I am the proud owner of a V&A membership card. Yes, I join the flanks of those who rise and peruse in museums. It’s the first time I’ve had an annual membership of a cultural venue. I’ve had the cinema, and have the gym’s but never a place so far away.
Today after dropping off my canvases for the forthcoming exhibition at the Claremont Project in the Angel, Islington, I went via Kings Cross to South Ken. to queue for the Shoe exhibition. There was no queue. The place was quiet: Alexander McQueen’s exhibition, gig, has just finished. I saw it twice.
Did the shoes in 5 minutes. Kate Porter lent her shoes to the V&A. There was a film about shoe-making/cobbling and familiar styles sat next to “Lotus Flower” shoes, those tiny things worn by culturally-mutilated Chinese women. Glad it was free for me.
I was on a University mathematics course years back and my chosen project was “shoe-making”. I interrupted the cobblers in Lea Bridge Road, none of whom spoke English, and copied their templates then wrote notes about Empire -made size 8 shoes being smaller than those manufactured in England. Our tutor never hid her disappointment at the amateur research.
I remembered how I’d go to school inMuswell Hill with holes in the soles of my shoes and so my socks had holes too. There was nothing to be done. My mother took us to the Nag’s Head Holloway shoe shops once in a blue moon.
What’s all this gotta do with the price of bread?
Saw the UK Ceramics in Blue and White on the empty sixth floor of the V&A. Not absorbed that into my system yet.
Back in the room.
Very happy that having put it out there that Up Your Street Community Group is arranging a trip to the V&A for the Black British Experience photographic exhibition that people are coming in. It’s a social event too; we take our flasks and sarnis and share our aluminium foiled parcels before we do that long trek along the tunnel back to the tube station which always reminds me of Westray ferries and sheep being loaded past the barriers. I’m assured that South Ken is always like that.. Very happy too that my brain twerked and I was moved to invite a local expert on black history to start conversations with us just like Pat Williams did when she guided us through the Nehru Rooms at aforementioned V&A.
Love a photographic exhibition me. At my suggestion, some social and community engagement outfits are also going up South Ken and then of course there’s the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton.
Cumberbatch was in the celeb headlines for saying “coloured” instead of “black”. In my mix it’s not the white people who say “coloured”. Senior Trinidadians will say “we people, we coloured people” and them up’ll pipe a Chinese guy going on about the coloureds. I used to beg my mum not to say “darkies” in 1990! She just said “But we always said that”. Crafty woman. She was trying to start a discussion with her big pink tongue in her cheek. I lived on a Scottish island where all the people said “darkey”. They’d say, ” The darkey’s coming. Lock your back doors”. What I imagined, eh? Off the boat came the travelling salesman Mr Ahmed Ali. He was shocked to hear my London accent. Oh days! That was only ten years ago less. On an island where still the shopkeeper clothes the new Tampax box in a brown bag and shuffles the bag surreptitiously across the counter. I know!
Not much call for periods up there. International Women’s Day got the next boat out.