Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Blair Witch style

It's been another extremely busy day – and my evening session has only just started!

Today we filmed the Libera Me film: our ninth for the Space and I was lucky enough to have Abbie from the choir as our presenter. She was brilliant; seemingly up for trying anything, which included delivering one piece whilst actually holding the camera, Blair Witch style.

We filmed at St Pancras Old church, which has to be one of the most interesting in London. Once a parish church by the river Fleet on the marshy swampland north of London, Percy Bysshe Shelley and the future Mary Shelley planned their scandalous elopement sitting on one of the graves. In the mid 19th century it suddenly found itself surrounded on all sides by railway lines as London expanded tenfold, and the area established itself as the perfect terminus for trains arriving in the capital from the expanding North.

A young architect called Thomas Hardy (who would later become a very famous writer), was given the task of excavating an area of the graveyard which had been sold to Midland Railways. His men took all the graves that they were forced to remove and placed them in a meticulous circle around the foot of a tree. The tree spent the next 150 years weaving its roots around the graves, creating an astonishing piece of art; man and nature working hand in hand.
The louchifixion: Abbie reclines on the cross

The graveyard is also the location of the tomb of the famous architect Sir John Soane; that’s the guy who collected all sorts of Roman and Egyptian ephemera which are displayed in his former house at 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Soane designed his own mausoleum, and it remains (along with Karl Marx’ grave) one of only two grade one listed graves in London. Why is the grave so important? Because it provided Sir Giles Gilbert Scott with the inspiration for the design of the iconic red phone box!

From King’s Cross we went to Upper Street (to film an actual red phone box) where we met Jem from the choir, wiped out after taking the red eye from New York this morning. Our final destination was Stoke Newington, more specifically Abney Park cemetery to film the charming, quirky and hugely gifted poet, Isabel White, who has written a set of poems about the Magnificent Seven Cemeteries in London. The book they're in is called Death and Remebrance. Go buy a copy and support an entrepreneureal creative mind!

All in all, a very good day... and the sun shone almost constantly.

Pepys had a lie-in this morning – and justified this by working late into the evening. He travelled to Deptford, did a bit of Navy business, had dinner with Sir William Penn, stuck his nose into the business of finding his brother a suitable marital match, working for hours by candle light, and went to bed, late, after playing the lute. All in a day’s work, really.

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