Things We Saw Today

Did you catch the Beatles reference? It was intentional! Hang on and I’ll get to it, I’ll make the circle complete.

1. Everybody parks their expensive cars on the street. Maseratis, Ferraris, Bentleys…all of their paint jobs fading in the acid rain. In L.A. the most important thing is what kind of car you drive, people never leave them outside and are regulars at the car wash. It would blow their mind to see these vehicles deteriorating in the elements. Then again, its only a CAR!

2. So we’re riding the tube, and Lisa elbows me, drawing my attention to the Pearly King & Queen.

Pearl King and Queen

Now you know the Traffic song… Is there a connection?

3. Fancy Dress. No, not tuxedos and gowns, but funny outfits, like the ones we saw the college age students wearing, they were playing street Monopoly, don’t ask me to explain, I didn’t understand!

4. I had duck confit for lunch. There was an outdoor market near Sloane Square and the choices represented nationalities from Spain to Peru. The electric burners went on the fritz, but I eventually got my sandwich. Was it the best ever? No, don’t think so, but I’ve never gotten duck from a roadside stand before.

5. Which brings us to the British Library… We went there to see an exhibit on Propaganda, which “Time Out” said was one of the Top Ten things to do in London this week.

Only we didn’t get in…

To the exhibit that is, we made it into the library.

And as a result, I’m a bit down right now. Because I was counting on it. No matter how old you grow, disappointment always sucks.

So the bottom line is we could have gotten in, if we’d bought tickets when we arrived, but on my journey to the loo I got waylaid by the gems of the British Library, its greatest hits, I implored Lisa to go there first.

And what I saw…

Leonardo’s notebooks. Wherein he wrote in mirror script, with his left hand, from right to left.

But even more impressive was Jane Austen’s writing desk. And Mozart’s marriage contract.

Yes, they had the cases broken down by type, and there was a whole one for music. Handel’s original “Messiah.” And…

The Beatles.

It was positively jaw-dropping. They had John Lennon’s original lyrics for “A Hard Day’s Night,” written on the back of Julian’s first birthday card. If it weren’t a museum, I would have thought it was a set-up.

And there was more. McCartney’s “Michelle” lyrics. Unused Harrison lyrics. And I lived through it all, but it was half a century ago, it’s truly history now.

P.S. I saw the Magna Carta and a Gutenberg Bible.

P.P.S. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m getting older, but suddenly I can see these were real people. Although Michelangelo was famous, he was the first person to have his biography written while he was still alive, I’m sure a lot of the other people didn’t realize we’d still be talking about them hundreds of years later. Hell, those who were popular then aren’t necessarily popular now. Ben Jonson was bigger than Shakespeare, but it’s the latter everybody knows today (and both their works were in this exhibit at the British Library.)

P.P.P.S. Being closed out of the Propaganda exhibit, Lisa took me next door to the St. Pancras Hotel, behind which was Eurostar station. From London to Paris…sounds like a Kraftwerk song!

P.P.P.P.S. Frustrated, with time on our hands, we went to the Wellcome Collection. That’s an American, Henry Wellcome, he brought pharmaceuticals in pill form to the U.K., his foundation is the second biggest in the world, just behind Bill Gates’s, according to the guy at the information desk. But not everybody who’s rich collects stuff worth seeing. Most of it was medical, but there was a chastity belt and anti-masturbation rings and glass eyeballs and other artifacts that will haunt me in the middle of the night.

P.P.P.P.P.S. The sun came out! Very briefly. I grew up in New England, I know from gray, but I’m not sure I could handle it anymore, not after living in L.A.

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. We started off at the farmer’s market. Remember when England had a reputation for bad food? From vegetables to bread, the attractions were mouth-watering. A bread that looked like it’d been kicked around like a ball evidenced the crust my father endeared me to. Lisa bought a fish with orange spots for dinner tomorrow night.  Here’s pics!



We’re off to see Helen Mirren in “The Audience,” gotta go!

The Audience

Note: I love the Internet, here’s the backstory on Pearly Kings and Queens, who knew?

Pearly Kings and Queens

Second note: This is a bad pic, but the only one I could find online of the original lyrics of “A Hard Day’s Night.” It’s the fact that they’re written on the back of this children’s birthday card that makes them so great!

original lyrics of “A Hard Day’s Night”

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