Friday, 1 July 2016

Chapter 4 “Every circus lion has a tamer!”: Chapter Notes

British Museum station as it was.  Note the distinctive white tiling.

This Post provides notes on Chapter 4 of The Lust World: A Sexual Odyssey, an erotic adventure story.

Molloy travels on the Central Underground line from his flat in Shepherd's Bush to Bloomsbury to visit Professor Challenor's house and alights at British Museum Station.  British Museum Station was opened in 1900 to serve the Central Line.  However, it was only 100 yards from Holborn station, which served what are now the Northern and Piccadilly Lines. To change lines you had to ascend to the surface, walk the hundred yards to the other station and descend again.

British Museum Station as it is today. The white tiles are clearly visible on the right. The platform has been removed (right) as is usual with disused London Underground stations

In 1933 British Museum station was closed and a Central Line platform was created at an expanded Holborn station making it, as it remains, the connection between the Central, Northern and Piccadilly lines. The building hosting British Museum station was demolished in 1989 but the station itself remains, underground.  You can glimpse it when travelling between Tottenham Court Road and Holborn stations on the Central Line.

The Challenors house is in Bloomsbury Square, one of the oldest squares in London, which contains a formal garden in the centre.  None of the original 17th century houses remain although there are some handsome eighteenth and nineteenth century ones.  It looks rather different today than it did in 1912 due to the construction of the large Victoria House office building, built for the Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society (today one of Britain's biggest insurance companies) on the eastern side of the square in the nineteen twenties.

Ammonites on the beach at Lyme Regis

Professor Challenor asks Molloy to identify some of the fossils in his display case.  Lyme Regis, which Molloy supposes is the source of the ammonite fossils, is a town on the south coast of England and is part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, famous for its fossils.  It was along the cliffs at Lyme Regis that Mary Anning discovered. among other things, the first properly identified ichthyosaur fossil and the first fossil plesiosaurs.  Being a woman Anning never received the recognition she should have during her lifetime even though her work was important.  In 2010 the Royal Society named her as one of the ten most important British women in science.  Triple P has collected ammonite fossils himself from the beach at Lyme Regis where they, and other fossils, are regularly revealed by land slips.

The second fossil Molloy correctly identifies is the trilobite which he refers to as the "famous Dudley bug.”   The Trilobite (similar to the modern horseshoe crab) was a Silurian water dwelling arthropod.  Many of these were unearthed at limestone quarries in Dudley in the West Midlands from the eighteenth century onwards and the miners called them the Dudley bug.

The Dudley coat of arms with its trilobite (below the castle)

Today eighteenth and nineteenth century discovered examples from Dudley are very sought over by collectors because of their quality.  The town of Dudley even put a Dudley bug in the centre of their coat of arms.

Carcharadon Megalodon tooth

The fossil Molloy mis-identifies as an Iguanadon tooth is actually the tooth of Carcharadon Megalodon (named in 1843) a giant (fifty foot plus) prehistoric shark.  Although this will have made Challenor suspicious, he does not say anything at the time.

Camisole and drawers from around 1912

The incident with Molloy finding Mrs Challenor's draws on the floor after she and the professor have obviously been having sex was suggested when we went to visit an Italian lawyer in his legal studio in Rome.  When we were admitted to his office we found a young lady looking rather pink in the face while the lawyer sat behind his desk looking completely innocent.  It was then that I spotted a pair of silk knickers on the floor next to his desk.  The lady bent down, picked them up and stuffed them in her handbag before departing and giving Triple P a withering look on the way out.  It would have been rather more difficult to stuff a pair of early twentieth century drawers into a handbag!

The Redpath Museum at Mcgill University, Montreal

The pivotal character of Waring Blanc is a nod to Conan Doyle's Maple White.  We have always thought that Maple White was a very odd name.  White was an American but we wanted a Canadian to keep our Canadian readers happy.  Blanc attended McGill, Canada's finest university, in Montreal, as did our friend S.  She took me on a tour of her old haunts there once.  I clearly remember her saying things like:  "This was where I had lectures", "this is the library," "this was where my room was", "this was where I first took it up the ass" etc.

As a Canadian from Montreal we made his last name 'Blanc' and as Maples was a famous furniture company in Britain we took another famous furniture company, Waring & Gillow, and used the first part of the name as Blanc's first name. Maples and Waring & Gillow were both operating at the time of our story and they merged in 1962.

Compton Beach with Freshwater Bay (the dipped area at left) in the distance

Mrs Challenor admits to sunbathing naked under the cliffs near Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight, somewhere Triple P knows very well.  Just along the coast is Compton Beach, also mentioned in the story later on, which is another one of the best sites in Britain for fossils.  There are a number of dinosaur footprints in the rocks here and the first example of the carnivorous allosaurid, Neovenator, was discovered on adjoining Brightsone beach in 1978.  Like Lyme Regis, regular cliff falls make this a mecca for fossil hunters.

No comments:

Post a Comment