I have a two week holiday between the end of my exams in late April and the return of my nose to the mooting grindstone in mid-May, and of course I’m making a beeline for London. (With a jaunt to Poland and the Czech Republic.) And even though it’s more than two months away, I can’t stop thinking about it.
There’s so much I want to cram into those precious few days there, but I can’t decide whether to spend the time revisiting what I already know and love, or to explore the vastness(es) I still didn’t get round to discovering even over four years there.
The tug of the familiar and beloved is difficult to resist – I want to stay in Bloomsbury, visit dear old Jeremy B (deceased) in the UCL building, buy too many CDs in Berwick Street, and check for new sad robot graffiti on Brick Lane. I want to attend mass either in Newman House or the noon one in St Anselm & St Cecilia with the amazing choir. I want to rollerblade in Hyde Park. I want to lose money at the greyhounds.
I want to have a leisurely breakfast (fry-up) reading the papers in Cafe Valencia on Marchmont Street, eat anything anytime in Savoir Faire, Song Que (yes, I obviously don’t need to go all the way to London for Vietnamese food, but the crispy pancakes, oh the crispy pancakes!), The Perseverance, Carluccio’s, South, Incognico before 7 pm, strawberry beer on a Sunday afternoon at The Spitz.
There’ll be an El Greco exhibition at the National Gallery. Roy Lichtenstein at the Hayward. I’m adamant on Jerry Springer The Opera. McLusky are playing The Garage on 6 May. I’m keeping an eye on the Do Something Pretty and Track And Field gig guides to make sure I don’t miss out on the small venue gigs Stargreen doesn’t list. (Incidentally, this is actually an exercise in agony, due to all the gigs I’ve found out I’ll be missing. The Shins are at the tiny beautiful Water Rats pub on 1 April, for which I reckon tickets will be all of £5, and Yo La Tengo have decided to deny me a third brush with gibbering ecstasy by playing the Shepherd’s Bush Empire a month before that. Insert profuse swearing here.)
And then there’s the other impetus – to do something new. I always meant to go to the Sir John Soane’s Museum but never got round to it. Same with the Dulwich Picture Gallery. And the view from Richmond Hill. And a Regent’s Canal walk. And meals at Andrew Edmunds and Frederick’s and Le Cafe Du Marche.
I haven’t even got to the human aspect of a London visit yet – all the dear friends I want to see again. Eep. Something tells me it’s going to be a very manic 5 days.