Wednesday, 9 August 2017

London Remembered

There is quite a lot about London on this blog, mainly in connection with Poul Anderson's Time Patrol series. This is what James Bond remembers when he has returned from Crab Key to Jamaica and will soon return home:

tennis courts
lily ponds
kings and queens
London
people photographed with pigeons on their head in Trafalgar Square
forsythia bazing on bypass roundabouts
his housekeeper brewing tea
the first tube trains shaking the cool, dark bedroom in his flat off the King's Road
the douce English weather

Bond contrasts all this with hot wind, marsh gas, dead coral and black crabs. In Anderson's Time Patrol series, we appreciate, among many other details, Everard's and Whitcomb's hansom cab journey through London in 1894. See here. In the James Bond novels, we appreciate Fleming's detailed and colourful observations of life in the 1950s.

10 comments:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

James Bond had moments of nostalgia for London? That reminded me of this bit from near the end of "A Message In Secret," at the end of a period extreme danger for Flandry on cold, frigid Altai: "Brandy," he whispered. Tobacco. India tea. Shrimp mayonnaise, with a bottle of gray Riesling on the side. Air conditioning..." He shook himself. "Sorry, my mind wandered."

Hmmmm, I wondered if "A Message In Secret" could also be filmed?

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,
Easily. The whole Technic History should be. Think how that would dwarf every other sf film series.
Paul.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Exactly! Most of what PASSES for so called "science fiction" movies is nothing but horrible trash! Any series of films honestly based on the adventures of Nicholas van Rijn and Dominic Flandry would TOWER over such dreck!

And I forgot to add that it was news to me that it's fad for people to be photographed with pigeons on their heads in Trafalgar Square!

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,
I don't know how often that happens.
Paul.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I've been to Trafalgar Square and I never saw that!

What I did notice was how the statue of Charles I is right out THERE in the open, completely unprotected. It contrasted SHARPLY with how I remembered how CROMWELL'S statue was placed behind a stone wall and a steel chain link fence in a rather inconspicuous location at Westminster Palace. I concluded that many people are still so hostile to Cromwell that his statue needed protection!

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,
And I have been told that the bust of Marx has to be massive because this makes it difficult to blow it up.
Paul.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I did notice how curiously MASSIVE that bust of Marx was. And, considering how many horrors were perpetrated in the name of Marxism, I have to say I would understand why some would be so hostile!

Sean

S.M. Stirling said...

One thing missing from Everard's exposure to 1894 London is the overwhelming smell of horses and their byproducts. Hundreds of thousands of them.

S.M. Stirling said...

I've revisited London a few times recently, after a long gap -- previous visits in the late 1960's and early 1970's, and the thing that struck me about the central city is how much cleaner and -brighter- it is. When I first saw it, the Victorian and earlier buildings were all still covered in a patina of coal-soot, even though the coal smoke had been gone for a while. Now they've been cleaned up, and it's a very vivid contrast -- probably more so for me than for someone who'd lived through the changes.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

Good points, both about how PA missed mentioning the innumerable horses which HAD to be used in the 1890's and their noisome by products.

I too recall from my visits in the 1990's how bright and clean London seemed, in contrast to older books describing how foggy and smoky it was. Except that central London had lot of trash and litter. That struck me because of how I'm used to the American preference to disposing of trash neatly. I hope that has changed for the better in London!

Sean