- Friday 20th March 2020, 9:47pm [Edited]
- United Kingdom
- 7,618 posts
Skills From History To Acquire
When my newly married parents moved into their gas lit flat in 1956, it was in a street that was locally named the League of Nations. Unusually, the inhabitants of that part of the Elephant and Castle were as diverse in background as they would be today. Many were extremely poor. The poorest was a Cypriot woman who would be outside organising her evening meal when Mum and Dad returned from work. That organisation involved running around the concourse with her arms held wide and whistling like a bird until a pigeon flew close enough for her to catch. Then she would kill it and pluck it right in front of my father's briefcase. In these times of non-existent supermarket slots, learn to catch a pigeon for your dinner. And if you have a spare briefcase from the days when you worked try turning that briefcase into a crust for a pie.
The headquarters of the League of Nations was, of course, in Geneva which in more recent history has been home to the European part of the United Nations. But on 12 December 1602 the forces of the Duke of Savoy, under the command of the seigneur d'Albigny, and those of Charles Emmanuel's brother-in-law, Philip III of Spain, launched an attack on that city. Catherine Cheynel ("Mère Royaume"), originally from Lyon and the wife of Pierre Royaume, seized a large cauldron of hot soup and poured it over Geneva's city walls on the attackers. The heavy cauldron of boiling soup landed on the head of a Savoyard attacker, killing him. The commotion that this caused also helped to rouse the townsfolk to defend the city. Employ this method should anyone come within six feet of your front door. Try to use Big Soup as it has big bits in it.
Living statues. A living statue is a street artist who poses as a statue or mannequin, usually with realistic statue-like makeup, sometimes for hours at a time. The tableau vivant, or group of living statues, was a regular feature of medieval and Renaissance festivities and pageantry, such as royal entries by rulers into cities. Typically a group enacting a scene would be mounted on an elaborate stand decorated to look like a monument, placed on the route of the procession.
A living statue appeared in a scene of the 1945 French masterpiece film Les enfants du paradis and early living statue pioneers include the London-based artists Gilbert and George in the 1960s. In the early years of the 20th century, the German dancer Olga Desmond put on "Evenings of Beauty" in which she posed nude in imitation of classical works of art ('living pictures'). Do consider using all your free time constructively by becoming a living statue but ensure that when doing so you sit "sans tableau vivant" alone high up in a tree. When in disguise move just a tad momentarily to drop coconuts or canon balls on anyone walking below you. Play your old cassette of the theme tune to Surprise Surprise.