A day of culture in London

The 14th of March will be forever remembered by me as my Day of Culture, when Steve and I took in the Picasso exhibition in the morning, the Super Troupers ABBA exhibition in the Southbank centre at lunchtime and then the Paloma Faith concert at the O2 in the evening.

I think this piece, Sleeping Woman, has to be my favourite of the exhibition. I love the tenderness conveyed through colour and pose. The body of work comprises of not only paintings, but sculptures, notebooks, sketches and installations. The show marks a significant period of Picasso's life, one of turmoil and change, and is well worth a visit. If I get back to London in the summer I will certainly view the exhibition again. 

Given my passion for ABBA, it's no surprise that I had to include this in our trip. The show took the form of a group tour throughout a collection of memorabilia that was staged in rooms recreating strategic events in their 10 years together. A recording studio with a microphone used by them, a hotel bedroom with a guitar from a performance, even a catsuit in green satin from the Mama Mia show - all made for an authentic and at times, interactive exhibition that had us singing and (for me) holding back the tears at the finale. I'm so pleased I had the opportunity to see it.

Last autumn I bought tickets for the Paloma Faith concert at the O2 as part of Steve's 60th birthday celebrations which also meant it could be part of mine too. We were all booked to fly out from the islands on Saturday the 10th, but the weather got a bit iffy resulting in us having to leave two days early. After a few days spent pottering about in Cornwall we took the train to London on Tuesday and on Wednesday had an entire culture vulture day. 

This shows where we sat, just above the stage with a fantastic view of the proceedings. Paloma came on stage at 8.30pm and sang for just over two hours. The arena was at full capacity, teaming with fans of all ages, and it don't think we were even the oldest there at all.

Paloma arose from the centre of the stage like a shining vision. The stage set mirrored her 3D silver space age jacket which she quickly dispensed with to reveal a shimmering cape and matching bodysuit.This tour is the first in two years since she had her baby and yet she looked like she's never been away and her voice was as strong and clear as ever. 

A sublime duet with Zac Abel, "I'll be gentle" went down a storm. See a full review of the show in the Independent here.

Paloma plunged into the audience to hi-five her fans.

Watching you, watching me.

Much of Paloma's appeal is her quirkiness and yet as she talked about her life we saw her as a very ordinary mum struggling with post-baby weight (I kept a little bit as a reminder, she said), sleepless nights and even her fears about the world sliding towards world war three. Her words about kindness particularly struck a chord with me after my recent Mindfulness retreat where this was a major talking point. Paloma gave a heartfelt plea to the audience that we all take part in instigating a global kindness epidemic through small daily acts, such as talking to a homeless person or checking up on a neighbour. She urged us to read more on her website here.

I'm left with a few paper reminders of our day of culture on the 14th March, but I also have a host of memories to play back. One might even say Thank you for the music...

Anna x

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