Sunday, April 27, 2003

Part 3:

  • I travelled on most of the elements of transport covered by the Travelcard, and it stuck me what astonishingly good value it is. For less than I paid for my sandwich at lunchtime, I travelled from Osterley to Wimbledon on the Tube, from Wimbledon to Merton, and then on to Elmers End via Croydon on Tramlink; then to Lewisham on a normal train (in spite of strikes); onward to Greenwich on the DLR; still on the DLR (once I managed to find the cunningly concealed Cutty Sark station) to Bank; and then tube - plus a stroll in the parks - back to Osterley. I'm sure I could sit down and work out how far that all is, but take it from me, £4.50 for that journey is ridiculously cheap.

  • No, my sandwich didn't actually cost £5 - I had some other things, too.

  • There are some wonderful roads in North Wales - if you're ever jaded by hacking around on motorways, try driving from Welshpool to Dolgellau.

  • There are some people who would like to hear from you if you do enjoy hacking around on motorways.

  • Chester is every bit as pleasant as I had always imagined. It contains what is now one of my favourite bookshops: partly because it sold me a copy of The Right Stuff for a pound; partly because it also sold me a splendid copy of Mahler 3 for next to no money; but mostly because it is on top of the City Walls - in fact, it is effectively in the City Wall. This elevates it enormously in my estimation. Good prices, too, if you're used to London.

  • I am trying to visit all four Tate galleries this year, while I am a member ('twas one of my birthday presents). I made it to Liverpool, and I'm extremely glad I did. Not only is the Tate much more comprehensive and interesting than I remember, but they had a quite stunning installation by Janet Cardiff, which made the whole weekend worthwhile. You can read about it on the page I linked to, but neither the description there, nor anything I might say here can convey the power and thrill of walking around this piece and genuinely feeling as if you are inside the choir. Nothing can convey the joy of hearing unexpected harmonies; the feeling that one of the singers appears to be slightly flat until you walk a foot or so to the left, and hear how exquisitely the voice harmonises with the one next to it; the sheer uplift of being in the middle of this piece when you are enveloped by one of Tallis' sudden bursts of joy; the sight of other people, walking around enraptured or the sudden glimpse of container ships on the Mersey just when you are convinced you must be in some gothic cathedral. Wonderful, and highly recommended. As is her other piece in the same display, a curious and witty examination of cinemagoing.

  • I also went to see the Beatles Story. It ought to be a tacky rip-off. Miraculously, it isn't.

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