Monday, November 21, 2011
Blake, Defoe and Random Stuff
When I was walking in the Finsbury neighborhood last week I came across an old cemetery called Bunhill Fields. (The name apparently comes from "Bone Hill" -- don't you love that? So macabre!) Old cemeteries fascinate me, so I wandered through the gate and along the rows of headstones, which seemed to date mostly from the 1700s and early 1800s.
I walked beneath the immense trees, admiring the afternoon light, and saw a few stones carved with ornate skulls or other decorations. In a central courtyard I found a surprise -- the graves of William Blake and Daniel Defoe! It really is true that history is everywhere in London.
Blake's stone was decorated with a mysterious collection of small objects, including coins and pieces of inexpensive jewelry.
Defoe's stone, meanwhile, was erected with the proceeds from a fundraising effort after his death. It's quite a monument, a big immodest obelisk.
The burial ground was closed in 1854. What's astonishing -- by that time, 120,000 people had been buried there! Those neat rows of headstones don't begin to tell the full story.
In other news:
-- On Saturday night, Dave and I went to a production of "The Drowsy Chaperone" at the school where he teaches. The kids did a great job, and I was impressed that they produced the show at all, given its fairly adult humor. I remembered attending the Broadway play with my mom back in 2006, when we initially went on the wrong day.
-- Yesterday I was in our apartment when I heard a racket coming from Portobello Road. I went out to the street to find a gang of cross-dressing protesters, both male and female, marching along with signs and chanting, "Do drag, not fur!" I've been finding anti-fur stickers around the neighborhood, specifically targeting Harrod's. I suppose the protesters are part of the same movement. (PETA has a history of drag-related fur protests.)