Right, news—I got back, early Friday, from five days in London with my friend Adam, during which time I caught up with lots of people I hadn’t seen in entirely too long. The British Museum is much too cool, and huge, and full of everything you might possibly be interested in, and it’s all laid out in a way that makes it look even cooler, in an amazing building.
The British Library is in a less amazing building, the really exotic stuff is laid out in a way that doesn’t really promote them that energetically, but what is there is pretty stunning too. Beatles’ lyric sheets—I think I saw “Yesterday” and “In My Life” in a couple of paragraphs, on the same sheet of paper—a Gutenberg bible, a first folio of Shakespeare, an awful lot of amazing stuff.
Went to the Finsbury Park mosque, but didn’t quite manage to get to talk to an Imman. Ah well, next time. (Not that there’ll be one—see below.)
The best food I had during the trip was in a restaurant with Aisling and Tamara, and aaaggh, I can’t remember its name. But it was cheap (in a London context), the food was excellent, and the service was good. Plus the conversation was excellent—Adam was so charmed by Aisling that he’s taken to saying “bless him” at intervals since, and everyone was fascinated by tales of a town in Wyoming with a sign saying “Population 4” where the four had been crossed out and replaced by a one. As Adam describes it, lots of the western US is socially something else.
Caught up with my cousin Martin and my friend Chantal, too, and it was really cool to seem them both.
Despite all the excellent people, I’m not so into the city itself. Eye-wateringly expensive, the tube is always packed, the food is bad unless you go and look energetically for good food, or pay even more of a premium, ugly traffic patterns meant I spent Thursday night in zombie mode in Stansted because the coach from the city centre took twice the advertised time, making me late. But it was interesting to go somewhere I hadn’t been before, as it always is, especially with a lifetime’s exposure to British media.