same barb place, different barb times
On Good Friday we went to the Barbican, we left Leyton's shores and headed for the City, the sun shone brightly, a strange phenomenon for an English Bank Holiday. The roads were clear of traffic as we cruised along by Vicki Park we would have opened the sun-roof but Timu hasn`t got one. We drove along over the pot-holes in Worship Street (some of them have been there so long that they are marked in the A-Z) so severe are they, that there is a special warning sign which tells people with loose teeth to keep their mouths closed for 200 yards. We approached the Barbican along Chiswell St only to find our route was detoured (we had come so close, what could we do? ) I needn`t have worried, Karen`s razor-sharp mind had assessed the situation, it was risky but.... with reckless but calculated abandon we drove past the road-works THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD Luckily there were no witnesses.
We parked Timu and headed for the Art gallery, my heart was filled with trepidation as this was our first visit to the Barbican gallery since I nearly ran Douglas Hurd over on Remembrance Sunday (allegedly). At this point I must make it clear that wheelchair-users have their vision set on the floor up to waist height, so I didn`t see him, `onest yer `onner! Anyway this problem was to rear its ugly head again, I was concentrating on the floor trying not to fall off the pavement when Karen said “Did you see that man with the bird on his shoulder?” Now even I would have noticed Long John Silver. It turned out to be a young bloke carrying a bird of prey, a harrier hawk called Megan.
“No she’s been working, I bring her up here when hired and she flies about to scare the pigeons away”
We had a long chat with him but when he asked if I wanted to stroke Megan in true News of the World fashion we made our excuses and left.
We then went on to play the lift game. The guide telling you on which floor your destination is hasn`t been updated but the lift controls have. It’s lots of fun. Because of this new feature we got out on the wrong floor to find a folk music concert in full swing, this music was to be heard throughout the complex... great stuff…
We finally made it to the correct floor (I`m still not quite sure which it was but and....c`est la vie). At this point Karen suggested a visit to the Barbican`s conservatory,it was on this floor, she had nice memories of it from a previous visit with her Mum and Dad. It was a real strange feeling a quiet, tranquil spot in a large building in the heart of London.,. The only sounds were flowing water and the call of blackbirds , apparently a male and a female had somehow found their way in and built a nest, the gardener said they wouldn`t hurt the plants, so they are now awaiting the flutter of tiny wings. Would they be a flock of Barbi`s?
Anyway we left the conservatory and so at last to the gallery to see their British Impressionism exhibition, it was really good and included the original painting of the infamous DEAD FISH print.. I feel that I should explain, the painting shows a fish sale on a turn of the century Cornish beach , I bought a print of the picture in 1981 and wanted to put it up at home,
“Ughh I don`t like that with all those dead fish” says Mum.
I still think its great, but the original is a million times better so it was worth going just for that one.
After this we still had over an hour until theatre time so where better than the Lakeside cafe. This is another feature of the complex (I feel I’m now beginning to sound like a Barbican promotion) so we sat out in the sun drinking coffee and eating cake (a major feature of our busy lives) and generally saving the world. One day I will tell you about the mysterious gold figures. It was getting closer to theatre time so we went back inside, watched John Kirkpatrick for a couple of numbers, played the lift game again and eventually arrived at the theatre.
Now the theatre is wondrous to behold, a bar, nice snacks but most of all Losley ice cream (oh ye lovers of ice cream please note this is to die for). We then took our place in one of the boxes especially for people with mobility difficulties, got out our Pick`n`mix (specially blended at F.W. Woolworth Bakers Arms purveyors of sweetmeats and other luxury requisites ) and got ready to watch Twelfth Night, I had studied this for my O level.
After the play back into the lift (no problems this time for Karen had mastered the insidious lift game ) and apart from nearly reversing into John Kirkpatrick`s drummers`s kit it was an uneventful journey home. Even the pot-holes in Worship St couldn’t take the shine off a great day.
Fine art & film critic