Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Hamlet and Highgate

Monday was a bank holiday, which mean that nothing was open (see earlier post) so I spent some productive time looking for a job. But once I was done, I spent some unproductive time googling certain 19th century admirals who also share a name with a certain Shakespearean character. And I discovered that there's a new version of Hamlet being filmed here next month. A small indie film. I thought "hmm, I wonder if they're in need of someone to make tea?" So I sent them a CV. Not five minutes later the director calls me up and is like "yeah, I was just about to advertise for crewpeople...so, interview?" Which promptly turned my unproductive search int a productive one and proves that God loves me. So today I trained up to the wilds of zone three to talk with the (very excitable) director of this new po-mo Hamlet. He thinks that I can be useful, so I'm going to be an extra pair of hands on a film shoot. How exciting is that? I had to listen to "Pandemonium" on the way up to the interview.

(Let me just pause here and say that "25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" is the greatest musical. "Pandemonium" so perfectly sums up what it's like to be twelve I want to cry. Sample lyric: "Life is random and unfair, life is pandemonium!" Of course in my case it was very fair, but I digress.)

Then I figured since I was already in zone three, I should go check out Highgate cemetery. -tary? who cares... Highgate is the biggest, baddest Victorian cemetery you'd ever want to go to, the 19th century answer to overcrowding in central London cemeteries. A hundred years ago this was surrounded by fields, now it's surrounded by the poshest pseudo-Tudor (say that fast) semi-detatcheds I've ever seen. Apparently the living got jealous of the splendid beauty of the dead. For Highgate is beautiful. I went into the eastern part, which is the not fancy part, and the graves are not in any particular order, right next to each other, occasionally on top of each other. The flowers and bushes that old mourners have planted have been left to grow unchecked so that the cemetery feels like a forest. Some of the paths through the woods were little more than footpaths, the ivy and undergrowth completely concealing the stones beneath. It was very peaceful and beautiful. I wanted to go there to get my Victorian on--north London is a Victorian creation, with more factories, but also houses for office workers and middle class families to live in (Bob Crachitt, anyone?)--but I also wanted to go to get out of the city and see some nature. Ironic that it was a cemetery, but it was also the most trees I've seen since coming back from Greece.

Because I was wearing my boots from the interview still my feet were killing me, and I didn't take the tour of the western part of the cemetery...which apparently had a vampire in it. When I came back I Googled "highgate" and I learned all about the Highgate Vampire, who was hunted and eventually staked by a vampire expert in 1970. Incredulous sounding as this is--there are pictures. (which I'm not going to post here, since they're pretty gruesome.) But I will put up a shot I took whilst in the cemetery itself. This is actually a graveyard...but you'd never guess from this photo:

5 comments:

Laura said...

Make my tea Earl Gray with a hint of lemon - and I want that steeped, covered for exactly 7 minutes!

Exciting prospects for you. How cool. - I don't know that God only loves people with jobs however. Jesus wasn't employed.

Jealous that you got to spend some time in nature - and in a beautiful cemetary. "To understand the living- you got to commune with the dead."

Chris said...

Have fun with Hamlet. What a cool job to have. :)

Greta said...

That is awesome!! Congrats on the job! The cemetary looks really neat, it's odd to see something like that in the city.

Samantha said...

I always wanted to check out Abney Park myself...

David said...

Nunhead Cemetery is near to Brockley (Linden Grove)and is well worth a visit. It was started at the same time as Highgate.
They have an open day there once a month with a guided tour run by Friends of Nunhead Cemetery i.e. FONC. They have a website.
Lots of really large Victorian tombs and all overgrown with ivy etc