Saturday, 31 March 2012


Back in 1997 I stared at the telly in my far-flung colonial outpost in total disbelief, gawking at the mournful British public in shock, planting a sea of flowers outside Kensington Palace gates and  grieving over the death of their sad, lonely (and reputedly crazy) Queen of Hearts. I've been lucky enough to live very close to the Palace since then and have this year managed to worm my way into their volunteer workforce.

One of the advantages of this kind of gig is the free access to the impressive exhibitions, lectures and  'infotainment' these kinds of historical institutions are renowned for. After several months refurbishment, the Palace reopened in a blaze of glory on 29th March and no stone has been left unturned in terms of luxurious thick carpets underfoot, moodily ambient lighting and atmospheric exhibits which totally contemporise the modern 'palace-going experience'. 

Much as I love the traditional National Trust-style visit to an historic residence, Kensington Palace has truly created a unique selling point with what they call an 'experience' - a completely curated environment themed around elements of HRH Victoria's life. Unabashed disgruntlement at the lack of traditional museum labels, bright lighting and glass cabinet exhibits from a certain contingent was a refreshing testament to the success of the Palace's post modern re-imagining and its attempt to remain innovative and engaging to a broader cross-section of audiences.

Artist Julie Verhoeven has created a bespoke wallpaper (below) illustrating the many glamorous guises of the Queen of Hearts in a quirky, watercolour treatment so kitsch it seemed to reference Japanese anime. The Diana 'room' also included an 80s Versace dress the lady herself had worn, its very texture, fabric and dimensions seemingly larger than life when experienced 'in the flesh' after witnessing such a multitude of 2D images over the years courtesy of the world's gutter press.

The liberal use of silhouetting, light projection and individually hand-crafted installations all combined with the classic motifs of Albion history such as seafaring to create a truly magical atmosphere within the palace walls and enable the history of the rooms to come to life. After all...the cat can look at the Queen can't she?



    The link is to Dusty, 'you don't have to say...'.

    I did not know that she personally asked that it be translated from the original Italian version, 'lo che non vivo'.

    Elvis later sang it, but nobody sang it like Dusty did. You are right, Elvis did not sing every song well, and not much is written about his slide after Prescilla left him.

    They say Dusty was 'bio', but she only alluded to that in ambiguous sensual musings, articulated humanly and tastefully, in her time. I feel she was 'classy' in the way she expressed sensitive aspects of her life.

    So, I do not know what she would have said about that 'organ' protruding, in one of your photos (drawings). Oh, my Lord! Although she was around longer than Elvis, most people feel that she left abruptly.

    The link above is to her 1979 Royal Albert Hall Concert in 1979. One can feel the pain in her voice and body language, with a little mellower rendition compared to the original hit. I like this version better.

    I checked it out, and Rolling Stone magazine put her 'Dusty in Memphis' album on a list of the best of all time. Quite a feat!

    I hope you like the song. There is only one Dusty !

    - Ivan D.

  2. Right hahaha...I think Son of A Preacher Man was always my stand out Dusty track ;P

    She also lived not far from Kensington Palace, just the other side of Notting Hill Gate in Aubrey Walk, they gave her a blue plaque in 2001...check out the link below.