Friday, August 25, 2006

Cheers! I am the one Roy sometimes refers to as "editor Martin," though I'm not sure why. I haven't been anyone's editor, let alone his, for many years. I have come to London to sightsee and take the culture. I simply adore culture, and I have been satisfied to find it in evidence everywhere I turn. My companion I'm sure will give a full account of the serious objects of cultural interest we've encountered, with his usual considerable insight. I shall be content to comment upon the trifles and mundanities that preoccupy me.

Immediately I was struck by how well turned out Central Londoners are, almost without exception. The young people are all dressed in the height of fashion, as if they expect at any moment someone could come along and photograph them for an indie-rock album cover. The professional men wear nicely cut dark suits or jackets with thick, Windsor-knotted ties. The women of the city are demurely chic. Both sexes seem to favor square-framed eyeglasses. What I've observed is beyond mere urbanity. I am a frequent visitor to and former resident of New York, and in no quarter there have I seen such a uniformly sharp throng on the streets.

When our self-directed walking tour yesterday took us past the place, a loop played in my mind of Chevy Chase's voice: "Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament ... Big Ben, Parliament ..."

I liked the portraits at the National Portrait Gallery. Becuase I can't always recognize British historical figures by their faces, it was fun to respond to a portrait and then walk up to read the name. For example, I looked at one and thought, that fellow looks intensely serious and very proud. It was Sir Issac Newton.

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