22 May 2009

Wild about free exhibitions

London's full of excellent free stuff, and usually the best way to enjoy it is by bike. One of our favourite freebies at the moment is Wild Poland, an outdoor exhibition of fabulous wildlife photos along the riverside at Gabriel's Wharf (between the South Bank and the Oxo Tower). Any exhibition you can cycle through is worth a detour and you can go at any hour of day or night (as I did early this morning on the way into work). It's on until 7 June.

A few yards downriver in said Oxo Tower is the the.gallery, which runs free exhibs too. The current one (until 31 May) features classic 1970s rock album covers by Pink Floyd et al - yes, including the 'burning man handshake' on Wish You Were Here and the prism on Dark Side of the Moon. Much of it, frankly, looks a bit lame and airbrushed now we all know someone who can Photoshop the boss's head seamlessly onto a picture of Michelangelo's David in their coffee break; Genesis's Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is one of the few that holds its own.

No bikes in this exhibition, though. You'll have to lock up just outside, and neither is there a mention inside of Pink Floyd's whimsical Syd Barrett song Bike. A recluse in his later years, Barrett was nevertheless a Real Cyclist: both the bicycle of his song, and his own bike, had a basket and bell, and - like many in Cambridge, England's cyclingest city - he had no need for a helmet. But then it could be pointed out that Syd had never taken much care of his head's contents.

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