In 2007, my family and I took our first international vacation. It turned out it was our first real vacation in over five years, too. I guess I see where it comes from since I usually have to “earn” a vacation–that is until I met my husband who handed me the world on a silver platter.
Anyway, I am a huge film buff and fan of David Lynch. While we were researching our trip to Paris, I happened to see that he was having an art exhibit at a local gallery, The Air is on Fire. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to do something outside the normal tourist schedule. I even remember trying to convince my parents of the detour saying, “How many times are we going to be in Europe and David Lynch has an exhibit?”
Well, when Jeff and I went to The Saatchi Gallery, we picked up a notice saying David Lynch had an exhibit at The Photographer’s Gallery. Knowing Jeff wouldn’t be interested, I took myself on a field trip last Friday and had an a-ha moment. More on that below.
I took off and headed to the Oxford Circus area to find this gallery. It was actually down an alley in a building that looked like it could be a SoHo loft in New York. The gallery was five floors of just photographs done by William S. Burroughs, Alan Warburton, Andy Warhol, and David Lynch.
I first came across David Lynch in high school when I watched Mulholland Drive. The movie, to this day, plays with my mind as I haven’t figured out all of the intricacies and such. But ever since, I have watched all of his movies and tried to figure out the mind of David Lynch. Eraserhead is another one of my absolute favorites being a film snob. I just love the harsh black and whites of the imagery, and these photos were no different.
I found myself staring at one picture in particular which I was unable to take a proper picture of, so I apologize for my lack of photographer skills and my reflection in the glass. It was a horizon with factory buildings on the outer edge. The gray color scheme with the black shapes on the far right were just beautiful. It made the image have a haunting qualify that is apparent in all of his works.
I headed down to see the Burroughs display which was definitely not what I had expected. Maybe it’s just because I’m not as familiar with him as I am with Lynch and Warhol, but one montage caught my eye. It was a series of four photographs of the same corner store, but the fourth image had the storefront with a new name. The caption for this series was he had gotten food poisoning from this particular place and damned it in the press so much that he helped facilitate their shutting down.
The floor below was Andy Warhol’s photographs. Not a lot of his stuff was on display, and certainly not his iconic silk screen canvases. But he did have a few photographs that were identical and sewn together like the famous hyper-color paintings he is so famous for–this was just in a photographic sense.
I really did enjoy finding this random little gallery and seeing David Lynch’s works. After leaving the gallery, I let the day take me. I haven’t really done that too much here because I do a very good job in not embracing what this city has to offer. I stress myself out not having employment and not having a set routine and schedule to fill out the day. But that day, I would make myself stay out and take the road less traveled.
First was going to Liberty of London. My mother told me that the one thing I had to get for her was fabric from Liberty of London. So I did just that and saw the most random picture hanging on the wall. I don’t think I’ll ever think of chicken breasts the same way, but it made me laugh.
I headed out and down the road a bit. I looked to my right and saw a large crowd of people and tons of food trucks. I now regretted stopping for a ready to eat (pret a manger) bite. But I was curious to see what was offered. Well, I’ll tell you–it was BBC. It was right there in all it’s glass window glory. I stood in the open area for a good ten minutes just admiring the building and trying to convince myself to go in. After getting the push from Jeff via text, I walked in and said, “How can I get a job?”
If this were the 1970s, they may have just pushed me upstairs (or downstairs) to the mail room and had me start working on sorting packages. Not now. Everything is online and I needed to apply via the BBC portal.
Then as I headed toward the tube to go home (to eventually apply for five jobs), I turned around and walked the opposite way. I found Piccadilly Circus. That is where all the traffic was! I never felt so thankful to not have a car. I wandered around and walked in and out of shops not even looking to see the time.
Taking a left, toward the Crimea memorial, I found myself in the middle of an intersection. To my right was Buckingham Palace, to my left was the London Eye, and directly in front of my was St. James’ Park.
That’s when it hit me. I’m in London. I am not going home any time soon because this was now home. What did I have to worry or stress about? I will find a job when it’s right for me and when I’m right for the job. I just need to look around and stumble on another castle or something.
After standing in near-harm’s way for several minutes, I finished crossing the street and took in the smells of cherry blossoms in St. James’ Park and watched pelicans swim in the pond. Heading another direction, I came face first to Big Ben–my favorite London landmark.
I decided that I had walked quite a ways and needed to head home, so I did just that to end my journey sitting next to a nun on the district line while I read about Mata Hari. Nothing like reading about a glorified courtesan from the early 1900s sitting next to a sister of the church, but hey, it was a fun end to my random day.