It's been a whirlwind at work leaving me little energy afterwards to blog about my weekend. My highlights since Friday... On Friday we popped into the Crafting Beauty In Modern Japan exhibition at the British Museum, which showcased some truly beautiful and intricate ceramics, textiles, lacquer work, metal work, bamboo and glass work. Afterwards, we ate at the blink-and-you'll-miss-it Kikuchi on Hanway Street. One of my favourite Japanese restaurants, along with Umu, Roka and Matsuri - the delicate, fresh food belies the dowdy exterior and the place is packed with Japanese people. We ate turbot rolled in plum sauce, red miso soup, tempura crab, fatty tuna, sashimi selection, deep fried tofu and ginger, scallops with ginger and citron miso, green tea ice cream and red bean ice cream. All washed down with buckwheat shochu, barley shochu and green tea.
On Saturday, we popped into JP Books on Haymarket and bought some pretty Japanese print notebooks (below). Saw the interesting Painting In England 1957 exhibition at the Redfern Gallery, featuring the muted post-war palette of British abstract expressionists such as Frank Avray Wilson and Denis Bowen. Francis Bacon's Figures In A Landscape (above) was elemental and sexually charged. His painting of two lovers tustling in the grass has not been visible for 50 years and was one of his earliest attempts to paint figures in movement.
We also saw Karen Kilimnik's wonderfully childlike paintings at the Spruth & Magers gallery. Her magical paintings set against striped Regency-style wallpaper and mouldings were like illustrations in old children's books or like the amateur paintings sold by the side of Green Park - the romanticised world of English teas, old London, and bucolic paradise. John Maeda's computer installations at the Riflemaker gallery (above) always mesmerise. But I most enjoyed the post-Independence collection of modern Indian paintings at the Aicon Gallery off Heddon Street. K Laxma Goud's powerful, earthy and vital line drawings, etchings and watercolours (below) particularly impressed and we had a great conversation with the Director about modern Indian art. This is a gallery I'm going to keep a keen eye on.
In the evening we witnessed the amazing vocal feats of charismatic Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour, who I last saw way back in 2004, at The O2 - or "The O Queue" as my husband impatiently calls the old Millennium Dome for the intolerable people congestion and long queues inside the vast venue. As I wrote back in 2004, "N'Dour has an amazing 4-5 octave range and his voice soars and swoops with such ease, it transfixes its listener."
Sunday was spent walking off huge breakfast bacon sandwiches M is fond of making on weekends now - trekking 4 hours up and down the hills of Crouch End and Highgate Village looking at roads we'd like to buy on. Eventually we collapsed on Hampstead Heath to nap and chat and read and people watch. I love this area - we both have roots in the Hampstead area and we were married there earlier this year. I aspire to retire to a lovely old detached house off the Heath one day. A girl can dream...
Then we went into Pimlico to meet a friend who's stopping over from India and Tanzania. We chatted about development work, making or adopting babies, mutual friends, falling for married men (!) over some rather bland and overly salty Indian food at Nutmeg. Drinking Staropramens in The Warwick was so pleasant now there is a no smoking ban. It makes such a difference. Now they just need to ban sports TV. I was going to say, "Even if it's only mellow cricket" but M informed me it was actually golf. Oh well...
Also this week: bought a pretty polka dot silk dress from DKNY on Bond Street, spent a night drinking with colleagues and clients in Soho, booked our flights and hotels to Tokyo and Kyoto at the Japan Centre Travel Agents, and taken too many taxis.