Monday 8 September 2008

Lashings of lycra

Swiss Boy was visiting this weekend – he’d been in the country for important drug business and I met up with him yesterday for a spot of gentle sightseeing.

We started at the Tate Modern – where I would happily live, if it was possible – and ambled our way from room to room taking in amazing works from Monet and MirĂ³ to Matisse and Mondrian – plus a whole lot of other artists whose names did not begin with M.

Perhaps my favourite, and it has been for some time, is The Snail by Matisse, which was created in 1953. I love it because it was Matisse’s last work before he died in 1954 – and although he had cancer and probably wasn’t feeling too great, he still carried on.

OK, so he didn’t paint much anymore – he had people paint paper, which he then cut out and arranged on a massive board – but the point is, he didn’t just give up when he couldn’t do what he wanted… he found another way to do it. Quite inspirational I thought.

After the Tate Modern, we crossed the river to carry out some important chocolate raisin-buying duties that Swiss Boy had to fulfil for my First Ever Friend, who just happens to be his sister.

As we walked over the Millennium Bridge, I was suddenly aware that I couldn’t hear Swiss Boy talking anymore as there was incredible din going on right above my head. Looking up, there were two helicopters hovering. They were so loud that I was concerned I might fall over.

Anyway, once we got to the other side, the reason became apparent – the Tour of Britain was doing its London section. People lined the streets awaiting the cyclists, men with camera lenses as long as my arm crouched poised ready to snap, snap away and I have to say I got quite excited.

I’m not what you would call a cycling fan but the atmosphere was great – so we waited by a cordon for the pack to appear. Six police bikes later, they came in a whoosh of vibrant lycra. I thought the noise was amazing – but remember I am deaf. It sounded like a soft whirring noise and I found it slightly hypnotic.

It turned out that we had stumbled on some sort of circuit so we were able to see them whirr by not once but four times and each time is was equally thrilling. But why hadn’t I heard of the Tour of Britain before? The Tour de France gets massive publicity – hell it even had a section in the UK.

I’m off to do some research about this racey thing and see where I can next catch a glimpse of the lashings of lycra I saw yesterday…

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