Thursday, 25 February 2010

Alice in Where?

I’m in a bit of a rush today. I have lots of stuff to do before heading to Leicester Square for the world premiere of Alice In Wonderland. We’re going as Matt’s guests, and I’m very excited, having never been invited to such a potentially glitzy event before! Sadly, my films tend to get premiered in shopping centres and service stations, so this will give me a chance to see how the other half live! My only worry is that the film is being billed as Disney’s Alice In Wonderland, which makes me wonder what happened to Lewis Carroll. Also a tad perturbed at the title. Matt is playing both Tweedledum and Tweedledee, and the film also features the White Queen; all three of whom are characters from Looking Glass Land. Perhaps they should have simply called the film Alice?

Pepys was up with the lark on 25th February 1660 and arrived in Cambridge at 8am. He met up with his father and brother in The Falcon on Petty Cury - a street which still exists - and found them both well. They strolled, no doubt, down St Andrew’s Street, to Christ’s College, and then Pepys sneaked off to Magdalene College, for a quick trip down Memory Lane, CB3. He met up with friends, former masters and scholars and was delighted to find himself being “exceedingly civilly received”. After lunch, he visited some relatives, did some shopping, and then started drinking, “pretty hard” with many toasts to the King. Fascinating really, as Cambridge was one of Cromwell’s strongholds during the Interregnum. Pepys himself mentions being surprised at how his former colleagues had already adapted their speech from the formal language of Puritanism to more relaxed tones. How quickly people accept change...

The day continued with more food, more drinking, more chat, and then to bed at an Inn. Pepys shared with his brother, whose belongings had not yet arrived, so he couldn’t sleep in his college room.

There’s something remarkably timeless about this diary entry. Every October for the past 350 years, the very same thing has happened up and down the country with a different set of central characters. It brings to mind my first day at university; my parents travelling up to York with me to make sure I was okay before snap... the rope was cut and I was suddenly an adult. It’s quite an emotional moment when you see them driving off into the distance, knowing that you have to start a new life, knowing that the safety of childhood has gone forever. I’m sure it was even worse for my parents who'd spent 18 years protecting me.

1 comment:

  1. Even beyond the father-son relationship, you get a case study in fraternal relations through the diary. In this case Tom won't exactly duplicate the diligence and drive of his elder brother. Thus while we credit a lot of Sam's rise in the world to his connections to the Montagu name, his brother shows how you can flounder even when outwardly displaying the same advantages.