I spent yesterday at the National Portrait Gallery- which is much cooler than you would expect. I rented one of those head sets that have mp3s of interesting facts, which ended up being a good idea. The headset actually made Tudor era portraits fascinating, which I think is saying something. Each set started with a piece of music that then continued in the background (they did a good job of having era appropriate music, which I was pleased with 'cause I'm a dork like that) and explained who the important person was, why the painting was important (if it was, many weren't), who the artist was, and if there were any important historical things illustrated by the painting those were mentioned too.
The gallery has also done a very good job of making sure that there is actual diversity within their collection (like every room had at least one painting of a woman, even the science rooms. A disproportionate number of the women were operatic sopranos though) and currently have informative panels along some of the paintings about slavery. Like, was the person in question involved with the abolition or did they own slaves and the like. Cool, huh?
I had purchased a ticket to go see a candlelight concert at St. Martins in the Field, but that didn't start until 7:30 and the museum closed at 5, so I had some time to kill. I ended up going to Trafalgar Square and climbing up on to the lion pedestal in order to do some serious people watching, but instead ended up talking to these two Pakistani students at Queen Mary: Waqas and Abbas. They wanted to go down to embankment and watch the buskers, so we walked down there. There is a fellow who plays the steel drums immediately next to the carousel which makes for terrible terrible cacophony that was only very slightly reminiscent of Ives.
The concert was good, but I was cheap and got tickets that had a completely obstructed view. (It wasn't supposed to be totally obstructed, but the only thing I could see was sometimes the baton of the conductor if I was trying really hard to see.) So what I did instead was stare at the ceiling. Fortunately, being a baroque era church, the ceiling was pretty cool. They are doing a lot of work on the church right now. The crypt and the brass rubbing area are both closed, and starting in May the church will be closed for services and concerts as well, so it was good I got there when I did. However, that meant that when I was looking at the ceiling I had to look up and past the scaffolding and plywood. I would tell you what they played, but I left the program at home. Sorry.
This morning I went to "cafe" in Mile End, which is a little, um, cafe, that I went to a couple of times with Laine. I remember it very fondly and have been wanting to have at least one English Breakfast while I am here, but I think remembering it fondly was a better idea then actually going and eating there again. Oi, so much grease. But lots of fried mushrooms, and you can't go wrong with fried mushrooms. Well, in my book anyway.
I'm going to the ballet tonight, total nose bleed section tickets, but at least they are not standing room- that would be awful. I'll let you know how it goes, and thanks so much for commenting (those of you who do) it makes me really happy!