A Conversation for The British Museum
Phil Posted Mar 19, 2000
I only contributed a few bits to the discussion on Brussels that turned into the article.
Brugges was fantastic when I went there. The art gallery is amazing.
coelacanth Posted Mar 19, 2000
My second favourite place after London. Seacat to Ostend, then train to Brugges. Easiest day out ever. I went 4 times last summer, and as soon as the Hoverspeed deal is cheap I will be there again. Ghent was fun too - tram from the station was a bit of an experience!
Boys and Cake Girl Posted Mar 20, 2000
O.k, here's the story of the Titanic/mummy's curse. (I had to get the book back from my brother which is why it's taken me so long. Sorry.)
The mummy was of a princess from Ammon-Ra and had been closely involved in the Cult of Death. She had a curse of death and misfortune on the walls of her tomb to deter thieves but, with the usual arrogance, this was ignored. An Egyptoligist called Douglas Murray bought it from an American in Cairo in 1910. The American died the same evening. Murray thought it was coincidence but three days later, he was on a hunting expedition on the Nile when his gun exploded in his hand for no reason. His arm was amputated above the elbow in hospital.
On the voyage home two of Murray's friends died 'from unknown causes' and two servants who handled the Mummy and coffin died within the year. A female friend in London took it from Murray. With in weeks her mother died, her lover jilted her and she developed an undiagnosed wasting disease.Upon her death it was returned to Murray in her will.
Murray was understandably a wreck of a man now. He donated it to the British museum where it quickly started working it's curse. A photographer dropped dead while taking pictures of it and the man in charge of the exhibit was found dead in his bed. The museum board met and decided to present it to a New York museum with as little publicity as possible and so it ended up on the Titanic in 1912.
coelacanth Posted Mar 20, 2000
Steve K. Posted Mar 22, 2000
Yup, good story! Except where the Museum directors decide to sell it to the Americans, I can hear them now, "Americans will buy anything". Of course, I also read the part about the American who started the whole debacle ... but by then, he had gotten his!
coelacanth Posted Mar 22, 2000
Steve K. Posted Mar 22, 2000
I think we put it in Phoenix, AZ - the desert. I've never seen it there, but its probably still "falling down". In fact, I recall someone saying that its not even really "London Bridge", the Brits sold us some other bridge, or switched it at the last minute or something. Its probably not even from England - probably from Egypt with another curse ...
BTW, my London lectures covered "London Bridge" recently, fascinating story - the drawing from way back showed what looked like any other London street at the time (I guess), high residential buildings on both sides of the street, you wouldn't know you were on a bridge at all. The artist Hogarth and his drawings from daily life are apparently one of our best sources on what life was like at that time - closest thing to photos.
coelacanth Posted Mar 22, 2000
Hogarth pictures have so much in them, and they give an idea of the people and social relationships of the time. He had a keen eye for details. Also satirical, and symbolic. At the time, his engravings were available so that a lot of people could afford them. I like to look at the expressions on the faces. Even the minor characters have a lot to say. Wonderful stuff!
Yes, there were houses on the bridges, but the smell from the river must have been dreadful.
Steve K. Posted Mar 23, 2000
We had a lecture last night on "Regency London" - too bad Hogarth wasn't around, talk about subjects for satire! The cartoonists of the time managed to do a pretty good job without Hogarth - the Prince Regent (George IV, I think) and Beau Brummel must have been an endless source of material, Jay Leno is probably wishing he had them around. Although Clinton is a godsend - Leno said if Dole had won, he'd have to actually write jokes and stuff.
There was a band in the 60's named the Beau Brummels, they picked the name so their records would be next to the Beatles' on the rack. I'm not making this up.
coelacanth Posted Mar 23, 2000
I think that the time in London's history that I like the most is what is know as the Restoration. The Royal family were in exile while Oliver Cromwell ran things, but after they were 'restored' the country and particularly the city was a happy place to be again.
This is the time of Pepys, Purcell, Newton, and many many more. Royal Societies were set up for all kinds of things. Inventions that we still use today.
Have you had lectures on this yet? I can recommend a reading of some of Pepys diary entries.
Steve K. Posted Mar 24, 2000
Well, maybe, but the thrust of the lectures is the city of London itself, so its mostly about areas, buildings, streets, parks - rather than people. For example, one lecture was a "virtual" ride up the Thames, starting at the Channel and ending at Oxford, I think. In the process, much of London's history is visible, from many centuries.
Newton is a hero of mine (I'm an engineer), a great line from another jealous scientist at a later time was something like, "We only have one universe, and Newton figured it out." OK, Einstein got it a little more accurate, but still ...
I'm not very familiar with Pepys, can you give a few examples of his diary entries?
Phil Posted Mar 25, 2000
Whats the classic Newton quote (misquoted by that Beatles tribute band Oasis) "If we have seen this far, it's from standing on the shoulders of giants" (or something like that as it's late in the evening -UK- and I can't be bothered to check )
Steve K. Posted Mar 25, 2000
Yup, Newton appreciated what the earlier thinkers had done, say, Pythagoras - although he was probably thinking of more immediate predecessors. My favorite thought about Newton - a physicist - is that he needed some mathematics to explain his physics of motion. The mathematicians didn't have what he needed, so he invented calculus. Really. So the next time you complain about a piece of software that doesn't do what you want, just write your own program.
zero (the unsignified) Posted Apr 9, 2000
I am minded of another classic quote by the great man. You may or may not know that he spent possibly as much time on his theological and astrological studies as he did on his 'scientific'. When challenged by a fellow scientist about his 'ridiculous' study of astrology, he replied "I Sir, have studied the subject: you have not." A great put down for many, many situations.
coelacanth Posted Apr 9, 2000
coelacanth Posted Apr 9, 2000
Steve, you asked for a quote.
There's so much to read in Pepys, and it's all good. I would love to have met him. It is hard to find one special quote, so I give you something that could have been written yesterday and always makes me laugh:
6th Jan 1663 “Myself somewhat vexed at my wife’s neglect in leaving her scarfe, waistcoat and nightdressings in the coach today that brought us from Westminster, though I confess she did give them to me to look after – yet it was her fault not to see that I did take them out of the coach.”
Ltlle known fact that his wife kept a diary too, although when Samuel found it he destroyed a lot. Fragments remain.
Steve K. Posted Apr 9, 2000
Yes, for all the change in the world, some things are constant. My wife and I play this game - she says, remind me to get my car's safety inspection this month. I've learned the answer is "Put a sticky note on the dashboard." Don't put that ticket on my head. Of course, I play the same game - don't let me forget my class next week.
coelacanth Posted Apr 10, 2000
I think you would enjoy the diary if it is available over there. Get a shorter version - the whole thing is several volumes. He was a man who loved life, and wrote about ordinary things as well as the major events. It's also very funny.
Steve K. Posted Apr 11, 2000
Amazon (US) has a cassette version (abridged) read by Kenneth Branaugh, it gets uniformly high reviews, so I ordered it. Branaugh is a favorite of mine ... besides all the Shakespeare, his American accent in the movie "Dead Again" (I think that's the title) was amazing.
BTW, "Over There" was a popular song from one or the wars (I forget which), as you probably know, but it meant UK/Europe - to Americans, anyway. Depends on which way you're going, I guess.
coelacanth Posted Apr 11, 2000
I have heard the Branagh version on tape. He reads it very well, (but you forget the dates I found). I can't think of anyone who would play him better in a film either. I hope it encourages you to track down a book version too.
You might need a history ref book too - I know I did.
I have heard the war song. There was a saying in WW2. Something about the American soldiers being over here and over paid!
Key: Complain about this post
- 21: Phil (Mar 19, 2000)
- 22: coelacanth (Mar 19, 2000)
- 23: Boys and Cake Girl (Mar 20, 2000)
- 24: coelacanth (Mar 20, 2000)
- 25: Steve K. (Mar 22, 2000)
- 26: coelacanth (Mar 22, 2000)
- 27: Steve K. (Mar 22, 2000)
- 28: coelacanth (Mar 22, 2000)
- 29: Steve K. (Mar 23, 2000)
- 30: coelacanth (Mar 23, 2000)
- 31: Steve K. (Mar 24, 2000)
- 32: Phil (Mar 25, 2000)
- 33: Steve K. (Mar 25, 2000)
- 34: zero (the unsignified) (Apr 9, 2000)
- 35: coelacanth (Apr 9, 2000)
- 36: coelacanth (Apr 9, 2000)
- 37: Steve K. (Apr 9, 2000)
- 38: coelacanth (Apr 10, 2000)
- 39: Steve K. (Apr 11, 2000)
- 40: coelacanth (Apr 11, 2000)
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