Thursday 28 December 2006

Sir John Soanes' Museum

The same old fantasises – the cowboys, the lesbians, the skinhead boys – like the loop of a film going round and round.  The dry orgasm, everything held inside.

       I can't share my life with a fantasy, but most relationships are built on just that.  People often share parts of their lives together in a totally surreal way. 

          We all slip into unreal worlds as a release from the daily drudgery.
                 That's why people wank.  Not just for sexual gratification but to let their minds roam.

                             Tracey Emin.  Strangeland.  (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 2005).
The Victorian piety that 'All good things come to those who wait' has been made redundant by the credit card.  Go Figure -
It is surely essential to happiness to love and be loved and to be needed by other people.  There is nobody so unhappy at Christmas as the person who is neither loved nor needed.
      It makes one feel like an unpaid extra in the drama of life.[1]
I visited the incredible Sir John Soane's Museum on 23, Sir John Soane was an architect by profession and an antiques collector.  His house is one of the finest of Regency Houses in London.  It houses a modest art collection (a painting of the fort of Golkanda in India which Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II describes in Ser e Roohani) as well as some paintings by Hogarth – The Famous An Election.  An Egyptian sarcophagus of transparent stone from 1230 odd BCE, Hogarth's rather wide armchair!  I went chiefly to see the impressive and befitting John Betjeman architectural exhibition.  The official catalogue that accompanies the exhibition (though about 70 pages) is priced at £14.95.  108 exhibits in all – Glorious Stuff! There is even Archie, his safe old teddy bear, now rather worn out and aged -  
Archie the bear slept in Betjeman's bed throughout childhood and marriage, and was in the poet's arms when he died in bed in Trebetherick, Cornwall.  He was an alter ego, who could represent some of the poet's more extreme enthusiasms, opinions and moods.[2]
Betjeman must have come often; he scribbled a (recently discovered) poem dated 28 March 1939, recalling a happy meeting with Myfanwy Piper here: 
Sir John has blest our Union
Myfanwy my own
Here in this grey communion
Of plaster cast and stone
Green to the skilful skylight
Sir John has made the walls 
How chaste and mild the high light 
On Child and cherub falls

[1] Minette Marrin.  'Happiness is being squeezed out of us'.  The Sunday Times.  (24 December 2006).
[2] First & Last Loves – John Betjeman & Architecture.  (Sir John Soanes Museum, 2006).  62.