Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Afternoon with Vic and Al

I must get back to London before the free museums aren't free anymore.

With all the walking I did, I passed very few museums. It's not necessarily for a lack of trying, it's just that I felt so pressured to see EVERYTHING that I didn't want to stop to look at even older stuff than the old stuff that I was already seeing just on the streets.

However, one afternoon I decided to check out Victoria Station. For some reason I thought it would've retained a very Victorian appearance, and I wanted to see that.

It didn't.

However, since I was in the area, I decided to get lost. And so I did. Very well.

More observations:

  • The big chain stores that are all over the place were Boots, Starbucks, Costas, Vodafone, the aforementioned Pret a Manger, Clarks, Marks and Spencer, H&M, and Tesco.

  • Everyone in Londontown is dressed better than the average Amurrikan dipshit. I think I commented on this before, but it's so striking to me that I'm gonna comment on it again. Interestingly, I didn't see a single pair of impractical stiletto heels on any woman during the day; if she wore heels, they were no more than an inch-and-a-half high and were reasonable to walk in. If you like that type of thing. Yet were still stylish and not athletic shoes.

  • I didn't hear what used to be called a Cockney accent. It's mutated over the years,but there's still a class distinction in slang and general speech patterns.  Even I with my untrained ear could tell the difference between someone who probably grew up all fancy and someone who didn't.

  • The British fucking LOVE "take away" food. Us dipshit Amurrikans know it as "to go". But the British has EVERYTHING as Take Away. Especially sandwiches. Goddam, they love sandwiches. With flavorless mayo on them. 

  • They don't have Proactiv available there, or else everyone loves being au natural. I saw more faces with acne than in junior high. Which you have to realize in the early 80's was chock-full of craters.

  • The bus stops were a lifesaver. Every other one would have a map of its location and what was within a five minute walk of that particular stop. It kept me from digging out my Very Obvious Tourist Maps out too often.

  • Free museums fucking ROCK.

I don't necessarily care for religious art. Maybe it's tied into my feelings about organized religion. The things that caught my interest the most at the Victoria and Albert museum were not the religious artifacts, but the everyday things...

Such as the mosaic floor:

OK, this looked cool. Beheadings are awesome.

They had an impressive display of clothing from the 17th and 18th centuries. Every day stuff. I LOVE THAT TYPE OF THING. Forget epic battles and Important People...I love hearing about the day-to-day lives of people. What did they wear? How often did they bathe? If they were near- or farsighted, what did they do? How did they fight colds? Did they have cancer back then? What did they call it if they did?

Here's some cool ironwork:

I also strolled through Harrod's department store.

Big fucking whoop.

The best part was where one could see the older architecture and moldings. I could easily detect some Art Deco going on in there. It was beautiful. The modern stuff was BORRRRRRRRINGGGGGGG.

I love how the Tube stations have their escalators marked so that if you want to just stand on them as they go, you stand to the right. If you want to climb/descend the escalator, the left side is open to the hurried folk. HOW I WISH WE HAD THAT HERE. But noooooooooooo, that would infringe on some self-centered fuckwad's definition of "freedom". Efficacy shouldn't be sacrificed for "freedom" in these minor cases.

During this first part of my stay in London, I didn't buy anything except food. No souvenirs. I was traumatized by the currency exchange rate. Not like it mattered for the chain stores; all the H&M's have the same crap in them, so I'm not missing anything by waiting to get back to the States to buy from there. Luckily(?) I didn't see anything that I had to have during this portion of my trip.

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