You need to see London at night, particularly the theaters. But not just the night life. London itself looks best in the dark. It’s a pretty safe city, and you can walk in most places after sunset. It has a sedate and ghostly beauty. In the crepuscular kindness, you can see not just how she is, but how she once was, the layers of lives that have been lived here. Somebody with nothing better to do worked out that for every one of us living today, there are 15 ghosts. In most places you don’t notice them, but in London you do. The dead and the fictional ghosts of Sherlock Holmes and Falstaff, Oliver Twist, Wendy and the Lost Boys, all the kindly, garrulous ghosts that accompany you in the night. The river runs like dark silk through the heart of the city, and the bridges dance with light. There are corners of silence in the revelry of the West End and Soho, and in the inky shadows foxes and owls patrol Hyde Park, which is still illuminated by gaslight.
The Infinity Room by Yayoi Kusama
Showing at Tate Modern in London from February 9 to June 5, 2012, the Infinity Mirror Room is filled with constantly shifting LED lights and infinite fractal mirrors, imparting the feeling of floating in space. Created by Kusama, an 82-year-old woman who has spent most of the last forty years of her life as a voluntarily patient in a psychiatric hospital.
More on Kusama’s retrospective here.
Christopher Wren, A Plan of the City of London, 1666 engraving.
I’m so glad Christopher Wren’s planned Haussmannization of London post-Great Fire never came to fruition - it’s a city made of bizarre, illogical, twisty little streets, and I can’t imagine it any other way.