This will cover two days Saturday, 16 July and Sunday, 17 July.
I am doing these two days because I am behind and on Saturday it was something of a short day. It is Tuesday and I am at the British Library because the internet at the dorm is spotty at best. This is especially true at night when I want to complete these hence the reason for being behind – or, at least one of the reasons.
Saturday, 16 July
On Saturday, we had class and my former student Vikki Medhurst came to speak with the group. She talked about her career in film and opera. Remember, she took me to the Star Wars, Episode VIII party the first Sunday evening I was in London. The students enjoyed the talk and asked some questions and we went to lunch.
In the afternoon, I think I caught up on some blog posts and waited to meet my friend Jane for dinner. Jane lives in England and agreed to come in for dinner and then she accompanied us to the performance that evening since we had an extra ticket. We went to dinner at the Charlotte Street Hotel down the street from the dormitory. She had been there before and loved the restaurant so, guess I made a good choice.
We traveled out to the Bush Theatre for that evening’s performance, Boys Will Be Boys. The Bush is an equivalent of an off-Broadway theatre in America. The play is new and somewhat experimental. The subject matter deals with a number of women’s issues including corporate (specifically trading stocks), rape and the glass ceiling among others.
The theatre was very hot and the setting, I felt, was unfortunate. The thrust arrangement forced the audience to crane heads to see what was going on on the upper level where most of the action took place. A piano was placed at the front of the thrust and not used that much. I think the designer would have more wisely placed the piano up top and allowed the action of the play to take place on the floor where it might have been more easily seen. The play itself was a tired re-working of many plays like it and brought no new insights into the issues for women. Although, the students saw it a bit differently and as result I re-thought some of my early feelings about the play but, in the end it still didn’t really work for me. It really placed women in the role of victim and never helped them out.
Sunday, 17 July
By contrast, my first day off on this trip proved to be a remarkable journey. I traveled 2 1/2 hours by train to a small town called Sherborne. There, I was greeted by an old colleague, Graham Cottenden. Graham is a master tailor from Great Britain and for a number of years taught at the University of Bournemouth. These days, he is retired and working on a book which I have helped with a little bit – providing patterns from existing suits and photographing them for him. His book covers 1830 – 1960 and is a tailoring how to as well as a historical overview of menswear during those years. I provided patterns for suits from 1907, 1929 and 1939.
He picked me up and it was about a 30 minute drive to his home in a village called The Knapp. This is in Dorset heading southwest from London. If you put this place in a movie, no one would believe it. They would call it cliche. I had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon with Graham and his family, wife Katherine and daughter Bea. Here are the pictures so you can judge for yourself but, they don’t really do it justice.
We took a stroll over to see a little closer.
At the end of the day, I was able to have look at Graham’s book which he wanted to share and he explained problems he is having with the graphics. As it turned out, this is something I could help with so, it looks like I have a new job. I leave you with the view of the station at Sherborne as I waited for my train to return me to London.