Rating: Teen and up
Fandom: Lanyon Archive
Summary: The Mods of the Lanyon Archive thought they had seen it all. But that was before Joe Wright replaced Guillermo Del Toro as the director of Mistress of Her Trade.
A small Easter tribute for lilliburlero
Tales out of School
I’ve enjoyed following historian Bob Nicholson on Twitter, @DigiVictorian.
He often posts examples of interesting things he finds in old newspapers, which as longtime readers know is also an interest of mine.
These two particular examples are even on similar themes to my own areas of fascination, that is, modernity and beards:
Late-Victorian observers were fascinated by the electrifying speed of modern American civilisation, and simulateoisly both wary and excited by its cultural implications. This article from Tit-Bits (1883) captures it perfectly. Wish I’d found this during my PhD… pic.twitter.com/e2ijGTWdS1
— Dr Bob Nicholson (@DigiVictorian) April 8, 2019
Transform yourself from a ‘city-waiter’ into an ‘old Indian major’ by completely inverting your hirsute adornments!
– Answers magazine (1890) /6 pic.twitter.com/RPqJB3MkKU
— Dr Bob Nicholson (@DigiVictorian) April 7, 2019
A full, bushy thread on beards begins here.
A bit ago, he went viral with his diatribe against inaccurate Victorian-era newspapers in film & television:
I’ve just watched the trailer for the new Dickens movie. I’m not usually bothered by inaccuracies in historical dramas, but I’d like to politely request that film makers STOP PUTTING MASSIVE HEADLINES ON VICTORIAN NEWSPAPERS. pic.twitter.com/GdOFi9u6G6
— Dr Bob Nicholson (@DigiVictorian) November 25, 2017
You can read the whole (constantly-being-added-to) thread beginning here.
He’s also working on a survey of Victorian jokes and humor in particular. In this article he describes the prevalence of Victorian puns and groaners:
It turns out the Victorians joked about much the same topics as we do: cutthroat lawyers, quack doctors, mothers-in-law, foreigners (particularly the French), celebrities, political news, romantic misadventures, family squabbles, fashion faux pas, cheeky children, and other amusing situations drawn from everyday life. For a historian like me, these gags offer valuable insights into the inner workings of Victorian society. Laughter, after all, is a powerful thing – as anybody who’s ever been the butt of a cruel joke can attest. […]
Entire books of puns were also published, including Puniana (1867) and More Puniana (1875), which contained hundreds of pages of exquisitely tortured wordplay. Consider this appropriately festive example:
If you were to kill a conversational goose, what vegetable would she allude to?
Or this bizarre bit of wit:
When do we possess a vegetable time-piece?
When we get-a-potato-clock (get up at 8 o’clock).
Jokes and puns in particular he regulalry posts to the Twitter account @VictorianHumour.
I’ve found loads of Victorian jokes in which angry customers return defective parrots to a pet shop – that famous Monty Python sketch was built on a long-established comic trope!
– Answers (1890) pic.twitter.com/DEY55ALjIC
— Victorian Humour (@VictorianHumour) April 11, 2019
And here are some other good threads to read!
In 1888, Answers magazine ran a competition inviting readers to predict what life would be like in Britain 'a hundred years hence.' Strap in and get ready to learn how the Victorians imagined the 1980s!
Thread 👇👇👇: pic.twitter.com/hY6Vw2MLHN
— Dr Bob Nicholson (@DigiVictorian) December 27, 2018
In 1889, Tit-Bits magazine offered prizes to single, female readers who sent in the best answers to the question: ‘Why Am I A Spinster?’ Here are some highlights… pic.twitter.com/7gRG0kVbUO
— Dr Bob Nicholson (@DigiVictorian) February 17, 2018
It’s all good stuff, and he’s doing the Lord’s work out there.
But that isn't what this post is about.
This morning, when I came into work, my colleague and team head took me aside and told me that he had been told, by a credible source, that his and my former Baker and McKenzie colleague, Paul Rawlinson, had died.
A quick Google search showed that his Wikipedia page (because as the former global head, stepping down it was hoped temporarily about six months ago because of "exhaustion", he was certainly deemed "notable") was now in the past tense. The news was, in the course of the morning, confirmed by the Law Society Gazette and various other sources.
A horrible blow, and one coming almost out of the blue.
Paul was the son of a father from Lancashire and a mother from Italy, and therefore united two extraordinary blessings (if people think he may have had some influence on a certain character in Lust Over Pendle, I'll not deny it.) He had enormous charm, a wit of steel and a finished ability to laugh at himself. He once got a bunch of people on whom he was serving an Anton Piller order (or, rather, supervising its service -- I was doing the London end) to offer to run out to get him fish and chips ("Eh, lad, you must be starving"), and only turned the offer down, with deep regret, when the solicitor he was supervising kicked him hard on the ankle.
He, I and a B&M partner once ended up at 2am sat side by side like owls on the hoods of telephone kiosks in the middle of Covent Garden, after a sensational victory in Court, improvising riffs off Julius Caesar (he loved Casca: something about his response to Cassius' line "Will you sup with me?"* struck him as quintessentially Lancashire, and for that reason both hilarious and true.)
On the eve of INTA one year many years ago three of the four B&M IP partners were sitting in a black cab outside 100 New Bridge Street, waiting for Harry who was -- of course -- having one last phone call inside. Paul strolled back along a sunlit street from the pub where we'd all been lunching, leant inside the window, and said, in the hearing of all the partners and three or four of the more senior juniors on the team, me included, "Dashed good of you, Russell, to volunteer to be the suicide bomber."**
Last time I saw him it was at Baker & McKenzie's offices a couple of years ago; there was an alumni "do" on and we were drinking champagne. He looked gaunt, and I worried a little about it, but he was as vivid as ever, and he still hadn't -- entirely -- lost his accent.
Requiem aeternam, et lux perpetua luceat eam.
PS He was a most devoted fan of Manchester City, so any candles lighted to a 2-0 at the Eithad this week would be most appreciated.
*"Ay, if I be alive and your mind hold and your dinner worth the eating."
** Russell Lewin preceded Paul both in rising to be head of B&M London from the IP team, and in dying young.