Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Summer Night City

Richard Prince: Continuations @Serpentine Gallery, Hyde Park, London, Sunday June 29 2008, 11am.
Female Agents, Odeon Covent Garden, Sunday June 29 2008, 6.25pm.

Spent the first weekend in a while down in London, the first couple of days mainly taken with meeting up with and getting to know a certain voluptuous Brazilian online friend of mine, who, amongst other things, introduced me to the delights of pacoquinha, an intensely sweet hit of peanut taste textured somewhere between biscuit and fudge, good with tea or coffee as long as long as you have a sweet tooth!

Sunday represented an opportunity to soak up some culture, and went along to see the Richard Prince exhibition Continuations at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park. Prince may be best known to fans for providing the striking sleeve art to Sonic Youth's Sonic Nurse, but, although there were a few of his nurse paintings included, as well as a drumhead autographed by Thurston, Kim and Lee from SY, the exhibition presented a broader overview of his work that spans over four decades.

Just as the nurse pictures are appropriated images from pulp novel covers subverted and fetishised by Prince, much of the rest of his work involves customising found objects such as car hoods, and in one stunning case, an entire Buick adorned with objectified images of naked women. Elsewhere, there are a series of photographs of cowboys and biker chicks, and Prince isn't even beyond appropriating other peoples' jokes, with stylised paintings featuring looped one-liner gags. The result is an impressive, arresting collection worth a half-hour's browse for anyone in London with an interest in modern art.

Then headed off on the District Line to Brick Lane, where visited Rough Trade East for the first time, renewed my taste for octopus, wine and chocolate dessert at a tapas festival and wandered into 93 Feet East where there was supposed to be an all-dayer happening, but found no punters to be seen or music to be heard!

A quick change at the hotel later and then into the West End to see Female Agents, which follows in the sly, saucy footsteps of Paul Verhoeven's Black Book by looking at the derring-do of undercover female resistance agents in World War Two. In this case, Sophie Marceau's crackshot recruits/conscripts some dodgy distaff divas into the SOE's female operative branch (known as, we shit ye not, FANY) to distract the Nazis in France long enough for them to help the escape of an Allied geologist doing important groundwork paving the way for D-Day.

It's fairly derivate stuff, suffering from some erratic levels of characterisation that means you don't always care as much during episodes of jeopardy as perhaps you ought, but it says much for the zip of the production and the committed performances from the game, gallic cast that, despite some obvious flaws, the resulting film manages to be thrilling and poignant for the most part, particularly recommended for filmgoers with equal levels of passion for wartime heroics and the female form.

Turned out to be a bad time of it for Germans all round, as got back to the pub beneath the hotel in time to watch the second half of the Euro2008 final in which Spain vanquished the 1996 champions 1-0 to become worthy winners of a surprisingly entertaining competition, a particularly welcome result given that many of the bar's patrons seemed to be Spanish or Portugese speakers.

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Blogger Phill said...

I hope you said hello to the South African baked potato man in the courtyard of Vibe Bar!

He's a legend!

3:37 PM  
Blogger Dead Kenny said...

Yeah, told him to jacket in. There's only room for one person with piping hot content on this website!

4:36 PM  

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