Wednesday 3 September 2008

Munbying About


Useful things come up whilst writing a novel. My current effort (will it be published? I know not) involved re-reading the Diary of Arthur Munby, which I had thought I had digitised extensively for but, on second inspection, I realise I left loads of fascinating things out. I think the Munby material went online in the early days, when I was fairly clueless about content. In any case, I now feel myself bound to remedy this situation, and I have a little list. Some things will be fairly straight additions to the site, eg. a brief entry on the Cosmpolite Club which had never previously come on the radar.

The first entry, however, was going to be Caldwell's Dancing-Rooms ... I had gathered Munby's two comments, then a couple of pieces from the Times which throw an interesting light on his comments about it being 'respectable' (in comparison with the infamous Holborn Casino or Argyll Rooms, agreed to be haunt of prostitutes and 'fast' young men).* I was about to create an index entry for Caldwell's (convinced I'd never heard of it) when I find I already have one, pointing to J.Ewing Ritchie's Night Side of London. You can read the whole thing on the Caldwell's page.

What does this prove? First, that J.Ewing Ritchie is the pontificating prig I always suspected him of being (I'd trust Arthur Munby over him any day); second, that I have forgotten a good deal of what's actually on; third, that I do need it as my electronic brain, so the whole mad project was a good idea all along.

More Munby-ing to follow, as and when.

[* If someone hasn't written a thesis on mid-Victorian London dance-halls,
then they should (if they have - send me a copy!). ]

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