Keep warm in the Barbican’s secret conservatory

Bird of Paradise Flower, Barbican ConservatoryThe weather has finally turned against us with temperatures in single figures. Suddenly staying in begins to seem like a good idea. But not staying home – what you need is somewhere in central London that’s warm where you can wander round looking at the flowers just as though it was still summer. You need the Barbican conservatory. Continue reading

Yellow water iris – East and West London battle it out

Yellow water iris
The yellow water iris (Iris pseudacorus) is in flower at the moment. I’ve come across it in two very different places in the past week – the Barbican Centre in the east of London and the Italian Gardens in Kensington Gardens in the west. The two locations offer an interesting contrast in style – formal versus lush, modern versus traditional, concrete versus greenery. Which would you go for? Continue reading

Magnificent Obsessions at the Barbican

Magnificent ObsessionsMagnificent Obsessions, the new exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery, turns our usual idea of the relationship of artist and collector on its head. Normally, artists produce art and collectors collect it. But what do artists themselves collect? A very varied range of things is the answer, as the Barbican sets out to show us. Continue reading

A rare chance to hear music from Japan in London

Geisha playing musical instruments - Utagawa Kunihisa hanging scrollIf you’re interested in Japanese music, I’ve got some good news for you. The BBC Symphony Orchestra is doing a Sounds from Japan week, including a concert of traditional music from Japan on 31st January and a whole day (2nd February) at the Barbican devoted to the music of Japanese composers, featuring Toru Takemitsu. Don’t know Toru Takemitsu? Continue reading