I have decided that my role for The Canterbury Tales would have been “The Student” because 1) school obviously a big part of my life and 2) “The Smartass” seemed like the inappropriate option. Also I will not be writing this in the poetic style of Geoffrey Chaucer (who I’m picturing as Paul Bettany. See: A Knight’s Tale) because I’m really not that dedicated to blogging as an art form.
We spent the morning at Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, an incredible exhibition currently playing at the Victoria and Albert Museum. This has been my favorite museum of the trip. It has these “plaster rooms” that are these two huge spaces filled with plaster replicas of major works of. Like the Column of Trajan and Michelangelo’s David are in there. It’s incredible. I’ll probably send them my CV when I graduate for the hell of it. In case you can’t tell, I really want to work there.
So Savage Beauty was developed after McQueen died in 2010 and ran at the Met for a while. Oddly enough my mother was not keen letting her 17 year old go to New York for an exhibition so I’ve been waiting to see this show for a while. It did not disappoint.
If you’re not familiar with McQueen’s work, check it out. It is amazing work and lends itself so well to the museum exhibition environment. The exhibition was one of the best I’ve ever seen. There’s this intense music playing throughout while each room has a different theme. Like there’s one that’s designed to look like a catacomb with stucco skulls and bones everywhere while the room with his Widows of Culloden series is in this manor house room. There’s also this encyclopedic room with these open cabinets all over the walls showing dress and headpieces that revolve. Reminded of house paintings were hung in 19th-century academic salons. Unreal.
That afternoon we went to Canterbury to see the cathedral. I spent most of the 2014-2015 school year working on a paper and presentation on Thomas Becket who was martyred there. It was overwhelming being there myself. Like meeting someone famous.
Canterbury Cathedral is without a doubt my favorite thing I saw on this trip. The place is massive and has some of the most beautiful stained glass windows I’ve ever seen. You can just imagine how the place would have been filled with pilgrims in the Middle Ages. King Henry IV is buried there, too which was perfect timing since I was reading the Shakespeare play about him that week. I love it when things come together like that. Thomas Becket’s shrine was destroyed by King Henry VIII in the 16th century (which I discuss in my paper. I should probably just upload it here. I know you really want to read it) but there is a candle there to mark where it stood. Near the crypt, they have a new memorial for him where Pope John Paul II and the Archbishop of Canterbury once prayed together. We were in good company. So, so amazing.
We had to exit through the gift shop (typical) where I bought a shot glass to commemorate the trip. Should come in handy with the next paper I write.