Tuesday, June 30, 2009

London: Story City

I'm leaving for London tomorrow. It's my second visit to the city in the last 3 years, but it's a town that I feel like I've been to many more times in my imagination. I love going to places that I've been to in stories. I love walking around and letting them all play through my mind. 
I've put together a list of some of my favorite London stories. I will more than likely be thinking about these over the next few days...searching the narrow city streets for little glimpses of them.

Mary Poppins: Probably the first London trip I ever made. I remember watching this movie many times as a child and marveling at the scenery. The park scene and bank scene always stood out.  (Last trip, I took a picture of the bank). 

Guignol's Band & London Bridge by Louis-Ferdinand Celine: Basically one long novel split into two, this ranks among my 10 favorite novels ever written. It's the story of a down-and-out fringe London between the wars. It reads like the ravings of a pre-Hunter S. Thompson character...only more bitter. 
Doctor Who (the tenth doctor): Granted, far from every episode takes place in London, but many do and in many different times. The London stories are often some of the best (The Christmas Invasion and The Master saga to name two). The series obviously has the same love of London story history as I do and captures it well.

Paddington Bear by Michael Bond: Paddington was my favorite series in 2nd grade and the first series I remember seeking out and reading on my own. My own personal stuffed-animal obsession was what attracted me to the stories, but it was their magical story telling that kept my interest. Last time in London, I bought a Paddinton Bear and took him to Paddington station.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens: My interest in this story is relatively new. I had never paid much attention to it until my book Thief was called a modern Oliver Twist. I sought out the story and the similarities were extensive...so I fell in love. Also, there's something about orphans and London that just go together.

Peter Pan: Despite the horrendous tainting done by Hook and that terrible movie a few years ago (which I was excited about because it was the first time a real boy was playing Peter in a movie...but yuck), this story is wonderful. Never wanting to grow up...what a splendid wish...and how sad that it's something we only wish for when we get old. As kids, I think we tend to want to grow up as fast as we can.

Performance- The 1970 movie starring Mick Jagger is one of my favorites. It's a surrealist gangster, crime story that ponders the idea of character and self in a very '60's drug culture way, and it's 100% brilliant. On the last trip to London, the number one thing on my list to do was to find the house where it took place. Mission accomplished. It was like a religious pilgrimage...."Hey ma, when's Christmas?"

28 Days Later: Walking through the streets of a ravaged London is one of the most spectacular and unnerving scenes ever put to film. Bravo.

1 comment:

  1. I always think of Clockwork Orange...and the Clash. Love Poppins too though.