In praise of oranges

A First World War letter from a Palestinian orange grove, an orange (lower case) song, and this winter's favourite orange cake recipe. (2018/01/21)

Winchester is the centre of English civilisation

Sez Lucio Vicente López in Recuerdos de viaje (1881). This is apparently in part due to the Normans having invaded without women, thus enabling the maintenance of The Saxon Character. He’s wrong. Winchester is suspiciously continental, while Romsey is Ethelflaeda, who sang psalms while skinny-dipping in the Test, and lithe & lusty hooligans. (2018/01/21)

Thomas De Quincey on the sewers as a conduit for small boys from Winchester College to the downtown pubs

With his guide to the Ziph language, and with the death of a Savoyard organ-grinder's white mouse, of which he was probably not the author in any sense. (2018/01/18)

Whatever became of Christian Lehmann, pioneering Petersburg Shrovetide zookeeper, Pierrot, illusionist, showman?

Newly uncovered evidence shows that, following the fire which destroyed his Russian theatrical business in 1836, he and his family pursued a career in London and Europe, before repeating their Petersburg triumphs in the USA and Australia. Also, a very curious copyright case. (2018/01/11)

Organ-grinder tweets for December 2017

More inanity from the Hackney organity. (2018/01/01)

Organ-grinder tweets for November 2017

More monkey mess from the peripatetic Homerton/Hackney barrel organ. (2017/12/01)

London organ-grinding tweets for October 2017

Lukewarm barrel organ-ish ephemera from Hackney, London and thereabouts. (2017/11/01)

So, would you rather visit Tory party conference or the 1660 Foire de Saint-Germain?

Given the choice (we believe in choice). Featuring castanets, monkeys, marionettes, and human and tortoise castles. (2017/10/03)

London organ-grinder tweets for September 2017

Barrel/street organ stuff. (2017/10/01)

Napoleon II’s Pulcinella toy & the Empire’s collapse

A tragic gallery dealing with 1832: contemporary/posterior mise-en-scène? Plus images of Napoleon as Polichinelle. (2017/09/29)

On the French penchant for inventing things already in existence elsewhere

François Dominique Séraphin, Bourbon favourite and reputedly the father of ombres chinoises (shadow puppetry), began operating 15 years later than is generally thought, and may have copied his techniques from an itinerant Italian or a London Alsatian. Featuring the memoirs of the valet to the later Louis XVII, early descriptions of the delights of the renovated Palais Royal (including a pygmy show), jolly old Baron Grimm on the lamentable state of French opera, shadow plays, and marionettes, and William Beckford's favourite designer of theatrical perversions. (2017/09/12)