Thursday, 30 June 2016

Chapter 1 “A doer, not a story teller!”: Chapter Notes

This Post provides notes on Chapter 1 of The Lust World: A Sexual Odyssey, an erotic adventure story.

Our hero, Edmund Molloy, meets the lovely Agnes Cardwell and her father at the exhibition of Italian Futurists held at the Sackville Gallery in Sackville Street, just off Piccadilly  This exhibition, then on tour around Europe, did indeed take place in March 1912. The Sackville Gallery (which closed in 1939) specialised in old Masters so this exhibition was unusual for them.

Bal Tabarin by Gino Severini (1912)

It had already stirred up controversy in Paris "Weird paintings exhibited in Paris" said The Daily Mirror in February that year and, in fact, Mr Cardwell's negative reaction to the pictures of the likes of Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Luigi Russolo, and Gino Severini  was shared by many.  

The Daily Mirror, which obviously had a down on Futurism, published a cartoon by W.K. Haselden on March 15th 1912, entitled how to paint a futurist picture.  Mr Cardwell would no doubt have approved!

 The Cafe Royal by Charles Ginner (1911)

Edmund then takes Agnes to the Cafe Royal, a popular place for artistic types at the time. Established in 1865 by a French wine merchant, it attracted many well known figures as its patrons, who enjoyed the glittering gold and mirrored interior. In fact, Arthur Conan Doyle was a regular, as was Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, Rudyard Kipling, HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw and many others.

The Cafe Royal by Sir William Orpen (1912)

We were able to get our description of the interior correct thanks to two paintings done at the time by Ginner and Orpen.  We used a black and white version of Orpen's painting for our chapter heading.  We featured one of Orpen's nudes, which has a fascinating backstory, over on Venus Observations here.

The Cafe Royal today

Triple P has been to the Cafe Royal a number of times in the past, most memorably when he was taken there for a four hour lunch by his friend HMS in the nineties, when we demolished several bottles of Chateau Léoville Las Cases 1978 at around £200 a bottle.  Recently the whole place has been turned into a new five star hotel (it was starting to look a little tired) and the main mirrored room, as featured in the two paintings above, has been beautifully restored as the hotel's restaurant.

The Reform Club today

Molloy often meets up with his friend William Britten at the Reform Club, which makes its first appearance in this chapter.  It is somewhere else that still looks much as it did just over a hundred years ago.  Triple P has a former colleague who is a member and so has been there a number of times and it is always easier to write about somewhere you know.   Also, Arthur Conan Doyle was a member!

The upper corridor of the main saloon at the Reform Club today

Miss Yates poses in the upper corridor of the saloon at the Reform Club, where William Britten has his favourite chair

We posted a Penthouse pictorial of Paula Yates shot at the Reform Club in 1977 (can't think that they would allow that now!) so you can see more of the interior and read about the history of the club, which is very much the most splendid of the London clubs.

The District Railway's Charing Cross underground station below Charing Cross mainline station

After being rejected by Agnes, Molloy heads off to the "District Railway to Charing Cross".  All railways in Britain, including the underground ones, were built and run by the private sector at this time and the underground did not come under public operation until 1933.  The District Railway, like all of the London Underground, ran on steam originally but in 1905 the District Railway introduced electric trains (as in the illustration from 1914, above). Charing Cross underground station in 1912 is now known as Embankment.  What is now Charing Cross station used to be two separate stations (for different railway companies).  The first was called Trafalgar Square (owned by the Baker Street (another Conan Doyle link!) and Waterloo Railway - officially changed to  Bakerloo, as it still is today, in 1906).  The second was called Charing Cross (for the Northern Line only) but was changed to Strand in 1915 at which point Charing Cross (Embankment) went back to just being called Embankment. The existing Strand station on the Piccadilly line (now closed but Triple P remembers when it was in weekday only operation) was renamed Aldwych at the same time. Confused?

The new name for Trafalgar Square station is revealed early in this May 1979 photo

Triple P remembers the old Trafalgar Square station too and that was not subsumed into the Charing Cross line until 1979, with the opening of the new Jubilee line. 

Being pregnant didn't get you out of having to wear a corset!

Molloy mentions how many women were pregnant by the time they were married and this is an interesting area, given the image of lack of sex outside marriage we have of people from this period.  In fact in 1840 recent research, using parish registers in England, has shown that nearly 40% of women were pregnant on their wedding day and of those over 25% had been pregnant for more than 3 months.   In 1938 the figure was still 18% of women being pregnant at their wedding (with 51% of under 20s being pregnant).  So it is clear that women did not wait until they were married to start having sex. Very useful for the purposes of our story!  

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