The Museum of Fabulousness
From the Stone Age river-side village to Roman Londinium to Victoria’s smoke-choked London, the museum uncovers the city’s layers as archaeological digs have done–
I could spend all day here, among the chattering school groups, the tourists, the pensioners, and the fanatics. (Friday’s example of such was a gent who took up a position at the tobacconist’s shop in the “Victorian Street”, and any unsuspecting passer-by who paused to look at the display of match-boxes was delivered a lecture on the same, complete with proud fetching of examples of Swan Vestas and enameled boxes from his inner pocket, competing with the lesser models locked away behind the museum’s glass. I rather expected his counterpart over at the Roman exhibit to pull a bit of bone or worn sandal from HIS coat pocket, but there the gent just pressed his nose to the sarcophagus.
One unsolved mystery, in the “grocer” diorama in that Victorian Street, a peculiar mechanism overhead that went unlabeled and unexplained, and since I had time constraints, I could not pursue it. Anyone know what it is?
And I’m no great fan of city life, but I will admit, the Barbican flats that rise up behind the Museum of London are immensely appealing. Look at the hanging-gardens effect of all those balconies:I had to pull myself away so my British publishers could take me to lunch and discuss the oddities of British publishing and bookselling while tucking into nice Sardinian food served by suitably swarthy and handsome young people. (I, noting the Italian-esque offerings on the menu but overlooking the name of the restaurant–Sardo Cucina–innocently inquired if they had any Italian beer. The young man, one eyebrow eloquently arched, replied, “No.” And after a pause brief enough to preserve manners but long enough to indicate a point was being made, he continued, “We have Sardinian beer.” I assured the young man that Sardinian beer was much to be preferred, and indeed, it was very nice.)
Following lunch, an attempt was made to visit an antiquarian bookseller I like, but since my publishers had well-meaningly summoned a mini-cab, and since mini-cab drivers do NOT have “The Knowledge” of real cab drivers (a course of brute memorization that takes at least two years to absorb) this one’s attempt at finding the place based on an inadequately entered Sat Nav (ie, GPS) location brought me to Baker Street instead of Mayfair, I briskly exited and made for the nearest Tube stop.