You’ll recall that I have decided to rediscover London after a visit from a pen friend brought home that I’d been neglecting our Nation’s Capital. True to my word, I paid a visit to the National Portrait Gallery and couldn’t believe what I’ve been missing. Granted I am a massive art geek, but the sheer diversity of the work on display is enough to excite even those with minimal interest in portraiture. I was well chuffed when I discovered Thomas Joseph Edmund Adès depicted by Phil Hale; Hale is someone I’ve admired for a long time, not to mention there was a great piece by Paula Rego sitting just two paintings along from it. Rego is responsible for one of my favourite paintings ever – ‘The Blue Fairy Whispers to Pinocchio’ – which features her son-in-law Ron Mueck’s ‘Pinocchio’ sculpture.
I think I am lucky in that I have a particularly pleasant walk from the station to the office; strolling past the National Gallery and Trafalgar Square before heading up Shaftesbury Avenue. One building that never fails to get my attention is the ‘Hippodrome Casino’. The building is really striking, and sits in a prominent place on the edge of Leicester Square. I’m not really one for gambling and so it’s not somewhere I’d usually pay a visit but whilst showing yet another pen friend around the city he asked if we could go in. I didn’t see why not so in we went! We made a few social faux pas like not checking our bags in and mixing up chips from different floors but after the staff gave us a few pointers my pal Koichi sat down and proceeded to win himself a grand total of £65 while I people watched. I’ve been to vegas but this was entirely different, rather than racous chatter and the endless sounds of slot machines, people were quiet and focused. It seemed to pay off on our table at least, the majority walked away with more than they started with.
After that unexpected exposure to another slice of city life I’m on the lookout for something else new to explore and experience and our office is in a prime location for commencing an expedition. While many of you may know, we’re just five minutes from the British Museum you may not be aware that we’re equally close to the Cartoon Museum, which I am planning to target prior to my next post.