happiness is a warm blog

It’s a sunny, cool Sunday morning here in Manchester. The weather up north is not as warm as it was down in London, and that’s just fine with me. I’m working on fulfilling Laura’s suggestion regarding local pix. A local coffee shop features a free, 30-day trial of their WiFi service, allowing me to check in periodically. I had ethernet in my room in London, which is why I was blogging (and reading online) more.

Yesterday I became the last person in the world to buy a copy of the (so far very enjoyable) Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell. I also saw Batman Begins. My verdict? Best. Batman. Ever.

You know what? I feel good. Although L is currently several thousand miles away, and we will have spent a total of eight weeks apart this summer, I am made quite happy by being in the archives, reading otherwise inaccessible materials, and writing rough drafts that will (with any luck) appear as articles and/or as a book.

Happiness is not something I’ve blogged about a great deal. And happiness runs the risk of being boring. I believe it was Tolstoy who first observed that “Happy bloggers are all alike; every unhappy blogger is unhappy in his or her own way.”

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in dreams

I had another one of those recurring dreams. This time I was going to play guitar with Sonic Youth.

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busy few days

Friday and Saturday were awesome research days at the British Library. I found some really juicy stuff that’s going to be very useful. I was there yesterday from 9:30 until closing at 5:00 yesterday, and I was so excited by what I was finding that I didn’t want to leave.

My time has not been filled only with work, however. Friday night I saw a very good production of Henry IV Part 1 with Laurie and her friend Jessica at the National Theatre. Tuesday night we’ll catch the second part. Jessica totally kicks ass for landing tickets to supposedly sold-out shows.

Last night my friend Nancy and I headed out to the hip joint of the moment, which goes by the name of the Boogaloo. It’s supposed to be the place to see and be seen, but it seemed just like any other pub I’ve been to in London. Well, there was one difference: the beer was about twice as expensive. Still, it was fun to hang out there, and the way the juke box works is pretty cool. The rumor is that Coldplay went there once to take in (or contribute to) the vibe and got angry when no one recognized them.

Today was an eighteenth-century geek’s idea of paradise. Nancy and I shared a delicious lunch at a Thai restaurant, then visited Dennis Severs’ House (see photo below), which is one part living history site and two parts happening.

Subsequently, we walked up City Road to John Wesley’s chapel, built in the 1760s, and to Bunhill Fields, the Nonconformists’ cemetery right across the street.

The Museum of London was our next stop, and coincidentally enough, there is a sculpture next to the entrance that marks the site of John Wesley’s conversion experience; Wesley described feeling a “strange warming of the heart” while walking along Aldersgate Street. Not exactly the most dramatic of descriptions given that some of Wesley’s evangelical peers were passing out and speaking in tongues.

The Museum of London is a well-done presentation of the history of the city, with artifacts from the last several hundred years. We each bought a reproduction of a 1745 London map, and then headed straight for the Restoration and eighteenth-century sections, which has an exhibit on the Great Fire of 1666, and then several other exhibits organized thematically around themes like “printing” or “prison.” Perhaps I’m making it sound too dry, but it really is well done. I especially like this “sermon glass”.

Next on the agenda: more walking! We ended up at a pub for a couple of pints of John Courage (produced by a brewery founded in 1787), and capped off the day with dinner at an Indian restaurant of my favorite kind.

Now I’m going to bed…

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just a few life/blogging notes

  1. Barring unforeseen circumstances, it looks like we’ve found a place to live in the city to which we will be moving in August. Close to the university, 60% of our current rent, a house in a subdivision. I have never lived in the suburbs before. No, really.
  2. I’ve added a list in my sidebar called “This week’s 10.” It’s a list of blogs I intend to visit and comment upon relatively regularly for a week through web browsing (rather than an RSS feed). Someone–I’ve forgotten who now–suggested doing this in a recent blog entry.
  3. I’m going to paint myself into a blogging corner with promises of two forthcoming posts:
    1. A post on working in the archives.
    2. A post in response to Scott Eric Kaufman’s on teaching literature and history.

Off to the library…

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L and me

Together 13 years today. Woo-hoo!

We had a celebratory day of morning massages, lunchtime seafood and chocolate, afternoon clothes and music shopping, a trip to a local art exhibit that was cut short by a trip to the doctor’s office for treatment of a mysterious bout of vertigo (love will do that to you), and then Asian fusion cuisine for dinner. Whew! Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.

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