Final Review: Photo Book

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Favorite Photos

I’m back in the US now, so this is going to be my second to last post, with only my Photobook to follow later today. I’ve actually posted most of my favorite photographs already, so I figure I would use this to highlight some shots I never had a proper place for, topically, but which I nonetheless really like. So here’s my Top 5 Nontopical Photographs:

Bridge View

water on leavesdiorama of ancient Britainbench mosson the steps to the Seine

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Leaving London

Today was our last day in London, as such, this will most likely be my second-to-last post on this blog. It’s been tiring but also wonderful, but I am ready to return home. As this is my last semester, after this week I will have a Master of Science degree in Library and Information studies – meaning this is more than just a goodbye to London, it’s a goodbye to graduate school altogether. For  a while anyway.

So our actual in-class day was a trip to Buckingham Palace, followed by lunch at the nearby original Hard Rock Cafe. It was a neat capstone to everything. No pictures were allowed inside the Palace, but it was definitely interesting to contrast Buckingham – an actual, contemporary working palace home to the actual reigning Queen – to the older palaces such as the one we saw yesterday. These highlight both how much has changed in British society and the ways it still is deeply connected to its long past, which I think can be said to be the overall theme of the entire class beyond the curricular media-production element.

Buckingham Palace gates

Sign at the Hard Rock: "No drugs or nuclear weapons allowed inside."

I later concluded tonight with a visit to what had become my favorite neighborhood pub, a Samuel Smith Brewery-owned pub called the Crown, with Vanessa and Beth L. – it’s been a great class and a great journey, and this was a perfect ending.

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Pubs in the UK Multimedia Poster

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References:

Public house. (n.d.). In Wikipedia.

 Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_house.

British Beer and Pub Association (2007).  History of the pub.

Retrieved from http://www.beerandpub.com/pub_history.aspx

Rogers, Simon. (2010, April 12). Labour’s manifesto: where have all the pubs gone?

The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/apr/12/general-election-labour-manifesto-pub-closures 

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Hampton Court and yet more Tudor (and also Orange)

So today we went to tour the Hampton Court Palace and gardens, best known as the summer home and preferred residence of the infamous – and nearly unavoidable these last few weeks – King Henry VIII. It was originally built for Cardinal Woolsey, but Henry later took it for himself when he broke with the Catholic Church. Much of the attractions of the place are based on King Henry’s continued popular appeal and fascination; as such, it features various theatrical aspects – from an audio tour that is in large part a radio drama to an interactive-theater game involving a reenactment of one of his conflicts with his wives (I didn’t catch which but I suspect it was Anne Boleyn), complete with a fairly good Henry VIII impersonator, who apparently flirted with several of my classmates.

Tudor rose on the ceiling

However, what I found more interesting was the later sections of the palace, added in a completely different Baroque style by Christopher Wren (of St. Paul’s Cathedral fame) for William III and Mary II over a century later. This is an era of British history that – due to coinciding with the British Colonial period in America – is often skipped over lightly in American education, and as such I found it particularly interesting to explore. The history behind this section involves William III, who took the throne jointly with his wife Mary after overthrowing her father James II with the help of Parliament and the Dutch navy, wanting to upgrade the palace to the style of the time, then defined by the extravagant Versailles palace created by King Louis XIV of France, but being unable to afford to do so (in part due to his ongoing role as a general in wars with Catholic France, and in part due to Parliament now having more control over the nation’s finances).

Hampton Court

The William & Mary wing: Christopher Wren's Baroque addition

A Yeoman of the Guard

Creepily, King William kept a portrait of his uncle/grandfather-in-law Charles I in one of his chambers opposite the throne – the king who’d been deposed and executed by Cromwell’s  Parliamentarian forces, as apparently a reminder to be humble and cooperate with Parliament (who, after all, had made him king). This whole section was, for me, fairly eye-opening about the role of a palace in the life of a monarch (lots of rooms for people of varying importance), and I enjoyed it.

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Birds and Bees (but not like that)

Today we returned to one of the places I had visited in London most memorably when I visited with my family 7 years ago, namely Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, home to the Princess Diana memorials (as well as her onetime home, Kensington Palace, currently under renovation to be more touristy and theatrical). It was mostly just a leisurely stroll around the area, with a few planned stops, several of them Lady Di-related, including the Memorial Playground and brook-like Memorial Fountain, plus the lakes, and some not, like the Peter Pan statue and the Prince Albert memorial near Royal Albert Hall.

In the Diana FoundtainAubreyCrystal

 

Lazying around by the Albert

Our assignment was to take pictures of water, but I was more interested in the animals around them – particularly the water birds (mainly geese – they were EVERYWHERE – but also swans, ducks, herons, and coots), and the bees in the Gardens (one actually landed on my face, which was rather scary for a moment):

Bee & Flower 1Grey Heron & Seagull

Nesting cootsBee & Flower 2

Swan swan hurrah

The only time it wasn’t so leisurely was  towards the end – Dr. Everhart had booked us for afternoon tea at the Kensington Palace Orangery (a greenhouse-turned-cafe) and we were running late, so we had to make a major hike, but it was nice and relaxing when we got there, too.

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Weekending

So, while everyone else save Kalyca, Anne, and Theresa were still in Paris, I decided to take a relaxation weekend and chill out. Saturday was pretty quite aside from being an exercise in standing in queues, since earlier in the day I attempted somewhat foolhardily to get into the Alan Moore book signing for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1969 without showing up hours before it was scheduled to happen. Predictably, I did not get in, although I got a tiny glimpse of his beardedness. I also got a panorama show of the queue, which already stretched around the block 30 minutes before the signing started and wasn’t all that much shorter 2 and a half hours later:

Queue for Alan Moore

Eventually I got really hungry, so I gave up and went to a nearby Pret a Manger, which is pretty much the greatest fast food sandwich place ever invented; they are everywhere in London.

Later on in the day, I had dinner with Kalyca at an Indian restaurant, which was delish (though she was slightly dissatisfied with her dish), and then around 10, I headed out to follow up on the clubbing tip I’d gotten from my awesome friend Teresa Nesbitt, who was an FSU Study Centre intern last year. First, I went to Old Compton Street in Soho; where I got in another queue, this one for G-A-Y Bar  (which is exactly what it says on the tin) and for armbands to get into my real destination for only £2. I had one drink there, then headed down to Charing Cross Station and the Arches, for Heaven, the premiere gay-oriented disco in the UK. It turns out they were having special Nintendo Wii night, so I played Mario Kart in the balcony bar area and won a free shot playing Just Dance 2 (to Hey Ya!) on stage, karaoke-style, in one of the side rooms. I also met some really cool people and had an awesome time (one of the highlights – and I never thought I’d say this – being dancing their DJ’s version of Britney Spears and Ke$ha’s “Til The World Ends”) .

Mario Kart!THIS IS HEAVEN

Sunday was another slow day – I just tried to work on homework, the got dinner at a pub with Kalyca and Theresa, where an older Australian man on holiday came up to take with us because he could tell we were American. He was nice and funny and bought drinks for Kalyca and me. Then we stopped at the M&Ms store in Leicester Sqaure, on the way to Chinatown Market to visit the same tattoo parlor, Extreme Needle, where Eliza had gotten her London skyline tattoo so that Kalyca could get a Tudor rose tattoo on the abck of her neck. It took a couple of hours due to all the color used, but it came out beautifully.

M&M's World

Kalyca's tattoo

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