Well, the travelogues have people deleting me like mad things.
Ah well, I'm not stopping.
Progress notes for 5 April 2006:
New Words: 324
Total Words: 324
Deadline: May 1
Reason for stopping: end of scene
Exercise: I walked all the heck over Southwark, and also Trafalgar Square and environs. I need more tea.
The cover for Carnival. That orange will be high-gloss fluorescent in the final version.
Also, my Eastercon schedule:
Sat, 1300-1400, Boardroom
Is the Centre of Science Fiction at its Margins?
How have women's, queer, black voices reshaped our ideas of what
science fiction is?
Sun, 1100-1200, Argyll 2
"Why can't they just write it so people can understand?"
What makes writing inaccessible? Are challenging ideas enough to make
a challenging work of fiction, or must they be matched by complex
language and structures?
Today's words Word don't know: n/a
Words I'm surprised Word do know: n/a
Mean Things: Blew up 100 Constitution Plaza. And there was much rejoicing.
Tyop du jour: n/a
Darling du jour: No shit, there I was.
Books in progress: Samuel Delany, Dhalgren; Daniel Silva, Prince of Fire
Interesting tidbit of the day: n/a
Other writing-related work: n/a
Somebody tell mekkavandexter that Henry VII looks just like a somewhat skeptical Viggo Mortensen.
So today, I ran myself off my feet. I'm equal-opportunity that way.
Most amusing t-shirt of the journey so far: London Underground symbol, with the wording "FUCK THE GAP." My inner Elizabethan approves on so many levels.
Cognitive dissonance: on the train ride in, I saw a fox glowing in the sun in the New Forest, and a container vessel offloading at Southampton.
I started at the National Portrait Gallery, where I walked through the Searching for Shakespeare exhibit. It's pretty spectacular. They've scraped up just about every bit of available paper on the man from Warwickshire, and given some pretty good service to Ned Alleyn, and the rest of the boys. Interesting tidbits; the might-be-Marlowe portrait is off by itself, not with the other poets. I Actually, it's positioned in much the same way that the portrait of De Vere (who still looks like a boiled egg.) is. On a central wall, rather than around the perimeter of the room.
There's a bunch of various period tomes (A Faustus, an Ovid, an assortment of other things including the predictable quartos.) and documents (Ned Alleyn's handwriting was terrible; Edmund Tilney's, not so bad. One document had a lovely small italic I would have kissed, were I an archivist.) and a Wall of Players (Burbage, if that is Burbage. Ned, Nat. The usual suspects.) There's Elizabeth and James. Essex and Southampton. A Wall of Poets, with Ben and Jack Fletcher and George Chapman and John Donne and that lot.)
And the WALL OF WILL, as it were. Which sadly, is entirely penis-free (Oxford being in a different spot), but which does have the Chandos portrait and four other contenders. Including the newly-restored Grafton, which is lovely. (Its eyes are definitely gray, by the way, Sarah and Lis. The Corpus Christi has golden-brown eyes. As a complete aside, though I will note that one of the portraits of Bess had her with brown eyes, and we know her eyes were gray. Eye color on the Chandos, hard to judge, because it's so damaged. They might have been blue once.)
It was sort of odd seeing all my boys lined up in the same spot. *g*
Then I walked upstairs and wandered a bit. This leading to the discovery about Henry VII. And the additional discovery that there is a room in which the portraits of Elizabeth I are ranged, and with her dwell the two Marys and Edward, and all the lovely clever boys that so delighted her: Sidney and Dudley and Cecil and Walsingham and Drake and Ralegh and the lot.
But not Essex. Oh no.
That pleased me. I never liked him much.
From there, I had some time to kill before my appointment at the Rose, so I went to the National Gallery full stop. I wandered around a bit and discovered Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers. Which, ah, blew everything else in the gallery off the wall.
I pretty much never need to look at art again. It was kind of shocking, actually, because I stood there basking in its atomic glow, and then basically couldn't look at another painting afterward. They all seemed cold, and futile, and inadequate.
Holy fuck. That's it. Art is over. You can all go home now, children.
I did like this fellow, though. scott_lynch, I think one of your characters is missing.
Okay. From there, the Rose. Which required a bit of a jaunt round Bankside to find. It's not easy to locate. Along the way, I discovered that the Thames is gray and choppy. Even when there are no boats nearby, it seems to move in all directions at once. It's a good-sized river, too, even by my American standards.
Along the way I walked past--and paused to visit--Southwark Cathedral, which in 1593 was the Parish Church of St. Saviour's. It's a lovely old thing, dark, mortared river cobble framed by pale dressed stone edging. Inside, it has square vaults, and it looks pretty much like a big medieval church. Anyway, I have postcards. There's a monument to Will, and one to Sam Wanamaker. In the 16th century, this would have been the parish church for the Bankside theatrical exiles. Today, it is the Parish church for the new Globe.
I may be getting jaded to 14th century churches.
I could not have been jaded to the Rose. As I said, it was not easy to find. The dig site in in the basement, quite precisely speaking, of a 1990's-era high rise. You walk up the approach to Southwark Bridge (incidentally, walking over the buried remains of the original Globe to do it) and follow a small yellow sign down a flight of stairs on the South side, to a blue plaque, identifying the building. The plaque is beside a set of ornate armored doors.
Where one waits until the Rose trustee shows up with the keys, and admits one to the sanctum sanctorum. There's a pleasant, if chilly, antechamber, with the Rose Trust logo etched on the glass inner door. Beyond that, wooden bookshelves and a series of displays. But of course, that is not what one has come to see.
The princess of this ball is off in the darkness, under the vaults and cantilevers and what have you supporting a white granite office block over your head like Atlas shrugging up the world. A rough wooden stage guarded by a black steel fence gives you an overlook of the partially excavated site. Below, and threaded through the stage as well, ropes of red lights outline the dimensions of the former theatre.
It's damp. And as you look out over the excavation, what you can see are the domed tops of four piers that were sunk here for the building that stood on this site previously, which was demolished in the 1980's--and the lights reflecting in a perfect, ripple-less pool of water. Absolutely still, and chill, and eerie.
The dig site, you see, isn't currently worked. It's preserved under silt, and cement, and chemically-treated water, and monitored frequently. There's no money to finish the dig, and the ancient timbers and relics, uncovered from their protective earth and exposed to oxygen, had begun decaying. There are plans, eventually, for a facility that will be open to the public, with protective display environments and so forth. But they need to raise about five million pounds to do it.
Which I am hearby offering to all of you as a worthy cause. The Rose Theatre is a registered charity. There is some contact information here. Also, Mr Tony Toller, the very passionate and charming man whom I met today, suggests: email@example.com. And you may indeed tell Mr Toller I sent you, as long as you're going to be nice.
Because today, I got to stand on the same ground that Phillip Henslowe and Ned Alleyn and William Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe and Ben Jonson walked on. And everybody should get that chance.
Fantastic. Just fantastic. Kind of a peak experience, really. In some very specific ways, that small circle of lights under the massive beams of a modern tower is the root from which my art or storytelling sprang from.
From there, I went on to the George Inn, which is the last remaining fragment of a London coaching inn. There, heathwitch, the score was raised to England's restauranteurs 2, eBear 0, as they were ALSO out of fish and chips. I sulked, and had some veggie soup that needed salt, and a very good jacket potato. And then I proceeded on to the new Globe. There was a dress rehearsal in progress when I took the tour, which was interesting, and I loved the gaudy colors of the period paint job. I think more wooden Os should go that route, really.
Then, home. And so to bed.