London is a wonderful place – unless you have to live there. The minute you step off of the train you feel the energy pulse through the platform. It clearly is a world city which really has nothing else in common with the rest of the island that it happens to be situated on apart from geography. When you walk the streets of central London in Summer it is awash with tourist from around the world. When you enter any store you realise that most of the people who serve you also come from around the world. Only once did I hear a definitive cockney accent and this was strangely enough from an ice-cream salesman – a very rare thing indeed.
We went to London for the sole purpose of visiting the BP Portrait Award 2014 at the National Portrait Gallery. This is something of annual pilgrimage and this year we weren’t as disappointed as we normally were – someone seems to have let painters in who don’t believe that hyperealism is the only way the capture a likeness. Don’t get me wrong there were still plenty to see, if that is your thing, but they didn’t seem to dominate as much this year. That being said there were two huge canvases that just about sums up what I find problematic with Hyperrealism – unsurpassed ability to copy a photograph but no sense of life in the face. Somewhere along the line the human being got lost.
After this it was time for lunch and as it was near to my wife’s birthday we went for lunch at the NPG restaurant which has one of the most spectacular views of the roof of the National Gallery and the world beyond as you are going to find in Central London. The food was wonderful and the whole ambience of the restaurant made for a great time.
Once the lunch had settled we spent the afternoon strolling through the NPG doing a little light sketching and enjoying the great works of art on display. I know I am biased, given the work I produce, but the NPG is one of my favourite places in London. I liked it so much I became a member, which helped to reduce the meal bill quite nicely.
So London is a wonderful place to visit, wouldn’t like to live their. Fortunately on a Sunday morning it is little more than just over an hours journey away.