Sunday, December 11, 2005

Extracurricular Mink

(*) Eviction Party in Dalston, Friday night: most "normal" squat party I've ever been to, with
  • people arriving in black cabs
  • girls with handbags
  • only two people with dreadlocks
  • posh cheese (stilton and goat) and chicken wings (!!?) as hors doeuvres
  • good live music
very strange, and quite a change from South-London vegan-punk fairs; not really for the better. Normality's boring. Dancing was fun.

(*) UCL attractions: two years ago I heard the curator of the Petrie Museum, Dr. Quirke, give a mesmerising paper on ancient Egyptian cities, gender and power. It involved a poem about the King sneaking at night through a mudbrick town, to reach the house of his general lover. Been wanting to visit the museum ever since.

To get to the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaelogy, you need to jump the UCL library gates, go through three doors which seem to be leading nowhere; once you're there, you'll need a torch to see the exhibits (the museum staff will provide one) because it's so dark. The display is amassed in endless rows of glass cabinets, some of it leading into the blocked Fire Escape. They will modernize it in a few years and move it to a new building (to be called the UCL 'Panopticon' - milking on the Jeremy Bentham connection) - so go before it's normal and boring. It's free.

As for Jeremy Bentham, who Marx called "a genius by way of bourgeois stupidity" and a "purely English phenomenon" - yes, he's there, in his 'auto-icon', stuffed, or rather, preserved for posterity. My favourite bit is seeing the guard put him to sleep everyday on 5pm. I'm rarely there to see it though. The clothes and bones inside are his, the face not (unfortunately something went wrong and they have to use a wax mask).

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