October 1st, 1999 - Day off in London

We went to the Tate Museum today. It was free, and pretty cool - it had One of Everything basically. We only looked at the newer stuff, and the coolest thing I saw was something by Marcel Duchamp that was called something like "Why don't you sneeze, Rose Selavy." There was a whole story about it - it was a little wooden birdcage half-filled with what looked like sugar cubes but were really marble cubes, with a thermometer sticking out of it. Rose Selavy is apparently the female alter-ego of Marcel Duchamp, and also a play on the words "Eros" (love) and "C'est la vie." The thermometer had something to do with her being cold and also having a cold, and the cubes being marble (cold) and not sugar. I loved this little piece.

There was a big Monet Waterlilies painting, Matisses, Legers, a couple by one my favorite artists: Dubuffet, and some Picassos and the rest of the normal great masters. They had a roomful of Andy Warhols mixed with paintings of another artist named Sickert, who I think painted earlier than Andy Warhol. I thought those paintings of the lesser-known (to me, anyway) artist were probably mixed with the Warhol paintings to get people to look at them.

The craziest thing I saw in the museum was a group of about 30 school students being led around and at each painting they'd sit down and a group of 1-3 students would stand in front of the painting and read a sort of poem and stand bent over in an imitation of what they saw in the painting. These weird modern art paintings, so the little children were contorting themselves in odd ways, sometimes alone and sometimes with a partner, in order to replicate the odd, sometimes humanoid shapes on the canvas. It was unbelievably charming, to hear these little english voices squeaking out about the torment they thought the subject in the painting was going through. You don't really get to hear enough children with English accents.

And at night, my beautiful little sister and I made dinner in her house in London, and visited with each other and talked well into the night. I have to admit that I am heartbroken that she doesn't live at home anymore, but this is the way that life moves. People move and they have their own lives. She has a brilliant house, job, and life in London, and I'm really happy to see it all.

Flight Home - October 2nd, 1999

I was thinking about the differences between Americans and Europeans. And all the differences between Europeans. I came to only 2 conclusions: 1) I've never met a rude French person. I hear they are all so rude, and yet, I've never met one rude one. I have met scores of rude British people though, and Americans are all rude, except for the ones in my band.

2) Americans are too obsessed with getting things done quickly. One person whom I spoke with on this tour apologized for making use of a stereotype and then announced that he thought he'd heard once that Americans eat dinner in front of the TVset. He said that in his country, at dinner time, people sat around and had a sort of festival, talked amongst themselves and discussed and enjoyed themselves. I had to agree that most Americans I know do eat in front of the TV set. My friend thought that was very sad. And you know, I think he's right. Americans may complain about the slow service at restaurants in Europe, but in Europe, you are supposed to sit around the table for hours and eat and enjoy yourself. It's not a race to gobble as quickly as possible and then get back to working and making more money. It's all about enjoyment.

Rape

I'm on the the plane home, coach class with the woman in the seat in front of me's head in my lap. On my individual TV screen (777, baby!) I'm watching a movie about a female army officer who was raped and the rape was covered up, causing her to go crazy. The absurd thing about the movie is that there is no swearing in it at all - there are hilarious scenes with John Travolta screaming at another army officer, calling his enemy words like "you stupid-head". All the words like "fuck", "ass" and "shit" have been censored out, to make the movie less disturbing. Only the rape remains.

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