Saturday, 25 September 2010

Culture Sandwich No.4: Charing Cross

Our new series for those who work in London – highlighting the nooks, corners and green spaces in which one can linger of a lunchbreak. Grab lunch and catch up on those familiar landmarks that you never seem to have the time to look at on your way to and from work in the company of our Saturday Girl Karen Pierce-Goulding, winner of the prestigious Blue Badge Guide of the Year award.



The Culture Bit

“One should either be a work of art… or wear a work of art.” Thus spake the ever-quotable Oscar Wilde. In Maggie Hambling’s rather stylish modern sculpture, old Oscar is effortlessly managing to live up to the first half of is own epithet.

Positioned opposite Charing Cross Station in Adelaide St WC2, this stylized likeness of the great Irish writer is perched atop a coffin-shaped piece of granite gives a double welcome. Firstly, theatregoers coming in to West End from the aforementioned mainline station are welcomed into Oscar’s old stamping ground. Secondly, the granite “coffin” provides the ideal place to perch and indulge in the title of the piece: “A Conversation with Oscar Wilde.”

We at the LW Blog are particularly fond of the way that Oscar’s barnet (that’s his hair, folks) swirls about his handsome face. This is often echoed by the cheroot that sometimes dangles from his elegant fingers – we say often because some naughty Londoners keep snapping the cigarette off. A crime not only against art but against Oscar himself, given his famous line: “I'm glad to hear you smoke. A man should always have an occupation of some kind. There are far too many idle men in London as it is.”

The statue was unveiled by writer and performer Stephen Fry in December 1998 – the 98th anniversary of the playwright’s death.

The Sandwich Bit

St Martin-in-the-Fields’ splendid CafĂ© in the Crypt is right next door. Hang out for a while with Oscar and then head for the best bargain soup-and-a-sandwich in all of London. Their website is HERE.


The London Walks Bit

The London of Oscar Wilde walk goes every Saturday morning.

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