

Bowie self-portrait
(David Bowie archive @ V&A Images)
Among the many costumes are videos displays, props, movie clips and, best of all, handwritten lyrics and sketches by the man himself illustrating his imaginative ideas. His artwork is really quite expressive while his handwriting is usually neat and ordered, although seeing casual lyric changes to favourites such as Five Years and Oh You Pretty Things.

Best of all is towards the end where these giant cinema screens show the same song clips from different tours, encouraging you to sit or stand and just drink in the spectacle and like most other people, you can't help but move, dance or sing, just as you would at a concert!

It took us almost 3 hours to go round it all which itself was amazing the time just flew by, thank you V&A for a fantastic voyage!!

Inside The Chapel at The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
We also saw a few London sites and attractions which, surprisingly, we'd not been to before, including Westminster Abbey, The Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich and revisits to The National Gallery and The British Museum. All good stuff with many fine moments which would fill several blog posts, but of special mention must be seeing a certain David Livingstone's memorial plaque at the Abbey - no photos allowed of course - and sadly the wreath recently laid on his bi-centenary by Joyce Banda, the President of Malawi was nowhere to be seen, but it was still a very special and reflective moment being there.

President of Malawi lays wreath
(photo from Westminster Abbey website)

It really was a perfect London trip despite the patchy weather, as well as the many sights, (and Bowie!) we caught two of the most popular and famous West Ends shows, The evergreen Agatha Christie's Mousetrap (Performance #25,211!) and The mighty Phantom of The Opera (over 11,000 performances and counting!). Both were great fun, the Mousetrap did indeed keep us guessing - although I did correctly name the culprit during the interval (along with 2 other strong candidates!) and The Phantom is the crowd pleasing beast you expect, a true spectacle.

Agatha Christie's new Mrs Marple? 
So we were very lucky with many highlights this trip and a resolve to return again and perhaps better explore Greenwich that we had a little taste for. For any dithering Bowie fans out there though who haven't yet been to the V&A exhibition, just go, go, go you'll be missing out if you don't make the effort to see this unique and 'best-selling' show!   

Looking for Bowie?


  1. You've given me the urge to go and be a tourist in London now! Sigh ... unlikely to happen for a while ...

    1. You really should give London another go Garen, particularly pushing a child's buggy or two during the school holidays!

  2. I was up in London a lot last year, taking the buggy on and off the bus and pushing it around. No time to be a tourist though! Have a great time in Copenhagen.