Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Inside-out Animals

RE: London

Last Sunday, we went to the Natural History Museum to see Animal Inside Out. A museum is a great place to spend a rainy day, but you do have to get there early to avoid the crowds. We got to the museum a couple of minutes before it opened, and there was a huge queue along the pavement. Now, What is it with Londoners and umbrellas? Do they all wake up in the morning, see the rain, and think "I'm going to be wandering around a densely-populated city all day, so what I really need is a device which increases my effective diameter, gets stuck on lampposts when I try and squeeze past them, and pokes people in the eye"? Have none of them heard of hats? Fortunately, after about ten minutes of umbrella-dodging we got close enough to find a person who told us that if we had tickets we could by-pass the queue and go straight in, so we did, and we had a lovely empty museum for about fifteen minutes.

Not-empty museum
The exhibit itself was somewhat light on the SCIENCE, but quite fun to look at and I did learn some new things, like the fact that shark hearts only have two chambers (as opposed to the four chambers in avian and mammalian hearts), but mostly I amused myself by checking to see if each animal was a boy or a girl. For reference, it's a boy elephant. And a boy giraffe. And a boy foal. And a boy goat and a boy sheep, though the second goat was female. And the camel was female. And then I discovered an entire display case of testes and penises and my joy knew no bounds! Tim got a little eye-rolly at me by this point.

Gurl camel!
I recommend that easily-distressed people do not see this. For instance, there's a flayed bull in a charging posture which I found quite upsetting: they preserved something that could have been quite a lot of nommy steak! And then I spend some time trying to work out how much black pudding it would take to stuff the squid…

By the time we'd finished, the museum was absolutely packed, with lots of kids happily having a rainy-day playtime (though in a reasonably well-behaved fashion - I tried to do some clever long-exposure stuff to get photos of blurred kids running past the fossils, but the children weren't being hyperactive enough), so we decided to head north to Camden for some lunch and a beverage or two in the deceptively civilised BrewDog bar

BrewDog humour
Having finished our refreshment, we strolled around the market, feeling somewhat uninspired. I don't know whether it was the rain or the recession or the gentrification of the area, but Camden felt a lot duller than it used to be. In days gone by, Tim would be offered drugs at least once within ten yards of the station, and by the time we got to the canal my head would be spinning from the amount of Funny Smoke around. As it was, everything felt very homogenised and I only caught three whiffs of Naughty Stuff. 

Just as we were wondering what to do, we heard a voice shouting our names, so looked around to see Lyope armed with a large set of camera gear. She was out with a photography friend trying to get some shots of Interesting People, but had come to the same conclusion as we had with regards to Camden. We obliged her by pretending to look Interesting (which caused a great deal of excitement amongst passers-by who stopped to take pictures of Charlotte taking pictures of us, presumably on the grounds that anyone with that amount of camera gear aimed at them must be worth photographing.


We then led Charlotte astray by taking her back to BrewDog, where she reciprocated by suggesting that Tim try making a stilton martini. Which is why you should never take advice on mixing drinks from a teetotaller.

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