Monday, 4 June 2012

Friends and brains

There was a person under a train at Finsbury Park to add to the standard chaos caused by the Jubilee disruption. I decided that my Sunday laziness was going to far so with great effort I decided that it was about to make something productive and get myself out there. After three buses refusing to stops at my home stop for som unknown reason (I had a shower and I did not have a black eye), I took the first but to King's Cross and walk my way to Euston from there.

Wellcome Gallery, one of those ever-free places which were missing from my list. What made me go is a big banner I found on the tube saying 'Brains' in capital letters.

As the brief announced, the exhibition was not trying to explain the human brain but to explore what us humans have done to it in terms of medical intervention. A member of th staff at the entrance of the room announced the sensitive content of it and made me aware of in case of feeling dizzy, I should no doubt contact any of them for help. Such harsh warning before entering the exhibition made me doubt one second of my threshold of then amount of gross-ness I could copy with. In spite of all, I composed myself and went inside.

Brains turned out to be a small but well layed out exhibition perfect for us curious and not very fussed about medical stuff. Preserved brains (some call it pickled), first medical approaches for surgical intervention or diagnosis, a wide display of scary skull slicing instruments that looked more from a carpenter (or pizza slicer) more than for surgeons and all sorts of books and studies from the earliest findings in the subject.

A 24 minute footage of some brain intervention with local anesthesy that involved lots of thingies similar to scissors to hold the scalp appart (excuse my lack of medical knowledge, I'm an engineer) made me understand the reason of the staff warning at th door of possible dizziness. But what really caught me mind was a 'pickled' brain from a victim of a head shot, in which it was possible to see the trayectory of th bullet and the consequent damage (although the bullet display was not the original).

Pickle. Indeed

After replicas of th nervous system and observation of drawings and photographs from the beginning of th XX century of heads of dead persons showing their perfectly groomed moustaches so traditional from the era, I completed the exhibition with a littl bit more knowledge about our body and headed to my next stop of th day.

Premonitory findings

Euston Square, not part of my usual station, so plus one for my tube station personal collection, I took circle Lin that was, believe it or not, WORKING!!, and arrived at Liverpool Street. Spitalfields market was specially festive in spit of the stalls not working today. The Truman Brewery in the corner plus the famous fish and chips shop Poppies was boiling with the crowd drinking outside, wearing all sorts of flags and golden jewelled crowns. Jubilee indeed.

Crowd surfing but walking, I made my way to Rough Trade East to check what was in store and hang around a bit. Looking at the entrance banner I discovered that a New Yorker band that i have been following for a few months was there launching their debut album and performing in about half an hour.

Friends they are called. I happened to see them in winter at the Lexington on their first in gig in the British capital so this felt like a reunion with your school friends. While browsing through books and new releases, and by the way, unconsciously playing to recognise as much bands as possible, the drummer from the band started the sound check, so I left what I was doing and positioned myself at them back of the shop. Little by little, the members of the band showed up to double check their running and the feedback from the speakers, and gathered in the far corner to wait until the stage time and to Samantha Urbani to show up.

Compared to last february Nikki was looking surprisingly scruffy, let's say because the band played at Field Day two night before and there were still some effects. Matthew was still wearing his favourite denim jacket but had changed his shirt. Lesley is still dead serious on the set and kind of worries me. Oliver the drummer, the perpetual happy guy that makes you want to hang out with him and at 17:00 finally Samantha showed up. Her voice was recovered compared to the winter gig and she showed even more enthusiasm, after almost half a year of gig experience.

There were Friends, putting themselves out there, playing a full set for their album launch and doing their best. Samantha's sassy-ness since second one, and repeatedly jumped off the stage to dance with the crowd as she liked doing.

Probably due to the very fun and cheeky performance of the band, and Samantha's explanation of hidden third image on the band's album cover, as gig was finished, the public run to the shelves to get a copy of their debut album Manifest! without hesitation.

By the way, Matthew was playing the triangle. I was seriously impressed. You got to love those triangle players. For real.

They should have played 'Va Fan Gör Du', but still, they were good.

To finish the day, I must openly admit that I have reconciled with Boxpark, as I mysteriously have ended up here without planning it too many times already this month.

One cup of coffee, a mint tea, a peach muffin' and some italians besides me mesmerised about the china of their cups after, here at Foxcroft & Ginger, while listening to Angus & Julia Stone version of 'You're th one that I want', I close the day.
Still there is sunshine. Smells like barbecue and it has rained for just a couple of minutes today.

Let's see how I return home now. That will be another story.

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