I’m taking a week’s leave, taking it easy in London, soaking up a bit of art around the place. Today I went back to Tate Britain for another look at the Late Turner exhibition (of which more in another blog soon).
Making my way back afterwards, as I walked down the slope into Pimlico station, some bloke in a suit with a satchel barged me aside. OK, my head was still full of big thoughts about Turner’s seas and skies; but then he did the same to a woman and her child just in front of me. Moving in a straight line, moving in a straight line. Rush, rush, rush.
I took the tube to Victoria and changed onto the District Line there. People pressing on to the train before we’d got off. People pushin’ and a shovin’ on the steps up to the District and Circle Line platform. Pouring on to the Wimbledon train, desperate for that last seat. So fast, so aggressive.
I’d slowed down. In chill-out mode. In art mode. Why were all these people in such a hurry? Yeah, I know, I’m just the same myself in work mode. I looked around the carriage. First day back at work for most. January blues. Maybe I’ll catch those on 12 January.
I realised how all those people who come up to London from the countryside, small towns, abroad, can feel pretty intimidated by the London attitude, especially on public transport. So rude, unfriendly, they say. Just surviving really. You harden, until you see someone in genuine distress. Everyone helps then.
Big city life.
So people, if going back to work has been a bit stressful, let me calm you down with one of Turner’s most beautiful late paintings. Take in the colours, the light, the castle seeming to rise from the early morning mist. It’s called “Norham Castle” and was first exhibited in 1845. Genius.
Doesn’t that feel better?
PS. I got three songs into that little piece. They are in italics. The bands are Galliano, Wire, Mattafix. Do you know which is which?