Sunday, 1 May 2011

London's New Seaside!

We may be fifty miles or so from the sea, but that is too far for the good people of London. And seeing that most British beaches are, to be frank, awful, a brand new piece of sand has been recreated smack bang in the middle of London. With real sand. Real, sand...



Goodness knows how they keep it in place with all the wind that flies about. That is probably why this is not a permanent exhibition, which is a bit of a shame, as I think it is loads of fun to have real sand by...the sea?

Alongside the beach, there are also lots of other seaside bits and bobs dotted around the place, to give the impression and feel of an old fashioned British seaside from the 1950's. For example, there are banners with well known food stuffs (for us Brits anyway) such as '99', 'Raspberry Ripple' and 'Fish and Chips'. Also there are phrases in slang usage such as 'Tan Lines' or unique beach like activities such as 'Sand Castles dotted around the South Bank. And of course, there are old fashioned Fish and Chip vans on the south bank itself! Oh yes, that van in the picture is incredibly well preserved and very old!



Part of the reason for the 1950's theme is the 60th anniversary of the South Bank Centre. For the past sixty years, the South Bank has been one of London's most important cultural hubs, and the beach exhibition is part of that celebration, hankering back to a Britain that is long gone. Like many things in these exhibitions, it is wonderfully nostalgic. The reality is that Britain was a washed up mess, recovering from WWII, still with rations on many provisions and disentangling itself from its messy empire.

And other than the social commentary, I will be back along the South Bank this week to catch more of a glimpse of this great treasure trove of culture...

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