Headless Statues and Elton John’s Piano: Seeing Sights in London (Thoughts from Places)

by on February 5, 2013

In which John discusses his first 24 hours in London including: interviews with the BBC, playing Elton John's piano, jetlag, improbable weather, Steven Gerrard's signature, the British Museum, the Rosetta Stone, many headless statues of women, YA book covers, Egyptian relics, statues, nonexistent stone artwork, the Globe theater, the Tower Bridge, and many other sites of London.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucy February 5, 2013 at 4:38 pm

It didn’t feel real, John. It just didn’t.

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Dave February 5, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Seeing the Steven Gerrard signed shirt didn’t feel real. GIVE IT TO ME FOR CONFIRMATION IT IS REAL.

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Lauren February 5, 2013 at 10:19 pm

I think it’s best to see sites. YOu get more of the actual feel of the place, like an original feel from just seeing something from someone else’s eyes.

-p.a.m.

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Becky February 6, 2013 at 11:55 am

The difference between really seeing Tower Bridge and virtually experiencing Tower Bridge is that the virtual experience does not require you to freeze your buttocks off.

Also, I’m (figuratively) gutted that I didn’t know you were in London!

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Alison February 6, 2013 at 1:47 pm

It felt real! No, really, the whole time I was in Europe I was considering how everything I saw was pretty much as I expected it to be. It looked like the pictures! When my mum travelled in the 60s, she was surprised by everything. I was surprised by almost nothing.

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Heather February 6, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I think it depends on whether you’re talking about a specific attraction (i.e., a piece of art) or a city itself. I could do without seeing most pieces of visual art in person, in original form, but to truly get the feel of a city, I think you need to be there and to experience the people. I also wonder if it matters whether the sight in question is man-made or natural. I don’t feel like I need to see a painting or a sculpture in person, but I can’t imagine not actually seeing the ocean or Niagra Falls.

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Richard February 8, 2013 at 4:44 am

I feel the same when I am in the USA, its a little like being in a tv show for us British, just a bit unreal. But I do love it!

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Liza February 11, 2013 at 3:24 am

I’d say it depends. For instance, my collection of Monet stickers–yep. I have Monet stickers. I can sense your jealousy from here–basically work for me as well as seeing the real thing. Better, really, because I can keep them in my pocket, and when I considered doing that with “Water Lilies” the security guard started looking askance at me.

But that is an actual *thing*. Things can be photographed and it is more or less the same. Places, though, like the Tower Bridge–they have a presence, an aura, sense memories that can only be awakened by the crowd and the ever-present London rain and sunlight that is weak as the lemonade at a sixth-grade cotillion. I speak from experience (both of Tower Bridge and of the tragic quality of pre-debutante lemonade).

So, my vote is that virtual experiences are fine for artistic works, but a place cannot properly be experienced through technology. That said, I still loved seeing London on your videos! Virtual experience is better than none at all : )

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Sue Robinson February 11, 2013 at 9:14 pm

I agree with Liza that virtual experience is better than none at all. That said, a REAL travel experience means that I am on VACATION, and therefore, not at work. So the real experience is definitely better. wouldn’t you say?

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Cathrine February 18, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Loved this :-)

stopped by to thank you for TFioS :-)
loved it deeply :-)

followed it up with Calvino’s If on a Winter’s night a traveller. Which has sections about:

““Don’t ask where the rest of this book is!” It is a shrill cry that comes from an undefined spot among the shelves. “All books continue in the beyond…” …”

;-) perfection.
Love and gratitude to you from Cathrine in Norway.

What I saw in London:
http://cathrinenorway.blogspot.no/2010/09/this-is-what-i-saw-when-i-looked-around.html

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Motel Discount (Hotels_Discount) in Twitting June 26, 2013 at 1:12 pm

You could certainly see your skills within the work you write.
The arena hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe.

Always go after your heart.

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