Scaring away buskers’ business, paintings and horror plays

I had a fantastic birthday yesterday.

I was very smug from the lunch I managed to cook myself. For someone who used to cook only instant noodles at home, I’ve come a long way…

I then headed out to Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery. I have no idea what to expect of the National Gallery – I thought it’s yet another collection of old paintings, but I thought, what the hell, I haven’t been there before, and I wanted to see something new, so off I went.

To my surprise, I saw paintings that I’ve always liked but never imagined I’ll get to see! Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and Yellow Chair! Plus Monet’s Bridge over the Water-Lily Pond! How come no one ever told me they were just here?!

The great thing about travelling is the experience to see new things, being somewhere you haven’t been before. As I get used to London, the novelty of being in Europe wears off, until I stood at the entrance to the National Gallery, looking down at Trafalgar Square and my first thought was: “Wow! This is just like Europe!”

Duh.

This is a busker, just before I went into the National Gallery:

Busker - 1

And this is when I come out:

Busker - 2

Nasty thinks they should be re-labelled as:

Before Dora got there:

Busker - 1

After Dora got there:

Busker - 2

Hmpf.

In the evening, we went for sushi buffet at Hi Sushi on Frith Street in Soho. For £15 a person, it was as much sushi as you can shove down your throat.

Buffets, esp. here, brings thoughts of disgusting low-grade food. But here, the selection in the buffet isn’t huge, but what they have is fantastic good-quality sushi!

Nasty got me this card, he says because it looks EXACTLY like me.

Birthday card

I wonder why.

He then had a surprise for me, taking me to the theatre to see The Woman in Black.

Never heard of it. No idea what it’s about, and he refused to tell me. Then we got there and I see all these sensationalistic billboards at the entrance, quotes of reviews in big bold white letters against black backgrounds:

HORROR!

SPINE-CHILLING!

SCARY!

I don’t watch horror movies, and I screamed my lungs out at the London Dungeons. And here I get a horror play as a birthday present.

I never knew plays could be scary. Horror movies, yeah. But horror plays? Hmmmm.

Without giving away too much, because it was actually fantastic and I highly recommend it, it’s a two-man play with minimal props and sets and all that. But that’s why it’s fantastic. Through atmosphere and the manipulation of our imagination, they achieved what they set out to achieve. One of the reasons we thought it worked so well was that it was performed in a very small cozy theatre. If you can afford it, sit in the front rows. It was a random Wednesday night, but the place was packed, and this play’s actually been running in the West End for 20 years, so that goes to say how well received it is. It was indeed spine-chilling – I got colder and colder throughout the play and left with goose bumps all over.

I very likely had the best birthday ever yet. :)

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3 thoughts on “Scaring away buskers’ business, paintings and horror plays

  1. Were you able to see The Arnolfini portrait by Jan van Eyck? It’s one of my favorites, but when Chris and I went by the national gallery that painting and some of the DaVinci’s were on a temporary exhibit elsewhere so we have to go back again! The John Constable paintings are also very beautiful- especially the one of Salisbury Cathedral <3

  2. Po: I apologise, but Nasty and I took the piss out of Tate Modern – esp. seeing that frame of a blank canvas with a single slash cut in it. ;)

    Sarah: I apologise too, because I am an art idiot. I know of Van Gogh and Monet only coz they’re ultra-famous….I have no idea what you’re talking about. But you bet I’ll be looking out for those you’ve mentioned the next time I head back!

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