Goths at the Guildhall

Me, rather under-dressed compared to Queen Victoria!

Me, rather under-dressed compared to Queen Victoria!

On Friday night I laced up my corset, slathered on the eyeliner, and went to a Gothic ball at London’s Guildhall with my friends.

The highlight of the evening was the incredible Leopold Aleksander, Victorian Strongman.  Nothing impresses the ladies more than a gentleman who can crumple up a frying pan with his bare hands while retaining the perfect moustache.  There was also some fabulous ghost-story telling, and a brilliant music-hall band provided us with a great selection of Victorian ditties such as ‘ooohhh my popsy wopsy!’  A ‘Death drawing’ class also provided a grisly alternative to the usual ‘life-drawing’ classes.

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Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Angels

At this time of year we can see and even smell the natural world decaying all around us and our thoughts turn naturally to death. We’re almost half way between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice, getting ready for ‘Samhain’, the Celtic festival that marks the start of winter, or ‘Halloween’, as most of us know it today. What could be more fitting than a visit to a cemetery? Continue reading

An intrepid tale of research

The Huffington Post has an article about the rediscovery of the papers of free-market economist Ludwig von Mises.  In 1938 he narrowly escaped from the Gestapo in Vienna and fled to America, leaving his papers behind.  They were recently tracked down to a secret cache of Soviet archives. We like to think that era of history is over and done with, but I wonder how many more great finds looted by the Nazis and the Soviets are still out there, waiting to be rediscovered?

Heroes of History: Grace Darling

Grace darling to the rescue, image from the RNLI museum

Grace Darling was a Victorian heroine.  She was a lighthouse keeper’s daughter who helped her father in a daring and dangerous rescue of shipwreck survivors off the coast of Sunderland. During her short lifetime she was a media celebrity. To this day she retains an enduring popularity. Continue reading