We had a very cool visitor at Queen Square last week, Professor Ed Laws (photo) from Brigham’s and Womens Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston who gave the second annual Sir Victor Horsley lecture on “The History of Cushing’s Disease and its current Management”. A bit earlier I had a chat with Ed and took a super nice interview for the Department’s Quarterly Newsletter.
After his lecture Professor Laws pulled a chair (photo) and discussed with our neurosurgery trainees only issues around education, training and the future of neurosurgery. Looking at and listening to the past president of The American Association of Neurological Surgeons, The World Federation of Neurological Surgeons, The American College of Surgeons and the first surgeon to exceed 5,000 pituitary operations siting on his chair, with his humble manners and his kind heart was a very strong humility lessons!
Later that evening we took Professor and his wife Peggy along with our trainees and a bunch of Consultant colleagues to Cigala, a fashionable Spanish restaurant at Lamb Conduit Street where we were mingling munching tapas and sampling young Rioja.
Ed and Peggy left for Oxford the next day. I suggested to them to have a pint at “The Eagle and the Child” where Tolkien used to drink and … imagine Hobbits, Wizards and the dark heroes that later appeared in his “The Lord of the Rings”. For Saturday dinner I suggested “The Trout”, a seventeenth century pub in Wolvercote (photo) standing in front of a fabulous waterfall, built with stones. Inside you are blown by a mix of dark red walls, old portraits and antiques and the smell of burned wood coming from its many fireplaces. Lewis Carol used to frequent the place while writing “Alice in Wonderland”.
Professor Laws visited the Victoria and Albert museum (http://www.vam.ac.uk) but just missed the start of Gauguin’s exhibition (photo) of 100 paintings at Tate modern
(http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/exhibitions/gauguin). I don’t believe he was heartbroken for missing the “London Fashion Week” a few days earlier (http://www.londonfashionweek.co.uk) although a bit of London was immersed in design and extreme style. “Beauty will save the world” Dostoyevsky wrote once.
You can find beauty in operating theatres looking at the human brain (blows my mind every single time!), on catwalks glancing stylised models or in Gauguin’s post-impressionist paintings which influenced Picasso. I suppose, depends where you look for it. Iliad is the poem of all poems and Homer is the poet of all poets. History wants Homer blind, perhaps to remind us that true beauty lies inside. Who knows!