Long ago in a far away place, my mom took my sister and me to see Aunt Marie off to lead a guided tour in Europe. She sailed on the Queen Mary. She gave me a sip of champagne. I became light-headed. Ever since I have wanted to make a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary (now 2).
I just did it. On a New York Times package that included several talks per day.
So we wandered New York one night, visited a drab and weakly guarded Trump Tower, saw Jeff Koons up to his usual materialist shenanigans (pimping at Saks):
Toured the NYT building and then beheld the ship.
Somehow an upgrade befell us.
So the cabin and the sea were large and calming.
Dinners and after-dinner entertainment were formal several nights, after all it is the Queen’s ship.
And then life went on. On to Salisbury and Stonehenge
Salisbury Cathedral had some stunning art by Ana Marie Pecheco
Then Oxford, a town aswarm with tourists, mostly youthful, perhaps future graduates of this ancient site.
Of course, I thought, we have to hear a lecture by a Professor on an arcane, esoteric topic that could only happen at Oxford, or maybe Berkeley. Luckily the Ashmolean was celebrated something and there was a lecture of Riddles in Early Anglo Saxon literature.
The room was packed and the professor, Andrew Orchard, whipped from Greek to Latin to old English as if it were all simple nursery rhymes, reciting poems and dashing off explanations of what they did to make their riddle work. A perfect Oxford moment.
And then London.
MacBeth was in the courtyard of St. Paul’s at Covent Garden and the production was superb. Visceral and imaginative with fine acting.
And to keep up to date, a visit to the West End to see “the play of the year,” The Ferryman. a fabulous exploration of guild, betrayal, family, desire, loyality and memory in the Ireland on 1980. It built to a climax of massive proportion just like the classic Greek tragedies.
There was also the Tate Modern but I could not take photos of the Giacometti exhibit of the powerful and comprehensive survey of African-American art in the 1960s and 70s that resonated with the issues of civil rights and black power. It originated here but I can’t imagine it won’t find its way to the States.