Last weekend I was going to try to take my girlfriend to see the Natural History Photography exhibition at the NHM. I go every year but she has never been and I think she would really like it. Unfortunately all the advance tickets had sold out so we opted for plan B instead. Plan B in this case was meet for coffee, take in a couple of exhibitions (the Picasso portraits and the Photo portraits that I saw the previous week). Even this plan nearly came unstuck when our plan to 'meet in Trafalgar Square' hit the stumbling block of the 'Women's March On London' demonstration which had packed out the square.
It was difficult at first to work out what the protest was about due to the sheer diversity of the banners. There were so many causes represented (which is probably as much strength as weakness) but the overall theme seemed to be 'anti-hate' which encompassed all kinds of issues but the politics of Brexit and Trump especially. The size of the protest was pretty inspiring and it had a really positive atmosphere (a lot of hope, certainly - and that is rare enough nowadays). I did ponder the wisdom of an 'all female' march. Men want to protest too, so why split your forces? On reflection though the protest did mobilize huge numbers of women, many of those I guess might not have come on a regular demonstration but felt safe to express themselves here. The fact that this movement have shown themselves is very heartening for me, I just hope it doesn't collapse into dead end identity politics or remain so vague in its many and varied issues that it fails to become effective.
Once we did manage to meet for coffee though, we took in those exhibitions (which I did not mind seeing again and then headed for the cyber candy store in Covent Garden which doesnt exist any more but has become something modeled much more closely on old-fashioned sweet shop. This too proved very popular with the missus.
This week I have been mostly re-reading: The Mirror Maker by Primo Levi.