I’m not sure it’s something I should go around shouting about but I’m certainly not ashamed of the fact that I prefer visiting the shop at most cultural institutions over whatever is going on inside them. Art galleries are all right but if touching the Jeff Koons at the Serpentine Gallery circa 2009 is such a problem then I will just go and and wait in the shop (note to Serpentine Gallery staff – EVERYBODY was touching them the WHOLE time). I’ve been to the Tate Modern a dozen times over the last year, couldn’t tell you who was showing in the galleries. I went to Sadler’s Wells last year to see some dancing, it was ok, whoever was dancing (Sylvie Guillem someone..;) I found it way more fun at the bar watching everyone hell bent on getting as much prosecco down their gullets pre, during & post performance than the show itself, THAT was a performance. It is well known to my friends that if we are meeting to go for a walk I like to have the Cream Tea before setting out because that is the main reason I have left the house and it might rain and the only motivation I have had to go to the the Frieze Art Fair six years in a row has been its cafe and book shop. The same goes for all of Paris.
There is a new play by Alan Bennett on at the National Theatre called ‘People’. I know this and I’m delighted that I do because the wonderful ‘people’ from the NT shop got in touch with me about stocking the Bridie Hall at Home scented candles and decoupage. When I went to visit last Friday I met Richard Woolley -the NT shop buyer, he explained how they are taking a departure from how the shop has been stocked up until now, with a book shop and merchandise of plays shown at the NT, to dedicating areas to a particular performance or writer and stocking it with items that have the feel of the pieces instead. I love this. In the area dedicated to War Horse there were plaid blankets, flasks and enamel mugs. Alan Bennett’s corner was not only dedicated to ‘People‘ but to what looked like his whole back catalogue. Lucky Richard said they got to raid the NT props department to set the mood for each area and the wares are choice. I didn’t leave empty handed…..
I bought this flask..
And this GOLD BAR notepad..
And these silly glasses with cartoon pictures of pole dancers on them as a house warming gift for a friend. You can just make them out on the shelf…
Here are a couple of other pictures of the shop. Please excuse them for being so terrible. I decided ages ago I only wanted to use my phone to take photo’s for the blog, they’ve never been great but at least it fits in my pocket, on the way to the theatre waiting at the bus stop I dropped my phone and it kind of smashed apart so the pictures are worse than usual. It did prompt me to buy a new compact little camera and I now have a new phone, so all is not lost, we might have better photo’s from now on.
I had a wonderful time at the National Theatre and am now dying to do a collaboration with them AND have booked tickets to go and see ‘People’ which I just realised I have forgotten to outline here but if you click on any link that says ‘People’ you’ll see all you need to on the National Theatre website.
Here are my candles on display! I forgot to take one of the decoupage on sale, I was too busy shopping and having a coffee with Richard.
And Ben’s book ‘English Decoration’ is for sale too (in the distance, on the coffee table). They really do know what they are doing at the National Theatre.