18 December 2005

Lesson learned - don't give your 3 year old oodles of orange juice with his late supper, then put him to bed with the wrong kind of nappy. For this will surely lead to your having to get up in the middle of the night to extract son from wringing wet pyjamas, nappy having burst its banks. Luckily, son is unusually hardy, and murmured not much in the way of discontent as I sorted him out. Except when in my befuddlement I asked him to lie down while I fetched something - in the wet patch. "No, I need to stand up!" he said, exasperated.

Some items of note. Went to the Diorama near Great Portland Street on Friday, for a staged reading of m'colleague Glyn Cannon's Coffee. Saw a shorter version of this at the Latchmere years ago - when it was the Latchmere still. It's bigger, bolder and better now. Reminded me of The Designated Mourner, while making me - and the other eighty or so people - laugh a lot. It's a three-hander, with advertising people brainstorming before meeting their new coffee industry clients. That's the jumping off point anyway, for a comedy about crassness, integrity, coffee and pastries. There seemed to be a good turn-out of interested parties, so with a fair wind we'll be seeing it at a theatre near us in the not too distant.

Did the bar for the Christmas show at Southwark Playhouse yesterday, The Canterville Ghost. It's a jolly, shiny, knowing sort of show, with a star turn as the Ghost by the writer, John Kane. We're all in on the joke as the Otises, a cartoonish take on a well-to-do American family, fetch up at Canterville Chase for a spot of good old English ghostbusting. The kids in the theatre loved it - one girl in particular, who was twelve if she was a day, was breathless with excitement and had to hang on to her Dad in the suspenseful bits.
After the show I hooked up with B and S, who'd been to the Frost Fair outside Tate Modern - there were lots of seasonal stalls selling mulled wine and whatnot, a stage with live music, and an ice slide for the adventurous. The other two peeled off to go home out the cold, while I went to the Rousseau exhibition at the Tate.

Unbelievably, I was again irritated to the point of complaint by museum attendants having an inane conversation about, you could have guessed, sore throats and how they wouldn't go away. Again, like last time, another theme was how bored they were and how much they were looking forward to the end of their shift. Believe me, I tried to give them the benefit, twice walking away to another room before returning to find they were still in their stride. I then had this exchange with the louder of the two.

Me: Could you take your conversation to another room.

Him: Well... You could say please.


Me: It's not like you're doing me a favour, is it.

Him: Right, okay, I see what you're saying.

He sidled off, leaving me aghast at his cheek. I sought out a supervisor and told her in detail what happened - she was aghast with embarrassment. She wanted me to point out the individual but I declined. I just wanted her to know the attendants need to be aware of the public as thinking, seeing, hearing visitors, not an everchanging backdrop to their ennui.

The exhibition is beautiful, dramatic, strange. I'm going to go back, as I only got half way through. Aside from the stunning sculpture in the first room ("A Gorilla Abducting A Woman") there are extraordinary and uncanny pieces like this

and this

the foliage constructed like Gothic architecture, the faces of the animals all japonaises (or maybe chinoises).

Then there are these Parisian landscapes and portraits, with modern inventions draped across them like badges declaring Rousseau's membership of Artists For Progress.

He worked as a customs officer, and Picasso was his biggest fan. Here's the old goat himself in 1965, with Rousseau's portraits of himself and his wife (both pictures are in the Tate show, side by side).


spindleshanks said...

You've just reminded me how much i like Rousseau. MUST make that effort and get to the exhibition. Happy holidays back. See you in them I hope.

Urban Chick said...

i shall remenber the orange juice thing for future reference


Yidchick said...

Love the paintings. Must stop procreating so I can afford to come to London and go to museums.

sbs said...

yc - it'd be great to see you. all best.