The V&A was marvellous, particularly the random collection of one-for-one plaster copies of stuff like Michaelangelo's David, and that other one, and big pillars and stuff, all piled up like the lair of a successful supervillain. I got told off for touching some iron shutters (to be fair, I had misread a sign which said more information was behind, and thought it meant behind the shutters, and heaved and heaved and heaved only to realize a) they were wired shut b) the sign meant there was more info on the wall behind me and c) I had displeased a man. He was miles away too. Most alert. I managed to saunter past him with an insouciant sort of 'yes yes, I am a prince here on a visit and will forgive you your little misunderstanding'. I wish we still had small denominations of paper money, as I would have like to have tucked a pound note into his top pocket with a wink, but I only had a twenty-pound note or four pence in change, so never mind).
There's a machine that lets you design a fabric, and then email the design to yourself. It looked better on the machine, but to be fair a party of London school-children wanted a go after me, and as they were armed with KNIVES AND CRACK VIALS, I rushed the end a bit. Still.
The Ros (as nobody has ever called them) made a most satisfactory noise. My only worry about Sigur Ros is that yer main chappie sings either in Icelandic, or in a made-up language called Hopelandish. Which means you don't have even a fighting chance of knowing what he's singing about. Staralfur, for example, which sounds like this*: i.e. a wondrous soaring heart-breaking slice of pure otherworldly joy. The lyrics are:
blá nótt yfir himininn
blá nótt yfir mér
horf-inn út um gluggann
minn með hendur
faldar undir kinn
hugsum daginn minn
í dag og í gær
blá náttfötin klæða mig í
beint upp í rúm
breiði mjúku sængina
ég fel hausinn minn undir sæng
starir á mig lítill álfur
hleypur að mér en hreyfist ekki
úr stað – sjálfur
teygi mig og tel (hvort ég sé ekki)
kominn aftur og alltalltílæ
samt vantar eitthvað
eins og alla vegginna
Their website does at least translate the song title as 'singing elf'**, which is sort of helpful. Anyway, I've been to Norway twice, and though it's not Iceland, it's sort of close, and I like Abba as well, so I think I've worked out the translation of the lyrics. And I have to say, I liked it more before, as it turns out to be actually rather prosaic:
ooh those bloody singing elves (actually 'staring elf')
never one around when you want one
then three come along at once
and you don't see white trollshit any more
what's all that about?
I ask you
my mum right, she leaves a candle out for the singing elves ('staring elves')
when she goes out
but this is wise, for my uncle bjorn, he once failed to leave a candle out for the singing elves ('staring elves') and their keening took on a sinister pitch which drove him to eat his own ears ('staring took on an increasingly Orianne-like narrowing quality which drove him to gouge his own eyes out with a sharpened puffin')
we eventually found him in the snow
those singing elves bringing to his face a curious mix of joy and hopeless fear (same)
so probably a good idea with the candles my mother is having
also, all our natural hot springs smell of egg
but that is due to the sulphur (which occurs naturally in the water)
a fact we all learn at a very young age
so fart jokes are considered the province of the very young and the mentally unsound
which is probably best.
Or something like that.
* Yes I've linked to that song before. And it's in The Life Aquatic, that end bit when they finally find the shark. I've got that bit of music from Ferris Bueller as well, when Cameron's staring at the Impressionist painting (is it a Monet?). I can put that up at some point (the song, not the Monet - the song's the Dream Academy cover of a Smith's song) if anyone wants. It made me happy to find it.
** Hang on, as has been pointed out, it's actually 'staring elf' - an easy mistake to make if your attitude to pretty much everything is 'oh well, that'll do'. However in my defence, Icelandic singing and staring are quite similar (they usually do both at the same time, because of trolls, which are hard to spot, but easily distracted by four-part harmonies). Alternative translation has now been added above. Sorry for any confusion.