The sketching day from the previous post actually began on the South Bank, the very crowded South Bank, full of half-termers, tourists and sidewalk entertainers (did I just say ‘sidewalk’? You know technically that makes me a tourist now, you know). Before the London Eye, nobody could care less about the South Bank, other than a place to come and have a quick snap of parliament, and its clocktower.
I used to come down on Saturdays when I was in my teens and draw this very view; most of the people down there in those days were homeless. I remember thinking, of Hungerford Bridge, why it was so stupid there was a shaky walkway on the east side (looking towards waterloo bridge) but not the west (looking towards parliament). Nowadays with those two spectacular modern bridges either side of the railway, you can get great views from wherever (plus the bridges now make that old one look like the rope bridge from Temple of Doom). I sketched the extravagant Whitehall Court from the west bridge, as rain clouds drew in.
The funny feeling I got that day, looking out across the Thames, was that I was not really there, that I was looking though a window upon something very familiar, that it was a bit like a dream and soon I’d have to wake up and go to work. I used to cross Westminster Bridge six or more times a day, on the top of a tour bus, with microphone and rain jacket, my routine well-rehearsed, and now here I was, a tourist in my own back-yard. Well, a tourist with a sketchbook.