Figures. I’m 10 days away from a 4-month absence, and everything in London seems just a little brighter and better than usual.
We’re seeing Peter and the Wolf live at Royal Festival Hall tomorrow; a rogue swimmer crashed the Oxford-Cambrige Boat Race today to protest elitism; Boris called Ken a “fucking liar” publicly (and repeatedly) and will no doubt punch him next week; and I realised Thursday that I had FOUR public-transit choices to get home from London Bridge with my Borough Market bounty – faced with the car-clogged hell of LA for a month, that suddenly seemed miraculous rather than challenging.
Perhaps the best pre-depature take-away, though, was the salon that friends Tom, Anna and I attended on Wednesday.
Now, when I hear “salon” I envision Parisian flappers lounging about with American and Brit ex-pats, smoking opium and dissecting books and writers. That or the digital version, where the great and the good drape themselves across divans in virtual fashion, stoned on being cool.
This, however, was a modern London salon: hosted in the overcrowded cellar bar of an understatedly swank private club, disorganised, interactive, and great fun. Salon-London.com was dreamt up by 2 friends who just felt like it, and seems to involve an odd-looking fellow in a safari suit. Wednesday’s offering included an urban birder, a writer who taught us how to make memory palaces, and a world renowned origami expert. Yes, world.
The birder was the highly entertaining David Lindo, who spoke of the perils of twitching on a date and the surprising variety of rare birds that migrate over cities, and who urged us all to LOOK UP. Or at least not look too harshly on parakeets + the like; if you’re even vaguely interested, check out www.urbanbirder.com
Memory-palace-man, whose name I immediately forgot (Sam Leith), taught us all how to remember 10 animal names in order, by placing them conveniently about the house. You need 2 mammals in the tub and a vanity mirror to make it work.
Origamist Mark Bolitho has fashioned larger-than-life gorillas and italian furniture designs from paper, but was so stress-inducing as an instructor that most of us failed to make the [NOT] simple Crane, right.
At any rate, a good event to hang the penultimate week on. Here’s hoping the remainder of my time is as good – but not too good…