Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

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Beggar's Fair
Romsey is all over Morris dancers today: I wonder if any of them is ladyofastolat? It's the annual Beggar's Fair, an ancient tradition stretching back to the early years of this millennium, when the streets shut and minstrels, saxophonists and line dancers take over. I've never been around for it before, so I'm pleased to have seen it. It felt strangely old-fashioned, for reasons I couldn't quite put my finger on at first - it reminded me more than anything of 1977 and the Silver Jubilee. Then I realised that of all the thousands of people I'd seen milling round, every one was white.

It makes a contrast with last weekend's St Paul's Carnival in Bristol, with its six stabbings (at least no one was killed this year, unlike 2011 and 2008). Before that, though, there was reggae, jerk chicken and curried goat galore, but of course being in the Gower I missed it. Shame.

I finally finished R.O.D. the TV. The most surprising things about the scenes set in London were:

a) despite the prominent place of the Westminster chimes in Japanese life and anime, when they showed the actual clock of the Westminster bell tower chiming it didn't use them! Instead it tolled out a rapid tocsin, quite unlike the real thing. I wonder if they wanted to avoid confusing people for whom the Westminster chimes mean that a lesson is about to start?

b) at one point the villain points to a few books indicative of British literary genius of the past. It consists of Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and... W. Somerset Maugham. Go figure.

I was due to be there, but had to cry off, due to illness. But if you saw a group of ladies in bright green dresses with red and yellow trim, that's the group I was supposed to be dancing with.

Indeed I did! I hope you're feeling better soon.

I have an American friend who teaches a course on The Short Story in an American University and Maugham is one of her writers. I think his reputation holds up better abroad than it does at home.

I find that kind of thing fascinating (cf. Anne of Green Gables in my last entry). It's always hard to know whether, say, Jerry Lewis being big in France or "Dinner for One" being a New Year ritual in Germany is the result of some deep national affinity of taste, or the impassioned advocacy of an individual, or just some random happenstance.

Edited at 2014-07-12 10:41 pm (UTC)

When I was in college I remember talking to a Japanese student who was there for a summer course. We asked her which English writers she liked, and she said, "I like very much Somerset Mogg-ham."

Well, there you go! A prophet without honour in his own land.

My biggest surprise was the major change in the geology and water underneath London. How did the chasm around the BM not become a moat?

That's a good question! There were probably one or two other anomalous things more noteworthy than the ones I've mentioned: the fact that London had reverted to the nineteenth century and was being traversed by War of the Worlds tripods, for example. But I had a particular interest in the chimes.

Just as I had in the BL/BM building (it will always be the BL for me, despite St Pancras - I love the new building, but I spent so very many hours in the old one, reading medieval mss.)

My sister-in-law has a room in the house next door to the BM on Great Russell St. She and some friends started renting it from the museum in the early '70s and have been there ever since - in fact I stayed there about three weeks ago - so my first thought on seeing that chasm was, 'Poor Corinne!'

Despite the chasm, that would be a great place to live. And this means I passed your sister-in-law most days I was in London in the mid-80s (first doctorate - did much BL manuscript work) when I lived on Mecklenburgh Square (the student residences there).

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