During yet another fabulous outing in London last weekend, we were able to see some astonishing art on display and listen to some terrific tunes...
First to the imposing Somerset House, where Stanley Spencer's Heaven in a Hell of War is exhibited (free entrance!) as part of The First World War Centenary. All the paintings have made the journey from their permanent home of the Sandham Memorial Chapel - bar the gigantic The Resurrection of The Soldiers, which was displayed as a projection on the wall, as the original was painted on a canvas adhered to the wall of the high altar of the chapel.
Most of the scenes show everyday life during the war at the Beaufort Military Hospital in Bristol - where the injured soldiers shared the building with mental asylum patients - and are fascinating and often humorous vignettes; some others depict scenes from the Macedonian front. There is a lot to see here, loads of little details. I was also very taken with the richness of the colours in some of the scenes and by the lovely, quintessentially English Tea in the Hospital Ward and Bedmaking. The exhibition is on until 26th January 2014.
It was only a short walk to Trafalgar Square - for a little look at the Big Blue Cock there - no, I am not being rude - and I can tell you something: the two manky pigeons perched on the plinth were not impressed - nor was I, to be perfectly honest.
I went to Vienna when I was very, very young, and remember not liking its monumental architecture at all... I do not know a lot about Austrian history and culture, but I am a massive Klimt fan, and therefore was not going to miss this.
The exhibition is rather fascinating and is showing works from the Secession movement - concentrating on their portraits of members of the affluent, international and liberal middle-classes, who were often also their patrons.
The styles vary enormously, with some works genuinely surprising in their boldness and originality - some of them unsettling, even.
And I was so thrilled to see a few original Klimts at last!
I really liked Oskar Kokoschka's work and his unique use of colours, especially in Portrait of Hans and Erica Tietze-Conrat below - the online images and even the prints do not do justice to the original, I'm afraid.
Another favourite of mine: Erich Lederer by Egon Schiele. The young man looks like he is straight out of a silent movie.
Facing the Modern at the National Gallery continues until 12th January 2014.
A quick stop for refreshments in the fast-disappearing Soho, and we were on our way to the Islington O2 Academy to listen to some music!
Industrial band Ventenner were excellent, taking their influences from different genres and injecting a welcome uncompromising, misanthropic energy - think Killing Joke, Nine Inch Nails, Atari Teenage Riot among others... I will definitively keep an eye on them!
Die Kur's singer Ays Kura looked thrilled to be playing in front of a sold out Islington Academy and his enthusiasm was infectious, even though their music was slightly too metal for me.
It was good to see Inertia's Reza Udhin wear his Sophie Lancaster Foundation t-shirt and wrist band to play another energetic set from this hard-working electronic band - who were celebrating their 20th anniversary last year!
Time for yet another celebration: The Young Gods' 25th anniversary!
The pioneering post-industrial Swiss band played a fabulous set, with samplers as sharp and biting as ever - original member Cesare Pizzi is back and taking charge of them for this tour. I don't really know what kind of stuff singer Franz Treichler is taking to keep his youthful, dancer-like physique, but I'll have some of it, please. He just doesn't change, and still makes an engaging, charismatic frontman.
As for drummer Bernard Trontin, he was on impressive form...
I think therefore I write.
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