One of Those Days in England travel blog

British Museum

Orwell griped about his job here

Keats ode money here


Also Highgate

You know this guy

I figured out why I have the aches and fatigue. Woke with a cold. As I write this there is an hour long show on tv about the Black Death killing half of London. It's not half as racist as it sounds.

I took my sick ass down to the British Museum. Spent time in the Enlightenment room. This was the origin of the museum. They piled all this junk they had together and said what do we have here. Fossils, Greek vases, roman coins drawings of flowers. They just started sorting. What do things have in common? In the 1700s there's a rebirth of critical analysis that won't make sense until the early 1940s when the Americans turn it into an atomic bomb. More time with the stolen Greek sculptures and tons or as these people say tonnes of Egyptian dead guys. I ran some laps around the museum so I could say "my how time flies."

I then took my sickness over to the palace theater to see the worlds longest play. Harry Potter and When Will This Cursed Play be Over. Started at 2 ended at 10:30. 2 hour break for dinner and free psychological exams. This first hour was all over the place and being sick I fell asleep a couple of times. Once it gets its rhythm it's quite good. Great special effects. There's a bunch of time travel and the whole stage does that wavy time travel effect. Basically the play is about how Harry uses his powers to fish money out of suckers' wallets. Mostly he's a pick pocket at the beginning but over time he learns it's more profitable to exploit the ongoing Infinitilism of millennials.

Dinner was at a Chinese food joint in Chinatown. Not bad. Many unknown things and questionable choices. I celebrated a birthday during the second half. I left the theater not sure if the underground was working. It was. Got back, exhausted but proud that I had made hundreds of Harry Potter fans sick.

Woke today and took the tube to Belsize place. This took forever as there was signal problems at Euston square. It added 45 minutes to the journey. Luckily I got to watch a Spanish woman entertain her 2 and 3 year olds loudly. At one point she showed them a movie of their birth on her cell phone. The screaming from the phone and the horrified reactions from the offspring were so loud even the dad had to say keep it down. I assume based on hand gestures that's what he said.

I finally got out at Belsize. First stop a coffee shop that used to be where George Orwell worked. He wrote about it in Keep the Apidistras Flying. It was a book shop then and he was slightly funnier. Around the corner is John Keats ' house. In the tree out front he saw a nightingale and wrote Ode on Grecian Urn. I met the cat currently living there. He's a little high strung. Though they don't seem to have the nightingale problem that existed in the 1800s.

Around the corner is hampstead Heath. A big park with great views of the city. It's the highest part of the city. I met some dogs. I walked up the hill on the other side of the park to Highgate cemetery. Old and overgrown. It's very atmospheric. In Dracula Lucy is supposed to be buried in highgate cemetety. She snatches kids off the hampstead heath and takes them to her crypt. I've been trying to get into the west cemetery since the mid 90s. I finally got the your today. Egyptian avenue, the cedar of Lebanon. The catacombs. The bricks have fallen out of much of the catacombs so you could see the 130 year old wooden caskets inside. There are apparently bats in the crypts and allegedly monster out spiders. According to the guide he said scientists studying the bats found these rare spiders the size of your hand. Luckily they hate the light.

I checked out the graves of Douglas Adams, Karl Marx and George Elliot. I walked down the hill towards the archway underground entrance.

Along the way I found the Dick Whittington stone. He worked for a merchant. Tradition had it that the employees invested something in the ships going out. Dick, whose middle name was Fore, had no money but did have a cat. He gave the cap'n the cat and went back to work. One day he got so tired of doing whatever he did back in the 1200s because there was only so much sweeping you could do. Besides he always dreamed of being a groom of the stool. He figured he'd quit this racket and headed down the hill where the stone stands and there he heard a bell. Figuring he'd lost his mind he returned to work and explained it was just a long lunch hour, you know doctors appointment, couldn't be helped. Anyway the ship had come back and the cap'n told Dick that the king of Barbary had a big mouse problem, the cat took care of it and the king had given them more money for the dust than they made for the whole cargo. Dick said you can't expect me to believe that this potentate dome how runs a country but doesn't know about cats, also how likely is it that you sold my cat and are now gonna give me all the loot. Hang on, you sold my cat to Muslim? What the hell is wrong with you. The merchant beat his employee to death and kept all the money to himself.

There's like 5 hours of Russia on BBC 4 tonight. It really is every night. Tonight culminates with Russia 1917: Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky. Hey it's Narrated by Christiane Amanpour. One thing CNN and BBC can agree on.

I took the tube to Leicester square. I walked to the National Gallery and looked at the paintings. Some new ones. An exhibit called Leonardo, Michelangelo and Rapheal which was just the National gallery's paintings by those guys put in one room. The van eyck exhibit, which I paid to get into, only had 2 van eycks in it and they were both from the National gallery. The best part of that was the movie which showed the influence van eyck's andolphini portrait's effect on the preraphealites. I don't like the preraphealites much.

I went next door to the National Portrait Gallery. They stay open late for some drunk thing on Thursdays. I spent some time looking at the portraits of , you guessed it, Henry VIII. I walked aimlessly about the museum. The tudors, the Stuarts, lots of George III. They were having lectures associated with Thursday drinks. The first was about a painting that was a relatively recent copy of an ugly woman. Nope it's a dude in dress. The original printing was painted in the Mid 1800s. Downstairs I had ignored the big pink brochures with the word "queer" on it. It was now dawning on me that there might be something going on here that I hadn't noodled through. After the lecture culminated with aspersions toward the people of the early 1800s for not being more trans sensitive there was a woman playing the banjolele and singing about gender confusion. I passed a drawing session with a nude man and a lecture where they were trying to imagine what the famous portraits would look like if painted by homosexuals.

I go to the KFC and get a double down which in the US caused thirteen attorneys general to try to outlaw this criminal assault on genteel cuisine.

I went back to the Exhibitionist hotel. The hotel is next to Lycee de Charles deGaulle. Little girls maybe 8 years old stand outside smoking. They flick butts at me as I walk by.

Orwell was an optimist.

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