Thursday: When Jane
Webb contacted us about attending this event we were not
sure what we were letting ourselves in for. We have never taken
part in an art exhibition before, that was also going to be full
of professional performers. One good thing about it was that it
is in central London, bad thing is, it may only be a couple
of miles away but we had to take afternoon traffic into account
so we set off early. There was also the problem of finding a parking
space that was close enough for us to get our things to the town
hall. As it turned out we got a space virtually outside the place
which meant that donkey, yours truly, didn’t end up like a porter
in some ’60s safari movie.
Once past the shiny part of the building we found ourselves in
a subterranean series of poorly lit rooms in which you could run
away screaming from horrid things coming out of the shadows. Theresa
showed us where we would be doing our magic lantern show so we set
about focusing our machine and then packed it away again since we
were not on until 7pm.
After a quick coffee and something to eat we returned, got changed
and had a look around at some of the exhibits. I was most impressed
by the huge monochrome painting of Jack the Ripper and his
victims, each figure was simply done in a sort of Russian doll style
with wounds marked in red ‘X’s. Below the painting was a little
shrine lit, for safety reasons, with battery operated tea lights.
I also liked the white coffin with its various attachments that
reminded me of those elaborate West
We were about to watch the Moth
Dance when Theresa asked if we could do our bit first,
a ghost in the machine had put the sound system out of action. So…we
quickly sorted out our lantern and set about doing our second public
magic lantern show. What we had not taken into account was the number
of people who gathered around the bar, nothing like a free glass
of wine to get folks together. Unfortunately we had to talk over
the thronging mass of imbibing humanity and, all things considered,
we did very well.
By the time we finished the sound system had been restored and
Butterfly got to do her Moth Dance to the theme from ‘Twin
Peaks’ and what a beautiful performance it was. The chatoyant
wings for the costume were further enhanced with LED strips along
the edge that came on now end then, as she danced Vicky reminded
me of a Victorian
As the evening progressed we realised that we had been the only
‘light entertainers’ so to speak, everyone else danced, mimed or
did shadow puppets. We were most impressed by Tiina
Tuomisto’s hoop dance, again there were lots of lights and
the hoops looked thick and cumbersome to me.
We were told that the queue for the event was going round the
block so we popped out to check things out. Yep, that was one long
queue of people! Although in the past we had popped into local supermarkets
in Confederate uniforms we had never wandered the streets of London
in Victorian dress accompanied by a man with a crystal ball balanced
on his shaved and dented head.
We returned in time to watch the shadow puppetry, a story
about a shooting star that falls to earth and ends up in the sea
for adventures that were to be continued…but not tonight. After
that we watched a performance by Dalia
Hawley which took place in a tent-like construction that
reminded me of a sea
gooseberry. Unlike sea cucumbers, many of which look like
poo, sea gooseberries are beautiful translucent beings. Afterwards
I helped dismantle this awkward beastie and as we struggled with
the poles we overheard someone say something about being old and
50. Wait ‘til you get there mate and you ache all over with no memory
of having any fun to get to that state then complain!!
As the tent thing was finally put away I found that Ruby
and I had something in common, an interest in Neolithic structures
and ancient goddess figurines. The conversation that followed was
a bit surreal to anyone listening in; “I’ve been to the birthplace
of Aphrodite”, “I’ve been to the birthplace
of Zeus”, “I saw the shrine
of Julius Caesar” and so on.
And so we packed up, said goodbye to everyone and headed for home.
What an interesting evening it had been.
This is Prof Grymm paying homage at the Dicti