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Museums as

Museums as

The last week or so I’ve just been doing practical, boring things. Getting a job, clothes shopping, groceries, socialising, watching the America’s Cup. I’ve also managed to cram a bunch of museums in, but since many don’t allow photography I didn’t bother writing about them since that’d be BORING and I don’t wish to BORE YOU, loyal reader.

But this isn’t all about you; in fact, it’s all about me! So the following is a quick round up of four museums and then a work update.
The Wallace Collection
This museum is quite neat really. It’s all donated by William Wallace. For you history buffs, don’t worry, it isn’t true. There’s some amazing stuff in this place. Swanky palatial furnishings, curiosities from across the world in all eras, paintings by masters. But the most unique bit I thought was the Armoury. Richard Seymour-Conway must’ve had a thing for weapons and armour, again it’s from all eras and nations. He’s mostly collected the arty armour, so it’s all decorated and swish – the muskets and pistols were really interesting, and the ceremonial swords and things. 
Real quiet there too, not like the main museums, so you can get up close and explore everything without some F-ing tourists getting in the way.
Unfortunately they don’t want you to take photos, and I’m like, respectful of rules like a total square, so I took none. But here’s one from some maverick on the internet:
The National Gallery
Most of you who’ve been to London have no doubt been to the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square. Inside are paintings from the masters from back in the day before SLRs and Photoshop. 
I’m not much of an art appreciator nor art history buff, but I really enjoyed my time there. I got the audio guide, every painting has a story to tell so that is well worth it (£3.50). Just listen to the ones that interest you, any one would be interesting enough but there’re so many you can afford to be quite picky else you’d be there for days!
They’ve laid it out really well, so you can follow artists’ progressions and general styles of various nations – there’s some amazing stuff in there.
I quite enjoyed how pornographic it all was. For instance, the description for the one below was something like, ‘the woman is too engrossed in her activity to notice the goat dude about to rape her’. 

I just love that old attitude, secretly being perves. There was one scene with Minerva, Venus and some other chick. The caption said it was quite a popular scene to commission, because there are three naked babes.

All jokes aside, it’s a great place to visit – even if you don’t think you’ll give a shit, you may find yourself drawn in, it’s such a concentration of history and artistic excellence from all of Europe.  
The Hunterian Museum
This museum was something else. It’s a medical museum, and is based around the personal collection of John Hunter, a pioneering and curious surgeon from the 1700s. He collected and preserved all sorts of stuff, and heaps of it is still on display. There’re shelves and shelves of pickled bits and pieces of all manner of formerly living things, some with quite some stories behind them. 
A tame one for the kids.
It’s not for the faint of heart; there’s a line of nine human foetuses, one for each month – and there’re plenty of skeletons too. To lighten that bit, there’s also a section with pickled penises. Pickled Penises. 
Other things of note in there for me, was some of the linkages within that era of English history. I’ve been reading on the tube this narrative of Captain Cooks travels, written way the hell back. Banks, who travelled with Cook as the biologist, worked closely with Hunter, and there’re things Banks brought back from those pacific voyages in there in jars! And the Pacific Islander Omai, who went with Captain Cook and did translations for the English, has his portrait up in the museum. I thought that was cool, tying it all together.
Other notable things:
  • Roosters with massive spurs(claws) growing out of their heads from transplants. Hunter was trying to do human tooth transplants. They’d pinch teeth out of poor people to put into rich people, lovely. There’re also some roosters with human teeth in their heads – that didn’t quite work.
  • The skeleton of Charles Bryne is there. A giant, the Elizabethan Andre, he knew all these creepy surgeons wanted to dissect him when he died. Not keen, he paid a handsome sum to the undertaker to be buried at sea. So of course, the undertaker sold the corpse to Hunter, double-dipping dick, and there Bryne’s skeleton stands, prominent in the museum. Some ethical discussion due on that one!
It’s real mad scientist stuff, really interesting. The good folk at the Royal College of Surgeons have also made available the audio guide online, so I put it on my phone instead of getting one of those headsets. Cheap ass. 
British Museum Round 2
I popped back into the British Museum today ’cause I had a spare hour or two. Did the Asia bit, here’re some pics. 
“What’s brown and sticky?” “Heh heh. Comedy gold.”
Darth Vader’s regeneration chamber for Buddhists.
Stab stab stab
I had the worst interview of my life last Thursday. It really hurt my self-esteem! Making e-learning for a utility company, so for salespeople and for call centre staff. Dude gave me a real drilling. He didn’t think I knew what I was doing with rapid dev software or LMSs, and couldn’t do instructional design in their ‘fast paced environment’. We pretty much agreed it wasn’t for me as he shuffled me out the door. Torched my ass! 
So with a heavy heart I went to my next interview on Friday. We all clicked about how we do things, managing clients and everything, and I did the 30 minute Instructional Design test. I must’ve done OK because they loved me and I start on Monday.
It’s a six month fixed term making a suite of professional elearning products, with a team of flash developers so I don’t have to develop anything either. It’s cool to build products, the company is a global heavy hitter which’ll be great experience, and it’s on my tube line (London Bridge) so it’s all pretty handy. Much better than the other job, I was lucky the dude hated me really! But still, some dude thought I couldn’t do the work. I’ll show him! Elsewhere!

Larry's a 30-something chap interested in travel, being a dork and changing the world via less boring training.

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