TOH and I have been off for a 21st century Christian mini break. That is to say on Friday afternoon we boarded a coach and headed off first to a Premier Inn in Stevenage and then onto London for a spot of protesting with a coachload of thoroughly nice, mainly Christian, people of different ages, (youngest about 5 and oldest….well she was well into her 80’s I’d say). The diversity of group in terms of age and class and the commitment of people in the North East to travel 5 or 6 hours down to London to protest about something they believed in was actually quite moving in this age of cynicism.
All I have to say about the hotel is I can thoroughly recommend. Not only does it have an ice-cream machine the staff were really lovely and helpful.
In the morning we headed off to London, most of the rest of the coach headed off to a service at Westminster Central Hall. We popped in to go to the loo and pick up a placard and then, after coverting a statue of Wesley – and pointing out he died an Anglican, TOH led me off to the South Bank for a wander. One has to understand this was a highly romantic act; TOH has listened to me on various occassions over the last year or so lament about how much I missed being able to pop up to the South Bank and go into the Tate Modern when I needed to spend a day clearing my head. She therefore decided that we would go for a wander rather than listening to various distinguished peeps.
Chatting I discovered she’d never done The London Eye, and as the queue was short and the day clear I said why didn’t we go on. All well and good ordianarily; not it seems when you are carrying around a Cafod placard, even if it is tucked under your arm. We went to buy the tickets and got thrown out of the hall by a security guard. Now I was being sensible, the placard was tucked under my arm, but alas apparently I couldn’t even go in the booking hall with it.
After getting kicked out we just wandered along to the Tate Modern, where placards are welcomed. Time was limited and so we headed straight off to the Pop Life exhibition. This is one of the few exhibitions that has left me with a bitter taste in my mouth, aswell as a sense of awe. The exhibition contains some amazing stuff by Wahol and Emin amongst others. It also contains out and out porn in room 9. The blurb describes Jeff Koons work in the following way. “The artist’s Made In Heaven remains a watershed moment in the interaction between the art world and celebrity culture.” It is not an exploration of the relationship between art and celebrity culture, much of it is pure porn. To be fair there is a quite good plastic sculpture in the middle of the room of a couple making love which was art, but the pictures were pornography. Fact is porn destroys relationships, self-respect and self-esteem by getting people to buy into unrealistic ideas about sex, power and bodies. The link has been shown to exist between porn and sexual violence in the home and elsewhere. Good art should be cutting edge, but it should also take responsibility for the messages being sent out. Emin has produced some excellent explicit images in her time, their power being that they show the way sex is used as a weapon against women. Her blanket was probably the most moving bit of the exhibition.
Anyway after the exhibition we headed off to Picadilly Circus to intercept the march. It was great, we walked straight in to a bunch of friends who had graduated and left Durham in the summer. A very uneventful walk around London with our placards. A very nice real police man who had had his face painted with blue dots on his cheeks even lifted me down from a wall when I needed to get down. This was soooo fluffy even the SWP didn’t join us in great numbers. They just stood at the side at various points selling the paper, not even approaching people to see if you wanted to buy a copy. In fact the only time I got to have a bit of a play, debating with the far left was outside the Tate Modern.
The journey back was largely uneventful, when we eventually managed to find the amazing old lady who had gone astray. These days you can’t get bored on a coach, just deafened as they play DVD’s to keep the kids quiet. Thankfully, I slept enough to miss Ice Age – the Melt Down. I got hooked on Enchanted and Night at the Museum though.
So all in all a v. nice mini-break for Christian Guardianistas.