Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Sometimes I wonder if I am a serious artist or even a serious person. 

On Saturday I went to see the Munch exhibition at Tate Modern and I was thinking about it as I walked back to London Bridge underground station along the embankment. It was another of these cloudy windy any-minute-it-will-rain days but quite mild and my raincoat was too much. I had spent a long time in the exhibition and even longer in the bookshop and now I was tired and wanted to get home. 

I entered Borough Market, that enticing assemblage of sights, smells and sounds, and slowly made my way around crowded stalls offering an infinite variety of cheeses, wines, spices, pastries, pies, cakes, pasta, roasted meats, exotic cooked dishes from around the world - I wanted to taste and buy all of them but couldn't  choose so I followed the sound of music coming from the central piazza. 

Bingo! All tiredness, ruminations on art, Munch and all the rest of them evaporated as I surrendered mind, body and soul to the rhythm of J'Attendrai  played in the style of the Hot Club de France by a great band celebrating Le Quatorze Juillet. Leaning against a conveniently parked car, I let my feet pound the beat while I switched my camera to movie mode and pointed it. Gradually a few people moved into the centre and started to dance and I kept filming but didn't notice that my battery had run out so this movie fragment is the only bit that was recorded: two guys too drunk on love and booze to be graceful but certainly having a ball. 

Later a young man dressed as a French waiter pulled me onto the floor and I danced my socks off. The crowd applauded - no doubt because an Oldie dancing like that is an oddity. Several mobile phones were filming the incident - I hope none of them were bloggers. But a Japanese tourist asked me if I was a professional dancer so I was flattered and considered joining the band to sing my Piaf numbers. Fortunately the band took a break at that moment and I decided it was time to go. 

Back home in high spirits, whatever serious thoughts I may have had earlier about tragic, talented, tortured Munch were gone with the wind and I'm not in the mood to try and recapture them. If you can't see the exhibition itself, get hold of this terrific film by Peter Watkins, a docudrama in which much of the narration is from Munch's own diaries. I bought the DVD in the Tate Modern bookshop.


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