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I was going to take a day off in November to go to London to catch some exhibitons. But there are a few things I want to see at the BM - some of them are small one-room exhibits, but the BM is a big place and it takes a while to get to them.

This morning I also discovered that as well as the Gothic exhibiton at the British Library (for which tickets need to be booked; good thing I checked the website - I'm so used to being a BM member and not having to worry about booking that I forgot that might be necessary elsewhere) there's an exhibition opening soon on the Northwest Passage. I know, you have to be me to get excited about that, but I am.

I think I shall try to see if there is any affordable accommodation and take two days.
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71. The Devil You Know by Mike Carey

When I reserved London Falling from the library, it reminded me that I never got around to reading the rest of the Felix Castor novels after reading and loving Dead Men's Boots some time ago. So I reserved the lot (there are only 5 in total).

Read this one on the train to and from London last weekend.

It's closer to the Dresden Files than London Falling or the Peter Grant series in that Felix Castor is a freelance exorcist rather than part of an official institution. It's a world just like ours, except that just before the turn of the millennium, the dead started to rise, and they're everywhere, in various forms (ghosts, zombies).

It definitely suffered from being read so close to London Falling, but on the other hand it's a quicker, easier read with some good one-liners and some thought-provoking points. Although it's still pretty dark, it's less - for want of a better word, malevolent - than London Falling.

Good clean fun, as it were.
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51. Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

The latest installment in the Peter Grant series.

Pretty much the same thing as the other three books. Enjoyed it slightly less - something was missing, not sure what.

The ending came as a surprise, till I thought about it, and it makes perfect sense.
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48. Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem by Peter Ackroyd

This month's Bibliogoths selection, though I won't now be able to make the meeting.

Anyway, I've read this one before. I've read a few of Ackroyd's novels, and found them all frustrating. They're well written, and there's the kernel of a good plot, but there's always something major that jars or just doesn't work for me. As opposed to his London: The Biography, which is just a wonderful masterwork.

I remembered this as being the least frustrating of the lot, and indeed it is, but I liked it less this time round. There's still something missing from it, and I remembered it as being a lot more suspenseful than it actually is. Which begs the question, what novel is it that has a lot of chasing around backstage at music halls to find a killer in a really scary way? Or is that just in my head?

I do love his playing with the fact that so many influential characters (to us, and at the time who are now forgotten) were hanging around the Reading Room of the British Museum in the 1880s. Somewhere in there is a wonderful quote about the museum/library environment attracting occultists.

Worth it, as there is really not much to it.
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Just got back from an adventure-filled weekend in London. The general idea was to get together with an American friend who has been living in Ireland but is going back to the States soon, and meet her husband and little girl. A surprising amount of exploration got done!

Had the daytime to myself on Saturday so I headed down to the Royal Maritime Museum in Greenwich to catch the North West Passage: An Arctic Obsession exhibition. There wasn't all that much to it but it was free and had lots of lovely old maps and was generally interesting. As I have less than zero interest in the rest of the RMM, I wandered up the hill behind it to the Royal Observatory. Nearly gave myself a heart attack doing so, but the view is well worth the effort!

The highlight of the trip, though, was Greenwich Market - it's an excellent not-so-small market full of pretty things. Restrained myself this time, but I think I'll be making a trip in October and doing all my Christmas shopping there.

While I was in the area, I crossed under the Thames using the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, something I've been wanting to do since I read PD James's Original Sin. Not terribly exciting, but an experience nevertheless.

Changing to the DLR at Bank was a bit of a nightmare (I can't imagine what it must be like during the week) so I came back via Stratford. I love the DLR because you can see where you're going & I get geekily excited by all kinds of stuff. Am I a bad person because I'm convinced I'd really like a place in one of those new Docklands flats?

Yesterday, a group of us started out by going to Spencer House, apparently the best-restored aristocratic Regency townhouse in London. I'd never heard of it before, but it's very opulent indeed, and quite a different experience to any National Trust stately home I've ever been to.

Lunch in Soho was followed by a trip to the V&A. We made a diversion to Harrods, where I've never been before. It's even more awful (in a really funny way) than I'd been led to believe. The shrine to Diana and Dodi - photos do not convey the true tackiness of it. In the immortal words of Stephen Fry, there is not enough vomit in the world. (Come to think of it, he was either describing the Diana Memorial Fountain or this when he said these words). Beat a hasty retreat before we got chucked out for laughing too hard at said memorial.

I've never been to the Victoria & Albert Museum before. I still haven't seen any of the permanent collections. It was a bit late in the day when we got there, and I discovered that a) they have a Baroque exhibition, and b) it ends next week. I loved it, especially that they had examples of Baroque art & architecture from India, South America and the Philippines. Because we got there late, I had to charge through the last third of it at a pace I wasn't terribly happy about (but it was better than not seeing it at all, and I think the better and more interesting exhibits were at the start anyway). I bought the book so I can read the descriptions I missed later. If you're in London and have a couple of hours before the 19th, go for it.

Got home today via Wood Green Shopping Centre - believe it or not, it was cheaper transport-wise and faster time-wise to go there from Alexandra Palace to pick up hair dye than to do so at this end. I also had the comparatively unhelpful experience of dealing with the non-Oyster-technology-enabled bus system here. When wrestling heavy bags, it's an awful lot easier to swipe one's pre-pay card than to faff about with coins and wallets.

Looking at all the above, it's hardly surprising I'm a bit exhausted!


Dec. 3rd, 2007 07:39 pm
inulro: (Default)
Very exciting weekend (for me).

[ profile] nasrat and [ profile] techbint had a housewarming party on Saturday night. Great fun was had, and once again, gluten free beer didn't have the horrible effects on my joints that normal beer does. Odd. Also discovered that St Peters Ales make a gluten free beer now. And that Oddbins deliver. Despite only having the one beer and going to bed at a reasonably sensible hour, I failed to sleep much.

Got up Sunday and it was pouring. Sideways. However, the sun came out eventually and we wandered to the farmers' market at Alexandra Palace. I purchased some Green & Blacks products that are hard to come by around here and promptly proceeded to leave them at the house.

By the time I got to Stratford, it was cloudy and blowing a gale again. Thanks to [ profile] sushidog for having another fabulous tea party. No one who's ever met me will believe this, but I actually didn't eat anything with chocolate in it. The night before, there were not one but two gluten-free chocolate cakes at the party (basically chocolate and sugar) and I couldn't face any more chocolate. Clearly I'm getting old or something. It was lovely to see so many people I don't see enough of and to get my hands on a copy of Filth Kiss. Signed, no less. I would have liked to stay longer, but I had to get home on public transport.

The transport gods smiled on me the whole way - I didn't wait for a bus or a tube train at any point. The only point at which it started to look like things were going wrong, when I got to Victoria and couldn't get on the first coach out, was actually a Good Thing in that the overspill coach was only half full and I had the pair of seats to myself - much more comfortable.

Got home at a reasonable hour, but am still completely wrecked, what with the lack of sleep Saturday night and Jason getting called out in the middle of the night last night. Still, more weekends like this please.


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