Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Best Things In Life *Are* Free

On Saturday, I met up with Simon, Andy & crew at Liverpool Station and accompanied them on one of the best free things I've done in ages -- the London Open House weekend, which takes place yearly. Most of our time was taken up going to the Lloyds building on Lime Street, which only opens its doors to the public once a year. It was Simon's childhood dream to go inside the building, which was completed in 1986 & has won all sorts of design awards for features such as the glass elevator boxes, which were the first at the time. The building was spectacular, although if it were a shopping mall in the US, we might not bother with the fly-catching expressions. I went round looking at different angles & wondering if it had been used in any films, and both Simon and I were amused by the dining room, which was (according to one of the security guards) purchased in whole at an auction and moved from Lloyds' previous building to the current building. We also had a look at an 18th century church, which was very conservative with its holy-holy-ness and where I coined the term "twin-set and pearls with a bit of bling thrown in", which is a reference to the fashion of that period of decorating ceilings in pale blue, eggshell white, and gold leaf. Oh so modest. Give me Romanesque any day! We also had a look at some old Turkish baths a stone's throw away from the church, which is now an Italian restaurant. On the outside, it looks like a small OTT tiled hut, but inside, a stairwell leads you to where the baths once were and where the restaurant now resides. Apparently it's a "very famous restaurant"; the part I loved the most was the many photo collages in the entrance, which I used to love when I was a kid. I spent my childhood hanging out in restaurants and bars and they always had these photo collections -- good times, years passed, people being drunk and stupid. Excellent. Simon wanders up and squints at the photos -- "Ah, early Facebook! I love it." Queuing for Lloyds ate up most of the time, and deciding we were going to collectively pass out from hunger, we made several failed attempts at finding places that were open. Simon pronounced it was Shoreditch we wanted, everyone (mainly me) groaned, and we trudged up the street until we found a half-decent bar that served food called Junos. I failed with my squid and chorizo salad, then sadly limped up to Old Street. It was time to go. These are Simon's pictures, but I took the first one (above). >>See more by doing the right click. Laugh at the strange ones of me. Be amazed at the space invaders.

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