So this weekend I got to join in with excited small children going on An Expedition to the Science Museum. And I won't romanticize childhood, definitely part of the experience was that getting large groups including young children of the house on time to catch a morning train is stressful, and that was somewhat recapitulated. But yay being around people who aren't embarrassed to be really really excited about going on trips.
By the time we actually made it to London it was lunchtime, so we stopped off at Diwana Bhel Poori to enjoy their wonderful vegetarian buffet, which always transports me back to when I was broke student and it was one of the very few places selling actually nice food within my budget. And I got to pass on ewt's recommendation of the Kashmiri Falooda rose milkshakes.
Big London museums are inevitably very crowded on Saturdays at the start of half term, and the Science Museum had run out of cloakroom space, meaning that we had to carry our bags and coats around. And I'd dressed for the late autumn weather not for being indoors in a crowded museum, so I was a bit overheated. But I got to be little kid running around pressing all the buttons and playing with the interactive displays, and older kid being really excited to learn about spaaaaaaace, and adult having interesting conversations about history and the curatorial choices, all at once. I never had the experience of trying to engage with a museum as a pre-literate child; museums abroad where I don't speak the language, yes, but I've generally approached those as an adult tourist, which is different.
The purpose of the trip was to see the Cosmonauts exhibition. Many thanks to fivemack for alerting us to it and helping to organize; it's a seriously amazing exhibition. It has actual artefacts as well as models, like Tereshkova's actual capsule. And it really centres Russian space history, with very minimal comparison to the American space programme except where the space race and interactions are directly relevant to the Russian story. Even when I was the age for space geekery, I was always somewhat more into DNA and genetics than space, but it's still awesomely exciting. But going round with Judith who's a proper space geek made the experience that much more enjoyable! And just awe-inspiring, to see some of the actual human manufactured objects that took pilots into space. Plus the space dogs, course; it happens I'd just seen a Tumblr post via pitchercries about Belka & Strelka.
We were all a bit too tired and overheated to really get much out of the permanent collections after that, but we at least glanced at the steam engines, which are always wonderful to return to, and poked around in the materials gallery, which I'd definitely enjoy if I had more brain for it. fivemack added to his brilliance in organizing the trip by finding us a good crêperie within a stone's throw of the museum, so we had restorative pancakes with fruit and icecream, and lots of tea.
Then ghoti and fivemack went back to Cambridge with the children, and cjwatson and I time-travelled back to the 90s, heading to doseybat's flat to get thoroughly gothed up for Shenanigans, a dear little independent alternative club night off Caledonian Road. It was a good excuse to wear my silver short at the front goth dress I bought in Leipzig, and I plaited black ribbons into cjwatson's hair and doseybat painted swirly black body-paint trees all over pyrokaren.
And the club itself was such a blast from the past, wow. It was Halloween themed alternative, formally, not officially a goth night, so there were lots of people doing horror-themed cosplay but plenty of more traditional goths as well. So many excellent corsets and generally pretty people. And clearly most of them our age reliving their youth; I ran into lots of people from my own history, including taimatsu in a completely stunning costume as zombie Red Queen, and my literal oldest friend jacquic whom I had a crush on when we were a bit under four and five, and ruthi (who also wrote about the night). The venue was just the right size for the crowd, so that the dancefloor was always full but never crowded, and it's a sort of converted upstairs bit of a pub, so it had a couple of chill-out rooms as well as the main dance floor on the top level. And just a wonderful happy energy; it was the swan song of this particular night and everybody was just trying to have the most fun possible. And the DJs were being very silly and playing increasingly unlikely songs, from disco classics to Elvis. They ended the night with the Macarena, the Time Warp and Queen's The final countdown... But some actual goth stuff too, and really nobody cared, it was just all about the bouncing and having fun with friends.
They closed the club at 2 am, at which point the clocks went back and I was half-expecting an extra bonus hour, but I think the club weren't willing to risk their entertainment licence on a technicality, so they threw us out at 1 am GMT. And then we got the nightbus back to doseybat's, which was as slow as nightbuses always are, and then we stayed up for another hour chatting and eating midnight snacks, because we had regressed to our most foolish and short-termist teenage selves. And then we crashed on an inflatable mattress on Bat's sitting room floor, in fact far more comfortable than real teenager bedding.
I am in fact 37, not 17 and by yesterday I was feeling pretty ancient, sleep-deprived and achey and creaky after all that bouncing and then sleeping for about five hours on a mattress. But hey, it was totally worth it! We consumed a lot of caffeine and chatted more; it was lovely to have a chance for cjwatson to get to know doseybat and pplfichi and for us to meet pyrokaren, who's visiting from California. And for me and doseybat to carry on our twenty-year conversation and to talk shop as we do, we're eachother's main early career researcher network apart from being longstanding close friends. We managed to get out of the house for late lunch / brillig at the ever-wonderful Joy King Lau, joined by jack. And after the restaurant switched to the evening sitting, we moved on to a little Japanese café to have exciting desserts made out of matcha tea and red beans and all kinds of gelatinous things.
So yes, weekends with lots and lots and lots of time with lovely people, and space and dressing up and dancing and tasty Asian food lead to a very happy (if very shattered) Liv.
I prefer comments at Dreamwidth. There are currently comments there. You can use your LJ address as an OpenID, or just write your name.