Archive for February, 2012

Sunday 5th February 2012

Posted in Stuffed. on February 5, 2012 by uppyalf

It snowed all last night!

A few more shots of our trip to London. Nosher sports his new miniature travelling wallet.

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Saturday 4th February 2012

Posted in Stuffed. on February 4, 2012 by uppyalf

We were down in The Smoke to fetch Nosher and bring him back here as he was off travelling the world with a bag and a camera. Not a coat or a jumper in sight.

While we were there in London of course we did a few things.

The M n M store was pretty funky.

Piccadilly Circus 

At the south western side of the Circus, moved after World War II from its original position in the centre, stands the Shaftesbury Monument Memorial Fountain, erected in 1892-1893 to commemorate the philanthropic works of Lord Shaftesbury, who was a famous Victorian politician and philanthropist.

The monument is topped by Alfred Gilbert’s winged nude statue of an archer, sometimes referred to as The Angel of Christian Charity and popularly known as Eros after the mythical Greek god of love. The statue has become a London icon: a graphical illustration of it is used as the symbol of the Evening Standard newspaper and appears on its masthead.

The use of a nude figure on a public monument was controversial at the time of its construction, but it was generally well received by the public. The Magazine of Art described it as “…a striking contrast to the dull ugliness of the generality of our street sculpture, … a work which, while beautifying one of our hitherto desolate open spaces, should do much towards the elevation of public taste in the direction of decorative sculpture, and serve freedom for the metropolis from any further additions of the old order of monumental monstrosities.”

The statue was the first in the world to be cast in aluminium and is set on a bronze fountain, which itself inspired the marine motifs that Gilbert carved on the statue.

The statue is generally believed to depict Eros but was intended to be an image of his twin brother, Anteros.

The sculptor Alfred Gilbert had already sculpted a statue of Anteros and, when commissioned for the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, chose to reproduce the same subject, who, as “The God of Selfless Love” was deemed to represent the philanthropic 7th Earl of Shaftesbury suitably. Gilbert described Anteros as portraying “reflective and mature love, as opposed to Eros or Cupid, the frivolous tyrant.” The model for the sculpture was Gilbert’s studio assistant, a 16-year-old Italian, Angelo Colarossi (born 1875).

Where Eros originally pointed his bow is the subject of two urban myths. The first is that the archer is aiming upShaftesbury Avenue. Sometimes, the story goes that this was a visual pun to commemorate the great philanthropist. If the archer were to release his arrow, its shaft would bury itself inShaftesbury Avenue. The other is that the arrow is pointing to the Earl’s country seat in Wimborne Saint Giles,Dorset. However, the 1896 photographs (on this page) of the circus taken only three years after the statue’s erection clearly shows the arrow pointing in a different direction, down Lower Regent Street aptly towards Parliament. This is proven by the position relative to the statue ofShaftesbury Avenue, the London Pavilion and the Criterion Theatre.

When the memorial was unveiled, there were numerous complaints. Some felt it was sited in a vulgar part of town (the theatre district), and others felt that it was too sensual as a memorial for a famously sober and respectable Earl. Some of the objections were tempered by renaming the statue as The Angel of Christian Charity[citation needed], which was the nearest approximation that could be invented in Christian terms for the role Anteros played in the Greek pantheon. However, the name never became widely known, and the original name came back, erroneously under the shortened form Eros, signifying the god of sensual love; quite inappropriate to commemorate the Earl, but just right to signify the carnal neighbourhood of London, into which Soho had developed.

Piccadilly Circus connects to Piccadilly, a thoroughfare whose name first appeared in 1626 as Pickadilly Hall,

named after a house belonging to one Robert Baker,

a tailor famous for selling piccadills, or piccadillies, a term used for various kinds of collars.

Old Fart loves Tin Tin

Tintin is a young Belgian reporter who becomes involved in dangerous cases in which he takes heroic action to save the day. Almost every adventure features Tintin hard at work in his investigative journalism, but seldom is he seen actually turning in a story. He is a young man of neutral attitudes and boy scout ideals; in this respect, he represents the everyman.

 

Readers and critics have described Tintin as a well-rounded yet open-ended, intelligent and imaginative character, noting that his rather neutral personality—sometimes labelled as bland—permits a balanced reflection of the evil, folly and foolhardiness which surrounds him. His boy-scout ideals, which represent Hergé’s own, are never compromised by the character, and his status allows the reader to assume his position within the story, rather than merely following the adventures of a strong protagonist. Tintin’s iconic representation enhances this aspect, with Scott McCloud noting that it “allows readers to mask themselves in a character and safely enter a sensually stimulating world.”

 

Snowy (Milou in the original version), a white fox terrier, is Tintin’s four-legged companion. The bond between Snowy and Tintin is very deep as they have saved each other from perilous situations many times. Snowy frequently “speaks” to the reader through his thoughts (often displaying a dry sense of humour), which are supposedly not heard by the human characters in the story. Snowy has nearly let Tintin down on occasion, particularly when distracted by a bone.

Victorian Seven Dials

Situated at the northern extremity of St. Martin’s-lane, having the Broker-row for its eastern, and Monmouth-street for its western boundaries, in longitude nothing, and lat. 0º 5′, is a singular conformation of country, radiating from a common centre and an illuminated clock, known – from the number of its rays – as “Seven Dials.” These rays are formed by several habitations built of burnt bricks and mortar in regular rows, or streets, all diverging from the above-named apex.

The geology of this district is peculiar. The superficial strata consist of granite rhomboids placed closely together, the whole forming a compact surface, or carriage-way. On each side is a smoother formation of flags, which, from their worn appearance, are supposed to be those which “braved a thousand years.”
In the department of Natural History, Seven Dials is peculiarly productive. Dogs, cats, and a great variety of insects, together with donkeys, abound. The last are used for conveying from one part of the district to another the vegetable productions which form a large article of import from Covent Garden-market. The indigenous vegetation consists of boxes of mignonette, picturesquely laid out on the window-sills; together with large quantities of mustard and cress, cleverly grown upon flannel in exposed situations. Cabbage-leaves are thickly sown in every gutter.

The trade of Seven Dials is extensive, it being the entrepôt for glass bottles, rags, old iron, left-off clothing, and second-hand toothbrushes. An enlarged commerce is also carried on in lollypops, and other sweet articles affecting the Colonial sugar-markets.
But the most important feature of the country is that presented by its inhabitants – a brave and affable race, whose manners and customs are more worthy of observation than emulation. The ladies are peculiarly easy in their deportment. This trait is doubtlessly imparted to them by the free intercourse which has taken place from the earliest ages between the Seven-dialers and foreign immigrants. The Irish particularly abound in every direction of the dials, and have introduced many of their national customs, especially the use of whisky and the shillelah, in the employment of both which the hospitable natives are highly proficient.

Amongst so enlightened a people it may be expected that education has made rapid progress: and such is the case; the younger branches have a celebrity all over the kingdom for their proficiency in marbles, and boxing is nowhere so scientifically or so frequently practised. But it is the literature of Seven-dials which gives it a proud pre-eminence over the surrounding districts. Within its precincts are situated two printing and publishing establishments of a high character. The balladography daily issuing from Messrs. Pitt and Catnach’s toy and marble warehouses finds an immediate circulation throughout the neighbourhood, and also forms a considerable article of export to St. Giles’s, and other colonies.

The government of Seven Dials is conducted upon republican principles, except when interfered with by the New Police. The basis of its social economy is community of goods, that is to say, whenever property is so situated as to be abstracted without the owner’s knowledge.

Charles Dickens

The stranger who finds himself in the Dials for the first time

at the entrance of Seven obscure passages,

uncertain which to take,

will see enough around him to keep his curiosity awake

for no inconsiderable time.

W S Gilbert

Hearts just as pure and fair

May beat in Belgrave Square

As in the lowly air of Seven Dials.

My My we do get about and do stuff.