Grindelwald’s Wand and Other Snapshots from a Busman’s Holiday in England

The allee of wands near Peter’s Hill. There are two young ladies collecting contributions to Lumos, the  international non-governmental charity founded by  Rowling to end the institutionalization of children.

On the walk from St. Paul’s Cathedral via Peter’s Hill towards the Millenium Bridge over to the Tate Modern, I passed through a sculpture installation promoting the next installment of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

A detail of the wand at the head of the left rank.

A detail of the wand’s base.

The visit to the Tate Modern concluded with an obligatory visit to the children’s section in the main museum gift shop.  This political satire masquerading as a Ladybird book caught my eye.  Ladybirds are the British equivalent of Little Golden Books, but they never made it across the pond to America.  The book’s preparation is supposed to have been overseen by Dr Idiculous Bluff, emeritus proponent of Bloviation at the UKIP (the University of Knowledge in Practice).  The authors, J. A. Hazeley, N. S. F. W. and J. P. Morris, O.M.G. also wrote Cheese and Onion or Salt and Vinegar: A Nation Divided–by crisps. 

Exiting the European Union will preserve the tight little island in the North Sea…  Incidentally, all the illustrations were selected from actual Ladybird Books.

Thanks to Brexit, the editors at the Oxford English Dictionary are guaranteed full employment, at least until the terms of leaving are worked out.

Naturally the British ruling classes support the will of the common man expressed via the ballot box.  The lord in the hot pink waistcoat looks as if he was repurposed from a Prince Charming in some Ladybird Cinderella. Never apologize, never explain, because there will always be an England, right?

The selections in the Tate Modern’s gift shop was a lot more edgy than its literature for visitors, which consisted of floor plans and gallery guides.  For something completely different, I had to visit the  Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, where I picked up a copy of this guided tour across the University of Oxford’s collections.

With prefatory notes by Stephen Fry and Richard Bruce Parkinson, the twenty-four-page illustrated brochure highlights two objects or creatures that connect LGBTQ+ to their history on display at the Ashmolean, the Museum of Natural History, the Pitt Rivers Museum, the Bodleian Library, the Museum of the History of Science, the Botanic Garden, and the Bate Collection.  The alternative natural histories are especially fascinating in the way they raise ideas about gender and sexual activity.

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