Thursday, July 31, 2008


I'm sort of suspended in time at the moment- nearing the finishing of my chapter but unsure how to end it nicely, nearing the end of my visit to London but still not having seen my three closest transatlantic friends yet (hopefully this weekend).

Last week my mother visited and we had a wonderful time, though I think I may have exhausted her with all the walking, especially when I took her up Tottenham court road where I was convinced there was a wonderful tea house, only to discover the teahouse was in Soho, and also when I confidently took us down Commercial st. in the east end in the wrong direction for four blocks. Don't even get me started on my greatest flub: when I got to the library I told her she could easily get a reader's card since the website says all you need is proof of address and signature. Instead the guy there quizzed her about her research project and asked what specific texts she wanted to see. She didn't know, so he refused to give her a card. Luckily there was still a lot for her to see at the library, so when we met up after I'd finished looking at my rare books she stopped me from groveling. Note to non-academic, formerly academic or partly academic friends: make sure to check out the catalogue and invent a research project before you apply for a reader's card at the BL.

I've seen three plays so far: Michael Frayn's Afterlife at the National- brilliantly written but hampered by its own conceit; The Female of the Species in the W. End- excellently acted by Eilieen Atikins, Anna Maxwell Martin and Sophie Thompson, but ridiculously behind the times and heterosexist. I mean, how can you write a play about feminist criticism and not have heard of Kristeva and Butler? And jazz-age Twelfth Night in Regent's park- not quite jazz-age and a little bit imbalanced. None of them thrillingly good, but all very entertaining.

I've seen a French film (L'heur de l'ete) at the Curzon, had divinely good and affordable Dim Sum (in Paddington, of all places! Better than Royal China and Wong Kei- it's called Pearl Liang and it's transcendental) and returned to Whitechapel for my favorite curry, which was still excellent though I noticed they'd upped their prices by about a pound all around. I also discovered that the bus I take to the British library stops around the corner from the divinely inspired curry place (which is near the Whitechapel Bell Foundry), which means I'll probably get to have the curry twice more before I leave. Yay! I've also spent time with my oldest friend from home and her family, along with family friends old and new, all of whom live or stay in North London.

I still have to return to Islington to my favorite pub, meet up with various friends from the early modern blogosphere, catch a prom, and see the aerially acrobatic Timon at the globe and the Goth Revenger's Tragedy at the National.

And I have to finish this chapter.


Pantagruelle said...

I'm going to see Revenger's Tragedy at the National too! Not until next week though. I fly to England tomorrow but will be going straight to Stratford for a while first. What night are you planning to see the play?

Pamphilia said...

Hey P, nice to see you here! I'm seeing the play early next week- I'm leaving for the US Thursday, so I'll miss you. Say hi to our peeps in Stratford for me.