28 February 2008
London is perhaps my favorite city in the world (thus far). My deep connection to 19th century literature, my love for Brit Pop and mod fashion as well as pub culture, rain and a bizarre fascination with the monarchy, all make London feel like home.
I always stay at the same hotel near Hyde Park. A bargain at £55.00, it includes a full English breakfast (stewed prunes and all), a very small television, views of bustling Bayswater, but no bathroom.
As London is one of the most expensive cities and the pound worth twice that of the dollar, I spend most of my days walking or in the depths of one of their many incredible, free museums. Again, London serves as the focal point for all that I find interesting, and the British Museum its centerpiece and crowning empirical acheivement. I’ve been to Troy in Turkey (now a parking lot with a phony Trojan horse), but saw Troy in the British Museum. I have traveled to Egypt but saw a mummy for the first tme in the confines of the British Museum. In addition, the Elgin Marbles, Rosetta Stone and much of the Roman Empire lie in wait at the British Museum.
Colonialism has made its mark in the museum world. At the end of the 19th century the study of archaeology began in earnest as various European empires scrambled for power, seeking to conquer and spread “civilization.” Looting their conquests of national treasure (and thus depleting signs of native “civilization”), the British, Germans and Austrians among others filled their coffers nicely with what were essentially stolen goods. To visit Troy and see a parking lot or want to go to Tunisia and see Carthage only to find it exists wholly in Berlin is depressing, to say the least. Thus I lift my spirits and drag my thoughts away from quagmire colonialism has created by utterly enjoying myself with all London has to offer.
Pictured is my tribute to London: my illustration of a 1960s mod fashion plate, beautiful but a bit cold.