A tale of two cities.

Two very contrasting events in the last 15 hours. An invitation to the opening evening of the Turner/Monet/Twombly exhibition at the Tate in Liverpool and then up early to watch the Olympic torch  as it passed through our city.

Once in a lifetime events. The first was quiet and respectful,  a chance to enjoy seeing so many fabulous pieces of art work. Several plot bunnies appeared, and I  saw something that clarified where one of my current stories  should be heading!

What was really interesting was being able to study the paintings with an expert by my side and being able to discuss how writers are like artists. We both mature and develop, and our earlier work seems unformed and ‘raw’.  Looking at Turner’s earlier paintings, you can see how ‘deformed’ his figures are, how he struggled with solid shapes, but, even in those earlier works, there are hints of the wonderful work that he was going to produce later on in life; the misty backgrounds, the subdued light and the layers of paint that masked the ‘hard’ shapes.

Beautiful work.  Images that will remain in my mind for a very long time.

The Olympic torch was very different.  A huge razzamatazz, police outriders, coaches, and more police and MORE police, lights flashing, sirens blaring. Half an hour of building excitement and expectations. Unicyclists,  music, sponsors in huge slow moving pantechnicons… all building up to that one moment. Coaches with blacked out windows, coaches with support teams, security teams, and even more police outriders, laughing and waving to the crowds.   Flags, ribbons, excited children.

Once in a lifetime.

Then . The  torchbearer ran past and was gone.

There was a moment of almost stunned silence. We had somehow expected far more.  Not just a lone woman in a white tracksuit carrying a rather small cone with a flame at the top.

She ran past. We didn’t even cheer, it was so…. unremarkable. The road re-opened instantly and we walked back to our car.

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