My shiny little online spot to help y'all keep track of me while I galavant around London.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Saturday in the City, Charing Cross, and the Crypt

On Saturday, Anne and I hauled our sorry, tired asses out of bed and went to see Kim Cattrall of Sex and the City in a play called Whose Life is it Anyway?

It was an interesting topic--about whether and when people should be allowed to choose to die, and whether doctors listen/care to/about their patients--and the cast was pretty solid. Cattrall is a good actress--her whole performance was from a hospital bed, paralyzed from the neck down. She clearly hasn't yet managed to learn how to project her voice, however, as she seemed to be yelling the whole time, and it's never good when the bed-ridden quadrapeligic is yelling, and the doctors and healthy people seem to be just talking. It made the whole show a bit odd, but it was decent otherwise. Once again, we used out student-status to get cheap, really good tickets. We were only a few rows back; especially good for Anne who was a big SatC fan.

After that, we wandered down Charing Cross Road, which is where booklovers go to happily wander stacks and shelves of old, musty books. It has a few massive new book stores--the star of which is the 100ish year old Foyles--but it's the dozens of specialty and used book shops which cause so much happiness in people like me:

The man who has never in his life become lost to all thoughts of time and food in the Charing Cross Road, and at the end of the day has not found himself hugging beneath his arm some book or books, which he is proud and happy to possess, does not know one of the purest joys which London can afford.
--H V Morton, In Search of London

Interestingly, I left the street joyously hugging beneath my arm two of his books, one compilation (for a pound) and another older, leather bound copy of In Search of Wales. His books were out of print, I think, for a while, but they've started selling new trade paperback versions of them. Still, it's nice to have an old one. Old travel books are interesting because you get to see what the city used to be like compared with now, and Morton's are especially interesting because in his books he compares places, such as London, with how he remembers them from his childhood.

Then we went to see Garden State, which Anne had seen already, and really loves. I liked it too, but clearly not as much as she did.

And then we started to walk back to Charing Cross Station, to catch the train home, and I noticed a sign by St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, which is right off Trafalgar Square, next to the National Gallery. They have, strangely, a cafe in their crypt. Churches here --and I'm sure elsewhere, too--all have crypts underneath them, for the especially pious (read: rich) to be buried in. The cafe isn't so much in the crypt, as over it. The tables rest on the inlaid stone markers that make up the floor. It's odd, and slightly unnerving, to have tea in what is essentially the memorial section of a graveyard. It's like paving a bar with headstones.

Once the unease started to wear off, and I stopped staring at the worn stones on the floor, I looked around me more, and realized the vaulted stone ceilings and cool blue lighting gave the place a rather modern look. It's an interesting place--it even has a jazz night, apparently...

For a few quick photos of the Cafe-in-the-Crypt:


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