Strange art and fake Roman Baths
London Travel Blog› entry 51 of 129 › view all entries
Today, I finished work in time to go for a wander. Regular readers may know that â€śgoing for a wanderâ€ť is probably one of my favourite hobbies, right up there with indie gigs, cooking, and looking a bit lost. So that was good.
I didnâ€™t feel up to a long wander, because I am still trying to shake some weird illness that is making me extremely tired pretty much all the time. So I went down onto the Strand to look for the sign Iâ€™d seen for the Roman Baths there. The Roman Baths are, in fact, almost certainly Tudor. You walk down an alley and through another alley and up a third alley, and see a large, dirty window. You then press a button and a light goes on, showing a brick lined hole in the floor.
The next step on my wander was Somerset House, which is a large building just down on the Thames, that used to house the Admiralty and now has offices, function spaces, a couple of art galleries and a nice courtyard. Entrance to some of the galleries and the courtyard is free, although the best known of the galleries charges admission. I didnâ€™t go there because I followed the sign for something called River Soundings, an installation by Bill Fontana, who is an artist that I had never heard of.
The installation was set up in the lightwells and the deadhouse of Somerset houses.
The installation is of sound and visual recordings, taken from the Thames river. Some of them were recorded using underwater microphones, and some of them are taken from the docks right down on the estuary beyond. Initially, it is quite atmospheric, but eventually you get very, very fed up of the constant tolling of some bell. It went on and on, and I know there is nowhere on the Thames where the bells are that constant.
I decided against going to the main gallery, which had a special exhibition on Michelangeloâ€™s painting â€śThe Dream,â€ť although not the actual painting. Iâ€™m not that big a fan of Michelangelo and Iâ€™ll go back to the gallery when that exhibition is over. I wandered around the courtyard watching the fountains, which are lovely, and being generally impressed with the building.
Then it was time to meet Iain and go into Chinatown. I love Chinatown, even though it is often busy and jostling, but I havenâ€™t taken any pictures. We had dinner and then went back to the hotel.