More weekend fun

We stopped at the fishmonger in Acton yesterday and made a big seafood feast for a dinner party at the neighbour’s last night: mussels with celery in white wine for starters, and Moroccan red snapper stew afterwards. Mmm, good.

Today I hit the city on my own for a while. With no hint of shame I went back to Bob Bob Ricard’s for a quick breakfast of coffee and toast. Then I went down to the Tate Britain – my first time, somehow – to see the Francis Bacon exhibit.

I like Bacon’s dark, misshapen, images: they’re everyday scenes filled with horror, sometimes apparent, sometimes hidden. Many of his series of “screaming popes” (studies of Velazquez’s Pope Innocent X portait), probably his most famous works, were here. I especially liked the Study After Velazquez (1950), featuring a snarling figure with sharp eyebrows and nose, and one of the few where you can see the subject’s eyes. And its partially hidden behind bars of grey, one of Bacon’s tension-increasing spatial constrictions. It’s almost cartoonish by today’s standards; maybe that’s where today’s cartoon villains come from? I also liked Man With Dog (1953). It only shows the bottom of man’s leg; the dog is a faceless yet taut, feral beast. They’re ready to step off the curb into…what?

And his work from the early ’70s – the memorial triptychs of lover and subject George Dyer – are sad. Their clear backgrounds and black voids in the centre of what are otherwise some of his most substantially solid – if still defaced – subjects. That trend – clearer, brighter colours – extended into the ’80s but I don’t like these nearly as much. His last works in the late ’80s and early ’90s see him using that black again, though.

I returned home not long after that: the weather is pretty wet and cold today. I’ve just been relaxing and watching films (Chopper !).


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