Thursday, October 1, 2009

London to Uxbridge, The Seahorse, and more

After the Globe, we headed back to the nearest tube station, but decided we should visit The Sea Horse. The Sea Horse is in the exact spot that used to be The Mermaid Tavern, a famous place where the greatest writers, artists, & thinkers of Shakespeare's day would gather on the first friday of every month (there's no record that Shakespeare was ever there). The gathering was called The First Friday Club.

The Mermaid Tavern was on the corner of Friday Street and Bread Street, a triangular property in which these two streets meet at an angle. And that's where the Sea Horse is located.




The Sea Horse is small, with contemporary decor, but you can sense the ghosts of Ben Jonson, Thomas Dekker, John Middleton, etc. Especially Ben Jonson.

Oh look. I've caught a great artist or thinker or something going inside.

The current owner doesn't even realize that great artists and writers are still hanging out here.

After a cider at the Sea Horse, we made our way to a tube station and Uxbridge. Lots of people going home after work.

By the time we got to Zone 6, the train wasn't crowded.

Return to the Uxbridge Station.

Moonrise Over High Street (in Uxbridge)

When we got back to the Brunel campus, another dance class was being held on the third floor of one of the buildings.

Tomorrow we go to Oxford!

The Globe Theater and Loves Labors Lost

We saw Loves Labors Lost at The Globe (the only structure in London allowed to have a thatched roof). A very good production. Enjoyed it. Directed and acted to be more of a comedy than I thought it to be. Unfortunately, the last scene (which is serious and has some of the most serious lines) got the biggest laughs. The main characters are merrily frolicking around on stage (having a food fight with small bread rolls, in this production) when the Princess learns her father has died. The mood turns somber. Then, as the main characters are giving their final, serious lines, pigeons, one by one, begin swooping down from the stage roof, onto the stage (barely missing the actor's heads), and gobbling up the bread crumbs that litter the stage. The audience (lots of young people) erupted in loud laughter every time a new pigeon swooped down, paying more attention to the pigeons than the actors or dialog. It pretty much ruined the moment as planned, but it did become a memorable Globe moment - for me at least.

A Globe poster.

Waiting for the play to start.

Groundlings jockey for position at the stage edge. No sitting allowed for groundlings after the play starts.

Musicians mean the play is starting.

At the Globe, the play is always followed by the actors doing a dance (based on the tradition in Shakespeare's time of the actors dancing a jig after a performance).

The actors take multiple bows, then acknowledge the musicians.

As London an afternoon as one can have.

Another trip into London, Zone 1

We walked to the tube station in Uxbridge and took the tube into London. Zone 1 is the London Underground designation for the heart of London. As you move out from the city, the zone numbers get higher. Uxbridge is in Zone 6, the most distant zone. The Piccadilly and Metropolitan Underground lines end here. The farther out you get, the more you're actually above ground, rather than underground. Calling the London train system The Underground But Sometimes Above Ground just never caught on.

The Uxbridge Station. Access the Metropolitan or Picadilly lines here. The Metropolitan line color is a dark red, sort of a reddish maroon. This is important, because the metal poles inside a Metropolitan line train will always be this color of red, so you'll know what train you're on. The Circle Line trains (they make a big oval loop around Zone 1, have a yellow color scheme, etc. All the tube maps are color coded with these colors. A brilliant system.

Robin weaves through the escalator traffic.

The Embankment tube stop put us right on the Thames. As we walked across the pedestrian bridge, we noticed lots of skateboards without wheels laying on the pilings. Along with some tennis shoes laced together. Art? Alien abductions? Don't even ask, just keep walking.

On the south bank is the Royal Festival Hall. Next week there's a concert featuring one of my favorite composers, Ennio Morricone (The Good, The Bad, The Ugly; Once Upon A Time In The West; For a Few Dollars More; Duck You Sucker!).

We went to the Tate Modern, and were just getting ready to buy exhibit tickets when Robin remembered the Globe (not far from here) had an afternoon performance of Loves Labors Lost. So we headed that way, along the south bank walk. I took this picture of some guy (blue shirt) being chased by another guy (white shirt). Crazy town, London.

Musicans playing in one of the pedestrian tunnels.

Friendly drummer.