The Best, and Worst, Thing about Living in London

It’s been circling around in my head for what seems like weeks, how to write about the opening of Tate Modern’s new building. Circling spiralling thoughts of how to write in a way that is concise, intellectual, factual. So much so, ironically, I’ve left it too late to discuss it as ‘new’ at all.

Today I realised: it doesn’t matter.

I realised this wearing my new hat. To me, this new hat is a highlight of an otherwise monotonous tube commute. What is a highlight to me, no one else glanced at.

The best, and worst, thing about living in London is that no one cares. Every person and every community is so wonderfully diverse and interesting and cool that you can do almost anything and barely stand out.

While that may seem intimidating, perhaps even depressing, it’s also incredibly, incredibly relieving.

It doesn’t matter that I know nothing about art, or art galleries, or architecture. There’s another million blogs that discuss that. There’s another million readers that read that. So I guess I can write whatever I want, wearing my new hat, and no one really cares. In the best possible way.

So, here’s the unintellectual, barely factual, most certainly not concise, thoughts about the new Tate Modern building. The view. There’s nothing I could type that can’t be said by looking at these photos. In terms of visitor figures, tourism, etc, the view will be a stand out addition to the gallery. To draw in crowds, what more could you need than these beautiful views. I’m sure the art snobs amongst us are cringing at the thought: commoners, coming into the exquisite Tate for something as simplistic as a view. But, Tate’s gotta pay the bills. That said, of course the extension has more to offer than the views. Of course it does. But that’s where it gets a big stickier for me. I wish this could read as some Guardian worthy think piece analysis, but it won’t. What does stand out is the atmosphere, the new building feels more accessible, more open, more light, less elitist, more democratic. Maybe I felt this with rose tinted glasses, embracing the crowds who were there for opening weekend that maybe aren’t the regular demographic. But I sincerely hope not. I hope the views draw diverse audiences, new audiences, and then it’s Tate’s job to have something to keep them there once they’ve left the tenth floor.


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