November 8th, 2007

The Day I Didn't Get Dressed

I spent all of yesterday in my dressing gown- not because I was sick or anything but simply because I could. It felt mildly transgressive.  I don't think I'll do it again.

I've been reading Peter Lamont's The First Psychic- a life of Daniel Dunglas Home, the Victorian spirit medium. Home was amazing; he got heavy furniture to dance around, he materialised spirit hands, he levitated; He did all these things in front of eminent scientists and the crowned heads of Europe; and he was never caught cheating. Thackeray, Elizabeth Browning and Mark Twain admired him, Dickens, Robert Browning and Leo Tolstoy detested him, and Alexandre Dumas pere was best man at his wedding to a Russian aristocrat. Was he the greatest medium the world has ever known or the most successful charlatan? Either way it's a fascinating story. And one that raises all sorts of disturbing and unanswerable questions such as  "How far can we trust the historical record?",  "How far can we trust scientists?"  and "How much do we really know about anything?"

In the evening I watched 2001, A Space Odyssey. It holds up very well.  The special effects are as good- no, better- than those in any modern film. Everything is handmade- so you're seeing real objects not computer simulations. And I don't care what anyone says, CGI always looks fake.