Debi’s big day out

October 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm 2 comments

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I had a totally self indulgent day in London yesterday – starting with lunch in Carluccios Oxford Circus with a wonderful girlfriend (spaghetti alla vongole to die for) and then 2 hours in the Tate Britain wallowing in the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition ‘Victorian Avante-Garde’. These paintings had not been grouped together for 25 years (and I remember going to that one!) and some were being exhibited together for the first time since the PRB shocked the Royal Academy’s stuffy establishment as young art students back c1850.

Yesterday the exhibition was crowded but well worth the £14 admission charge. A fantastic collection brought together from all over the world; from the USA as well as private collections, and from the Birmingham and Manchester Art Galleries. I found myself once more in nostalgic PreRaphaelite heaven – transformed back to a wide eyed nineteen year old Leicester University History of Art student….an exhibition like this really lifts the soul. The colours are fresh and vibrant surely as the day they were painted some 150 years previously. Attention to detail and truth to nature are everything. Shakespeare, the Bible and Tennyson are favourite subjects…the textures are so sumptuously painted you really want to touch the painted fabrics. The frames are a work of art in themselves – usually gilded and full of allegorical flowers pertaining to the subject matter. I found myself remembering to look out for all the subtle symbolism – the Victorian morals and religious nuances, too much to fit onto the audio guide! The deathshead moth in Hunt’s The Hireling Shepherd; the babies hand in Ford Maddox Browns ‘The Last of England’; the quintessential depiction of Christ in Hunt’s ‘The Light of the World’…all so familiar and so comforting to view. Particular favourites of mine include ‘Ferdinand lured by Ariel’ (Millais) with its amazing fairy paintings, and Millais Mariana and The Hugenot as well as Inchbold and Dyce landscapes after the original PreRaphaelite movement…and of course William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rosetti and John Rusking and the tangled love lives they wove…also early photographs of some of their models. On till mid January and highly recommended. The bookshop have sold out of soft cover catalogues at a special price of £19.99 at the exhibition but will post free of charge in the UK when reprinted next week. Saved carrying it round!

Evening highlight of my Big Day Out was going to The Prince Edward Theatre in Old Compton Street for Radio 2’s Children in Need ‘Stand up for Pudsey’ concert.
My son and I were in the third row, luckily just out of eye contact range with the stand up comedians! Line up was as follows, compered by Jon Holmes;
Jo Brand
Stand up, novelist, star of Getting On . Self confessed ‘fat bird’
Rhod Gilbert
Star of Radio 2’s Rhod Gilbert’s Bulging Barrel of Laughs. Very funny angry Welshman!
Chris Ramsey
Rising star and host of BBC Three’s Comedy At The Fringe. From South Shields .
Lucy Porter
Radio 4 star and Celebrity Mastermind winner (best line of the night – ‘watching your wife give birth is like watching your favourite pub burn down’.
Henning Wehn
Star of Radio 2’s Henning Knows Best . Hilarious German comic now residing in Tooting.
Scouting For Girls
Radio 2 playlist favourites .
Jersey Boys
Stars of the Olivier Award winning West End show .
Paloma Faith – was awesome…what a powerhouse! Especially ‘Never Tear us Apart’ the current John Lewis ad.
Flamboyant Hackney-born singer-songwriter .
Michael Kiwanuka
BBC Sound of 2012 winner .
Joe McElderry
X Factor and Popstar to Operastar winner .
Al Murray – hilarious stand up, ripped into the front row. Avoid eye contact at all times!

The Jersey Boys closed the show and were absolutely amazing with their Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons singing and dancing medleys – makes me want to see the West End show again! A fabulous night and all for an extremely worthy cause. Well done Radio 2!

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Heather Orange  |  October 23, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Debi it sounds like you should be working for a BBC arts programme! I want to view the exhibition now. Love Jo Brand saw her on Have I got News for you yesterday.

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    • 2. debievans  |  October 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      Hi H, haha perhaps a missed vocation?! If you want to hear the whole Stand up for Pudsey concert its on BBC iplayer radio from Thursday night – worth a listen!

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      Reply

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Debi Evans

Debi Evans

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