Living in the past

This is interesting, from The Strand (Canada)

1.-Gatsby-Garden-Party-at-Spadina-House-2013-Maddy-de-Sousa-720x480This past September, I learned of a couple in Washington state who live their lives as though it were the late Victorian era.

The wife, Sarah A. Chrisman, published an article on Vox titled, “I love the Victorian era. So I decided to live in it.” In the article, she outlines the material aspects of their daily lives—they use an icebox instead of a refrigerator, for example, and both wear period-appropriate clothing, and Chrisman explains how and why they came to live this way. Both Sarah and her husband study history and work as consultants and speakers on late Victorian life. They claim that by living their everyday lives with antiques from the time, they gain special insight into the lives of late Victorian people as a form of primary source study. They love the era, admire its perceived aesthetic and ideals, and simply like living this way. Chrisman ends the piece by recalling some of the negative reactions they’ve received from other people, ranging from relatively mild (her husband’s “hand-knit wool swim trunks raise more than a few eyebrows”) to the decidedly more serious (including a threatening letter repeating the word “kill”).

Trying to recreate the past in one’s present is not a recent phenomenon. The modern historical re-enactment movement emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with a renewed interest beginning in the 1990s. Generally, the term “historical re-enactment” refers to the re-enactment of a particular historic event or activity as it was performed during a period of time, often with participants portraying real historical personages. American Civil War re-enactments are a good example. “Living history” is the portrayal of the broader everyday life of a given period, with participants generally representing “types,” rather than specific historical figures. The interpreters at Colonial Williamsburg, and the show The 1900 House and its numerous spin-offs are examples of this.

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Christmas #3

dickens_hpg_3449889bWhat would Christmas be without Charles Dickens?

Well here’s something different from the BBC. They will

‘will entice a new generation to the works of Dickens, with a “mischievous and irreverent” take on his novels, featuring his best-loved characters reimagined into one street.

A 20-part series, written by a former EastEnders scriptwriter, will have half-hour episodes laced with cliff-hangers in a beginners’ guide to Dickens’ books for a soap-loving generation.

It will see Caroline Quentin starring as Oliver Twist’s Mrs Bumble, Bafta-winner Stephen Rea as Bleak House’s Inspector Bucket, and Pauline Collins OBE as Mrs Gamp from Martin Chuzzlewitz.

They will join acting talents including Tuppence Middleton, as Amelia Havisham, in scenes which could see Scrooge bumping into Fagin in the local pub.

The series, entitled Dickensian, was written by Tony Jordan, who told the Telegraph he initially dismissed it as a “really crazy idea” which no-one would dare commission.

It will be a familiar set-up to anyone familiar with British soaps, with an elaborate set based around a 300ft cobbled high street, a pub, church and law court.

Filmed in West London, it saw programme-makers build an entire community of 27 two-storey buildings, where all of Dickens characters will live, alongside the Old Curiosity Shop, Three Cripples Pub, and Fagin’s Den.’

I think this could be a good bit of fun and reckon Dickens would love it!


Christmas #2

This is great for the children as well as adults..


Christmas #1

Christmas is on its way.

And the way Christmas is celebrated in the UK comes down to Charles Dickens. Dickens loved Christmas and this is clear from the Christmas stories he wrote.

  • 17 December 1843: A Christmas Carol (Chapman and Hall)
  • 16 December 1844: The Chimes (Bradbury and Evans)
  • 20 December 1845: The Cricket on the Hearth
  • 19 December 1846: The Battle of Life 19 December 1848: The Haunted Man (series concluded)

Of course the best of these and the best known of these is ‘A Christmas Carol’. A Christmas Carol brought the Christian story of Ebeneezer Scrooge and of redemption to his life that continues in its popularity to this day.

And so its influence on our English Christmas is quite immense.

So I will be adding Christmas posts from now until Christmas Eve…I will be trying everyday.

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A Victorian London skyline

With numerous (and somewhat questionable shapes) buildings sticking up on the London skyline it can be a Little difficult to see a good example. However the latest offering from Assassin’s Creed (Video game) takes place in London during the Industrial Revolution.

The smoking towers overwhelm the skyline, and neighbourhoods range from the opulent to the to the slum…the concept art is superb.

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A Victorian best bettered

QueenSteamDM_468x314Queen Elizabeth II is to mark the day she becomes Britain’s longest reigning monarch by opening the UK’s biggest new railway line for more than a century.

In a choice of engagement bound to invoke parallels with the reign of Queen Victoria, she will travel by steam train from Edinburgh to Tweedbank near Galashiels on September 9 to formally open the new Borders Railway, reviving a rail tradition dating back to the 1840s.

imagesThe journey, accompanied by the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, will also be a powerful visible reminder of her love for Scotland on the day she surpasses her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria’s record for the longest reign.

No, no, no, no….

oliverPB09I wonder what Charles Dickens would’ve though of the variety of mediums used to interpret his books.

I think he would’ve loved film and television, stage he was very keen on himself but musicals…i’m not sure!

‘Oliver!’ which is the award winning version of ‘Oliver Twist’ is to be remade. I don’t really like musicals although there are a few exception and ‘Oliver!’ just happens to be one of them.

It sticks fairly faithfully to the story without, of course hanging Fagin at the end. Nevertheless I enjoy it as do many other.

For whatever reason Sony Pictures have decided to make a new version (as if it needs doing) of this five Oscar winning title.

According to Variety this version reported to be a darker take on the original 1968 classic and will be shot on location in and around London earlier next year.

The film should be released sometime at the end of 2016…this sounds like a bad idea…what do you think?