Margaret (pling) wrote,

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British Museum Visit & Porcupine Tree Gig

Yesterday we went on a day trip to London :) The reason for the trip was the Porcupine Tree concert in the evening, but obviously we came into London earlier so we could go to the British Museum! ;) On the drive in we listened to an In Our Time about the Oracle at Delphi, which was interesting. They covered some basic Greek mythology (noteworthy given my exchange with Marnanel on a post a few days ago - the Greeks didn't seem to be consistent between different city-states/centres (always 12 major gods but which 12 wasn't always the same) but it didn't touch on consistency within a centre). And talked about how the experience of getting an answer from the Oracle worked. I hadn't realised it was only 9 days a year that you could ask questions - it was only possible on the 7th day of the month during the 9 months of the year that Apollo was "in residence".

Once we got into London we headed straight for the British Museum & the Egyptian stuff - through the sculpture gallery (where I took photos of Sekhmets - "Did someone blink?" the camera asked me, I bloody hope not! :o ). And up to the coffins room, where J looked at coffins (obviously) and I gravitated towards the Middle Kingdom stelae in the corner as I often do - they are very fine :) I also had a look to see if there was anything associated with Sneferu for me to photograph (the Pharaoh that had the first true pyramid built) as I'm thinking of writing up a post about him sometime (like my shabti one). But there wasn't - I need to check out the sculpture gallery & the Enlightenment gallery sometime tho. We stopped for a coffee break around then & then went off to the Mesopotamian rooms - this time not getting side-tracked by the surrounding galleries as we'd already looked at them :) I'm always startled by just how much more crowded the Egyptian galleries are than the rest of the museum - it's a more peaceful experience looking at any of the other stuff, not the huge numbers of people photographing each other with the mummies & not looking at anything ;) So anyway - the two rooms covered the history of Mesopotamia from 6000BC to 500BC or thereabouts, so it was quite a brisk trot through the period. The centre piece of the first room (6000BC to 1500BC) was the royal tombs - the Mesopotamians apparently went in for servants-for-the-afterlife in a big way. One of the tombs had a queen & 6 guards and 68 female attendants. Most of the bodies (other than the principle occupant of a tomb) that they had ages for seemed to be 18-20 years, which does suggest that they were killed for the purpose. Once I get the photos off the camera I'll stick some up on flickr (hopefully they came out) and possibly be a little more coherent about what we saw :)

As we were finishing up with the Mesopotamians we met up first with Jonathan & then with Paul and then headed off to the nearby Pizza Express for dinner before the gig. And then on to the Royal Albert Hall, for the second of our somewhat surreal band/venue combinations for the year. This actually turned out to be less surreal than Opeth at the RAH - partly coz even the downstairs bit was seated so there wasn't a moshpit to look down onto like there had been for Opeth. There was no support band & Porcupine Tree played 3 sets lasting about 3 hours in total. First off they did a short selection of semi-acoustic tracks (with the bass player playing double bass, which was pretty neat). Then two more normal sets. During the semi-acoustic bit the guys in the seats next to me came in late & then one of them tapped me on the shoulder & said "do you know who the band are?". I thought he was taking the piss at first, but I think he'd just got confused coz they were set up at the front of the stage with their "real" instruments at the back. And didn't wait long enough to see if he recognised the songs - not that I'm convinced he would've anyway, the only stuff he seemed to even remotely know was off Deadwing. Those two guys left just before the first of the normal sets finished - they may've gone upstairs to the gallery bit (they'd been looking & pointing at that) or they may just've left, I dunno. And was rather pleased they did, whichever it was, coz the one I was actually sat next to was one of those guys who has to have his knees as far apart as possible when he's sitting down, so there just wasn't much space for me on my own seat by the time he'd sprawled out :/ Normally at gigs I end up with the tallest guy in the room stood in front of me, I guess this was the seated equivalent ;) Anyway. Gig was great - they played a really varied range of stuff, nothing off "On the Sunday of Life", "Signify" and "Lightbulb Sun" but ever other (main) album was represented by a track or two. It was good to hear "Dislocated Day" live again, in particular. As always with Porcupine Tree I found the stuff that passes me by more on record was better live - and there were more of their creepy little visuals to watch, of which my favourite was the video for "Bonnie the Cat" off "The Incident".

And then it was time for the journey home, which always seems to last infinitely longer than the journey out ... we got home (after dropping Jonathan off) at about 2am, and the very fact it's taken me 3 hours to write this post shows that my brain didn't wake up at the same time as the rest of me. But at least I wasn't the one who brewed a pot of water this morning ;)

It was a good day :D
Tags: british museum, egypt, gig, greece, history, mesopotamia, radio, social, trip
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