Saturday, 28 April 2007

Late King Lear Weather Hits Kent

April 28, Saturday. (Bloomberg)

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake struck Kent, a region southeast of London known as "the Garden of England",in the worst tremor in the area since 1580, the British Geological Survey said.

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!

The quake is the largest in Britain since an earthquake in Dudley in 2002.
And a few days later the humourists get to work.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Coming Shortly

One year short of the 400th anniversary of the “first” tourist’s journey across Europe, Robin Hunt follows in the footsteps of one of Shakespeare’s drinking mates, Thomas Coryat, armed with the latest communication technologies (and an online computer database filled with 400 years of European history, rumour, culture, scandal and stories of exile) to create a twenty-first century mosaic that considers travel, identity, pleasure and place, in words, sounds and pictures.

Coming Shortly 2

MAY 14TH 2007

399 years ago today an under employed Englishman whose London drinking friends included William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, John Donne and the teenage Prince of Wales, set out alone on a walking trip across Europe.

On May 14, 1608, Thomas Coryat, a Somerset bachelor of 32 and house wit to eminent royal and artistic circles in London, began his trip in Calais after a nauseous crossing of the English Channel. He travelled, mostly by foot, up to Paris, down through Lyon, across the Alps into Italy, then made for Venice where he was to stay for a month and a half. The return journey took the traveller through Switzerland, Germany and Holland. On October 3rd Coryat returned to London after a three-day boat journey from Flushing on the Dutch coast, bringing with him news of a great new Italian invention: the fork.

Coryat was neither diplomat nor solider; scholar nor merchant; spy nor smuggler. He travelled not for profit or politics or position at court, but merely for pleasure itself; the more the better. He was the first pure English tourist. The record of his trip, Coryat’s Crudities, was published in 1611 and is the first tourist’s account of Europe. It was groundbreaking work of un-scholarly enjoyment, as Volpone’s author Ben Jonson wrote in an introduction (one of over 150 authors who wrote a preface for Tom Coryat!).

On May 14, 2007, I begin the same trip, also by foot (trains and buses may stand in for horses from time to time – we shall see). Unlike Thomas Coryat, who wrote in a notebook with a quill pen and whose preparation for the trip amounted to little more than watching The Merchant of Venice and joking with Shakespeare, I have several additional tools at my disposal. These include an Apple laptop computer, Leica cameras, a Tri-band mobile, an I-Pod, microphone and Sony Mini disk and an account for the creation a daily blog.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Shakespeare News

The idea of the Renaissance Computer will feature here over the next few months. Meanwhile in America and London...And happy birthday... Even if Will was not "A man of travel, that hath seen the world."
In the electronic age with its vast databank of stored knowledge, when the mot juste is just a Wikiquote away and human memory of facts all but redundant, the idea of a commonplace book may seem quaint. Every blog, after all, is a sort of commonplace book, with items culled from elsewhere, reassembled, and subjected to vigorous commentary along the way.

One man who has seen much of the world and Kabul writes nicely about the Commonplace Book - the Wiki of Shakespeare's day, as Neil Rhodes suggests in many of his books, see quote above.