matociquala: (rengeek the puppet (poisoninjest))

I just read [ profile] nineweaving's amazing, exquisite, precise, hysterically funny novella Cry Murder in a Small Voice. It's going on my award ballots for next year.


matociquala: (rengeek will)
Cobbe portrait, purported to be a painting of Shakespeare from life.



NY Times Lede Blog.

Ahh, CNN, with your certainty...
matociquala: (twain & tesla)
1) Infoworld article on a security exploit for Firefox 2.0. Sadly, upgrading to 3.0 lost me my snap links.

2) Nine hundred thousand pounds... of bananas.

3) In Shoreditch, archaeologists unearth what seems likely to be the remains of The Theatre. (This is the Burbage's original playhouse, which was pulled down after a lease dispute, the timbers then being used to construct its more famous offspring, The Globe, on the opposite bank of the Thames.)

4) My monthly article at Storytellers Unplugged, which is (this time) on self-promotion.

5) Due to the incredible coolness of the fan community, the Shadow Unit Wiki is full of spoilery and speculaty goodness.

Right. Time to get that last pile of books out the door. By the way, if you ordered books, and you get your books, and I screwed something up, please let me know and I will fix it to the best of my ability.
matociquala: (rengeek player king)
And now, for the Dramatis Personae full of incredibly geeky jokes. )

There's something to be said for being able to write "Sir Not Appearing In This Novel" entries in one's cast list.
matociquala: (rengeek the puppet (poisoninjest))
[ profile] truepenny: I'm also trying to figure out if I have two classes' worth of things to say about Lanyer's "Description of Cooke-ham," and if not, how I'm going to fill in the rest of the time.

[ profile] matociquala: contumely?

[ profile] truepenny: vile or base?

[ profile] truepenny: (There's a pun in here about viol or bass, but I think maybe I won't make it.)

matociquala: (writing rengeek stratford man)

Book report #62: Dominic Green, The Double Life Of Doctor Lopez: Spies, Shakespeare, and the plot to Poison Elizabeth I:

This is a bad book, and filthily written. But not without usefulness, however--I have got a page or so of notes for my Stratford Man revision.

Let me see. How do I explain? In late 1594, Elizabeth I's personal physician--and one of Burghley's highest-placed intelligencers--a Portugese Marrano (a crypto-Jew) by the name of Roderigo or Roderick or Roger Lopez or Lopus or Lopius, was executed at Tyburn for plotting to murder the queen. There is a fairly good body of evidence to support the idea that the charges were trumped up by the Earl of Essex. Whether Lopez was a double agent or not seems doubtful.

Green's book takes the tack that Lopez was an opportunist, entirely intent upon enriching himself, and it draws a detailed portrait of the intricacies of Tudor spycraft. Unfortunately, I think it fails to prove its case, or even make it very cogently, and here's why:

The book is full of charming nuggets of information, any of which might be extraordinarily cool if I could trust them. Unfortunately, Green has a tendency to be rather airy with actual facts (He apparently doesn't know the difference between Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of  Pembroke, and Frances Walsingham Sidney. Sidney's widow who remarried Essex was Frances, not Mary, and she was Sir Francis Walsingham's daughter. Mary Sidney was Sir Philip's sister. Also: there is no evidence that Will Shakespeare was ever resident at Southampton's house. There is no evidence that the Ur-Hamlet was written by Will. And those are only a few of the the things I caught off the cuff. Et fucking cetera.) and alternately, to present his speculation and patterns of deduction as if they were fact, enough so that I am dubious of all his information--especially the bits I know nothing about.

He's also wasting a good deal of time attempting to draw parallels between the Lopez affair and both Jew of Malta and The Merchant of Venice, seemingly quite uncritically. And he's a little too fond of cutesy folk etymologies: he comes up with one for "the full monty: that's not even included in this exhaustive article on same, and he seems hopelessly confused about the difference between the Spanish Prisoner con game (familiar to some of you as Nigerian email scam) and the game theory idea of the Prisoner's Dilemma, attempting to tie the second back (through a folk etymology utilizing the first) to techniques used in Elizabethan times (and, we presume, since time immemorial) for interrogating suspected traitors.

I am also deeply uncomfortable with his unsignposted speculation about the motives of various people, about Shakespeare's relationship with Southampton (broad-accented Will was hardly a "perfumed boy" in 1593 (the publication date of "Venus and Adonis") or thereabouts, considering he was playing old-man roles in his thirties), and about the exact nature of the plots and counterplots that lead to Lopez's execution. 

There were several chunks of the book where I keep rolling my eyes and muttering NOW HE'S JUST MAKING SHIT UP! I mean, his conspiracy theory is lovely, but it seems the sort of thing where he found a plausible pattern in the evidence and then convinced himself it was real.

On the other hand, there appears to be a great deal of original research in this book, some of it presented in extensive end notes, and there were all sorts of tidbits that mean that I can seriously shore up the Lopez subplot in Ink & Steel and make it pull its weight more than a little more.

There is also the problem of the prose. Every so often, Green goes off on extremely pained flights of metaphor and long tours through eye-squeezingly bad writing. The extended conceits, stretched (as if on the rack) to far beyond any semblance of cleverness, are not the worst of it.

Nor, alas, is the following: 

A fortress guards the river approach, the White Tower standing over the tide that licks slickly at the teeth of the water gates. Before it, the City's only bridge blocks the watery highway of the Thames like a stockade, the water boiling through its arches. Above, high thin houses jostle along its length, their diamond-shaped window-panesd catching light like watery gemstones. At the southern end of the bridge the towers of a massive gate are crowned with bare poles, their spiked tips waiting for the heads of traitors. From the gate the City debouches on to the southern bank, pooling into a slummy afterthought of brothels, taverns, and pleasure gardens, a patch beyond the City's jurisdiction, the haunt of thieves and prostitutes, gamblers and bear baiters. From the windows of his palace to the West, the Archbishop of Canterbury can see the lost sheep. (from p. 14)

Somebody get Sam Clemens in here to catalogue the literary offenses.

The real tragedy here is that when Green quits messing around failing to be evocative and just writes the book, he gives us perfectly serviceable prose, packed with useful information--if one can trust it:

The accumulated disasters of the fifteenth centure had distilled the Jews of Iberia down to their most determined and faithful core, and then poured them into Portugal, but perserverance alone was not enough. Cut off from the Jewish world outside Portugal, with education and worship rendered dangerous by the presence of the Inquisition, Marrano faith became diluted and diverged from Jewish tradition. At its most extreme, it became a theological phantasm, blending confused memories of Judaism with strands of the Christianity that concealed it. Even the mainstream of Marranism was adulterated. Where other Jews retold the story of Esther, who had saved the Jews of Babylon from the wicked king Haman, Marranos venerated her as St. Esther through a Catholic-style cult. A fully fledged Marrano represents as much a taxonomicl challenge to the historian as the duck-billed platypus did to a Victorian naturalist. All Conversos were New Christians, but some New Christians were really Marranos, and both New Christians and Marranos were in fact Annusim. (from p. 25)

I mean, okay, he's gotten flouncy in there a couple of times where he falls prey to those pained metaphors (the distilling and pouring and all) but basically, this is sound writing.

Okay, still trying too hard? But perfectly readable.

I did find out rather a lot about William Wade, however, which may prove useful.

matociquala: (can't sleep books will eat me)
book report #58: Nick Page, Lord Minimus: The Extraordinary Life of Britain's Smallest Man

being a biography of Captain Geffrie Hudson (1619-1681), late in the service of Henrietta Marie, Queen of England.

An interesting biography of an interesting man. Hudson was the Queen's Dwarf, and also for a while her Captain of Horse (during the late unpleasantness English Civil War). He was also extraordinarily unlucky, with regard to pirates.

Enjoyable, written on a fairly easy level. (I'd say middle-school, but I'm not quite sure; it's a grown-up book, but mostly devoid of big words and complex sentences.) It also includes a brief and focused overview of 17th century English politics.

My only real problem with it is that the author has a seriously annoying tic, which is to say he seems to be unable to pen a single chapter without Portentous Utterances Of Impending Doom, of the "Little did they know--" variety.

Dude, we'll get to the irony when we get to it. If you try too hard, we will just roll our eyes, and all suspense will be wasted.
matociquala: (rengeek kit icarus)
Today is the 414th anniversary of Kit Marlowe's death.

In honor of the day, may I suggest picking up the bar tab?
matociquala: (rengeek superbard! _ strangepowers)
...I actually enjoyed that. How bizarre.

The dialogue is so much better this year.

"They'll panic and think it was witchcraft."
"What was it then?"


"57 academics just punched the air!"

made me laugh like a drain.
matociquala: (problem cat)

Room! room! make room for the bouncing belly,
First father of sauce, and deviser of jelly;
Prime master of arts, and the giver of wit,
That found out the excellent engine the spit,
The plow and the flail, the mill and the hopper,
The hutch and the bolter, the furnace and copper,
The oven, the bavin, the mawkin, the peel,
The hearth and the range, the dog and the wheel.
He, he first invented the hogshead and tun,
The gimlet and vice too, and taught them to run.
And since with the funnel and hippocras bag
He has made of himself, that now he cries swag!
Which shows, though the pleasure be but of four inches,
Yet he is a weasel, the gullet that pinches
Of any delight, and not spares from the back
Whatever to make of the belly a sack!
Hail, hail, plump paunch! O the founder of taste,
For fresh meats, or powdered, or pickle, or paste;
Devourer of broiled, baked, roasted, or sod,
And emptier of cups, be they even or odd;
All which have now made thee so wide i’ the waist
As scarce with no pudding thou art to be laced;
But eating and drinking until thou dost nod,
Thou break’st all thy girdles, and break’st forth a god.

--Ben Jonson

[ profile] callunav on practice.

matociquala: (rengeek the puppet (poisoninjest))
Bit of a hagiography of Mr. Secretary Sir Francis Walsingham, but that's okay, as I rather am fond of the old bastard. He's also rather nice to Robin Poley, which is a little hard to take, and even more impressively, Budiansky has managed to construct something like a narrative out of English history, 1570-1590. Which I don't believe for a minute, but it's nice to see it done....
matociquala: (criminal minds reid mathematics)
more proof of the winamp randomizer's sense of humor:

Little Feat - Spanish Moon
John Gorka - When You Walk In
Johnny Cash - Big River
Phil Roy - Melt
Nick Cave - Fire Down Below
Peter, Paul, & Mary - Blowin' in the Wind
Arlo Guthrie - Garden Song

For amusement value, just to prove to [ profile] commodorified and [ profile] msisolak that I actually did it:

Quail Eggs Benedict 

Or, chipped alien autopsy on toast. Actually, quite delicious, and for my first ever attempt at Hollandaise, an unqualified success. A little less lemon juice next time, perhaps. And I need to get the blender into the sink faster. :-P

It's not really Eggs Benedict, because I used this crispy applewood smoked streaky bacon as the pork component, and not back bacon or panchetta, but it worked, oh yes. Mmm. (I guess livejournal is intercontinental enough that I should clarify what I mean when I say "bacon." Because American bacon is not British bacon is not Canadian bacon, exactly. If you happen to be an Ami, streaky bacon is what we just call bacon. Back bacon what we call Canadian bacon.)

No gorgeous morning light today, alas.

And now it's time to do my homework. Today is "working with algebraic expressions." And the self test.


Because it's fun, that's why.

And after that, maybe I can get some guitar in before the guy comes to fix the short in my kitchen light. (I should remember to ask his name, this time...) And I should try to get to the gym this afternoon, because, well, Hollandaise sauce. And I am allowed to use my tub after lunch! SO I could get sore and sweaty and then have a soak and read some more about Sir Francis Walsingham. (This book is a bit of a hagiography, but that's okay, because it's also funny, and I happen to like Sir Francis, who is a bit of a player in the book formerly known as The Stratford Man.)

"Repetitive usage is a death knell for the brain," right?


And tonight, I think I Might Just Start Writing "Periastron."*

In which stuff blows up. And I mock the Lensmen and the Monitor Corps and the Dorsai and the Federation and the whole genre, really, of inexplicable Earth-Human control of the galactic military with all the mock that is in me.

*Since it's due April 1.
matociquala: (rengeek superbard! _ strangepowers)
There was milk and toast and honey, and a bowl of oranges too.

A blurry cellphone photo of my kitchen table this morning.

That almost looks intentional, doesn"t it? Also, I really need to do something with those lemons.

The gentleman from the management company is here regrouting my shower (YAY!) and I saw the first robin of spring yesterday. Also, hasenpfeffer for dinner (poor bunny! it was a giant bunny, too--it fed three, with enough leftovers that we could have fed two more.)

Today's project is to revise my Sub Press column and send it in. And practice guitar, once I have the apartment to myself and will not be brutalizing an innocent bystander. I did my homework, though (and it actually made sense, though I kept having to force myself to be more meticulous than I normally am.).

As a result, I have decided I need a math icon, but I'm looking for the proper text. I know the image I want* (because Spencer!Cam is love) but the clever wording has not yet come to me.

Never fear. It will.

And then I think I'll read the rest of Her Majesty's Spymaster (I need to polish off that and The Double Life of Doctor Lopez before I start revising the books formerly known as The Stratford Man, and I'm expecting that edit letter in mid-to-late April) and after that, who knows?

377.5 miles to Rivendell. It's day 4, and I'm on the path in the Forest. If I am mighty, I might get to meet Tom Bombadil before the week is out. But not today, because I lifted yesterday for the first time since before Boskone, and man, and I sore like a sore thing, man.

*okay, he's working on a book code there, not a math problem, but that's what poetic license is for.
matociquala: (kit faustus commodorified)
for you never have to notice if you're sighted or you're blind

John Dankosky's voice on my morning radio still sounds like home. This morning's offering is on 18th-century houses in New England. Fascinating stuff.

My current downtime reading is A year in the life of William Shakespeare, 1599 by James Shapiro (how do I love thee, LibraryThing? let me count the ways) which is excellent. Both in general, and for my nefarious purposes. Full of tidbits and useful telling details, which I will be raiding from heavily when I do the rewrite of Ink & Pen (TNFKATSM*) so yanno, don't even bother trying to catch me out, because I'm telling you up front.

Shapiro likes trivia. And of course the trivia of daily life is exactly what I need, because it's the sort of thing that makes a setting come alive (the resistance of a quill to the pen knife like paring a fingernail, the grit in a loaf of sugar, the way your hose bunch at the bend of your ankle). I am so very happy to have found this book.

Meanwhile, the cat is up and is walking across me mrting for breakfast. (I get up at seven, which seems luxury after years working in construction offices and at the media mines. Madame rises at a civilized hour.) Mrrt! Mrrt!

So I will do that, and make more coffee, and shower. And then I have to suck it up and write 1500 words by three, so I can get to the gym before traffic gets bad.

*The Novel Formerly Known As The Stratford Man.
matociquala: (jonson)
a modest proposal )
matociquala: (will)
Thumbs up on Hand D in Sir Thomas More. Thumbs down on Edmund Ironside.

The answer, according to a team of Renaissance researchers at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and the University of Newcastle in Australia, is that in all likelihood, Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare.

(the latest from the rarified realms of obsessive Elizabethan word-frequency analysis.)
matociquala: (will)
I am holed up on the couch with tea, willing my cold to vanish most hastily. It will most likely be better by tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm getting a lot of reading done.

Book #37, Grace Tiffany, Will

Another Shakespearean fictional biography. There's definitely a mini-Renaissance of the damned things underway--to which, of course, I am doing my best to contribute.

This is not a bad book, and the writing, overall, is rather pleasing. I am in particular enamored of this paragraph, which I found rather well-done:

In the year 1600, eighteen died of the smallpox in Stratford, and twelve of consumption. Fifteen women perished in childbirth, and nineteen of both sexes were done in by typhus, scurvy, vomiting, or distraction. Twenty-four bled to death. One died of fright, and three from grief. The other forty-two lay down and did not get up anymore because they were tired. Of these last, John Shakespeare was one.

But I'm going to fuss at it, for a bunch of reasons, several of which are probably linked to the writer's irresistible urge to rewrite the prose of another.

Unfortunately, I felt that the characters were somewhat shallowly drawn and a bit one-note, and she's doing the whole somewhat predictable Emilia Lanyer/Henry Wriothesly thing, and... I dunno. In parts, it reads like historical fanfiction; I'm not sure I would have gotten the good of it, in other words, if I didn't know the story all ready and have that grounding and background. The writer is connecting the dots between well-known bits of speculation or (occasionally) historical fact, but the narrative doesn't strive for enough beyond that, and some bits are truly random. Such as the sort of occasionally-mentioned Elizabethan serial killer turning out to be spoiler ), although the subplot is handled entirely off stage, and I'm not sure what it's there for, other than... well, I'm not sure what it's there for.

Also, Shakespeare's confrontation with Bacon, in which Bacon keeps dozing off? Just odd.

I was actually less frustrated by anachronisms than I feared, although. No coach from London to Stratford in 1590. I'm willing to let the chronometer go, I guess; they were in use on the continent by 1500 or so. Also, Tiffany has the absolutely terrible habit of rabbiting on for about a page and a half about a character we've previously been introduced to, upon their reappearance, without telling us who she's talking about. Which distracts me from actually paying attention to the narrative, because I'm busy looking for the Distinguishing Characteristic that will tell me who this woman or that man might be. It's either meant to build tension or it's intended as reinforcement for the themes of malleable identity informing the book, but either way it was coy and it annoyed me.

Another thing. just doesn't feel Elizabethan. It's very low-mud, for one thing. Also, I'm not sure I'm willing to buy Shakespeare as a republican, and a secret anti-monarchist. cryptoCatholic, you might get by me. But....

She did make me like Southampton, though, which is pretty impressive, as he's rather one of the villains of my book. And you get to disliking people, when you write them one way or another. But I liked this fellow, all sly wit and easy forgiveness. Her Jonson, Alleyn, and Kyd are more or less caricatures, however, and I kept thinking her Marlowe has promise, but, yanno, he doesn't last long.

There's also an issue of the conflicts in this book being muffled, sometimes gravely so. Which I do think is an actual flaw of the book, rather than the baggage I'm bringing to it. There's a lot of potential for drama in this story; and it's all underplayed. (for example, if you're going to go to the trouble of setting up a frustrated homoeroticism between Shakespeare and Southampton (some of the best scenes in the book are the internalizations here, BTW) and have Wriothesly-as-drag-queen (which I thought was just wonderful) I would suggest that it is a mistake to (a) not have Wriothesly using Will's affections later, just prior to the Essex revolt, and (b) to dismiss any relationship between Wriothesly and any purported dark ladies as just a big misunderstanding.)

In fact, a lot of the conflicts in this book are summarily executed by a sort of random forgiveness. And I wanted more, I think. More depth, more of a narrative and thematic thread binding the story together, more passion. The last line with its transformation is wonderful, but she never makes me believe that the transformation is necessary. I don't buy the alienation and obsession that would make it necessary; perhaps because I am told it frequently enough, but I don't feel it.

And that might be part of the problem with writing Artistically Tortured Will. History, what little we have, gives us a shrewd and reasonably well-adjusted individual. The antithesis of this romantic notion that great artists must be greatly troubled. Will Shakespeare seems to have been a hard-working fellow with an eye out for the main chance, who made a lot of money (not writing plays, but owning playhouses and making similar investments) and cheated a bit on his taxes. It's hard to reinvent him for the post-Byron tastes of a modern audience; we're better off with Marlowe or Jonson or Kyd. Oh, and by all accounts he was a pretty good actor, not the lousy one portrayed here.

I think this is the thing, actually, that [ profile] truepenny was talking about with regard to the autodidact vs. the university wit over on [ profile] glass_cats recently. Dr. Tiffany is a professor of Shakespeare, and her book, in fact, reads in one regard much like other Elizabethan novels I've read by academics. Not that they're bad, but... the characters interact like academics interact, not like writers interact. Which isn't a very specific critique, but it's something I've noticed. Also, they invariably dismiss Ned Alleyn as a pompous windbag and a bad actor, ignoring the fact that he was the theatrical draw of his age.

Gratuitous use of an intriguing Elizabethan color name noted in this work: "goose-turd green." No Dead Spaniard; perhaps the fad has passed. (Mine, FWIW, are Isabella and inciannomati) It's de rigeur; every author working in the 1500s must mention at least one odd color name.
matociquala: (will)

Well, the travelogues have people deleting me like mad things.

Ah well, I'm not stopping.

Progress notes for 5 April 2006:

"War Stories"

New Words: 324
Total Words: 324
Pages: 2
Deadline: May 1
Reason for stopping: end of scene
Stimulants: cider
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 [ profile] 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. [ profile] 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: 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, [ profile] 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.

March 2017



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