Monday, 12 January 2015

London in moving pictures // Think about life, about what you can do / week 12

 A trip to London. Short but full of insights, inspiration. Interestingly, against my expectations, it felt this time, like I would learn things from life rather than exhibitions. Other times when I went to museums, immersed in the artworks, I drew, contemplated and felt intricately linked with life and working.
In the three days that I've been in London this time though, it seemed to me that actually staying with people instead of isolating myself, participating, living, is a decision well made. For it is not of the highest importance to transcend into stages of some sort of higher understanding when one does it alone. Solitude is what robs the mind of energy, power to sustain itself - we cannot live without the touch of other humans - we'd perish.

These are some pictures from the V&A where we were able to admire some wonderful costumes of theatre plays and musicals, as well as a truly inspirational exhibition of the photographer Horst - unfortunately, we weren't allowed to document that. What was remarkable about it though, was the exposition featuring some original Haute Couture garments - what a feeling just to bask in their beauty, the breathtaking craftsmanship ….

Featuring a couple of impressions from the German christmas market … making me truly ponder over cultures and originality. Growing up in Austria with half of my family and of me being German, I obviously have been to proper German and Austrian christmas markets since I was born. They do possess a certain magic to me, which is why I hold them and the memory of them dear. Forsooth, I am against all form of commercialist exploitation but by the time we were strolling the Winter Wonderland in London, my homesickness had gotten so hard to bear, that I was craving for the even most touristic and cliché forms of nostalgia. And yes, I was definitely persuading myself to buy a mulled wine for 5 pounds because nostalgia. I even suspect that one guy at a stall selling Kinderpunsch (non-alcoholic punch) - might've been German and just that thought made me very happy.
(afterthought: on the way to London, we changed trains and at the station, a very energetic man with cohort was striding past us, saying loudly "Heast do musst hoid den Schaffner frogn !!" - in the most pristine Austrian dialect. Obviously, I was over the moon, well I thought it was obvious until I realised that most people don't know what it's like to live so very far from home and thus don't get my excitement. But I didn't care and just felt very happy for a little moment.)

Additionally you can see some pictures of our quite horrendous hotel that made me think back longingly to my ten days stay at a youth hostel in London. 
Strangely, that was the first time I ever had English Breakfast and I didn't quite like it. Might've been due to the quality of it though, my being a vegetarian and not super fond of greasy food.

I've been asking myself so many questions about this town and life in general. 
It is interesting to live in the same country but still observe massive differences in living circumstances at one place compared to the other. While living in a fairly touristic town, that makes it easier to sustain oneself by offering a broad variety of bargain stores, in London, one has the feeling of needing to make a big effort to be able to live. It is, indeed, a very wealthy place and, unless I am severely misinformed, the most expensive city in the world. Even just staying there for a short span of time has made me slightly nervous about my finances, whereas, being in London last autumn, couldn't quite give me this feeling. This struck me as a very interesting realisation for my living circumstances have obviously changed quite strongly but certainly, my attitude towards spending money hasn't so much. Probably the second time being there (last year) has been just me, living a dream of freedom and understanding, coming to terms with what I wanted in one of the most exciting cities. 
This time, even if I necessarily felt very prepared or pressured, obviously I had the need to make the most of the 3 days being there… Somehow it still surprises me that I didn't develop a bad conscience for not thinking too academic about the whole experience. For the first time really, I didn't feel completely pressured to be in a city of a thousand possibilities to express oneself but even criticised the artworks in the Tate Modern.

(c) alissa cha, 2015

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