There’s no ‘N’ in Tate, bass in the Poshness, and more site improvements.

The Wandering Nerd August 29th, 2007

Okay kids, grab a drink, settle down, buckle up, and hold on, there’s a lot coming.

The fancy schmancy bus that I was on deposited me in the middle of Victoria. Which is the name of the area in the SW part of central London. There’s Victoria the area, Victoria Street, Victoria Circle, Victoria Rail Station, Victoria Underground, Victoria Coach Station, an a goodly number of other transportation hubs all centered around there, all of which named, you guessed it, Victoria. How’s that for a spanking good intro to one of the largest cities in the world?

Luckily I was able to meet up with Damian - a friend from the Nashville days - and he helped get me sorted.

The ‘Tube’ or the London Underground gets a lot of flak from the people here. They are wrong, don’t listen to them - these people think cookies are ‘biscuits’ and that a Milky Way bar is a ‘Mars’ bar, so they clearly can’t be trusted. The Underground is ‘the biz’ - look at how British I’ve become. You can buy individual fares for travel on the tube, but the Oyster card is the way to go. It’s just a RFID card that stores up credit. Way easy, just swipe it and hop on and off wherever you want. Tres chic, all of the cool kids have one. Do you?

London is another study in anachronism, all of this modern architecture and sculpture, abutted along side buildings from the eighteenth century all the way back to the eleveneenth century. It’s vibrant and bustling, one of those cities that seems like it has a life all it’s own, independant of the crawling masses scattered through its streets.

Speaking of crawling masses: Nottinghill Carnivale!

And as a special surprise for you, my fine cultured reader, vidja. I would suggest turning your volume down…a lot, at least the bass.

I think with all of the sound waves and color particle-waves there was some sort of interdimension warp, only through the course of careful application of Red Stripe was I able to keep my sanity - if not my eardrums - intact. It was packed with people, I can only imagine what Brazil would be like during Carnivale. Maybe I should find out next year.

I’ve gotten sorted to a point where I should be able to periodically put some video up. I went back and added some to one of the posts from Glasgow’s museum. I thought about just getting lazy and doing video updates, but I hate being on film, and Brad would probably throttle me and my bandwidth if I did that. :)

The Tate Modern is pretty frikkin’ sweet. I spent a long afternoon in there after walking around some of the major sights of London. You’ll note that the London Eye is about like that drunk guy you knew in college - not me - that would always jump into a picture that you were trying to take. It’s an everpresent, unblinking eye…ever searching for the one ring. You’ll see it’s snuck into a number of photos, like peeking around from behind a building when it thinks you won’t notice. Speaking of the photos, London really lacks any sort of sense of grandeur. If they could try to sort out some sense of scale, or majesty in buildings they’d do a lot better.

Back to the Tate…the ‘Tate’ Modern. Lots of cool pieces, plus the sillier stuff like a red box, or a box on the wall that looks like a vent…but that’s not a vent, which is why it’s art…yeah. Though one of the tour guides on the river cruise did mention, after venting spleen on how modern art is rubbish and that the admission is free to get into the Tate but they charge you a tenner to leave, that when the Millenium Bridge was first built it suffered from stability problems. As England, and indeed the UK, is fond of giving clever nicknames to landmarks, it became known as the ‘Wibblety-Wobblety’ Bridge. Subsequent rework was done to stabilize the bridge, the Wobblety was removed and is now on display at the Tate Modern.


the timid proud one
asger jorn

francis bacon
triptych second version

jesu raphael soto


roy lichtenstein
wall explosion II

There was a huge Dali exhibit going on as well. I was shocked at how small ‘Persistence of Memory’ actually is, like 12″x10″. The exhibition was really focused on Dali’s interest in film.

I didn’t know that he’s done work with both Hitchcock and Disney after Andalou.

Hitchcock was for a dream sequence in Spellboud:

While that was cool, the collaboration with Disney, ‘Destino’ was perhaps the best animation I have ever see.

That’s only a snippet, the full thing I can’t find, but if you ever get a chance to see it, do so. So if you’re in London between now and September 8th… I’ve also heard it’s played continuously at the Dali museum in Spain. So there ya’ go.

The National Gallery wouldn’t allow photos either, so just some highlights for myself here.

harmen steenwyck - human life

peter rubens - a lion hunt

joseph wright of derby - bird in the air pump

john constable - from the meadows

edgar degas - ballet dancers

Dunno’ if those links will actually work, I’m running out of battery and will try to fix them later if not.  *Update*: they should work now.

I went to the Science and Natural History Museum - where they would allow photography - for a bit so you get another gallery:

I also figured out how to get some decent shots after night. To nerd out a bit, the problem with the cheaper digitals is you can’t control exposure length, i.e. how long the shutter is open. So any shots when it’s dark out causes that little guy to open to full aperture and spend some quality time being caressed by the light. So two problem arise from that with a simple camera. Keeping it steady while it’s sucking down all those photons, and making sure you don’t jar it by simply pushing the button. The first, easily remedied, I picked up one of those grippy little tripod things. On my bigger camera there’s a remote shutter control, on this little thing there sadly isn’t, but look how clever I am, there is a timer. Simple solutions to simple problems. I think they turned out well enough, at least for field work without a net.

London has become my favorite big city. I’m still enamored with Killarney as my favorite, but London truly is calling. It’s like if you took New York, or even better Chicago, and endowed it with both charm and civility. Though it does suffer from the typical big city thing of people never talking to - or indeed even looking at - on another.


The tube system, once you get it figured out, makes London extremely accessable. Just a matter of making sense of this. No real problem at all once you do it a couple of times, and pay attention to when they’re working on the lines. Not to mention the expansive bus services make getting around a breeze.

The only two problems I can see with London, are the weather and the cost of living. A nice but small simple flat about 20 minutes outside of London proper goes for anywhere from 800-2000 pounds for a studio/one bedroom. Yah. Some of the lease space in the center was going for the millions of pounds. Oh and you can’t actually own any property in certain areas of London, it’s all owned by the Duke of Wellington, you lease it for 99 years, then it goes back to him regardless. Strangeness.

They do have some large swaths of parkland through out the city so you can always find some lush verdant open space to lay out in during the 2 or three days of sunshine. They had a live band playing in the middle of St. James’s park too, keen:

On the last night in London I caught a showing of Wicked, as a musical it’s pretty and entertaining, great fun. As an adaptation it’s more of a musical inspired by the book, so completely different.

I’m on the bus to Paris now, sadly no wifi coverage, so I’m just going through getting caught up on cleaning photos up and writing this long…woah…really long post. I’m out of battery life totally so no witty commentary on the images yet, insert your own. You remember how I trust.

Hopefully there has been something interesting here for the class…what little class there is here. I’m talking about the others of course. Not you. You’re my favorite.

One more gallery!

soul on roll, but you treat it like soap on a rope
-public enemy

5 Responses to “There’s no ‘N’ in Tate, bass in the Poshness, and more site improvements.”

  1. mariettaon 29 Aug 2007 at 2:45 pm

    hey, while youre in paris, you should totally do this:
    just think of all the cool pictures you can take with your tripod thingy!

  2. Hoshion 30 Aug 2007 at 10:06 am

    Damn G, you been saving up for this one post for a while, huh? :p
    Cool shots, especially the parade, and I really liked the Dali portion. He’s one of my faves too. The Nature Museum was tres bon as well.
    You may (or may not) want to go back and re-read this post though. I presume you were tired and/or hungover ’cause you got typos all over the place! Hey, I gotta give you grief where I can, ya know!
    Enjoy your time in France and tell those cheese-eating surrender monkeys to take a shower and use some damned deodorant from time to time!
    I just don’t get why they consider us “ugly Americans”… :))
    As always…have fun, be safe and have a Royale with Cheese for me!

  3. The Wandering Nerdon 30 Aug 2007 at 2:32 pm

    Yeah, I know this one was way full of errors, I was busting ass to get it posted before my battery died. I need a damn editor. :)

    I’ll work on fixing it as I can, but suck it up monkey boy.

  4. meganleighon 03 Sep 2007 at 9:48 am

    Looks like you’re moving on… I noticed that you were in Brussels. I hope you will take the time to see the Grand Place and the Atomium (very, very cool- but go early)! Also you MUST see the Victor Horta house (!!! It is a gleaming example of Art Nouveau architecture (Brussels is one of the few remaining cities that still have a good number of Art Nouveau buildings). The peeing dog statue is not worth the time, FYI, even though it sounds intriguing. Eat lots of yummy Belgian chocolate and have some beer (just not together- ilck!). Oh- and don’t try to figure out the maps and the streets… its not worth the time… if you wander around enough you’ll find what you’re looking for! Or just take a cab.

    Best of luck!

  5. The Parentson 03 Sep 2007 at 4:24 pm

    You are really moving around G. I’m so glad I have your site to check out where you are. I know you are having a blast. I will keep all the brochures you send home. have fun. Love The Parents

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