Yule be amazed

The Insect Circus: Hoxton Hall, December 19th-30th Those of you who enjoyed the Insects and Entomologists feature in March will be thrilled to see that the Insect Circus is appearing at Hoxton Hall, London N1, for the Christmas season this year, December 19th-30th.

Once one has encountered the magical world of the Insect Circus, how could one come away and forget about the Knife Thrower and the Brave Butterfly, or the Heroic Capt. Courage and his Vicious Vespa Wasps? Mr. Maroc the Beast Tamer, The Balancing Scarab Dungo, The Antics, Tallulah the Worm Charmer, Ephemera, Hat-trick Hattie or Fleur de Paree?

"A Unique Theatrical Extravaganza."

Hoo, hwæt, why, when, where, how

Wind-up/Solar radio, tuned to Radio 4 Hwaet is the opening of the epic poem Beowulf, which I found online (although the exclamation mark used in the November feature’s title is just artistic licence on my part). The idea for a feature on the Anglo-Saxons came from an interview I heard on BBC Radio 4, where the Anglo-Saxons were described as being pushed from the curriculum.

Previous features have also been inspired by Radio 4 – hearing an interview with the parents of Mark ‘Insect Circus‘ Copeland on Home Truths led to Insects and Entomologists. And hearing Paul Scholfield reading part of The Waste Land on Radio 4 led to Hurry Up Please It’s Time.

If I was any good at geography, perhaps I’d do a feature inspired by the oddly evocative shipping forecast

In the nick of time

Pocket watch Our feature for August prompted me to fetch out my English grandfather’s pocket watch. He was a gunner on a Bristol fighter during the Great War, and was shot down over France. My grandfather walked away from the wreckage, taking the cockpit watch with him as a souvenir.

My Irish grandfather had a close shave as well. He took part in the Easter Rising, and survived getting bayonnetted in the head.

On my daily commute to and from Manchester, I’ve fallen under the train twice. Surviving that didn’t demand any courage – but maybe I’ve inherited my forefathers’ reflexes.

Perchance to Dream

Carole McCallum with miniature bed

Here are a couple of photos that were included in an early draft of April’s feature.

Max Mog yawning

Photo top copyright © Glasgow Caledonian University Archives, The Christina W Bell Collection. This shows Carole McCallum, University Archivist, with a miniature bed and bedding created by Christina W Bell (1897-1981). The other photo shows my cat Max yawning. By coincidence I followed Blogger’s random blog link just now, and it went to Sleepycat, who are Berkeley DB software developers (we use Berkeley DB as well as one of the components of the Hub’s software). What are the odds?

Subject to debate

I was reading in March’s Museums Journal about plans for next year’s bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade. We do have material on the Hub about the Atlantic slave trade, plantation owners, and abolitionists.

However, 1807 marked the end of a specific historical instance of
slavery, not the end of slavery itself. We shouldn’t forget that slavery is still alive and well all over the world – and still big business in this country. Remember the Morecambe Bay cockling deaths? Or heard about forced prostitution?

I’d be glad if a Hub contributor could put together a Collections of the Month feature on slavery in all its forms. I just think it’s a bit premature for celebrations.

Food for thought

I received the following response to my posting on the American archives listserv about this month’s Collections of the Month feature on Insects and Entomologists:

Interesting–but you left out "people who eat insects"! For example, you might link to http://grubco.com/Nutritional_Information.cfm which has nutritional breakdowns of various insects.

Or not. ;-)

Christine

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