Saturday, December 01, 2007

Baubles, books and babbaboos


Covent Garden

A beautiful day to take Bondi out and run some errands in the city centre. A foray into Foyle's to find a book covering the rules of a board-less Scrabble variant (using 2 sets of tiles) invented by Leonard Bernstein. Not successful there and haven't dredged anything up from net searches. Did replace my Pocket Pilot map of London, lost somewhere in recent weeks. They're the only city maps that seem to survive long term use (well-laminated) and which are stuffed with useful detail for getting around a city. The little pop-up maps are well and good, but seem to disintegrate very rapidly.



Lingered around Covent Garden for a while, the market heavily decorated in faux-icicles. Dropped into the London Transport Museum and carried off a great little book on Harry Beck's design of the map for the London Underground. Good stuff if you appreciated Edward Tufte's books (although not his OTT rant on PowerPoint).


On the other side of the Thames, the sunshine had brought out some sand-artistes, who were sculpting sofas in the south bank sands.





Lunch in Borough Market, and then tubed down to Vauxhall to see what was to be seen. Nothing, as it was to turn out. After getting a little lost in the snarl of roads, foot tunnels and bus terminals around there, we headed for the river and followed it up through Lambeth and across into Westminster. From there, through St James Park.






William Papas: SO! YOUR MAN IS IN LOVE!...I HAVE LOOKED UP THIS GIRL'S DOSSIER AND I AM HORRIFIED AT WHAT I FIND. NOT ONLY A CHRISTIAN BUT SUCH A CHRISTIAN - A VILE SIMPERING, DEMURE, MONOSYLLABIC, MOUSE-LIKE, WATERY, INSIGNIFICANT, VIRGINAL, BREAD-AND-BUTTER MISS. THE LITTLE BRUTE. SHE MAKES ME VOMIT.;
William Heath Robinson: Christmas Thieves.

Last stop for us was The Illustrators exhibition at Chris Beetle's Gallery near Piccadilly, walls plastered with Ronald Searle, Mervyn Peake, Arthur Rackham, Heath Robinson, and dozens of other notables from the last two centuries. The 450pp catalog is a jewel in itself. Bondi went to sleep betwixt a statue and a wall of Searle, snoring in a near-foetal position while I went off to admire the collection.



The westbound Piccadilly line platform at Green Park station was absolutely heaving with Saturday shoppers heading home or for further buying in Knightsbridge. Squeezed down to the end of the platform where the traffic was lightest and managed to squeeze us in for the trip back to South Ealing. Most of the carriage disgorged within a few stations so Bondi was able to lie down for the remainder of the journey.

A quick turn around and I was out for dinner in Southfields with my mate Ben Dawson, in London between playing piano gigs around the land with the usual droll analysis of the celeste repertoire.

Finished Geoffrey Chaikin's Meta Maths! The Quest for Omega, probably my most mathematical read in over 20 years. I really must get to reading Wolfram's "A New Kind of Science" now, which has been sitting in my storage for some time. Recovering from thinking about uncomputable numbers by reading Don't Cry For Me Aberystwyth, the fourth installment in Malcolm Pryce's series of Welsh Noir detective novels. It still doesn't measure up to the exuberant lunacy of the first (Aberystwyth Mon Amour).

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