When we first started this blog it was intended that we would witter blithely about the trials and tribulations of two ladies of a certain age living in East London, hand wringing about the difficulties of finding enough room in the freezer for spirits and generally not taking things too seriously. Trouble is one of them, we'll call her "me" is a lazy mare and has rather neglected the writing of late. And the having adventures. And being way to serious.
Which is why I was persuaded to go to Temple Place to find something interesting and from Cornwall.
I only know of two things that come from Cornwall, ice cream and pasties. Oh, and a two faced lying midget that displeased a number of my friends. But that's another story.
So off to Temple Place I went dreaming of crusty pastry and delicious fillings whilst leaning against a sandcastle as a the warm breeze washes over me. Or not. It was quite warm on the Northern Line. No sand. Plenty of tourists.
I did a thingie some time ago, I tried to find out how long it won't take to get to somewhere in Cornwall using the veritable Google Maps and... It didn't work. Admittedly I was asking it to tell me how to get there using public transport and, apart from a pony and trap combo run by a bloke called Arthurwho had that Merlin in the cab last week, there isn't much. At least not according to Google. Not that this is relevant to the tale as, actually, I'd not bothered to ask Clare where I was going. Ditz.
At least I still know how this Contrary thing works.
Now then, I've never been to Two Temple Place and was so busy eyeing the crenellated madness of it that I failed to notice Inspector Clouseau's style guru hovering outside waiting for me. Oh, I found it! It was at this point Clare explained that she really wanted me to see the building, for once the art and music were actually secondary to the location. If you've never been, you should go, it really is a wonderful place and I'm looking forward to going back when my head is less muzzy.
And then there was the art...
I'll admit it, when I first went in I realised she had finally lost her renowned grasp of the art world, this really was putting the corny in to Cornish. Twee didn't quite cover my initial impression. But I'm not going to put it down because, actually, it wasn't that bad. Trouble was, the first image I looked at I hated. It's not that it was bad, technically it was superb, but it lacked imagination, passion, drama. It looked too... Wrong. And I couldn't put my finger on what exactly. Interestingly, from a distance the image felt almost photo realistic, but still left me with a great feeling of meh. Not good.
But then I wasn't allowing for the context. The exhibition itself was looking at the period, between about 1880 and 1920 when artists discovered the hoary heads and horny hands of gruff Cornishmen before swooning a little and paying them to pose for pictures. To be fair this was also smack bang in the middle of the arts and crafts movement and, sadly this does show in quite a few pictures.
As I meandered the room it became obvious that there were some real gems here. A number of images struck me as being synonymous with the stark motivational pictures of the soviet era. That the subject was semi-enslaved working men wasn't really lost on me. Another image showed the sheer terror of the work with an impossibly steep rail track leading in to the bowels of the earth. This image was quite haunting, not just because of the text explaining that this particular mine had a terrible disaster with a runaway truck, but also because of the sadness of a woman watching the living dead of the menfolk. There was also a pasty.
These gems aside, I still had an issue. None of the pictures were badly done, indeed many had been feted in their day. My problem was this, they just didn't feel right, that magical something that sets the eyes dancing and the heart racing. The apparent drive for almost photo-realism , paradoxically, gave a faux, almost parody, feel. Simply, life was portrayed as too clean.
Whilst Clare has just been raving about the fabulous Clay Pit, for me though the single most impressive image was a simple one, an etching of a woman, bent and laden. A candid view of the raw suffering, a true portrayal of the grim reality of a difficult life. I was stunned.
We spent a little while listening to the live music and chatting about what we'd seen before, inevitably, heading home to Contrary Towers and ponder food. As you do.
Trouble was I still couldn't think of what to eat. Not a good sign. Fortunately my flatmate spends a lot of time thinking about meat so she suggested pork chops. And mash. Oh yes. A quick(ish) scoot around the District Line, a brisk march to the House of Lidl and we were ready with all the essentials, pork chops, brocolli, spud, butter, mustard. And an apple.
It's been quite a while since we last made a meal together so whilst I fiddled with spud (because I look like a potato), Clare did things to the pork, fried the apple and made mustard gravy ready to go with my whipped garlic mash. It was yummy. We might have also had a glass or two of teh winez.
Just to be sociable you understand.
I never did get a pasty. Pfft.
Amongst Heroes is on until the 14th of April 2013 at Two Temple Place.