You know, I like animals as much as anybody, probably more. But I cannot stand pigeons. It has a lot to do with living through the first part of the AIDS epidemic. There is this parasite that causes an infection called toxoplasmosis that killed a lot of PWAs in the 80's and 90's. There is a moment in the AIDS chronicle AND THE BAND PLAYED ON, where a young doctor finds a sheep farmer who has some experience with toxoplasmosis. You see, this was an illness, carried by pigeons and cats in their excrement, so the young doctor was thrilled to find someone who dealt with it on a regular basis. He asked the sheep farmer what one does with the sheep who are infected with the parasite. "We shoot them," he said.
That is why I don't like pigeons.
But, in Trafalgar Square, in almost every language spoken on the planet (I think they missed Latin and Esperantu), it asks you not to feed the pigeons. It's pretty clear and posted everywhere. And yet all over the Square there are morons giving food to these carrion animals. I don't really understand it. Are these people thinking it is all right for me to feed them and no one else? Do they think they are invisible and no one sees them doing it? Do they not see the CURTAINS OF PIGEON SHIT COATING THE SQUARE? Honestly, I don't know what to say about this. I am glad they found a treatment for toxoplasmosis.
I went to the National Gallery and saw so many things that I had only seen in books. I came very close to succumbing to Stendhal Syndrome from looking at too many incredible moments of art. Carravaggio's Supper at Emmaus, Piero della Francesca's Nativity, Van Eyck's Arnolfini Wedding, Rembrandt's Final Self portrait and Balthazar's Feast, and Leonardo's Virgin of the Rocks. All of that in one day. Plus the Vermeers, the Rokeby Venus, Titians, Raphaels, RUBENS! It was an incredible day. I started getting back spasms from looking. There was nothing to prepare me for what it was like to be in the room with these paintings that I had seen only in reproduction. The copies are NOTHING compared to the real things, man. It was an exhausting day, but I saw some amazing things. Seeing some of the Degas made me reconsider him. To see Rembrandt's change in paint handling over THIRTY YEARS! I can see why so many people come to London to study. There are so many masterpieces in the National Gallery. Painters I love like Parmigianino and Bronzino are in the collection. I could live in that museum and still not see enough.
Michael took me to his place in Brixton (I know what you've heard and it is a very nice neighborhood) and I watched a bad BBC quiz show and fell asleep for a bit. We went to Brick Lane for dinner and hanging out. Part of the toxoplasmosis rant had to do with Michael telling about his partner who died. So many people are gone and it is hard to get your brain around it at times.