My cousin was visiting town this weekend from Scotland, so my brother and I thought of some fun things to do around town. We decided that Borough Market would be a good starting point as there is always a buzz of activity and a colourful visual feast on show, whatever the season. It was a cold but sunny day and before we even set off we decided to go for a pint at The George Inn, London's oldest pub just off Borough High Street. A roaring open fire greeted us, along with the scent of cloves and spices from hot mulled wine and gin on offer. We met Tom, who has managed the pub since the summer, who was telling us some of his ideas for drinks in the winter. Definitely worth a return trip.
After exploring the market and picking up some delicious juicy blueberries, we cut through the streets towards the water, ending up at the Tate Modern. We went to the the tenth floor of the Blavatnik Building, where there is an open viewing terrace. Breathtaking 360-degree views of the London Skyline allow you to see sweeping views of the River Thames, St Paul’s Cathedral, and as far as Canary Wharf and Wembley Stadium. But for me the most interesting viewing is the architecture and interior design details of the neighbouring glass walled apartments.
Delving deeper into the free exhibitions on offer I was drawn to Bruce Nauman's neon installations in the fourth floor artist rooms. They reminded me of a neon piece I'd seen at Frieze a few years ago which depicted a woman standing under a palm tree with a parrot on her shoulder. The text above read 'you don't need all your things'. I remember loving the simplicity and gaudiness of the piece, and the play on whether it was the woman or the parrot speaking, repeating her words back to her. The bright colours and the simple message appealed and I remember thinking how fun it would be to sell all my things and purchase this single art piece. Alas, I never did it, and I never did find out the artist, but perhaps it was Nauman.
One thing you can't miss on your next visit is the Turbine Hall which has been filled with swings in an installation by subversive Danish artists SUPERFLEX. Swings for 3 people and a giant silver pendulum hovering over a newly installed carpet which encourages people to lay under it and look up from unusual perspectives. Just walking through the London streets with someone from out of town gives everything a heightened sense. I was much more perceptive of colours, and found myself drawn to see the street performers and sand castle builders far more than I would ever if I was just passing on my own.