Wednesday, June 15, 2005


That’s the weather forecast for Bilbao on Monday. Luckily the tormentas! (illustrated by a large grey cloud, fat raindrops and daggers of yellow lightning) should pass by Tuesday, when all should be scorchio! again.

On Friday night I went to see Salt of the Earth, a 1950s film made by blacklisted actors, writers and crew, at UCL. It’s about a miners’ strike in New Mexico, which the women take over and hold the picket line despite being repeatedly gassed and threatened. It’s based on real events, too. And for anyone who thinks (as I did) that feminism died in the 1920s and wasn’t resuscitated until the late 60s, this film comes as a pleasant surprise. The story behind it is fascinating, too: ultra conservatives such as Howard Hughes did everything they could to stop it being made, including banning labs from processing the film. Hence the final cut jumps around a bit, and the colour and sound varies from scene to scene, because the film was processed and edited in bits before being pieced together.

After the screening we wandered the halls of UCL, and took a peek at Jeremy Bentham. I did not know that Mr Bentham still attends all university meetings, despite the fact that he died in 1832. His cadaver, per his instructions, was dissected, embalmed, dressed, and placed in a chair, and to this day resides in a cabinet in a corridor of the main building of University College (from Sadly Mr Bentham’s chamber does not have glass doors, so we didn’t get a look at him. But just knowing he’s there is scary enough.

We rounded the evening off with fat chips from Rock & Sole Plaice, and teacups of wine at Irene’s flat.

Dr Rachel L, where are you? Have you moved to New Haven yet?


Stevie Chick said...

God, don't let Christian hear that you know that story too... He's obsessed about Jeremy Bentham, and the whole cadaver-attends-meetings thing...

rachel said...

Ilonaechka, I am in New Haven and will continue to be without internet access at home until the middle of next week. Our new place is very fun. Our backyard has a cherry tree, raspberries, and herbs that we're welcome to use. We can walk to several cute cafes, a pub, dry cleaners, and our bank. I think we're going to love it here.

Thank you for the card! It was my first piece of mail at the new place. Come see me.