Thursday, April 19, 2007

Whassat, gov'nor? ...

God bless the Brits.

Seriously, they're a hoot. Sure, the Queen might come off as a wee bit stuffy, but she's a queen, for God's sake. And I, for one, like my world leaders to have a bit of gravitas.

But Brits in general, what I've experienced of 'em on my two hops across the pond, are a fun-loving bunch. Pubs close at 11 p.m., but that's because pubs there aren't like bars here. Pubs are more like a communal living room, not a place to get shitfaced and try and score.

When Tracy and I were there, way the hell back in 2001, we had a grand time. As we walked along the sidewalk astride the Houses of Parliament, we noted a woman in front of us wearing a particularly fetching denim skirt and a belt. Rhinestones on the belt spelled out "Perfect" and rhinestones on the back pocket of her skirt spelled out "Sexy." And in the moment, she became immortalized as Perfect Sexy. It's so very Austin Powers, don'tcha think?

So imagine my delight tonight, late tonight, as I rue drinking that caffeinated Pepsi earlier, in discovering a story splashing the imminent arrival (in May) of Dickens World!

That's right! Chuckie the Dick (English Teacher Dave used to call William Shakespeare "Willie the Shake" - and maybe he still does - so I'm cribbing his naming convention) is getting his very own theme park! Located in Chatham, just an hour outside London, it promises an authentic Victorian experience, including a Dickensian Shopping Mall, where, no doubt, I'll be able to stock up on capes and cravats.

I don't have a lot of history with Dickens, though I do get a kick out of watching "The Muppet Christmas Carol" with my nephews and niece. I mean, Michael Caine as Scrooge and Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit? Perfection.

Like the rest of the planet, I've read "Great Expectations." I was supposed to read "A Tale of Two Cities" in high school but I didn't quite get around to it. Wrote a paper on it, though. For English Teacher Dave, no less. "You left out the class struggle in this book," he commented on my paper. Years later, I told him that it was remarkable that that's all I left out, considering I didn't read it.

I bought "Bleak House" and tried to read it. Really, I did. No luck, to date. Maybe someday.

But the next time I'm in London - and that needs to be soon, because I haven't been there in a few years - you can bet that I'll get myself on a train to Chatham for a day of literary fun at Dickens World. Best start dusting off my English accent now, eh? Start eating beans on toast and all that? Remember to look the other way when crossing the street? Take it all in stride when I pay the equivalent of $9 for a cup of Starbucks?

Perfect Sexy!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

My hair is now PERFECT SEXY :)
Will get you a pic before it grows out.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Scotsman said...

Dickens World is OK I suppose but I can't help think Scotland could do its own author inspired theme park that would go down very well with parents everywhere. Robert Louis Stevenson would have to be the man who would be plagiarised in the name of of literary commercialism.
Think about it StevensonWorld would have some great attractions.
The children could start the day at Treasure Island, where pirates would be on hand to relieve visitors of vast quantities of pieces of eight. Of course some money would have to be kept aside for the parrots and chips happy meal (none of that reheated fried chicken and fries nonsense here) in the Long John Silver cafe.
After that the children could be encouraged to move on to the Kidnapped facility. Now how many parents are going to love that? The children would be taken away on a boat trip to France, meet Alan Breck, get washed ashore on the Scottish Isle of Mull, and spend an age hiding from Redcoats. Sounds like parent heaven to me. Even more so when the children return with an inheritance from a devious skinflint uncle. What's not to like? Months of freedom only to be ended when hey bring back lots of loot.
Just think while the kids are away the adults will be able to visit the House of Jekyll & Hyde, a place of refreshment where normal people can go in take a potion, or two, and emerge into the night as monsters. A bit like going down to the pub really. Which by the way I'm not sure which pubs you went to but they must have been on their best behaviour.

2:37 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Wow, Mr. Scotsman, you've put lots of thought into that!

As for the pubs, I don't think we actually stuck around to see if they'd kick us out at 11, so maybe the whole "closing at 11" thing is indeed just a suggestion. Next time I'm in London, I'll test the idea.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Mikeachim said...

As an Englishman I am of course aloof and distant to even the most exciting concept. Excitement is a vulgarism and unbecoming of good breeding. The problem with the world these days is people think they can enjoy things: life is to be stoically endured, not enjoyed. One should visit British seaside resorts in January to get the full force of this spiritual ethos.
That said, I'm always a bit scared of anything with 'World' as the second half of the title. Because is involves, yes, entertainment. And that's going to be based on making things accessible to everyone. Which is another way of saying both 'sexing up' and 'dumbing down'. Which is a biblical plague or our age.
The joy of getting into Dickens's work is making yourself fit it, not the other way round. It's hard going to get used to the inordinately ramling style, the staccato-style chaptering, the endless sentences. That's the fun: it's different, so it forces you to change as you're reading it, like Shakespeare.
How about 'Worlds' based on TV shows? LostWorld might be fun - hunted, psychologically tortured and enduringly confused, but at least you'd get a nice tan.
I might pass on CSIWorld, though.

3:59 AM  
Anonymous Mikeachim said...

My my. What a lot of tyops.
I mean typos.

4:00 AM  

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