In Bloom at The Huntington

I just returned to Brighton from a whirlwind visit home in Southern California. While I barely survived the summer heat, I made time to explore new places (yes even in my own home), which included a first-time trip to The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. It was a perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon.

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Located in San Marino, a tiny suburb south of Pasadena, The Huntington displays diverse gardens with a wide range of international and domestic flora.

A friend and myself walked through desert gardens, greenhouses, a Japanese garden, Chinese garden and a rose garden — all the while melting in 90℉/32℃ heat. I was dripping with sweat but it was lovely to see koi ponds, sit beneath trees for a quick shady respite from the sun, and smell the sweet scent of roses.

Through the gardens there are also cafes and restaurants, and the elegant Rose Garden Tea Room, where reservations are recommended.

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At the end of the day I went into the library galleries and spent the remaining time reading my way through the permanent exhibitions: “Remarkable Works, Remarkable Times,” and “Beautiful Science: Ideas that Changed the World.”

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Overall it was a lovely afternoon well spent and I will definitely have to go back to enjoy the tea room.

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Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is currently home to the Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains, a complete assault to your audial and visual senses. From now until 1 October 2017, you can experience this unique exhibition, which was curated to commemorate the band’s 50 years since they released their first single.

The V&A states:

The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains experience will be a spectacular and unparalleled audio-visual journey through Pink Floyd’s unique and extraordinary worlds; chronicling the music, design, and staging of the band, from their debut in the 1960s through to the present day.”

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I had the immense pleasure of visiting Their Mortal Remains on 31 May, and it was well worth it. I practically threw myself down the rabbit hole and Interstellar Overdrive was the song of choice. Headphones are a necessary part of this experience as they play Pink Floyd music while you’re walking through rooms, and they even sense when screens are showing interviews.

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Letter from Syd Barrett to his girlfriend, Jenny Spires.

From one room to another, I was continuously met with psychedelic concert props, album artwork, instruments band members used, and overall, the remnants that make up the history of Pink Floyd. It felt as if for just a moment I took an eerie journey through time and through music, and came out completely reborn. That’s how powerful this exhibition is. I could also be biased because I’m a huge Pink Floyd fan.

There is even an interactive portion where visitors can play with sound mixing to “Money.” You can rid yourself of vocals, emphasise the bass, or the guitar, or whatever your musical heart desires.

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When all is laid out in front of you: letters, lyrics, musings, etc. you are privy to the utter genius that is Pink Floyd. The last room is a virtual concert where you take your headphones off, and just sit back and watch the High Hopes music video and a live version of Comfortably Numb.

And so the exhibition entails what its title suggests: the remains of a great band’s past, experiences etched in memory through numerous interviews, and the artistry of the music itself. I was left wanting more by the time I exited the exhibition and that’s the way it should end. So if you are visiting London this summer, please do yourself a favour and buy a ticket to Their Mortal Remains here.