I only have two full days left here in London. I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand I have a long list of things I would still like to do (if I had time and money). On the other hand I miss all my friends and my family. I'm really looking forward to sleeping in my own bed and in my own room.
The last few days I've been keeping busy. Sunday I did go to the Marylebone Summer Fayre and Spitalfields Market just as planned. It was a fun, and busy day. Sunday night I watched Blood Diamond with a few classmates in the cinema here on campus (a bar and a cinema? Yes, Regent's College is pretty nifty).
I had class in the morning, as usual. In the afternoon I went to The British Library. It was...transformative, incredible, awe inspiring, breathtaking... and those words don't even come close to describing how _________ it was.
What was it that blew me away? They have an exhibition of "treasures," and treasures they most certainly are. In one room they have (safely in secure display cases) so many incredible things. The first thing I saw was the Shakespeare folio. The First Folio. Plus several other early, early publications of plays, and a manuscript with what is most likely his very own handwriting.
Next I saw Beowulf... the Beowulf, and the original (in Charlotte Bronte's handwriting) Jane Eyre, and Jane Austen's notebook and writing desk, and Virginia Woolf's journal from when she was writing Mrs. Dalloway, a draft of an Oscar Wilde Poem, a first draft of a Pinter play. These are all in the actual handwriting of these great, amazing, brilliant writers. And that bunch alone would have been enough to floor me, but there was still more!
In the next case was music. The first draft of Handel's Messiah. Scores written, by hand, by Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert, Hayden. I was literally in tears by the time I took all that in. I had to sit down and recover for a few minutes. And still there was more!
The next case was much smaller. In it was Beatles lyrics, originals. They had the birthday card on which John Lennon wrote "Hard Day's Night." They had 8 lines of an unknown song by George Harrison that is the only Beatles manuscript in his handwriting. Plus several other songs and an original John Lennon poem. And still there was more!
I turned around and found myself face to face with an Alice in Wonderland case. Within in, Alice's Adventures Underground: the original story, written out by hand and personally illustrated by Charles Dodgson (nom de plume: Lewis Carroll). Plus the original woodblocks for the illustrations of the first published edition.
Around the corner then were three pages from Leonardo Da Vinci's notebook.
This was only about half the exhibition. I left completely overwhelmed and thoroughly impressed. I can't even begin to find the words to describe how I felt to be in the same room as all those impossibly wonderful things. It was like a religious experience.
It seems odd to write anything after that. But the next day I was back out in London enjoying the city. I had class again in the morning. In the afternoon I went to Macbeth at The Globe. It was a really interesting production. I'll tell you all about it in a later post. I'm a little typed out now. I think my first week back will be very full of blogging just so I can fill in all the details of things I've breezed over while here.
Anyway, after Macbeth and then dinner we went on a Jack the Ripper walk. It was a very bloody day.
We had our last class. And in the afternoon we went on a guided walk to Brick Lane. It was kind of neat, but I'm also very walked out. Plus it was the same general area as the Jack the Ripper walk so parts of it felt very redundant.
I am not up to very much this evening. I'm taking it easy and letting my legs recover. I'm going to need them tomorrow. I'm planning on going to Abbey Road, St Paul's, The National Gallery and Harrods. It will be a very busy day. Friday I'm going back to Camden to shop and then I suppose I will have to pack.