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{ town mouse } enter stage left…

Having visitors from out of town always helps you to see your city in a new light. Maybe you stumble across a restaurant in your neighbourhood that you never noticed until now, or a bookshop/museum/theatre you’d always meant to visit but never got round to.
The V&A museum is my favourite London museum. It’s a beautiful building, conveniently located a short bus ride from me and within spitting distance of a very good sushi place, what more could a girl want? I’m a member of the National Art Library which can be found on the 3rd floor and where you can sit at ancient wooden desks, worn smooth by years of eager academics & designers, lit by  yellowed reading lamps while you peruse 100 year old copies of Vogue, design manuals for furniture designers in the 1800s or the entire catalogues of famous photographers.
Well yesterday I visited the V&A with my out of towner and while we did head straight to the Jewellery gallery, which is one of the most amazing rooms on the planet and always my first port of call, we broke my habit of heading back down the stairs to the fashion rooms and wandered the galleries of the 3rd floor instead. Cases and cases of tiny intricate portraits painted on slivers of ivory, banks and banks of intricate hand woven lace and embroidered jungles looming over you from the walls of darkened rooms. And then all of a sudden, like we’d stepped through the changing room door in an episode of Mr Benn, we were in a gallery dedicated to stage & theatre. It was amazing!! Intricate stage costumes from theatre, opera and ballet. Head dresses, hats, shoes, masks, warriors outfits, ballerina’s tutus surrounded us. In one corner we came across Kylie’s dressing room from her last world tour. The whole dressing room. The flight cases, wardrobes, dressing table, mirror, chair, shoes, dresses, notes, lipsticks, water bottles, make up, teddy bears, beaten up uggs… it was all there, like she’d just stepped out of the room to go on stage. Genius.  I had no idea that any of this stuff was there. Don’t you just love museums?
We walked on through to be greeted by glass cases filled with models of set designs…
Ring Round the Moon – Designed by Oliver Messel, 1950
Miracle in the Gorbals – Designed by Edward Burra, 1944
Long Day’s Journey into Night – Designed by Michael Annal, 1971
Rusalka – Designed by Stefanos Lazaridis, 1983
Tiny worlds within worlds, with a level of attention to detail that’s a little intimidating. We wondered around these rooms for hours.
And then we had sushi.
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