Sunday, 5 July 2009

The Last Weekend of Freedom

I woke up today with a killer sunburn and a massive headache after spending all of yesterday visiting David, who's in London for a long weekend of Marxism 2009 and Pride. We spent the morning with a speaker who covered anticapitalism ten years after Seattle, then I dragged David to David Harvey (swoon!) who I thought was brills but I think David found totally boring. We fled from there to the parade route along Oxford Street and got free juice boxes, and I realized that the two things that were totally absent from Pride in London were a) any sort of political message and b) beer companies, which basically own Pride in the US. We stuck out the whole parade, and I think the highlight was when one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence came over and asked if we were together and gave us a condom and told us to go have fun, because being targeted by globally famous sex-positive drag nuns was one of the higher items on my Bucket List and now I've checked that one off.

We then trucked to Trafalgar Square to see a special show from the cast of Avenue Q and nicked as much free stuff as humanly possibly, which is why my room for the summer now looks like a gay flea market. And then we went to Leicester Square, where Boy George did three songs somewhat enthusiastically but didn't stick around for an encore, and I was happy because he sang Karma Chameleon and that's basically the only song of his I know anyway. The only thing that could make the day better was food, so we went to GBK and I got a shockingly good puy lentil burger and a cup of hot chocolate from Apostrophe that was the consistency of pudding. And then we saw Zizek and I would have peed with excitement, except that I was saved by the fact that that hot chocolate moves through your system about as fast as molasses and will probably hit my bladder sometime in October. And then I sprinted to Paddington, because I had to be up at the crack of dawn to collect all the students for this summer program from the airport.

The highlight of the afternoon was when I realized that I had to check out Modern Art Oxford today if I was going to take my kids there on Tuesday, and thought I'd swing by to check the hours and make sure there was something neat going on. And there was. Except it is a Robert Mapplethorpe retrospective.

So that's a dilemma.

On one hand, the first week of my pop culture course is structured around a fieldtrip to the museum and debate about aesthetics, so I can't really delete it from the syllabus without totally upending the narrative arc of the class. On the other hand, photos of naked men and bondage. My compromise has been to sit at my desk and map out a very careful route through the gallery and hope that they only look at the walls that I steer them across, until class ends and I tell them that I'm leaving but that there's a whole gallery of material upstairs that is inadvisable for children. Knowing the seventeen year olds I'm teaching, that should about do it.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Fun-filled weekend! I saw you guys in GBK on saturday but decided against saying anything coz a) you looked exhausted, b) i was starving waiting for my take out and c) you have no clue who I am. Love the blog - have been reading it for a couple of years now.