A good London visit. The bus was waiting, with an inspector on board who was patiently answering questions from all the East Anglian yokels who wondered which stop to go to, so I settled down as we set off through the streets of the City, along Threadneedle Street to the Old Lady and the Iron Duke and westwards towards Charing Cross. The exhibition was splendid, and I’d recommend it – it was portrait photographs from Vanity Fair from 1913 to the present day, although the magazine was not published between 1936 and 1973. Fabulous photos from people of the day, from Monet and Augustus John to DH Lawrence and Chaplin, Anita Loos to Josephine Baker; later, Babe Ruth, Jesse Owens, Cary Grant and Jean Harlow. Later photos gave more away of some of their subjects than, perhaps, they realised – because there was no need for them to be so stagey, it revealed a lot if they were. Liza Minelli put her shoulders forward to show off her collarbones, but it gave an awkward hang to her biceps and the lit cigarette drooping from her lip didn’t add any beauty. Scarlett Johannson and Keira Knightley were photographed naked together; while SJ was relaxed in her nudity, KK haughtily disregarded hers. There was the famous Testino portrait of Princess Diana and Prince William’s, by the same artist, looking pleased with himself. Margaret Thatcher, in 1991, had a fabulous complexion and Miles Davis, arms crossed to nearly hide his face, had a frankly gorgeous body, even in middle age.
Afterwards, we had a long lunch and chatted and then went out separate ways home. I didn’t sleep much last night – went to bed early as I was tired, slept briefly and heavily and then was awake for the next three hours. I meant to pot up plants this afternoon, but slept instead and revived for the evening.
Tomorrow, off to inspect computers. I’m taking the Sage with me, because I don’t like driving his car, and Ro is meeting us to give advice which, if I end up with a Mac, I’ll have not followed. Unless he is more impressed than he expects.