Friday, July 16, 2010

An Ordinary Day

Today I did one of my favorite things to do in a foreign country, I went to the movies. I like doing it because it's something that mostly only local people do so it's a way to blend in and not feel so touristy. I also like doing it because I love going to the movies anyway, so why not do it while on vacation. I've been reading Russell Brand's autobiography (called My Booky Wooky) which was conveniently left here in the apartment, and since I've been a fan of his since discovering his radio show podcast on the BBC website a couple of years ago (he was forced to resign from that gig after a controversy that's too complicated to go into here), Get Him to the Greek was the obvious choice for a movie today. I thought it was completely hilarious. The first 15 minutes or so involve a music video for a song (he plays a rock star in the band, Infant Sorrow) called African Child, which is so ridiculously offensive and condescending, it's called by one critic (in the movie), to be "the worst thing to happen to African culture after famine and war." The interesting thing about the moive, I thought, as I happen to be currently reading an autobiography by its star, is that while Russell didn't write the script, the guy who did clearly had read Russell's book and based the character (a completely self-indulgent, heroin and alcohol-addicted, imature, destructive, hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold-type) on the real Russell Brand -- the pre-clean-and-sober-Russell, who was quite a tragic figure. I thought the movie was very funny; the book is very funny too, but very heart-breaking as well.
After the movie, I met Peter at the Royal Academy of Art and Science to see the John Singer Sargent exhibit. I had seen his exhibition of portraits when it was at SAM years ago, and while I don't usually go for portraiture, I remember really liking that exhibition. This one was mostly of seascapes in France and Italy and it didn't strike me as much as the portraits, but it was still very nice. The photo at right isn't from the exhibition, it's from the Tate, I took it on the first day in London, and it's stunning.
For dinner tonight, I met my friend Sumathi who is a British friend I know from my months in Sri Lanka (she's Sri Lankan-British), and we had dinner at a Sri Lankan restaurant just a few tube stops away from where I'm staying. My instinct was to completely pig out on Sri Lankan food because it's so delicious and this place was completely authentic, and who knows when I'll have the chance to have it again, but I managed to control myself. It was very fun catching up with Sumathi, she was my closest friend when I was living in Sri Lanka in 2008, and it's always fun to meet up with friends in foreign lands.

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