Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who got in touch regarding my CEO of the Year award. I really appreciated the emails, messages on social media and texts from friends. It was lovely of you, and I hope I’ve replied to everyone.
I’m back at art class in fits and starts this term. Well, not term as it’s not a school; the studio is a trendy communal living space above a pub, twinkling with fairy lights, interesting with strange and unusual objet d’art and lively with a bunny hopping about. But anyway, since Ed got back from his travels I’ve had various things on a Wednesday to prevent me going. This week Jon is over from San Diego so I’ll be missing my creative fix again.
To avoid artistic withdrawal, I’m going to the final heat of the Portrait Artist of the Year competition on Thursday. It’s being held at the Wallace Collection, a beautiful little art gallery and museum close to Bond Street. I popped in there last week to see the artists in one of the early heats. The celebrity models sat for four hours in poses that were about as relaxed as you can get for a rigid afternoon, fully clothed (unlike my Wednesday art class) and keeping their eyes fixed zombie-like on a ‘spot in the distance.’
Robert Bathurst sort-of smiled at me though, probably because I was staring. I loved him in Cold Feet – might have hung around to say hello if I’d been on my own and in less of a rush to get home to eat my first Easter egg.
On Thursday I pushed the cultural boat across a foaming wave and went to the ballet. Sadler’s Wells is the home of British dance, so I imaged beautiful ballerinas in rose-coloured tutus pirouetting across the stage. I went with someone who has dated several ballerinas in the past, so I think he was hoping for that too. But it wasn’t.
Matthew Bourne, the choreographer, is a master contemporary storyteller in the ballet genre. The dancing and portrayals were amusing and (whispers…) a bit strange. The website described it as “Yearning pas de deuxs and pastoral clog-dances feature in Town and Country’s post-war vignettes.” And, “Take a trip to Gay Paree with The Infernal Galop, as all the glorious clichés of 30s and 40s Paris are paraded (and can-canned) across the stage.” It was fun. It was different, but it didn’t make me want to put on my pastel pink silk ballet shoes – although I did actually wear them yesterday for driving (as flip flops are dangerous) so maybe that was a subconscious fashion choice.
The ‘town and country’ sketches featured people dressed as cows (at least, I think they were cows!). This image links nicely to Saturday night’s dinner at Rules, the oldest restaurant in London. It owns its own farm where meat is cultivated for diners’ enjoyment, and we wolfed our way through an enormous roast beef platter – finished on Sunday by a friendly dog named Digby who absolutely refused to give up his cordon bleu bone.
I do love a bit of history, and Rules’ traditional dining rooms are decorated much as they would have been back in 1798. Throughout its 220-year heritage, the tables here have been crowded with writers, artists and actors. Charles Dickens and H G Wells were regulars, and no doubt a ballet dancer or two. Maybe even Robert Bathhurst, but that’s just a guess.
I visited Elton John’s photography collection recently at the Tate Modern. It’s a cool, inspired assembly of classic modernist work that he’s amassed over the past few decades. I’m just mentioning this because I could only think of Abba’s song about Nina Pretty Ballerina this morning, so I googled – and Elton popped up. I’d forgotten this song, but it’s quite lovely. “Pretty eyed, pirate smile, you’ll marry a music man. Ballerina, you must have seen her dancing in the sand.”
Tiny dancer, short week, long Pimms. Enjoy your Easter, Passover, long weekend – and keep in touch: @WeekendWitch.