On Sunday, my mum and I finally went to the Viking exhibition at the British Museum. I have to say I was disappointed. I had read so many articles about this whole new take on Vikings, the eye liner and the harem pants, the lasting impact on the British isles, all brought to life in the first major exhibition for over 30 years… But it was a pretty standard museum exhibition, except for the high price tag and the hoards, not of Vikings but of visitors, who crowded round the displays.
Instead, the surprise highlight of our Sunday outing in London was the Aznavour farewell concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Now, I have to be honest, I had very low expectations. Up until the previous day, I had thought that we were going to listen to some Czech violinist. Oops. I’m not entirely sure how I have managed to be so completely oblivious to the “Frank Sinatra of France” who was named Entertainer of the Century. The only song I recognised was She, and that was from Elvis Costello’s cover on the Notting Hill soundtrack.
The whole experience of being in that venue was special. The Royal Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871 and has over 5,000 seats. Those seats were gradually filled with hard-core Aznavour fans as the 90 year old came on stage and his voice boomed out into the hall. One of my favourites was Je voyage, which he sang with his daughter Katia. A young woman meets an old man sitting on a bench, and she asks what he’s doing there. He answers that he’s travelling through his memories. He asks what she’s doing there. She replies that she’s travelling too, travelling into her future.
Many thoughts were going through my mind as the music filled the hall. Most of all, I thought about how many amazing things there are to do in London. I’ve already written about how much I’m enjoying London – but I know it’s only temporary, and I feel like there’s so much I could do to make the most of being here.
So I need your help! What do I need to do? I’ve started a list, and I hope you’ll all finish it for me…
-Watch the Last Night of the Proms
-Go up in the London Eye
-Sing karaoke at Lucky Voice
-See a play at the Globe Theatre
-Take a boat up the Thames
-Go to a Rocky Horror Picture Show sing-a-long
Help please! What do I still need to do? Will you join me?
Je voyage, je voyage, vers les lieux bénis de ma vie
de voyage en voyage, à travers erreurs et acquis
sans bagage, par images, par le rêve et par la pensée
de voyage en voyage, sur les vagues de mon passé
Je voyage, je voyage et je cours pour aller de l’avant
de voyage en voyage, sac au dos, cheveux dans le vent,
parfois folle, parfois sage, refusant les idées reçues
de voyage en voyage, dans l’espoir de trouver un but