Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Pub Culture, More Than Meets the Eye

September 14th, 2009 · No Comments

While you walk down the streets of London you will see; fashionable people, a variety of restaurants, small and big businesses, tourist venues, and of course pubs. But where as in America we have bars, Pubs are much more distinct. When you walk into a pub, you are not just walking into a social venue for you pleasure, because it is so much more complex. When one enters a pub they experience and deep rooted part of London’s culture, and might even discover what historical figures have done the same.

Having been to a few pubs, over these past four weeks, I can tell you first hand that when one enters a pub, it is unlike any other experience. The type of people that you will encounter will range in age, class, and ethnicity/race, but will all be seeking the same thing as you, a drink, and a good time. Something small yet so significant in British culture pubs serve as a venue for people to come together and simply enjoy the company of friends while unwinding from the stressed of the day. Although I am not a huge fan of beers, ails, or any other hardcore alcoholic beverages I will say that I thoroughly enjoy pubs.

It isn’t so much that I like being able to drink legally (although I do enjoy this very much) but the fact that there is a place where you can just unwind and enjoy the time spent with friends, reflecting on the days past. The overall atmosphere of a pub is what really adds to the experience, in that once inside can only be described as “chilled.” Pubs, are understandably a huge part of British culture, a distinctively the Court is a big part of Dickinson student culture. I guess it’s one of those things that you will have to experience yourself.

Tags: Anthony

Identity would seem to be the garment…

September 14th, 2009 · 1 Comment

“Identity would seem to be the garment with which one covers the nakedness of the self, in which case, it is best that the garment be loose, a little like the robes of the desert, through which one’s nakedness can always be felt, and, sometimes, discerned.” – James Arthur Baldwin.

   We all identify ourselves whether it be through our gender, sexuality, nationality, race, economic status. Sometimes we make up our identity but often we feel pressured to identify with a certain group in order to feel a sense of security and comfort although having a certain identity does not always guarantee one comfort with the majority of the society. It has taken me a long time to gather my thoughts on identity because it seems that many “categories” of identity are superficial. Therefore, whenever I discuss identity, I try to focus on the individual. On individual’s “comprehension of him or herself as a discrete, separate entity.” As James Arthur Baldwin stated, identity is a garment that most of the the time covers the true individual. By our need to identify oneself we limit our being.

   Upon arriving to London, it seemed that most of the society identified themselves by simply their economic status. In a country where monarchy and class are in their prime, there seems to be a focus on whether one identifies as being in the higher, middle, or lower class. While being in London, we have been discussing the construction of identity for the individuals who have immigrated to England and the effect that migration has had not only on the first generation but on the second generation as well. We have read works such as White Teeth by Zadie Smith that explores the migration and adaptation to postcolonial Britain, where the identities of the characters are defined not only by their economical status but also by the color of their skin, their cultural beliefs, their religions, their upbringings. In White Teeth, the author decided to introduce a wide array of cultures present in North London and explore how they mixed in a country like England which is a country “with immigrants.” Englishman Archie Jones, the family from Bangladesh, the Iqbals, biracial Irie Jones who struggles with not only her identity, but her hair, Alsana Begum, the wife of Samad Iqbal, second generation brothers Millat and Magid who are expected to be unaffected by the Western culture are all part of this mix. Some of their challenges include keeping their traditions and religions as part of their identities. Yet again such task is very “superficial” where one assumes that religion and cultural traditions are not present if one is also adapting to their current country of residence. Second generation characters such as Millat, Magid, and Irie struggle between the expectations of their parents and the society with their own wishes and their own chosen identities. They were not able to wear “the loose garment” and shed their given identities due to their historical past whether it be their origin, national past, or family history.

   Irie Jones is introduced to us as a biracial teenager a daughter of the Englishman Archie Jones and Clara Jones, a former Jehovah’s Witness. Being a teenager and wanting to escape her given identity and fit in with the majority of the English society, she goes as far as straightening her hair but literary burning all of her curly hair off. Her need to limit her being by fitting into one category or the other causes her struggle. As readers we are exposed to Smith’s recollection of Irie, her obsession by the typical white family, her constant need for the separation from her parents, her need to look different in order to attract male attention. Alsana Begum, who was also married to Samad Iqbal, struggled by having the identity of a Bangladeshi wife. Although we as readers can see Alsana trying to break the barrier of being a quiet, submissive wife especially when it comes to making decisions regarding her twin sons, she is unable to break the barrier. She is reminded of her role, her identity by her friends, her husband, and her children. Alsana’s story is a great representation of what masculinity meant in postcolonial Britain where male superiority has existed for centuries, it is even more interesting that she was an immigrant whose own culture also places a focus on masculinity. Therefore, her struggle with her identity can not escape her. Neither Irie nor Alsana are aware of their separate entities of being individuals. They are so caught up in the identities given to them by their families that they forget to live. They forget to be themselves. Their identities are the opposite of being fluid, they are trapped.

   After trying to explore identity in White Teeth, I am still questioning identity. Is identity something that we ourselves choose or is it always the result of the society?

Tags: Jeyla

London Museums: The Art of Unapologetically Stealing Stuff

September 14th, 2009 · 3 Comments

After all of this time spent in museums in London, especially the British Museum, I find myself asking just one question: How are they still allowed to keep this kind of stuff? I mean, I can’t exactly speak for the Greek government, but I imagine that they would want the sculptures taken from likely the most important structure in Ancient Greek history back. Oh wait, Yes I Can. Despite the fact that England’s age of Imperialism is most certainly gone and past, it is peculiar and almost funny to see that certain citizens of Britain are still holding to the imperialist mentality decades after their actual country gave it up.

In 1801, the Earl of Elgin decided that in order to prevent pieces of the Parthenon from being burned to obtain lime, he was going to excavate pieces of the temple and its sculptures to put under his protection. The only problem is that in order to protect them, he took them out of the country and sold them to the British Museum. Masked under the cause of protecting cultural artifacts, it is apparent today that it was nothing more than a trophy to liberate from Greece and its people. In fact today the term elginism means the practice of plundering artifacts from their original setting. So why is it that despite Greece’s continuous calling for the return of these artifacts that are rightfully theirs, England seems reluctant to give them up?

The answer seems to lie with everyone’s favorite blog topic: identity. There are some opinions that state that as a center of world heritage, Parthenon sculptures are better off in the British Museum that in the actual Parthenon. This probably would have been a valid argument at around the time that the marbles were actually stolen, but is laughable today. Playing the role of cultural center of the world, British supporters insinuate that Greece is in some sort of corner of the planet that doesn’t see anyone other than its inhabitants. This is the 21st century. There are few people who live in Europe who cannot in a moment’s notice hop on a plane and be in Greece within a 24 hour period. The truth behind the matter is that there are those in Britain (mostly likely A.N. Wilson is one of them) that yearn for the time that their country moved and shook the very foundations of the planet with its actions, enabling to go into countries and plunder what they pleased. Instead, they live in a country whose capital city is kept afloat by the tourist dollars of the very people that they ruled not a few hundred years ago. Whether legal at the time or not, it is long overdue for the marbles to be returned and for some individuals to live in the present, regardless of whether they work in museums.

Tags: Paul

Colin Firth’s artwork makes me happy

September 14th, 2009 · No Comments

I can’t really say that today’s trip to the National Gallery was a highlight of my time in London.  As great as it is that the museum offers us a chance to view some of the world’s greatest paintings, it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea.  Personally I would have rather gone to the British Museum again.  Physical artifacts interest me much more than paintings.  Still, I won’ t pretend that I wasn’t moved by certain works of art.  They were few, but those paintings that did move me to some emotion other than vague interest I will always remember.

As one goes to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, one goes to the National Gallery to see the impressive collection of Monets and van Goghs, and of course the immortalizers of the English countryside, Constable and Gainsborough (though perhaps the collection at the Tate Britain is more complete for these two).  I’ll admit that upon entering I did make a beeline for van Gogh’s Sunflowers.  It has long been one of my favorite paintings and seeing it actually sitting on a wall in front of me was an exhilarating experience.  His technique is just so interesting.  It’s almost pointillism (for those of you familiar with painting technique, or Sunday in the Park with George).  The few pieces of da Vinci’s artwork made me feel small, almost unworthy to be looking at them (you have to understand, for me da Vinci is a god).

However, I think what made me the most happy about this museum was one painting: A Young Woman Standing at a Virginal by Johannes Vermeer.  Perhaps I simply love Colin Firth too much (plays the role of said artist in the movie version of Girl with a Pearl Earring.  watch it.  it’s fantastic) but there is just something about Vermeer’s paintings that makes me want to crawl inside the frame.  Perhaps it is the fact that all of them have virtually the same background (he painted them all in his attic studio), or perhaps it is his use of color and the play of light against the figures in his work.  Perhaps it is the simplicity of the scenes themselves, the normalcy of everything.  Whatever the case, his work inspires me to go home and pick up a paintbrush.  His figures just seem so real, like people the viewer has met before but can’t place.  This work of art is what made me look back on this trip as an enjoyable one.  It’s hard for me to describe just how much I love his work, so seeing it was amazing. 

According to the Pitmen Painters art is supposed to make us stand up and take notice.  It’s supposed to make us feel something, something indescribable that is unique to the person viewing it.  Though I didn’t feel that way about many of the paintings in the National Gallery, the few that did left me feeling winded.  I’m not sure I would go back again, but I will definitely remember the feelings I had when viewing those paintings for a long time to come.

Tags: Campbell

Unnaturally Natural

September 14th, 2009 · No Comments

There’s nothing I love more than to be outside on a beautiful day. Growing up on the James River has allowed me to venture down for a “nature walk” whenever I’m home. I’ve been spoiled in that sense. So coming to London, a city full of parks seemed like a happy medium to me. I could participate in the big city scene and still enjoy my beloved green spaces. However, some of the parks have been ‘disappointing’ in that fact that they are so unnatural. What I mean by that is the exact planning and placement of walkways, restaurants, water features, ect. Sure, it’s a great place to exercise and push a pram along a scenic pathway (complete with perfectly manicured lawns!), but it’s not what I am looking for in my ideal park.  I can appreciate the effort and money the city spends on these places. It’s a great place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of London and sit on a wooden bench to read your paper. But I find it incredibly strange that people are almost discouraged from sitting on the grass. Instead, deckchairs are available for hire from April to September. Another thing that really bothers me is the rule against ball games. The parks are great place for a pick-up 5 aside football (soccer) match… oh wait, you can’t play ball in most of these places. Why? I’m the kind of person who goes to open green spaces to relax. When I go to a park I want to be able to run free, lounge on the grass, play games, read and generally cut loose. I feel like I can’t do that here. I’m directing most of this rant towards St. James’s Park and Regent’s Park. Great flowers, too many rules.

I participated in the “Parks” tour group last Thursday and I absolutely loved Hyde Park. This 350-acre space in the heart of London still has most of the aspects I just discussed, but it has another side. In parts of this former royal hunting ground the grass uncut and long, the people walk off the path and you can even go swimming in the Lido. Maybe it’s just the sheer size of the grounds, but this park just “feels right” to me; this is how a park should be. I also noticed the large variety of wildlife at Hyde Park. Besides the normal flocks of pigeons, there were also surprising amounts of waterfowl living in the Long Water. The variety of activities was also impressive. One can do anything form tennis to horseback riding in this park! I hope I can go back for a little bit tomorrow after lunch and explore a bit more. Although I have some problems with a few of the Royal Parks, I cannot deny that they are a wonderful addition to the city. I am looking forward to the open air of Norwich… at least I can play some football there.

Tags: Grace

The final [museum] countdown

September 14th, 2009 · No Comments

After spending a month in London and visiting a plethora of museums, they all are beginning to blur together in my mind.  I have an easier time remembering specific pieces included in the museums that I loved rather than the overall museum itself, but I’ll try to relay my general sentiments of my final two destinations, the Sir John Soane and the Victoria and Albert Museums.

I felt that the Sir John Soane Museum was fascinating, but was distracted by how much was packed into such a small space.  I wasn’t able to fully enjoy what I was looking at simply because I got a bit claustrophobic.  On the flip side, though, it certainly was impressive how much was packed into the equivalent of three townhouses.  One of my favorite aspects was the collection of clocks included in the house, because it reminded me of our trip to Greenwich and the importance of early timepieces.  His particular collection stuck me because it really showed how clocks were once a symbol of status, specifically that which was made for Christopher Wren by Queen Anne.

Although the Sir John Soane Museum had interesting artifacts and art, I much preferred the Victoria and Albert Museum.  My favorite section was the sculptures portion on the ground floor, and I spent a great deal of time exploring there.  I enjoyed reading the captions to each, for example, a plaque under a bust of Albert Einstein stated that he was a culmination of “the humane, the humorous, and the profound.”  Another statue, a monument to one Emily Georgiana, moved me in saying “I who dreamed wildly and madly/am happy to die.”  The writing on that statue seemed simultaneously inspiring and sad, and I’ve thought of that quote often since reading it for the first time.  My favorite actual work was a bronze piece created to hang above a fireplace depicting a nude man and woman entwined while being watched by a shocked and disgusted crowd.  Made by Charles Sargeant, “Scandal” was interesting to me because it showed not only a couple in love (as many works do) but also the rarely shown negative reaction of the surrounding community.  Lovers in art are so often isolated, so seeing a different perspective within the work was certainly interesting.

To summarize my previous blog entries regarding museums, I was unaffected by the British Museum, disliked the Tate Modern, moderately enjoyed the Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum, and loved both the National Gallery and the Victoria and Albert museum.

Tags: Amy

Going back in thought about wide open spaces..

September 14th, 2009 · No Comments

Sitting in the middle of this park in Bath I feel completely at peace.  The beauty and simplicity of this place is hard to explain. In some ways it reminds me of a George Winston song—a solo pianist with an air of solitude and joy.  In other ways it’s like Kenny Chesney song— just simple, upbeat happiness…I really want to dance in this park.  So much open space.  People, joy, a little bit of music; it’s all I need. If I had more confidence maybe I would just get up and dance right here. Maybe.

I found this journal entry when looking through my notes and remembered this day in the park at Bath, but those sentiments were not ones I got solely in that park.  There is something different about the parks in London, about the open green space that is different from parks back at home.  Instead of feeling like you’re in a vast open area in the middle of a big crowded city at the parks here I feel like I’m stepping into my own private garden.  There are not that many parks in Boston where I feel like I am in solitude like I am in these London parks.  I have spent significant amounts of time in past summers in Copley Square Park, the green space by the Hatchshell, and even the Boston Commons and Garden.  Even though parks everywhere are intended used for running, playing, and enjoying the outdoors in Boston Parks I never feel like I am completely separate from the chaos of the city; I still here cars, and horns, and yelling, which I have never felt surrounded by in UK parks.

I remember my feeling when I first ran into Regent’s Park.  I had been jogging down Euston Road dodging men and women in business suits until I finally found the opening to the park and it was like stepping into a movie.  The sun was up, the air crisp, a few other joggers in the park and when I came to the Avenue filled with blossoming flowers and running fountains I seriously felt like the female lead in the newest upcoming blockbuster. I went to St. James Park later that week and had very similar sentiments.  Only a few yards away from a main road, and yet it was a place of peace and quiet.


These places make me feel like a child again.  All I want to do is run around, play, and to dance.  But then again, when don’t I want to run around, play, and to dance.

Tags: Amanda

The “Big Five” Themes

September 14th, 2009 · No Comments

Although I have blogged, to some extent, about most academic things I have done in London, I feel that I have a better impression of most things now than I did at the beginning of the stay.  Along this vein, I feel the need to revise, or just plain state, my opinions on the “Big Five” topics – parks, churches, museums, theatres, and pubs.

I have now been to five of the Royal Parks in London.  Green Park, Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, and St James’ Park are all very similar and yet very different in their own ways.  I found Green Park, situated very close to Buckingham Palace, to have the most unfriendly atmosphere of the five.  There is very little to Green Park.  There are trees, benches, grass, the ever-popular lawn chairs for rent, and beautiful ornate gates facing Buckingham Palace.  I think the reason I found the park so cold is that it was, well, too green.  There were no flowers or water features (except for one fountain commemorating the Canadians), just trees, grass, and benches. 

This is vastly different from the other four parks I visited.  St James’ Park, Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, and Kensington Gardens all were beautifully landscaped with brightly colored flowers, clean fountains, scultpures, and natural or constructed water features.  In Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, and Kensington Gardens it was easy to forget that you were in the middle of a pollution-filled city.  As I am not much of a city person, it was extremely refreshing for me to not be able to hear or see traffic for a while.  With Green Park and St James’ Park, I couldn’t shake that feeling.  However, I am a firm believer that parks, whether or not they are within city limits, always make people feel healthier.  For this reason and the sheer beauty that the parks portrayed in their different ways, I understand why I did not only see tourists, but the people of London as well. 

Gates towards Buckingham Palace from Green Park

Gates towards Buckingham Palace from Green Park

Churches and other places of worship are an integral part of societies throughout the world.  Throughout our time in London, we have been fortunate enough to visit Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, a Sikh gurdwara, and a Hindu temple.  Of these four I enjoyed St Paul’s Cathedral the most from a purely historical standpoint and the Hindu temple most from a cultural perspective.  St. Paul’s is one of the most recognizable and interesting buildings in London.  It not only houses some of the most important military remains in the country (the Duke of Wellington and Admiral Nelson), but it was one of the most iconic images of WWII Britain.  I also found it to be less like a museum where I felt like hop-scotching around graves in the floor (Westminster Abbey) and much more like a place of worship. 

I enjoyed the Hindu temple for very different reasons.  Although there was a definite sense of it being a tourist attraction, with the gift shop in the lobby and the interpretive centre with tiny models of Hindu gods, the temple was still very obviously, well, a temple.  Before going there, I had no idea what Hinduism was like.  I knew that there are multiple gods and that one is an elephant, but I didn’t know about their dedication to peace and volunteer work.  What really struck me about it was that the intricate carving and craftsmanship of the facility was all done by volunteers.  I think that this cultural experience was only heightened by being able to observe a service in the sanctuary that was so unlike my own Roman Catholic faith.

St Paul's Cathedral - a symbol and a place of worship

St Paul's Cathedral - a symbol and a place of worship

I had very mixed experiences with museums in London.  Some, like the Victoria and Albert, I just didn’t seem to understand in the amount of time I spent there.  However, I think that if I went back and dedicated a day to the facility, I would appreciate how the seemingly-random exhibits link together much better.  (I did enjoy the items on display in the V&A, I just had an issue with the layout of the museum.)  Other museums, like the Museum of London and the Docklands Museum, were put together in a very fluid and informative manner that I enjoyed greatly.  My two biggest museum issues were with the British Museum and Sir John Soane’s Home/Museum.  Grace and I wrote extensively on our thoughts on the British Museum, so instead of repeating everything, I’ll just give a brief summary: why are all of these amazing artifacts that have no connection to Britain in the British Museum? 

The Sir John Soane Museum is a completely different story.  I appreciated that the museum was free and displayed an extremely eclectic collection, but please never make me go back there ever again!  It was the single most claustrophobic place I have ever been in my entire life with possibly one exception.  Call it a personal thing, I do not like it when random pieces of monuments are mounted on the ceiling directly above my head.  I am also not a big fan of walking into a room in a house and having literally hundreds of sculpture eyes staring at me from every surface around me.  I disliked it so much that I could not even finish going through it, and anyone who has been in a museum with me will know that I read and see as much as I possibly can.  I don’t understand why that creepy building perfectly-suited to be a haunted house at Halloween is called a museum.  (Please if you can attempt to explain it to me, go right ahead!)

Theatre is a subject I have talked about in a couple of different posts (Observations on Accessibility and Blood Painters and Pitmen Brothers), however, I have not discussed theatre in general.  I was lucky enough to see Troilus and Cressida, All’s Well That Ends Well, Arcadia, The Pitmen Painters, and Blood Brothers.  Each of these theatre experiences were extremely different, but all valuable in their own ways.  Troilus and Cressidawas shown in the Globe Theatre and we had groundling tickets that forced us to stand for the 3 hour performance.  The actual standing wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be, but the best thing about the show was being quite literally three-to-four feet away from the actors on stage.  (Actually, it was slightly amusing when Hector died and was lying 3 feet away in our line of sight for the last 20 minutes of the play!) The staging of this Shakespearian play was vastly different to All’s Well That Ends Well, which was put on in the National Theatre.  In the Globe, the sets are quite minimal because they have to perform four or five different shows on the same stage in the space of a few days.  The set for All’s Well That Ends Well was much more elaborate and specialized for the show.  Rather than the reliance on the actors and the costumes that the Globe used to tell you where the play was occurring, All’s Well That Ends Well used a dark set with elaborate staircases to add to the mood of characters and the dialogue.

Much like with Troilus and Cressida, the set for Arcadia was also pretty simple.  Although the play took place in two different years, it was set in exactly the same room with almost all of the same props.  This was a very effective way to stage the show and allowed for the writer, Tom Stoppard, to do some very interesting things with the characters from both time periods, like when he had them all in the room at the same time, oblivious to each other.  I particularly enjoyed the way that this play was set and how basic it was.  It was vastly different from the more complicated sets of The Pitmen Painters, which included projection screens, and Blood Brothers, which had lots of windows for the Devil/God character to peer creepily out of. 

This final subject I have not blogged about at all.  Pubs are an integral part of British culture.  That said, pubs are also an integral part of Irish culture, so I experienced pub life when I lived in Ireland.  British pubs and Irish pubs have a lot of similarities and differences.  In both places, you must push viciously up to the bar in order to get your food and drink, you have to be 18 to have alcohol, smoking must be done outside, and there are usually way too many people in the pub for you to feel comfortable.  Oh, and you always pay way more than you think you should for your drink.  I’ve been to a couple of pubs in London and have found that they are all fairly similar.  The bartenders are nice, but kind of frantic; the food is good, and usually relatively cheap; and the music is God-awful 1980s or techno playing at volumes that are way too loud.  The first two are cohesive with pretty well every Irish pub I’ve ever been in, the third is not.  Irish pubs play good music… or at least much better music than I’ve heard here!  There are a lot of pubs that have a band playing traditional Irish music in front of you in the pub for pints and there are also a lot that play modern music at volumes that make my ears want to cry – but at least the music isn’t a Cher and Meatloaf duet accompanied with the weirdest music video I have ever seen in my entire life.  (This particular musical masterpiece was played in The Court the other day.  I never would have thought of that particular combination, but oooooookkkkkkkkkk.)  Truth be told, I just want to find a comfortable pub with some good music and that will make me just as happy as George Orwell’s fictitious Moon Under Water.

Tags: Churches and Cathedrals · Kelley · Museums · Pubs · Theatre

The Pitmen Men Painters versus Rubbish just like Marilyn Monroe….

September 14th, 2009 · No Comments

So this past week has been filled with a variety of theatre experiences that have made me laugh, think, cheer, clap, be moved, and even ask “wtf.” The two pieces that I would like to focus on, completely juxtapose the other, but nevertheless illustrate London’s diversity in the theatre going experience.  Both this play and the musical made me ask questions, but in two completely different ways.

On Thursday just after finishing my practice for the Brixton group walking tour, we rushed over to the Globe theatre. Since we had been there before, we knew that the play was going to be wonderful, and to our surprise it didn’t disappoint.  However it was the evening play,that would make me fall in love with British theatre.

After grabbing a bight to eat and relaxing at the hotel for a moment, Flo, Jeyla, and I headed towards the National theatre. I was not at all excited for this performance, in part because I was exhausted from the days’ events and partly because I didn’t want to sit through a second three hour play. Little did I know that from the beginning of the play I would be on the edge of my seat, completely drawn in to the characters of The Pitmen Painter’s.  Immediately when the play began I was forced into the lives of these diverse men of the working class. The “realness” and authenticity that each actor/character brought to the table was extraordinary and noticeable from the first moments in the play. As the play continued I was lost in a world that I had a deep connection with. The symbolism for art and their understanding of it was beautifully connected to how these men lived. They learned that it wasn’t fame, or money that made u successful as artists but their ability to paint. This had a profound effect on me and my connection to dance. For years and even to this day, I imagined my life as being a professional dancer, but because of this amazing opportunity I had to grow as a student in a higher academic institution, I put my plans on hold. The Pitmen painters made me realize that not only do I still have time to do all that I want and more, but that what makes me a dancer and choreographer is not the fame and recognition that o would receive for my pieces, but my ability to create dances and the satisfaction that I get from performing. It isn’t about anybody else, and I thought that the Pitmen Painters taught me something that I was never ever to realize before and I am grateful to have experienced such an amazing piece of work.

However, on Saturday going to see Blood Brothers I felt like I my ears were going to bleed to death because of how terrible it was. Blood Brothers is easily the worst “musical” I have ever seen in all my life. In the beginning it seemed as if it would be a great performance and because it was a musical I was way more excited than the other performances. But I was sadly mistaken. The play began with the potential of being a well performed musical, until Marilyn Monroe. She was, throughout the entire bloody musical, and the funny thing, is that she has been dead for decades, but I can tell you after Blood Brothers she is no longer resting in piece.  The singing was great but I could not stand how everyone overacting. The most dreadful part was the narrator, playing god. At every turn he would come in and ruin a scene that had the potential of being somewhat descent.  At the end of the performance the rest of the crowd gave a standing ovation, while the Norwich Humanities group looked in awe questioning the sanity of the rest of the audience.

Overall my theatre going experience in London was phenomenal. London has the most diverse performing art venues I have ever witnessed. From Shakespeare to Dickens and all the in-between whatever you want to see you can find in London. Most of the plays were amazing and the theatres and their architecture was unique in every way. All in all I can say that I have fallen in love with British theatre, and I can’t wait to return.

Tags: Anthony

The House I Could Never Afford

September 14th, 2009 · No Comments

Flo , Jeyla and I visited the The Sir John Soane Museum last week and to our surprise it proved to be quite interesting. We were greeted by a wonderful doors’ men and when he asked why we were there, he really made me think. Of course we went to visit the museum as a requirement for class, but was there any personal significance in going. As I traveled up the steps to what used to be Sir Johns’ house I kept replaying that question over and over in my head.

The security guard checked the girls bag in, and took ice cold coca-cola from my hands as I entered the museum. Having just bought the drink I became a little sad, until I made an abrupt right turn into the library of Sir John’s house I was stunned by the collection of books that he owned. I saw a huge variety, even books from the author Jean Jaque Reasoue. I could not believe my eyes, this one man possessed some of the most famous pieces of literature ever published. This became the motif of the house, as the man collected am array, of rare items throughout his home and museum.

Not only were the pieces of art amazing but the architecture in the home was phenomenal. Having been one of the most famous architects of his time, Soane designed his home and museum with natural light, in a way that gave a surreal tone to the pieces on display. There was a vibe in each and every room different from the one previous to it, making it unique and special in its own way, and I found myself appreciating each section in a different way. It was an amazing experience to be able to walk into the many rooms and levels of the house and feel as if I was in a different room, just by turning the corner.

I had a sudden realization of why I came to the museum. Besides it being a requirement, and Sir John being a very important part of London’s history, was that the museum in its own right adds to the collective experience of London. To see one of the most famous architects in of all London’s house was so breathtaking. He created some of the buildings that define London as such a unique city. Not only that but his appreciation and passion for art allowed me to see a world I had never known existed. The building and the experience was one like any other.

Tags: Anthony