23 June 2016

Day Fifteen: Vintage Ring OR Joni Newman and the Childhood Wish Fulfillment: Part One

Before you read, know that I believe in honoring the request to "keep the secrets" for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I will talk a bit about some thoughts on the show here, but only in general, non plot based ways. If you want to be spoiled, hit me up on Facebook or send me your email and I can send you more specific detail. Any particular questions you have would help me know what to send you - I don't know that I could send you more than a basic plot summary anyway (and I'm sure you can find that online already.)

Today started off with a girl's trip to the Camden Market. Greg got some kind of rash on his legs (heat stroke? Fabric burn?) and he didn't want to walk forever (yesterday we went about 17,000 steps), so Nicole and I set off quite happily for a shopping adventure. The last couple of times I've been here I've been with girls and have made out like a bandit with clothing. This time the only clothing I've purchased was the t-shirt at the play tonight. It was really fun to have some girl time.

The Camden Market is the hunting ground for antique shoppers on Wednesday and Saturday, but we heard that many of the regular shops were still open so we decided to check it out. There weren't as many as we were hoping for, but Nicole did find a beautiful tea cup and saucer from Germany that she was hoping to get while here (not this one, but "a" one) so the trip wasn't wasted.

My mission was a bit wasted. While we were in York, Nicole got a new wedding ring. She liked her old one, but I guess it was rubbing against her finger in an annoying way, so she wanted to get something in England. She did, and it was lovely, and I got jealous. And I had some extra cash that I hadn't spent on this trip in my budget so... I had to, right?  Trouble was, finding a shop was very difficult in London. I wanted something worth the money but not too expensive. I don't need really pricy, I just wanted really old. Everywhere we looked seemed to have small selection and mostly things well out of my price range. In fact, one store we looked in told me I was crazy for looking in the price range I was and that I'd never find something for that (which I knew was crap because Nicole had already done it just days before.)

I was ready to give up the search when, lucky for me, Nicole suggested we walk one more block down the road we were on. There were loads of jewelry stores, so I agreed. Lo and behold, the exact kind of store I was looking for appeared. Specialists in antiques - not just pawn brokers, with a decent (if not huge) selection, and several in my hoped for cost to choose from. I looked at about five potential options, narrowed it down to two, and eventually chose what the clerk called the "bargain of the day". It was priced by his father well below what he would have priced it at (to the tune of at least £100 pounds less) and it was half what I was budgeting to spend, but it was still perfect for me. The ring itself is hallmarked, so we know that it was made in 1915 on London. It's 18 karat gold (never thought I'd have something like that!) with four sapphires and one diamond. It's just on that edge of design between Art Deco and Victorian and I love it. One of these days I'll take it into another jeweler to get some information about the stones, but I really couldn't care less if they are good quality or not. The ring is beautiful, and definitely old, and that's all I wanted. (And if that ends up all being a lie, then I still don't care.) Yay for treating yourself now and then! I don't have anyone to do something like that for me, so I'm going to do it for myself.

We met up with Greg at the Tate Modern after lunch. I love the Tate Modern because it is so different from any other museum in town. You never know what you're going to get. Most of the time I go and could stay forever. This time wasn't one of those times, unfortunately. There were a few exhibits I really liked - mostly a few rooms that focused especially on color.  There were a few other installations made out of unique materials that I enjoyed looking at, but many of the exhibits had an over handed political or social feel that I understand in art but felt a bit oversaturated by. I think such messages and commentaries are important for artists. Art at its best helps us to see things in a new way that we would not have noticed otherwise. It helps us to empathize with experiences that are not our own. Done poorly, art can also be preachy and scolding and patronizing to the viewer. Most of the pieces I saw today felt more in that sphere.

That said, there were a few of these social pieces that stuck out to me. There was one giant mess of cardboard stylized in a turn of the 18th century advertisement but with modern messages that reminded me of how some of the problems that exist in the world are trivialized by petty frustrations. There was another piece made of fire hoses that had been used to shoot water at children who had been marching for their rights during the 1960s in America. It was striking to see how many there were. I couldn't fit them all in one picture.

Of course the main event today was the first part of our Harry Potter play experience. Even picking up the tickets was magical, since they are yellow and embossed and beautiful. I think I'll frame them when I get back home. First stop was, of course, the merchandise counter so we could buy all. the. things.  I ended up buying about half the things. . . But I kind of want to buy the rest tomorrow.

As for the show itself - I don't know how to put it other than that it is utterly magical.  Funny enough, I'd forgotten to even consider how they would do magic in the play, but some of the effects are mind boggling.  Some of them I can figure out because of my theater background, but others still have me trying to work them out.  The heart of the story is solid and the acting is perfect.  I'm so impressed with the casting and the design.  More importantly, though, I think the story is excellent.  I think lots of people who are used to having crazy amounts of detail (from the books especially) will be dissatisfied with some elements of the plot (or, perhaps more accurately) will want more detail or development from their favorite characters, but when you let the story be what it is (and not get upset with what it isn't, or shouldn't be), the heart of the story is exactly what all the previous Harry Potter stories have been about - the importance of family and friends. Or, perhaps more accurately, the importance and power of love.  I'm excited to see how it ends.

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