Monday, November 25, 2002

We leave London in just a few hours for Barcelona, where the meat of this honeymoon starts in earnest, having finished up the performance on Saturday night. It was pretty strange looking over all the papers on Sunday and seeing pictures of the hall where I performed and people who had hosted me pounding podiums and frothing--especially since I wandered into this national crisis without much preamble, and now with my performance done I leave the same way. Eerie.

UK audiences don't laugh as much out loud as Americans, though they are more prone to spontaneous applause in mad rushes, so that it sounds like flocks of birds taking flight, and they do a lot of foot stomping.

On Sunday we got up very late, after staying up with friends, and then ambled over to the British Museum. I loved it in '93 when I lived here, but the new Great Court is absolutely spectacular--they have glassed in the entire structure,and now the Reading Room is open to the general public, a beautiful edifice that actually puts the New York Public Library's room to shame. Well, at least it gives it a good race.

Also in the museum, other than all the antiquities of ancient culture looted for your pleasure, is the work of Antony Gormley, a very cool sociologist-cum-sculptor who does a great exhibit called Field for the British Isles. My friend James recommended we see it, and we were not disappointed: 45,000 6-inch high clay figures roughly formed from native earth stare balefully up at you, arranged as a sea of otherness that all have black pits for eyes. There is a quiet intensity, and a kind of dignity to their watchfulness--it is very beautiful AND smart, and it's cool when those things go together.

We have a plane to catch, so the next letter will come from the Continent. (I feel a little dumb writing that, but I've often wanted to have an excuse to say that.)