Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Teaching in WCL summer comparative law program in London

So, we just spent a week in London, while I did my IBT teaching. “We” means my wife, daughter, and me. The hotel in London was on Trafalgar Square – you couldn’t come up with a more central place for theatre, bookstores, museums, etc. It was fabulous – we got half price tix for a couple of kid-friendly musicals – Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. And we also went and saw one serious theatre piece, Christopher Hampton’s adaptation of the Hungarian novel Embers, with Jeremy Irons. Serious drama, extraordinarily well-acted. We also went to one lovely concert – at St Martin’s at Trafalgar Square – the London Concertante, a string sextet, which performed the Souvenir de Florence and a Brahms number – they were also outstanding. All of this stuff was within a five minute walk from the hotel. It had been a very long time since I had been in the London museums, but this trip – it helps to have a straight week – we went to the Tate Modern and saw the Surrealists, went to the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery, and also went and saw the Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill museum.

My brother is a lawyer with an American law firm in London, where he does tax and private equity law. His wife is a rising young star in the world of independent film – her short film, Missing, was shown at Cannes, and she was awarded a Cannes writing fellowship, which she is currently doing in Paris – her husband travels weekends from London to Paris on the Eurostar to be with her. So we have family reasons to be in both London and Paris. In London, we spent a lot of time with my brother, when his schedule permitted, which my 13 year old daughter especially liked, as it gives her a chance to get away from her fuddy-duddy parents. But I also managed to catch up with Philip Bobbitt, who spends much of the year in London these days, and then my old and dear friend John Ryle, head of the Rift Valley Institute and now a hoighty toighty chair in anthropology at Bard College in New York, who hosted us all for dinner at his flat, despite the fact that he had just arrived back in London from Sudan, where he had contracted typhoid fever. (Not quite all of us – my brother John took daughter Renee out for a Saturday night going around to various London places with one of his tax partners – she came back at 2:00 am and felt so very, very grownup!)

The weather, I should add, has been unbelievable, so I’m told – blue skies, sunshine, temperatures up around 80 degrees, no rain or mist or anything else the whole week.