A soundtrack immediately started playing in my head . . .
. . . in and out the Eagle
and up and down the City Road
We were on way to see 'The Vanity of Small Differences' by Grayson Perry at the Victoria Miro gallery in Wharf Road, a narrow lane leading down to the Regent's Canal between old warehouse buildings off the City Road.
As we approached the side of the old warehouse housing the gallery we saw a small crowd of people by a doorway . . . was it a queue? No. It was a gaggle of art students having a fag-break.
We pushed open the solid grey doors and stepped inside a vast exhibition space . . . in the first room were a number of sculptural accumulations of objects by Sarah Sze which looked as if they may start to move around the gallery if someone flicked a switch.
Slim girls in vintage-emporium clothes and young men in tightly cut suits hovered around the edges of the gallery space. Caroline asked where the Grayson Perry tapestries were to be found . . . "through the back, turn right and up the stairs".
"through the back" was outside into a surprising courtyard garden with a decking area overlooking a pond . . . among the duckweed and bullrushes floated dozens of football-sized silver balls.
and through a chicane in a grey corridor into here . . .
. . . a room buzzing with excited chit-chatter and a bunch of down-to-earth sorts whose usual habitat is anywhere in middle-England – but hardly ever in an edgy ex-warehouse gallery on the edge of Islington.
What we were all getting excited about were Grayson Perry's latest tapestries which resulted from a 'safari' into the natural habitat of the taste tribes of England – filmed by Channel 4 for the TV series 'In the Best Possible Taste'.
And as with his British Museum exhibition, 'The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman', 'The Vanity of Small Differences' promotes an atmosphere of delighted chatter between strangers and delight in finding familiar references. It also pulls one up short and makes you look at your own 'taste' and 'style'; Grayson Perry has created a mirror in which we can all see ourselves.
Alongside the six huge digitally-woven tapestries, there are two colour drawings and three large pots; this one was our favourite – it made us laugh out loud!
After a very good lunch in the Narrow Boat pub by the canal, we went our separate ways up and down the City Road . . . I couldn't help but make up new lyrics to 'Oranges and Lemons' – Suggs's homage to Ian Dury . . .
. . . well it's raining cats'n'dogs again
three months in a row
in and out the puddles
up and down the City Road . . .
Eventually, and looking very much like a drowned rat, I reached Museum Street – right opposite the British Museum, to pop into Edwards & Todd with more of my linocuts and also cards, for Gary and Jonathan to sell in there lovely shop.
I didn't care about having wet feet . . . because look!!! my 'Easter hen' linocut is there in the window display (bottom right) alongside work by Richard Bawden, Mark Hearld and Kiran Ravilious.
When I was in the shop I promised Jonathan I'd do more 'hare' designs . . . so I'd better get on with it!
BTW… for those of you unfamiliar with real London accents ... listen to Suggs's pronunciation of 'politely' ... pure gold!