the Gallery and Mr. Toppers (2004-03-23 - 8:52 p.m.)

So I decided to try an experiment today. What happens if you walk into a place on Charing Cross Road called "Mr. Topper" that advertises 6 haircuts and let them have their way with your hair? Yep, spur-of-the-moment decision, based on the thought, "this grown-out hair is sure annoying me" and the subsequent thought, "hmmm, that place looks cheap." It turned out all right, though, although they charged me 10 (because they felt they had to wash my hair as well). I had this young gay Spanish guy doing the cutting. It was the most efficient haircut I've ever had. And the result? Well, it's definitely not worse than when I started and it's got rid of all the annoying little poking-out bits. So I'd say on the whole the experiment was a success.

I also went to the National Portrait Gallery today because I saw they had an exhibit of postcards (which I like). The exhibit was awesome! What I didn't realize was that back in the day postcards were usually pictures of yourself or family that you would send to people. So the exhibit consisted of many, many black-and-white pictures of people from the turn of the century onwards (judging by the clothes: there were no dates) divided into very apt categories by Tom Philips (whose collection it was). The very first one was "Aspidistra", containing many pictures of people and their decorative plants. What I found interesting (besides the chance to see old pictures of what people were like then, which I consider intrinsically interesting) was what people decided to preserve on film. There was one large gentleman with muttonchop whiskers standing proudly beside his award-winning bottled fruit. There were tons of people with their dogs (so I had fun trying to decide if they did in fact resemble their pets). There were infants swathed in miles of white cloth and frills - poor kids, most of them looked like they were trying to escape. And there were tons of women wearing what were obviously their best dresses, with some truly gravity-defying hair. They had this strange style where the hair was parted in the middle and sort of puffed up on either side... Anyway, I commented in their book and left my weblog address on a whim. Will anyone check it out? Probably not, but it would be amusing!

The rest of the Gallery was interesting as well. I quite enjoyed it, although exhibits like that always give me a nasty sort of squirmy feeling. It goes something like this: everyone in that entire gallery is someone who has done something interesting to merit their inclusion. (They're also all British, but leaving that aside...) Many of them had started on their career of doing interesting things by the time they were my age. And what have I done so far? NOT MUCH. So I always get this burning desire to do something, ANYTHING that's going to leave some kind of impression. It's not so much that I want to be up there on the walls (though I suppose I wouldn't argue!) but that I start to feel like I'm beginning my drift into the bog of being one more of the millions of people who never do anything particularly interesting. It's a feeling I don't much like. Technically I suppose it should spur me on to greater things, but normally it just depresses me.

I also saw a school group of some kind at the Gallery. It was the funniest thing. They were all dressed in grey flannel, girls in skirts and jumpers, boys in the cutest little shorts and socks. And they had the poshest accents I've ever heard on anybody that age. Somehow it just struck me as funny to hear these eight-year-olds speaking like that and dressed so carefully. I remember having somewhat of an addiction to slang and rumpled t-shirts at that age, and refusing to tuck anything in ever.

So I'm in London for a few more days. I had been feeling sad again and feeling like I was wasting my opportunities moping around in my hostel room, until I decided that it was okay. Really, if I was at home I would probably be sitting around reading or seeing what Steve was watching on TV. Is it so bad to spend a few days doing that here? Besides, I'm sick and that's the reason I have no energy. When that's over with, I will go do things again. This line of reasoning has comforted me somewhat, and hopefully sooner or later I'll find someone to talk to and shake this off once and for all.

backwards ~ onwards

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Missed anything?
moved! - 2008-05-12
Sunday = time to ramble on - 2008-05-11
apparently I'm doing monthly updates these days. Sorry. - 2008-05-04
watershed - 2008-04-06
end of trip - 2008-03-31

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