||[Jan. 22nd, 2005|09:33 am]
We walked across Kensington Gardens till we bumped into Kensington Palace. Princess Di lived here (and Queen Victoria before her.) The whole park has been turned into a memorial to Di. There’s a Princess Diana walkway- with marked spots for you to pause and think beautiful thoughts- and a Princess Diana Memorial Fountain (newly installed)- which doesn’t work properly.|
I keep waiting for Diana to dwindle into a mere historical figure like all the rest, but she doesn’t show any signs of doing so and maybe she won’t. After all, Marilyn, with whom she’s always compared, is still as big as she ever was- and she’s been dead over 40 years. There’s never been fame quite like this before, a fame kept evergreen (and ever present on TV) by the existence of a vast archive of recorded sound and image.
We came home the long way round, circling back down Kensington Church Street, a quiet, low-rise shopping street for all the world like the high street of a provincial market town. Lots and lots of antique shops- all with objects of museum quality in the windows. We checked out the estate agents: a two room apartment in this area could be yours for as little as a million quid. Where (and how) I wonder do all the service workers live?
...And don't forget Elvis!
How much is two million quid, please, in dollars?
I've been reading a beautiful book, Haunted Castles of Britain and Ireland, and here is a birthday Ghost Story for you, from Devon:
In Berry Pomeroy castle, in Devon, lived an ancient family who arrived with the Norman Conquest.
The castle, which "perches eerily on a rocky throne above a wooded ravine," is haunted by a "blue lady," who wanders in moonlight through the ruined manor house. But another ghost haunts the castle as well, in the "eeriest part of this eeriest of ruins." To meet her, you must climb down and down "into a dark dungeon by way of a twisting stone staircase."
The dungeon walls are mossy and dank. It's here that the "wicked Eleanor Pomeroy imprisoned and starved to death her sister, Margaret," because she was jealous of her sister's beauty, and because Margaret loved the same man she did.
The book says you can see Margaret's "misty form in the depths of the tower." She will brush by you on the dimly lit stairwell...
--Happy continued travels in London. Buy yourself a fine book for your birthday!
Berry Pomeroy- what a wonderful name! Thanks for the story
Ailz tells me that 2 million pounds is about 3 and 3/4 million dollars.
It's amazing how some just live on and on. I hope you are enjoying your travels!
A slight hiccup this morning: we turned up at the rail station to find it had been closed for engineering work. But we took a taxi to another and now we're at mymother's- where I intend to do very little for the next 3 days.
Relaxation galore, good for you!
Did you find her monument at all appealing? (taking into account that it wasnt working as well)
When I first saw the structure I was a little underwhelmed, it just seemed, I don't know. Wrong?
As for the service workers? Brixton and the nearby suburbs I am afraid. (Or so my sister said when she spent a year there backpacking around)
I'm afraid we never actually got to see the Fountain. It was over on the other side of the Serpentine and we never got that far. I liked the idea of it, but it seems like the designer just hadn't thought things through properly.
For Marylin, I think it is the fact that she was still young enough when she died and was really such a minor figure in the grand scheme of things. Her accomplishments would never overshadow her beauty and her death guaranteed that she would never age in our minds.
Not to mention that she was something of the first real female celebrity of the modern age, working at a time when society was working just right to create "popular culture" which is really a post-1950s cultural structure fueled by a strange mix of art and commerce and advertising. She's to popular culture what an ancient Greek statue is to Art, not necessarily the greatest there ever was or would ever be, but so fundamental to its development that she cannot be ignored and is guaranteed to become a deeply embedded symbol of not simply beauty but the way the media transformed the essence of what beauty is in a way that wasn't seen since the Greek statues earlier in the analogy.
In a sense, the accomplishments of others overshadow her beauty and forms a place of refuge from what we often consider the harsher nature of the media today.
I have never really understood Marilyn's appeal. I watch her movies and think, yeah- sterotypical bubbly blonde. Give me Grace Kelly any day!