Saturday, 30 June 2012

Olympics 2012 – Greenwich Park

It’s easy to be cynical about the Olympics, especially when I cannot get the boxing tickets I applied for……but that’s a different story. The London Olympics is expected to deliver venues for 300 events in which 205 countries would participate. It needed to provide the largest logistical solution this country has ever faced in peace time while also delivering a lasting legacy for London. I have to admit that the construction of all the sites seems to be on time and despite the absence of my boxing tickets everything has gone well, so far. But where is the legacy? As impressive as this temporary equestrian stadium is in Greenwich Park it’s only legacy will be the damage to the turf once the show has left town.

I must admit that the creation of this temporary Olympic site is spectacular and it will look great on TV but it seems like a missed opportunity.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Dave White at the Hospital Club

'Natural Selection' by Dave White at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden in association with Art Republic. The work featured oil paintings, works on paper and limited editions of endangered species. Hats off to Art Republic for putting on yet another good night.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

London calling

The Queens Diamond Jubilee celebrations have now sailed up the Thames, flown over head and marched down the Mall and still the Union Jack continues to fly from tower blocks, shop windows and black cabs. It is slowly being replaced by the cross of St George as the English football team continues, with surprising success, in Euro 2012. It will all end in tears, as it always does, but we live in hope.

The Olympics will soon be upon us. As will an expected 3 million, queue jumping tourists, all trying to board the Northern Line at London Bridge Station. The London Olympics are the world’s largest peacetime logistical event in which 203 countries will be competing. This includes 55,000 people in the ‘Olympic family’, 17,800 athletes and team officials and 22,000 media hacks. Over 9 million tickets have been sold.

We then have the Paralympics featuring 170 countries, 30,000 of the ‘Olympic family’, 4,000 athletes and team officials and 4,000 members of the media. Both events cover a six week period from 27th July until 9th September.

London will be open for business’ so the slogan goes but just don’t expect to get anywhere in a hurry. Olympic road lanes will soon be in place with a £130 fine for ‘stationary and moving contraventions of Games orders and notices’. Consolation can be taken from the Beijing Olympics where lanes were closed to the public 40 days before and 40 days after the games with a life time driving ban being the penalty charge.

The constant rain, that constitutes an English summer, makes our parks and open spaces look greener than ever and has the advantage of discouraging the type of rioting that happened last summer. No one wants to get those new trainers wet.

Royal Ascot and Wimbledon continue as though no one had ever heard of the economic crisis that takes up so many column inches and so much air time.

Blockbuster art exhibitions, a word combination lexicologists have long assumed would never occur in the lifespan of the English language, continue to attract huge crowds. Lucan Freud – ‘Portraits’ at the National Portrait Gallery, David Hockney – ‘A Bigger Picture’ at The Royal Academy and ‘Picasso & Modern British Art’ at the Tate Modern had them queuing round the block. Literally queuing around the block, as they will for the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy.

All in all London is in rude health. Bring it on.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

48 Doughty Street

48 Doughty Street is the former home of Charles Dickens. The great man lived here from 1837  until December 1839. He took a three year lease on the property at £80 a year and borrowed £100 from his publisher to cover moving costs.  Doughty Street was then a wide and salubrious street in Bloomsbury and the house signified that he had ‘arrived’. It was gated at each end to keep out undesirables (such as Bill Sykes, Uriah Heep and the Artful Dodger I assume). Dickens was only 25 years old when he moved into this house with his wife and first child.

It is now the Charles Dickens Museum. He actually once walked through that door........

Charles Dickens museum reopens after £3m restoration - Guardian 4 December

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Horse at Water

The “Horse at Water” sculptured by Nic Fiddian Green, is 27 feet tall, weighs 6 tonne and is currently situated at Marble Arch.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

This year’s annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion has been designed by Herzog and de Meuron and Ai Weiwei. The structure is excavated into the lawn in front of the gallery and supports a floating platform roof, flooded to reflect the sky and surrounding trees. The most impressive part of the pavilion is the interior, which is entirely made from cork. It not only looks and feels good but has a lovely smell. Well worth a visit.


Monday, 4 June 2012

After the Diamond Jubilee Thames river pageant

In the pouring rain, the river pageant unravels as it sails past Greenwich at the end of the Diamond Jubilee river celebrations. Sixty plus years ago these small boats set sail and helped rescue the British army from the beaches at Dunkirk. Torrential rain is no deterrent to these hardy souls.


Saturday, 2 June 2012

Howard Hodgkin at 80

Wednesday night private view at the Alan Cristea Gallery in Cork Street. “Acquainted With The Night” are 12 new works on paper to celebrate the 80th birthday of Howard Hodgkin.  I have no idea why I like this work but I do.