Tuesday, 31 January 2012
It was Brazilian Night...
...at the V&A, on Friday. One of their 'last Friday of the month' events, when - in theory - the entire place is given over to party crowds, and carnival dress and exuberance amongst the artefacts is the order of the day. Or so it had been the last time we'd encountered one of these evenings (pretty much by accident) a year or so ago, and had found the Cast Halls full of people conga-ing along in day-glo costumes, and en route to the third floor of the Medieval Gallery, had stumbled across some strange kind of musical event in play. Buzzy and all rather wonderful.
So, you'd have thought that an evening arranged in collaboration with the Brazilian Embassy would have been Mardi Gras in small, since spontaneous partying is surely what Brazilians are supposed to do best. Maybe that was what was wrong, though - not enough Brazilians, and, in their absence, too much reliance on spontaneity (which wasn't really happening). There were loads of people - loads - and the place was generally heaving; all waiting for something to happen, that they could stand and happily watch. But, in practice, the much vaunted Samba Flash Mob turned out to be three blokes with drums, wearing brightly coloured t-shirts and banging away with great enthusiasm, but actually looking as though they'd just wandered in from Esher Rugby Club! And all the while the DJ in the opposite corner of the Hall was churning out, at high volume, what sounded like Stevie Wonder interspersed with early Michael Jackson. Which, I suppose, given that the V&A is a museum, wasn't entirely inappropriate...
I endured the war zone that surrounded the bar in the Central Hall not once but twice - having lost heart after ten minutes, the first time around, and given up; only to realise that my taste buds had been warned to expect something heartening, and I was just going to get bad-tempered if expectations weren't met. So, I tried again, and succeeded in returning with a couple of caparinhas. Which turned out to be a glass of very expensive crushed ice, at the bottom of which was sloshing around a generous squirt of lemon juice, and some colourless and flavourless alcohol. A bit like a Pisco Sour, but without the kick.
However, it wasn't all disappointing. With an unerring nose for these things, the Technical Dept had noticed in passing that, tucked away in the direction of the Sackler Centre, there was a new display of things recently woven from Madagascan golden spider silk - a cope and a shawl - which is not only extremely strong, but is naturally golden in colour. Having disposed of our glasses of slush, we made our way there, and weren't disappointed. Beautiful things. And fascinating. Definitely worth the journey.
And then, on the way out, just as I mentioned that I'd be interested to see Rodin's bust of Eve Fairfax (having just read Michael Holroyd's latest book, in which it features prominently), but that it would probably be in some obscure corner of an upper gallery....suddenly, quite serendipitously, there it was, right in front of us. Which was splendid!
But not enough to keep us for long from heading out and home, and in search of a decent drink!
Rotolo of Green Pasta, filled with Spinach and Pancetta.
Rabbit braised in White Wine; Fennel, breaded and fried.