Classical music, rain and bin bags!


London – so varied, so interesting, such unpredictable weather! I like to think it’s always sunny in London but we do have rain or our parks wouldn’t be so lovely and green. This week’s wet highlight was Kenwood – a series of open air picnic concerts set in the lovely surroundings of Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath. We went for the summer proms featuring Vivaldi’s Four Seasons which turned out to be accurate as we had sun, cold and the most amazing downpour I’ve been out in for a very long time. We were half way through the picnic when the heavens opened on us and despite enormous amounts of plastic we were soaked to the knickers! No photos of this as the camera was safely away in one of the few dry sections of the bag. Being British we ‘kept calm and carried on’, sat it out, finished the picnic and enjoyed the concert tho’ sitting in damp clothes is not my favourite feeling. Here’s a photo of the venue just before the rain…..

Trafalgar Square was hosting a pop-up maze with blue plaques all around inside the maze telling visitors all about the West End. It wasn’t large enough to get lost in but was good fun and in the middle were singers from Dover Street jazz and I read that there were different performers each day. Just a bit of fun and why not. A couple of photos to give you the idea, one on the inside and one of the famous lions taken in the queue – yes of course there’s a queue – surely part of the fun!

It was classical music week with a trip to the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall where we saw Elgar and Vaughan Williams performed by the Scottish Symphony Orchestra. It’s a beautiful venue and I love to hear music there. It was good to see it full as the Proms are a fabulous national treasure from the BBC – the world’s largest classical music festival with over 70 concerts spread over 3 months every summer. ‘Prommers’ queue on the day (queueing again!) for standing tickets at just £5 which makes it brilliantly accessible for the less well off but hardy folk. Luckily for me we had box tickets as I’m too short and too lazy to stand for a couple of hours! Here’s a photo of the inside of the wonderful hall, taken just after the performance finished in case you were thinking I’d taken in mid symphony which would be a major Proms crime…

One of my local galleries was holding their Summer 2010 Collection which was very interesting. Salon Contemporary on Westbourne Grove showcase the best of new British talent in this annual event in its 4th year now and new graduates get to show their work in the trendy gallery. It was invite only and was absolutely packed. The most eye catching was Hye Young Ku who works with bin bags and combines a static piece with performances and the photos shows her is in her bin bag bed creation within which she sang short sets. Salon Gallery has regularly changing exhibitions and is an important champion of new work. They also initiated a great new local initiative, First Wednesdays, where local galleries and fashion shops open late on the first Wednesday of the month (it was in the name I guess!) which just makes Notting Hill even better

Eating and drinking this week – my fabulous picnic at Kenwood was a highlight! I love putting together my picnic with its massive over-catering and plenty of hot food. Also a trip to the refurbished Chepstow in Notting Hill and Smithy’s Wine Bar in Kings Cross where the Dover Sole was very highly recommended.
Here’s hoping for no rain as I’m off to the Edinburgh Fringe this weekend!
Bye for now.
Sue

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