Instead I thought I’d talk about how easy it is to justify an afternoon like this away from the keyboard. First off, the very act of skiving off is an excellent way to ensure I’ll be more productive when I get back to my writing. All work and no play makes Clare a very dull girl. Looking at something fresh and new can help the brain make connections and open up all sorts of possibilities and ideas, connected or unconnected.
A small example. I have a character in the work in progress who some time ago I decided would be an avid reader of penny dreadfuls - the rather salacious stories, often serialised, so beloved by many Victorians - Sweeney Todd and Spring-Heeled Jack both were stars of these publications. I’d also read about Illustrated Police News - a serious sounding publication that actually was anything but - a catalogue of gory shockers to titivate the blood lust of respectable Victorian citizens. Somehow along the way I forgot about this. I was conscious that something was missing but couldn’t put my finger on what exactly it was. Then when I was walking around the exhibition there was the Police News in all its gory glory. The front cover featured side by side illustrations of the Ripper’s latest victim before and after death, along with a whole host of vividly illustrated horrors. This has triggered some new ideas (sorry no spoilers) that will go into the mix - the missing link I was looking for and had forgotten. Tempting as it might be, that won’t include the illustrated sensation tale of “Quintilia the Quadrigamist” !
Definitely worth a visit. My next excursion could well prove to be equally gory - The Dental Museum!