qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

The Bank of England, Secondhand Bookshops and Criminal Masterminds

I imagine you can probably provide simple connections between any two of the above, but all three together may require further explanation.

Yesterday kharin and I had a trip to London, primarily to see Sir John Soane's Museum. The collection comprises various of his architectural plans, models and artistic impressions (including the Bank of England, but perhaps more interestingly, proposals for a new Houses of Parliament) and also the seemingly random palaeontological, archaeological, classical and empirical accumulations of an eighteenth century gentleman. Indeed, there were a couple of displays labelled "small artefacts which were on display around the house", which I think means "nick-nacks of no particular significance that we couldn't bring ourselves to throw away".

The museum is free to visit, but sadly it does seem to be in poor condition in places. At present the basement and the picture gallery are closed for repair. However, one can peer down into the basement to view a bubble-wrapped Sarcophagus of Seti I, and Hogarth's An Election and The Rake's Progress have been relocated to a temporary exhibition in one of the other rooms.

Onwards and upwards (by cartographic convention, anyway) ... a brief visit to HMV in Oxford Street (as the Reading branch has now all but abandoned it's classical section) and all aboard the Northern Line to Camden Town (Mornington Crescent branch, of course - though I've yet to see the blue plaque proclaiming "Willie Rushton was facetious here").

I'm sure there used to be at least two secondhand bookshops in Camden Market but one seems to have dematerialized. However, the remaining one still appeared to have its dimensional stabilizer in place. It's all very well Oxfam setting up its own bookshops but (in Reading at least) they have completely misunderstood the purpose of a secondhand bookshop: there should be far too many books, somewhat sorted into an order but with random aberrations, and some of the books should be a bit grubby. So no money to charity here, but pure mammon instead. I picked up John Gribbin's In Search of the Double Helix (which completes the In Search Of... set), le Carré's The Constant Gardener and Dava Sobell's Galileo's Daughter.

Back in Reading, kharin provided the evening entertainment by way of one of his DVD purchases: The Testament of Doctor Mabuse. No plot spoilers here, but word associations that came to mind were "Kim and Aggie", "Professor Moriarty", "Brothers Grimm", "Inspector Morse" and "The Wizard Of Oz". It began with a strange note explaining the length of the original film and the length of the present copy. Not in time, but in metres. I suppose that kind of thing must be important for German film buffs.
Tags: exhibitions
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