I arrived in London to find my local Russell Square hosting a multi-cultural art, music, dance and food festival. This feels so much more like Toronto than the medieval time warp I’ve been experiencing in tidy Cambridge. Here people of every age, shape and size are all peacefully hanging out enjoying art, music and food. In a way, sublime.
My Sunday adventure included Matins at the Temple church who have excellent music, and I knew someone in the choir – Giles the Magnificent from Selwyn. Then I toured Shakespeare’s restored Globe theatre – absolutely worth the ten quid since you can’t see a play in the winter time. I walked over the Millenium bridge to St. Paul’s to hear a free organ recital, then to the Barbican for the concert I had been looking forward to. I must say I found the Barbican large and impersonal, unlike Covent Garden which is warm and elegant, and somehow more humane.
The concert was American composer Eric Whitacre conducting his own works, as well as familiar pieces by Copland, Lauridsen and Barber. Unfortunately Eric turned this into an quasi-open-mic night club act with way too much self promotion and banter onstage. I had to invent a new drinking game – well in fact it has to be an eating and drinking game. Every time Eric adjusts his hair whilst conducting – eat a raw oyster (that would be 2 dozen times!) and every time he says “God I love London” in a giddy school boy voice, take a shot of vodka (that would be three times.) Unfortunately neither commodity was available during the performance.